Best Free POS Systems of 2024

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Point of sale systems don't need to cost a lot of money.  Given advances in technology, you can find excellent point of systems for free or at a reasonable cost.  But you need to understand the costs of a free POS systems.

A point of sale is the primary business management platform for your retail or restaurant business.  While retailers and restaurants have many of the same needs in POS software (setting prices, ringing up sales, collecting payments, generating a receipt), there are other requirements of a POS system that vary widely by the type of retailer using the system.  Good POS systems for retailers tend to be inventory-centric and specialize in helping retailers efficiently analyze sales and stock levels and make sound purchasing and pricing decisions.   Top point of sale software systems for restaurants tend to be more focused on the customer experience with menu management, mobility capabilities, online ordering and pricing strategies being valued highly by restaurant and hospitality businesses.

Its important to understand that a POS system that is great for a restaurant may be an awful choice for a retailer.  Even within the restaurant vertical, POS systems that are great for a quick service resturant or cafe may be a poor choice for a high end full service restaurant.  When reading our reviews for free POS systems, be sure to look at how the system would meet the needs of your retail business, as well whether there are any hidden costs or inefficiencies caused by using a free POS system vs. a specialized paid POS system designed for your store type.

Below are the top free POS systems in 2024:

What is a Free POS system?

POS or point of sale systems are made up of the software (ringing up sales, taking orders, managing inventory, analyzing the business) and the associated hardware (printers, cash drawer, barcode scanners).  Free POS software vendors typically do not charge for the software or offer a free trial.  Free POS systems do not usually include the POS hardware and accessories.

There are different types of 'free' POS systems.  Some have restrictions on number of transactions or products.  Some have very limited features, while others exclude popular features that must be paid for seperarely as a  'add-on'.  Be sure to pay attention to the features and limitations of the different free POS systems.

For more information on how to find the best free POS system for your store, click here.

Top Free POS - Restaurants

Restaurant POS software can be used by a variety of restaurant businesses ranging from the simple needs of a small cafe or food truck to more complex needs of full service restaurants and franchised restaurants.  All restaurant POS systems price items, manage sales transactions, record payments and generate a receipt.  Highly rated restaurant POS systems do much more - manage ingredients and inventory, track expenses and cash flow, improve communications between front-end and kitchen, support online ordering and reservations, log employee time and generate analytic reports.

 

Below are our recommended free pos systems for restaurants:

Toast-logo-Best Free POS 150x150px

Overall Rating: 9 of 10

Best for restaurants seeking free POS that can be upgraded/expanded

POS:
Starter: Free
Standard: $69/mo

Processing:
Negotiable based on volume

 

Logo_eHopper free pos 150x150

Overall Rating: 7 of 10

Best for smaller cafes and quick service restaurants seeking a free POS or low cost system

POS:
Starter: Free
Freedom: $24/mo.

Processing:
2.5% + 10 cents/trans. Free Plan requires eHopper Credit Card Surcharge plan

loyverse free pos 2024 logo 150x150px

Overall Rating: 8 of 10

Best for small restaurants simple free POS system than includes a loyaty program for free

POS:
Standard: Free

Processing:
Based on integration

 

Top Free POS Systems - Retail

Retail point of sale systems are used at retail businesses that carry inventory of items sold.  A good retail point of sale system will allow a retailer to price items, process sales, take payments and generate receipts.  Top POS systems will do more than the basics - helping retailers to more efficiently manage purchasing and inventory levels, lower employee labor costs, increase customer loyalty and increase profitability.

 

Quality free retail-focused POS systems are hard to find - given the complexity of inventory management.  We could not find a 'free' system that offered sufficient beadth and quality of features for us to recommend.  But the following low cost POS systems offer free trials and great features.  We felt that the cost of the subscription was worth it for a typical retail business.  

 

Below are our recommended retail POS systems:

lightspeed pos free pos 150x150px

Overall Rating: 9 of 10

Best for retailers looking for an expandable POS system with lots of integrations

POS:
Lean: $60/mo
Standard: $119/mo

Processing:
2.6% + 10c/trans

 

MicroBiz Cloud POS System Logo 150x150px

Overall Rating: 9 of 10

Best for retailers and wholesalers looking for a simple POS system with retail and order management capabilities

POS:
Standard: $60/mo

Processing:
Low as 2.20% + 10c/trans

 

Clover Logo Free POS 2024 150x150px

Overall Rating: 7 of 10

Best for smaller retail businesses looking for a integrated software/hardware POS system with mobile POS capabilities.

POS:
Register:$49.95/mo

Processing:
2.6% plus 10c/trans

 

shopify fee pos system 150x150px

Overall Rating: 8 of 10

Best for retailers seeking a tight integration between store and online operations

POS:
Basic: $29/mo
Shopify: $79/mo

Processing:
2.6% plus 10c/trans

 

Top Free POS - Mobile Payments

Free mobile POS systems are more focused on the processing of payments and less so on sophisticated inventory management features.  With mobile POS systems, merchants can turn smartphones or tablets into point-of-sale systems credit card acceptance.  The mobile POS applications are often owned by payment processors, that offer additional payment services along with very basic POS functionality.   

 

Merchants typically buy a small add-on credit card reader that pairs with a mobile device via blue tooth or into pre-existing charging slot or headphone jack on the phone. These mobile card readers allow merchants to swipe, dip, or tap credit cards to accept payments using the phone or tablet. Another option offered are small mobile wireless credit card terminals that connect to Wi-Fi or a wireless data plan to accept mobile payments.

 

Below are our recommended free mobile POS systems: 

Square free pos 150x150px

Overall Rating: 9 of 10

Best for small start-up businesses with minimal POS needs looking a system with integrations to other business services

POS:
Free

Processing:
Swiped:  2.60% + 10c

 

izettle-a-paypal-service-free pos 150x150px

Overall Rating: 7 of 10

Best for small start-up businesses with minimal POS needs looking to take payments

POS:
Free

Processing:
Swiped:  2.29% + 9c

Are Free POS systems really free?

Of course not.  No POS software company can build a viable POS system and offer quality support giving away its software, hardware and services for free.  So how do free POS system vendors make money?
- Payment processing fees - Payment processing can generate recurring revenue, especially if rates are above market
- Upsell to paid subscriptions - Many free pos software vendors have 'freemium' models or free trials
- Support contracts - The free offering may only include the software, with support requiring a paid contract
- Charges for add on features - The base software is free, but modules and integrations are subject to a fee
- Hardware leases - Required proprietary hardware my be subject to leasing fees and onnerous penalties.

For more information, click here for an article on how these 'free POS' companies make money.

How to choose free POS software?

While the ‘price’ of a POS system (in this case free!) can be a key part of your decision-making process — it should not be the sole criteria. If you’re evaluating free POS software, please be sure to consider the factors that contribute to the overall ‘cost’ of a POS system for your business.

Do you need any industry specific features?

POS software systems are often targeted towards certain retail verticals. This is because the needs of a sit-down restaurant, for example, are very different than the needs of a sporting goods store.  Retail POS systems tend to have more advanced functionality around inventory management and purchasing/receiving and selling goods online.  Restaurant POS systems may have features not needed by general retailers, such as reservation, table management and online reservations. More specialized POS systems have even deeper industry specific functionality for a specific type of retailer.  Be sure to understand if the free POS system supports your critical business needs.

What are the payment processing costs and terms?

The most common way for ‘free’ POS companies to make money is to require you to use their payment processing service.  In addition to the quoted rates, be sure to ask about any recurring fees that will be on your statement.  Also be sure to understand if the fees quoted apply to certain types of transaction (credit vs debit) or payment method (card present vs card-not-present).  If a company offers you ‘free’ processing by charging a customer a fee at the register, consider the fee amount and impact on your customer satisfaction – and who pays for debit card transactions.

Are there any other hidden costs?

Many free POS providers have a basic free plan but require users to pay for premium plans with more features or paid add-ons.  Be sure to understand the cost of any add-ons required to run your retail business, as you may need to upgrade to a paid option to get everything you need.

Will the system grow with your business?

If you are just starting out, think about your business’s expected growth and whether the free POS software will work for your business in the future. Changing a POS system is disruptive, so you want to avoid setting yourself up for the costs to upgrade or change down the road.

What is the cost of the POS hardware?

The POS hardware used with POS software is unlikely to be free.  Check to see if you can use your existing POS hardware.  If you need to purchase new hardware, can it be used with other POS software or will you be locked into using only the seller’s POS software.  Hardware lock-in will make it more costly to switch if the software is a bad fit.  If you lease hardware, understand the terms and cancellation provisions.

Does the system offer any key integrations?

Integrating with other business software used at your store may help streamline your operations.  One integration to consider is integrating with your accounting software.  This will help avoid manually entering sales data into your accounting system.  If you sell online, an ecommerce integration may be helpful.  Check to see if the free POS system offers integrations to your most important business software.

Where can I access and use the software?

Be sure to understand how the software can be accessed.  Free POS software may be engineered for a certain operating system or platform.  For example, a few products reviewed need to be downloaded onto either iPads or Android tablets. Some free POS offerings are based on legacy software that cannot be accessed remotely.  Be sure to verify that the free POS software works on your desired devices and operating systems.

Who actually developed the software?

It’s now common for payment processing sales organizations to offer a ‘free’ POS system under their brand that is developed or supported by a completely different company.  Make sure that you know who developed and who will support your POS system.  What happens if there is a glitch, or you want an enhancement?  You will have a better chance of getting good support if the party that you are working with created the application.

Methodology

Freepos.com’s point-of-sale software ratings are based on an evaluation of the breadth of features and functionality and quality of the software and overall cost  - including any paid add-ons.  Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores from several categories, including software features, functionality, cost of any integrations and add-ons, and quality of customer service.  This data is collected from the provider’s website, third-party review sites, industry research, and in some cases, access to a free trial.

These ratings are subjective and may exclude certain aspects of the software important to you or updates to the software following our review.  We encourage you to compare several providers and do your own evaluation.

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