Free POS software lets you complete customer transactions and manage other business processes like inventory management. For this buyer’s guide, we looked at the most popular systems and rising stars and decided to review Square, Loyverse, and Imonggo. These solutions covered the free POS software range for small businesses in terms of ease of use, inventory management, employee management and customer management. Read on for our comparison and review of these three options, as well as our top recommendations.
Best Free POS Software for Small Business: Square
We recommend Square because it is the most feature-rich free POS software you can choose that also offers integrated and affordable card processing. It’s super easy to get started, there are a ton of reasonably priced add on services like employee scheduling, loyalty programs, and other marketing tools. Plus the self service knowledge base is world class.
|What's free||POS software including basic inventory mgt and some advanced features like visual data reporting for unlimited users||POS software including basic inventory and employee mgt for unlimited users||POS software including basic inventory and employee mgt for 1-user, 1-store, up to a maximum of 1,000 products and 1,000 transactions per month.|
|Credit card processing costs|
|A flat rate of 2.75% for all swiped transactions, 3.5% + $0.15 for keyed transactions, and 2.9% + $0.30 for online transactions.||Does not currently integrate with credit card payment systems. As a result you have to run a separate card payment system.||Set-up to process credit card payments via Authorize.net - a third party merchant services provider. Rates vary based on transactions volume.|
|Ease of use|
|Very intuitive||Very intuitive||Very intuitive|
|OS||iOS and Android||iOS and Android||iOS and Android|
|Inventory mgt: Basic|
Employee mgt: $5 per employee per month.
Customer mgt: Basic
|Inventory mgt: Advanced|
Employee mgt: Free
Customer mgt: Advanced
|Inventory mgt: Advanced
Employee mgt: Free
Customer mgt: Advanced
|Above & beyond features|
|Affordable add-ons e.g. Square Payroll: $20/mth, email marketing: $15/mth,||A points based customer loyalty program and awesome free customer service||Imonggo is a good all round solution, but nothing stands out as above and beyond.|
|Integration with Accounting Software|
|Commerce Sync, QuickBooks, Xero, Kashoo Accounting, Zoho Books, OneUp, Online, Shogo, and TaxJar.||No accounting software integrations currently available.||No accounting software integrations currently available.|
|Community forum, email support, video tutorials and blog.|
World-class self-serve knowledge base.
|Responsive live chat, responsive email support, video tutorials and blog|
|Community forum, email support and blog.
Best Free POS Software: Square
We recommend Square because it’s so easy to get started and the add-on services and hardware are reasonably priced. Plus the self-service knowledge base is truly world class and the card processing costs are acceptable for a small business processing less than $17,500 in card sales per month. This free POS software deal is exceptional for many small merchants, especially new ones without an established processing history.
Like all the free POS software solutions we reviewed, Square is very intuitive. Where it really sets itself apart is that it’s packed with useful features and lets you set things up just the way you want to. You can set-up tips and discounts, record cash and check transactions and handle split tenders, You can also process full and partial refunds, customize receipts and send via email or SMS, and much more.
However, Square makes its money by becoming your dedicated credit card processing solution at slightly above the most competitive rates. If your card sales are less than $17,500 per month then the benefit of Square’s easy setup and free software will outweigh the extra cost of card processing. Beyond $17,500 per month, the extra cost may start to outweigh the benefits. At this point it can make sense to move to a paid software provider integrated with a merchant account offering more competitive rates.
It’s not all good news though, unlike Loyverse, Square does not have an unblemished track record in terms of customer service. This is because it tends to accept almost all new merchants and then has a habit of putting what it considers to be high-risk accounts on hold. It is worth reading Square’s T&Cs and list of excluded high risk enterprises before proceeding.
Having said this, the vast majority of Square’s customers love the free software, predictable processing rates, affordable service and well-designed reasonable hardware add-ons.
Best Up and Coming Free POS Software: Loyverse
Unlike Square who charge for add-ons and Imonggo who charge for more than one user, Loyverse is completely free without any restrictions whatsoever.
What’s more, Loyverse provides much more than a basic solution. For instance, its payment processing, inventory management (including ingredient tracking), employee management, customer management (including customer loyalty) are as powerful as the features provided by many paid POS software solutions.
What is even more exceptional is that Loyverse is a very complete, bug free and user-friendly platform with exceptional customer service. This is probably why its loyal customers tend to consistently provide 5/5 customer reviews.
So far so good, so what’s the catch?
Loyverse does not currently integrate with any credit card processing systems or accounting software. This capability is rumored to be coming soon. But until it does, it doesn’t make sense to use Loyverse in a high credit card transaction business. However, if you are selling out of one location, running a cash business, or do not mind managing credit card processing and POS separately, then look no further. Loyverse is very easy-to-use and designed for small business. Plus is comes with a wealth of useful features and even lets you establish a hard-hitting customer loyalty program with your own mobile loyalty app.
The Other Option: Imonggo
Simplicity is the driving force behind Imonggo. Wherever possible Imonggo streamlines and simplifies its free POS software functions to the basics whilst trying not to sacrifice the power of its feature set. As a result, it delivers a useful free POS software solution that covers what you would expect to find and is easy for small businesses to adopt.
However, Square is just as easy to use and is also easy to integrate with payment processing, which Imonggo is not. Loyverse is also very easy to use and is also free for unlimited users, which Imonggo is not.
Credit Card Processing Costs
While free POS software comes without any charge, what you will always pay for is credit card processing. Some systems like Square provide free software, and make their money by charging slightly above the most competitive card processing rates. Other systems allow you to integrate with third party merchant account processors to access a more competitive rate.
Ease of Use
It’s important to ensure that the free POS software you choose to adopt is easy to use, even if it is free. To assess this, we looked at how easy it is to:
- Set-up and start processing payments
- Create and manage your inventory
- Set up employees with permissions
- View and export sales reports
Let’s see how our three options compared.
To determine the best free POS software for small business, I have analyzed the key features that are likely to inform your decision. We have covered:
- Inventory management
- Employee management
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Analytics and reporting
Let’s see how each of our options compared.
A good free POS system includes inventory management, which provides up to date information on what you have in stock, what’s en route, and what is selling fast. You’ll also have all the information you need to spot theft, cut losing products, expand winning product lines, and drive an increase in your sales and profits.
If you have more than one person receiving customer payments, you will want to be able to set them up with their own unique login so that you can analyze how each employee performs. For example, this will allow you to report sales performance by employee and also to track any payment / stock discrepancies back to the employee responsible for completing the transaction.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
All free POS software allows you to create a customer database. Some are very basic and just allow you to store name, contact details and birthday. Others are much more useful allowing you to store information about a range of other things like buying preferences, frequency of visits and average spend per visit. This database then allows you to segment your customers in different ways, for example to implement marketing promotions.
Analytics & Reporting
One of the benefits of using free POS software is that you start to collect lots of data about how your business is performing. For example; your customers’ buying preferences, the sales performance of each employee and the impact of sales on your stock levels. If this data is visually presented and made easy for you to access then it can help you to manage your business in real-time and improve your profitability.
Above & Beyond
In this section we highlight any unique features that small business owners are likely to find useful, plus any features that are much more advanced than we expected. Square Register and Loyverse both go above and beyond for different reasons.
Integrations with Accounting Software
For anything other than a low customer transaction business, it would be advisable to integrate your accounting package with your free POS software like QuickBooks or Xero. This will save you having to export reports and then manually upload them to your accounting software package. Being integrated in this way means that you can also benefit from all of the additional reporting features of your accounting package in real time.
Customer Service & Support
It’s important to understand the level of customer support and service you will receive from free POS software before committing to an application. Customer service can take many forms; realtime chat, email helpline, telephone support, how to videos, blog and knowledge database to name a few.
All Free POS Software Options
To create the list of 7 free POS software options shared in the table below, we reviewed 24 options and discarded 17 because they are not sufficiently reliable yet for you to rely upon at the heart of your business.
|Option||Good as a…||Description|
|Square||The best solution for startup and early stage retailers.||Small retailers love how ridiculously easy this system is to use. Whether you want to use Square in your shop, or wherever your business goes, Square Register will turn your tablet into a terminal that lets you process credit cards at the checkout counter or on the go. Features include; offline transactions, digital receipts, inventory tracking, powerful reporting, automatic discounts, online ordering, CRM, email marketing tools, gift cards and much more besides. It’s arguably the best way to start out as a retailer.|
|Loyverse||Mobile only solution for both retail and restaurant businesses.||The system comes with all the features you would expect and includes a reporting dashboard that makes it easy to access performance analytics, monitor sales, track inventory, manage employees and launch marketing campaigns. Loyverse (as the name suggests!) also offers loyalty programs to help drive customers that are specifically designed for retail stores and restaurants. Integrated credit card processing is coming soon.|
|Imonggo||Simple and powerful solution for small retail businesses.||Claim to be the first company to ever offer a completely free high specification POS system, and they have kept the UX very easy to use. Imonggo covers all of the features a small business is likely to require. However, a lot of the advanced features like integrated credit card processing, inventory management, employee management, customer management and advanced reporting are only available through Imonggo Premium. But at $30 per month this still represents great value for money.|
|PayPal Here||A simple solution dedicated to the PayPal payment process.||Very small businesses don't have the resources to waste on a credit card processor that takes a long time to set up and learn how to use. This is where PayPal Here can help. The credit card reader and mobile app turn your tablet into a simple POS system for credit card processing. Features are basic, very robust and include; barcode scanning, automatic invoicing, digital receipts and debit card PIN processing.|
|Boxypos||Mobile only solution for bars, cafes and restaurants.||A fast growing business with a great twist and a loyal customer fan base who all tend to rate Boxy 5/5. Boxy supports multiple locations, provides employee tracking, table wait time tracking, simple sales reports, promotional offers and inventory management. Fairly uniquely, guests can order via their mobile device and can also be incentivized for sharing on social media. What a great way to leverage word-of-mouth. Boxy is not integrated with any card processor. However, you can separately use any processor that you would like, and then register the payments in Boxy.|
|eHopper||Mobile solution for both retail and restaurant businesses.||eHopper has created a decent POS system with good basic modules for order management, inventory management, and customer management. Customer reporting covers purchasing and payment history and is updated in real-time as an order is being taken. Real-time reporting is useful as it allows you to understand the stage of the fulfilment process that is currently being fulfilled. The free version of eHopper is not integrated with any card processor.|
|Harbortouch||Completely free POS system tied to its own credit card processing service.||The software is completely free, but you do have to pay for Harbortouch's processing service and hardware. The system works with a wide range of devices and offers additional services like payment systems, online payments, check services and merchant cash advances.The estimated swipe fee is interchange + 0.59 percent plus $0.15 per transaction, though this is negotiated with your rep based on your package requirements and usage. So if you don’t have a problem with Harbortouch’s merchant rates, this is a viable alternative.|
|VendHQ||The best all-in-one POS system for retailers and restaurants||Vend is freemium priced, which should allow you to start for free, but with a limit of only 10 products it’s really a way to get you in so that you commit to $49 per month for what you really need. Having said this, it’s truly great software; easy to use with a comprehensive POS feature set to match the needs of a very broad range of different business types. The paid package provides a comprehensive solution for; employee management, inventory management, customer management and real-time reporting.|
The Bottom Line
Square was the first and has continued to innovate and constantly deliver new features, which is why it still stands out as the best free POS software integrated to card processing. If your business processes less than $17,500 in card sales per month, Square is still the obvious solution to your needs.
However, if Loyverse make it possible to integrate with accounting software and card payment processing via more competitive merchant account rates, they will become a strong alternative to Square. Imonggo provides a good solution that has no obvious weaknesses, but neither does it really stand out.