Free Invoice Software for Small Businesses in 2021

The best free invoice software options can help your business stay on budget.
Sally LaucknerNov 2, 2021

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Free cloud-based invoice software solutions can help streamline and automate the invoicing process at no cost, with features like customizable templates and automatic payment reminders. These top picks stood out from other free products by offering more comprehensive features, integrations with other products and greater overall ease of use.

“Free” here means that there’s no monthly subscription cost or software purchase to use the basic version of any of these programs. However, if you’re receiving payments online, you’ll be responsible for a per-payment transaction fee. That fee will vary depending on your payment processor of choice, which will in turn vary based on which payment gateways your invoice software supports.

Here are the best free invoice software options for small-business owners.

Invoice Ninja: Most customizable

Pricing: Basic “Forever Free” plan is free, with the option to upgrade to a Ninja Pro Plan for $10 per month or an Enterprise Plan for $14 per month.

Pros:

  • Unlimited invoices and quotes for up to 50 clients.

  • Invoice and quote templates with the option to add a company logo.

  • Auto-billing and recurring invoice capabilities.

  • Online payments, quotations and proposal software included.

  • Time-tracking tools for accurate invoicing.

  • Alerts when your client views and pays their invoice.

  • Integration with several payment gateways including Stripe and PayPal.

  • Excellent customer service through in-app support, email and user forums.

Cons:

  • Only up to 50 clients on the “Forever Free” plan.

Why we like it:

Invoice Ninja is an open-source platform, so developers from around the world can contribute to testing and improving this software. That also means you can write your own code for a completely customized version, designed for exactly your needs (if you’re tech-literate enough to do so).

Invoice Ninja’s free plan is ideal for small-business owners and freelancers with up to 50 clients, especially those who want the option to write their own code for a fully customized platform. Upgrading to a paid plan gives you the ability to invoice unlimited clients and to access dozens of other features.

Wave Invoicing: Best accounting integration

Pricing: Completely free invoicing and accounting, with the option to pay additional fees for payment and payroll features.

Pros:

  • User-friendly.

  • Easy-to-automate invoicing and recurring billing, with payment reminders.

  • Automatic integration with Wave Accounting.

  • Unlimited invoicing, income and expense tracking.

  • Ability to integrate credit card and bank account payments (transaction fees apply).

  • Access to free receipt scanning service, allowing integration both with and without Wi-Fi access.

Cons:

  • No option to upgrade to a higher-tier plan, potentially limiting fast-growing businesses.

Why we like it:

Wave Invoicing is ideal for small-business owners who want free accounting software along with a basic invoicing platform. It automatically integrates with Wave Accounting, one of the very few free accounting platforms.

The company's accounting software offers unlimited income and expense tracking, bank and credit card options, and robust reporting. But because there’s no higher-tier plan available to upgrade to, fast-growing businesses may be limited by the platform’s free capabilities.

Zoho Invoice: Most comprehensive

Pricing: Free invoicing supported on Zoho’s free-to-download app.

Pros:

  • Highly customizable invoice templates.

  • Multicurrency support and 17 supported languages (plus adaptation to local tax laws).

  • Schedule invoices to send automatically at a future date.

  • Recurring invoices with automatic payment reminders.

  • Can collect payments offline and/or in advance.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t integrate with Zoho Inventory without coding or external programs, which may cause hiccups for some businesses.

Why we like it:

Zoho Invoice is one of the most comprehensive invoice software options on this list. Along with invoicing capabilities, the platform offers fully functional customer estimates, client portals and communications, integrations with several payment gateways, expense tracking, time tracking, project tracking, reports and much more.

The product will also automatically integrate with most other Zoho platforms, including Zoho CRM, Zoho Flow and Zoho Commerce — plus Zoho Inventory if you're willing to use an external integration service. It’s best for small-business owners who want a complete arsenal of invoicing tools, especially in multiple languages and/or currencies.

PayPal Invoicing: Best for PayPal Business users

Pricing: Free invoicing, though your card transactions will be charged PayPal’s applicable fees.

Pros:

  • Your customers don’t need a PayPal account to pay you.

  • Ability to create scheduled or recurring invoices with automated payment reminders.

  • Allows you to accept partial payments.

  • Clients have the option of including a tip.

  • Seamless integration for existing PayPal Business users.

Cons:

  • Interface is configured especially for mobile invoicing.

  • Requires an existing PayPal Business account to use.

  • Direct deposit is not an option — payments are accepted via credit card, debit card, PayPal or PayPal Credit.

Why we like it:

If you’re already using PayPal for any of its myriad business services — PayPal’s POS systems, payment gateway and business financing are three of the platform’s more popular business services — then PayPal Invoicing, available through the free PayPal Business app, will fit nicely into your current workflow.

Though its interface is configured especially for mobile invoicing, the platform is primed for existing PayPal users to send basic invoices quickly, automatically and from anywhere.

Square: Best for in-person payments

Pricing: Free basic invoicing, with the option to use Square Invoices Plus for $20 per month. Your card transactions will be charged Square’s applicable fees.

Pros:

  • Unlimited invoicing, estimates, contracts, users and customers on the free plan.

  • Integration with Square’s all-in-one payment platform.

  • Streamlined and intuitive.

  • Accessible from the Square app, through the Square POS or on desktop.

  • Ability to process payments in person or online, with cash, check, credit card, debit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay.

  • Lets you automatically pull in saved customer data to create invoices.

  • Allows payments through ACH bank transfer.

Cons:

  • Does not support multicurrency acceptance.

  • Best for existing Square users, as many of its features integrate only with Square POS.

  • Features like custom invoicing fields and auto-converting estimates into invoices are accessible only through Square Invoices Plus.

Why we like it:

Square is right up there with PayPal as one of the world’s foremost all-in-one payment platforms for small-business owners. User-friendly design is its modus operandi, so even tech-shy users will likely be able to navigate its invoicing platform. That makes it a great option for existing Square users and small-business owners who want the option to accept payments in person.

Along with its popular POS system, Square offers e-commerce, payroll, scheduling, CRM, marketing and business financing tools that all integrate with its invoice program.

A version of this article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.