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Best Free POS Systems of March 2024

Point-of-sale systems don't have to be expensive. These options give you the features you need for free.
By Karrin Sehmbi, Hillary Crawford
Last updated on January 8, 2024
Edited byChristine Aebischer
Fact checked and reviewed

⏰ Estimated read time: 9 minutes

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Free point-of-sale (POS) systems can help keep your business’s expenses down, since you don’t have to pay a monthly software fee. But when choosing a POS system, make sure to consider other related costs, too, like payment processing fees and hardware. Those expenses can easily eat into your expected savings if they’re not priced competitively.
The best free POS systems include core POS functions, like basic reporting, flexible mobile apps and add-ons such as inventory management, barcode scanning or customer management tools.
Here are NerdWallet's top picks for free POS software systems.

Our Nerdy picks for

Free POS for industry-specific features

Loyverse

4.0

NerdWallet Rating

Free POS software for payment processing fees

eHopper

Best Free POS Systems

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Estimates assume an average interchange fee of 1.81% + $0.10, based on our latest available data. Estimates provided reflect online and in-person transactions, but exclude any keyed transactions. Estimates are based on the lowest monthly plan and processing fees for each provider.

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Payment processing fees
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Square POS

Learn more

on Square POS's secure website

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
5.0/5

Best for Overall free POS system

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$0.00

and up.

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
Learn more

on Square POS's secure website

Helcim POS

Learn more

on Helcim POS's secure website

4.5/5

Best for Interchange-plus processing

In-person: 0.4% + $0.08

Online: 0.5% + $0.25

Plus interchange

$0.00

Learn more

on Helcim POS's secure website

Toast POS

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

4.5/5

Best for Food trucks and cafes

2.49% + $0.15

if you buy hardware upfront; 3.09% + $0.15 for pay-as-you-go option.

$0.00

Quick Start Bundle; $69 Core plan; $165 Growth plan. Custom plan also available.

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

SpotOn Restaurant

Learn more

on SpotOn Restaurant's secure website

4.5/5

Best for Restaurant add-ons

1.99% + $0.25

For most cards in paid plans.

$0.00

and up.

Learn more

on SpotOn Restaurant's secure website

PayPal Zettle

4.0/5

Best for Free POS software for mobile sales

In-person: 2.29% + $0.09

Online: 2.89% + $0.49

$0.00

Loyverse

4.0/5

Best for Free loyalty program

N/A

Varies by processor.

$0.00

eHopper

Best for Free POS software with low processing fees

In-person: 2.5% + $0.10

$0.00

And up.

Nextar

Best for Cash-only businesses

N/A

Included in Premium plan; not available in Free plan.

$0.00

Free plan; $19 Premium plan.

Our pick for

Overall free POS system

Square POS

Learn more

on Square POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

and up.

Our pick for

Interchange-plus processing

Helcim POS

4.5
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on Helcim POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our pick for

Food trucks and cafes

Toast POS

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

Payment processing fees
2.49% + $0.15

if you buy hardware upfront; 3.09% + $0.15 for pay-as-you-go option.

Monthly fee
$0.00

Quick Start Bundle; $69 Core plan; $165 Growth plan. Custom plan also available.

Our pick for

Restaurant add-ons

SpotOn Restaurant

4.5
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on SpotOn Restaurant's secure website

Payment processing fees
1.99% + $0.25

For most cards in paid plans.

Monthly fee
$0.00

and up.

Our pick for

Free POS software for mobile sales

PayPal Zettle

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our pick for

Free loyalty program

Loyverse

4.0
NerdWallet rating 
Payment processing fees
N/A

Varies by processor.

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our pick for

Free POS software with low processing fees

eHopper

Monthly fee
$0.00

And up.

Our pick for

Cash-only businesses

Nextar

Payment processing fees
N/A

Included in Premium plan; not available in Free plan.

Monthly fee
$0.00

Free plan; $19 Premium plan.

Our picks for the best free POS software

Square: Best overall free POS system

Why we like it: Square’s free POS is small-business focused and includes less common features, like email notifications for low inventory and a wide range of app integrations. The company also offers solid customer service, a variety of credit card readers — including a free magstripe reader — and app options for Apple and Android OS. Read our full Square POS review.

Helcim: Best for interchange-plus processing

Why we like it: Helcim’s interchange-plus payment processing isn’t as easy to understand as flat-rate pricing models, but it’s more transparent. If you’re willing to dig into the details, you can break down processing fees for each card type and identify exactly how much you’re paying in markups.

Toast: Best for food trucks and cafes

Why we like it: Toast’s beginner plan is basic, but still includes built-in table and menu management features along with reporting tools. As restaurants expand or open new locations, they can upgrade plans and opt for add-ons like mobile ordering and pay, email marketing and reservations.

SpotOn Restaurant: Best for restaurant add-ons

Why we like it: SpotOn is a capable POS system built specifically for restaurants. Add-ons include loyalty programs, employee management tools, delivery options and online reservation tools.

PayPal Zettle: Best free POS software for mobile sales

Why we like it: PayPal Zettle's free POS software comes with several features, including inventory management and reporting, and works with the company's mobile card reader, named one of NerdWallet's best card readers for iPhones. The system also allows you to accept QR codes as a payment method in the PayPal and Venmo platforms and integrates with accounting and e-commerce software, like QuickBooks Online and Shopify. Read our full PayPal Zettle review.

Loyverse: Best free loyalty program

Why we like it: Loyverse offers free POS software with several features well suited to businesses in retail or food and drink industries. It can support inventory tracking for mixed drinks in bars and order management for cafes and restaurants, for example. It can also handle retail store inventory.

eHopper: Best free POS software with low processing fees

Why we like it: EHopper offers businesses in qualifying states a cash-discount program, allowing businesses to accept credit card payments without paying the processing fees. This means you offer your customers two prices for the same service: If they pay by credit card, the customers pay your processing fees. If they pay with cash, there is no processing fee, so they pay a cheaper price for the same service or product.

Nextar: Best for cash-only businesses

Why we like it: With Nextar’s POS, you can run reports to calculate commissions for each salesperson, a feature many free POS options don't offer. The product allows you to set a default commission percentage for all employees or custom commission percentages for specific products. Although you can’t accept credit cards with the free version, it's a solid no-cost option for cash-based small businesses.

What is free POS software?

Free POS software doesn’t come with the monthly subscription fee that higher-tier premium plans typically include. But that doesn’t mean the rest of its components don’t cost anything.
While you might be able to get a mobile card reader for free, countertop POS hardware can be hundreds of dollars if you need it. Processing credit and debit card will cost you as well. Lots of POS system providers double as payment processing companies, and others integrate with third-party services to facilitate the movement of money from customers’ bank accounts to your business’s account. Regardless, you’ll likely pay a per-transaction fee.
A free POS should offer the basics: calculating what customers owe you (plus sales tax), collecting data and generating reports that can help you identify your business’s most profitable goods and/or services. It should also communicate with your accounting software, so that your books are always up to date.
Outside of that, you may have to pay extra for additional capabilities, like advanced inventory POS features, multi-location management and customer loyalty programs. But if you only require the basics right now, free POS software can be a great launching point, especially if the POS system provider offers higher-tier plans that can scale with your business as it grows.

How to choose free POS software

The cost of a POS system is an important part of the decision making process — but not the only one. If you’re considering free POS software, look at these factors as well to find the right option for your business.

Scalability

Think about your business’s growth trajectory and whether free POS software can be a long-term solution. Does the product offer higher-tier plans in case your business requires a more robust software system down the road? If so, how much do those cost? The software provider should be able to accommodate your business now and in the future.

Industry specificity

POS software solutions are often targeted toward certain industries. Restaurant POS systems, for example, might offer reservation add-ons or table management features. And retail POS systems may come equipped with inventory tracking, e-commerce platforms and options for adding multiple product variations. Many providers offer free industry-specific plans, but check out each tier’s features; you may need to upgrade to a paid option to get everything you want.

POS hardware

POS hardware is rarely free, unless all you need is a standalone card reader. Make sure the POS software provider offers in-house hardware or integrates with third-party hardware that’s within your business’s budget.

Payment processing costs

Similar to POS hardware, payment processing services typically come with their own fees and are sometimes offered through POS software providers. Consider credit card processing fees for your sales channels (rates typically differ for in-person and online transactions) to see how much you might have to pay, as well as whether a free POS system charges extra for using a third-party processor — or even allows you to. See NerdWallet’s picks for the cheapest credit card processing companies for more options.

Integrations

Your POS software should integrate with your accounting system so that you don’t have to manually export your POS system’s sales data. If your accounting system isn’t looped into your free POS software, your books won’t be accurate, and it may be difficult to tell how profitable your business actually is.

App and desktop compatibility

Some POS software products are only compatible with their own in-house POS terminals, while others can be downloaded onto iPads, Android tablets or both. Similarly, some locally installed POS software products may only be available for Windows or iOS systems. Verify that free POS software works with all of the devices you’d like to use it on.
Last updated on January 8, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet’s point-of-sale systems provider ratings reward companies whose products and services are priced well and work in a variety of payment scenarios, among other criteria. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including cost, system capabilities, contract requirements, customer service and integrations and add-ons. Learn more about how we rate point-of-sale (POS) systems providers.
These ratings are a guide, but services, hardware and pricing can vary widely from business to business and provider to provider. We encourage you to shop around and compare several providers.
NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.
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