Free Pos Software – Is it Worth It? My Experience

free pos software

Have you seen ads for “free POS systems” during your search? I was curious if anything in business could truly be free. When I looked into free POS software, I found something shocking. It made me question what I thought. Do you want to know more?

While some parts of a POS system might be free, using the whole system could cost you. The idea of “free” isn’t as simple as it sounds. Let me share what I learned about this.

POS System vs. POS Software

At times, you might hear POS software and POS system used like they’re the same thing. But, they actually mean different parts of a full POS setup.

POS software is the program you put on your computer, tablet, or phone. It’s for handling your business sales. This software lets you do things like process sales, monitor what you have in stock, and pull up reports. Some people say their POS software is free, but that just means the software itself costs no money.

A POS system, on the other hand, is more than just software. It contains all the hardware pieces needed for the software to work well. This can include things like a cash register, barcode scanner, and printer for receipts.

There’s a catch with some companies saying their POS is free. You still might need to buy other things to make it all work. These extra costs could be for the hardware, fees for handling payments, and services like customer help or training.

When picking a POS setup, it’s key to look at both the software and hardware. Also, find out about any extra costs associated with using it. A good POS system should work smoothly together, supporting all your business needs. Having cleared up the software vs. system talk, now let’s look at how free POS systems cover their expenses and the costs they involve.

Comparison Table: POS System vs. POS Software

POS System POS Software
Includes both software and hardware components Refers only to the software program or app
Enables complete business management Provides core functionality for transactions
May have additional costs for hardware, payment processing, and services May offer optional add-ons or services for an extra fee

How Free POS Systems Make Money

Free POS software sounds amazing, but it often hides a catch. Companies giving away software for free need to make a profit. I’ll explain the methods they use to earn money from these free systems.

  1. Payment Processing: POS companies collect money from each credit card transaction. They do this by charging fees on payments made through their software. Over time, these fees become a significant source of their income.
  2. Hardware Sales: The software is free, but POS companies profit by selling the needed hardware. They attract customers with low prices on hardware or special deals. However, these sales help keep the company in business.
  3. Additional Fees: Besides the main fee of payment processing, there are other charges hidden in free POS systems. Companies might ask for payment for training or support. These extra fees can also provide a big part of their income.

Remember, free POS systems can cost more due to high processing fees. These fees are the company’s main income source. So, while you get free software, you might pay more with these extra charges.

Now, let’s dive into the costs of using a free POS system and their effects on businesses.

Costs of Free POS Systems

Costs Description
Payment Processing Fees POS companies charge fees on credit card transactions processed through their system.
Hardware Sales While the software may be free, companies sell the necessary hardware components.
Additional Fees Free POS systems may come with hidden costs for services like training and customer support.

Costs of Free POS Systems

Despite the free software, using a free POS system has its costs. It’s crucial to look at these costs. Think about if a free system is the right choice for your business.

Credit Card Processing with Free POS Systems

Getting a free POS system is great, but remember, credit card processing has its cost. Companies like Visa and Mastercard set the rates, which you must follow. POS providers charge fees on each credit card swipe to cover this. Sometimes, if no fees apply, they earn through a third-party payment processor’s referral.

Even with no initial cost for the POS system, you’ll still pay to process cards. The payment industry requires such fees, no matter the POS used.

Varying factors decide the cost to process a credit card. These include the processor and the card type, affecting the fees.

Understanding Credit Card Processing Fees

Credit card processing fees have two main parts:

  1. Interchange Fees: These are from the card networks and banks. They’re a percentage plus a fixed fee. The amount depends on card type, transaction, and risk.
  2. Payment Processor Fees: These are added by the processor for their work. They include a part of the sale, a fee for each sale, and sometimes, monthly costs. Different processors have different rates, so comparing is smart.

When you consider a free POS, think about these processing fees. The free system could lead to hefty credit card processing charges. It’s good to think about the long-term costs too.

Component Description
Interchange Fees The fees charged by the credit card networks and banks for processing a transaction. These fees vary based on multiple factors, such as card type, industry, and transaction type.
Payment Processor Fees The additional fees charged by the payment processor on top of the interchange fees. These fees include a percentage of the transaction value, a per-transaction fee, and potentially monthly fees.

Hardware with Free POS Systems

When you think about getting a free POS system, remember you still need to buy some hardware. Some companies give you a free credit card reader or a tablet. But, you’ll still need other parts to make your POS software work well.

You may need to buy these items for your POS system:

Hardware Component Description
Tablet Stand A stand for your tablet makes it easy to use and lets people see it better.
Barcode Scanner This device reads barcodes fast, putting product info right into the POS system.
Receipt Printer Makes professional-looking receipts for your customers.
Cash Drawer A drawer to keep cash safe and your sales neat and secure.

These parts are key for any POS system in today’s stores, big or small. Some might come free with certain POS systems. But, you should decide if you need more based on your business’s needs and what you can spend. Good hardware working well with your POS system will help your business run smoothly and keep customers happy.

Other Terms and Conditions of Free POS Systems

Aside from the initial costs, such as credit card processing fees and hardware, carefully look through the terms and conditions of a free POS system. This step is essential to avoid surprise charges in the future.

Training and Installation Fees

Setup and learning to use the system may come with extra fees in some free POS systems. These charges are for the software setup and training. They make sure you’re using the system correctly for your business.

“It’s key to ask about training and setup costs before picking a free POS system. Doing so helps you plan your budget better and steer clear of hidden fees.”

Customer Support Charges

Basic support is usually part of a free POS, but extra support might have a charge. This can include phone, fast support, or help at your place.

“Thinking about customer support costs is important. Good support, tailored to your business, is very valuable.”

Additional Costs

Added to the initial costs, there might be more to pay for with a free POS. This can cover software updates, new features, or extra storage. Check the terms and talk with the POS provider to fully grasp all possible extra fees.

In short, free POS systems might save money at first. But, remember to think about other possible costs like training, setup, and support. Understand all fees to make a smart choice for your business’s needs.

Next, let’s dive into the total cost of owning a POS system. We will look at what factors can change the price you pay.

How Much Does a POS System Cost?

The total cost of a POS system varies a lot. It depends on your business size and needs. The features and integrations you want are key.

If you run a bigger business with lots of outlets, expect a higher cost. This is especially true if you need special features. For small businesses, the cost might be less, especially if you just need the basics.

Don’t just look at the starting price of a POS system. You’ll also pay for the system’s setup and training. Additionally, there are ongoing maintenance costs to consider. These add up over time.

Here is a sample cost breakdown for a typical POS system:

Expense Cost
POS software license $XX – $XXX per month
Hardware (tablet, cash drawer, receipt printer, barcode scanner, etc.) $XXX – $XXXX
Setup and installation $XXX – $XXXX
Customization and integration $XXX – $XXXX
Training and onboarding $XX – $XXX per hour/session
Support and maintenance $XX – $XXX per month/year

These numbers can change a lot based on what you need. Your choice of provider also plays a big role in the final cost.

Research is crucial when picking the best POS system for your business. Look for one that’s easy to use, can grow with you, and has good security. Good customer support is also a must.

cost of pos systems

How to Choose the Right POS System for Your Business

Choosing a POS system for your business is crucial. The system should meet what you need now and be ready for future growth. Here are important points for selecting a POS system:

Flexibility and Customizable Features

It’s key to find a POS system that can adjust to your business’s unique needs. Make sure it can add or remove features, customize reports, and work with other software. This kind of flexibility makes daily operations run smoother.

Integration Capabilities

It’s important that your POS system can connect with other business software. This includes tools like accounting, inventory management, and CRM systems. Such connections can automate tasks, boost efficiency, and offer deeper insights into your business.


When selecting a POS system, choose one that can grow with your business. It should be able to support more locations, inventory, and transactions. A scalable system prevents you from having to update or change systems often.

User-Friendly Interface

Choose a POS system with an interface that’s easy to use. This will make training your employees easier. Also, ensure the provider offers helpful training materials and support for setup and daily use.


Cost is a big part of choosing a POS system, but it’s not the only thing to consider. Look at the value and benefits over time. Include setup costs, subscription fees, and any hardware or support costs. A good return on investment and efficiency should guide your choice.

Factors to Consider Points to Evaluate
Flexibility and Customizable Features Ability to customize features and reports according to your business needs
Integration Capabilities Compatibility with other software solutions like accounting or CRM software
Scalability Ability to handle business growth, such as multiple locations and increased transaction volume
User-Friendly Interface Intuitive and easy-to-use system for smooth operation and employee training
Cost-Effectiveness Evaluation of initial and ongoing costs, considering the system’s long-term benefits

To find the best POS system, consider these factors. Do your research well. This ensures you choose a system that will support and grow with your business. Always think about both current and future needs to make the right decision.


After considering the benefits and drawbacks, free POS software might not be the top choice for small businesses with tight budgets. Although saving money first might seem good, these systems can have limits and extra costs. These can slow down business plans.

Free POS software often lacks customer support. This means businesses could have trouble with technical problems or new updates. Also, they might not be customizable enough for growing companies.

Picking a POS system means knowing what your business needs. Think about how big your company is, what features you need, and how much you’ll grow. Look for a system that can grow with you and fits your business. Choosing a dependable POS system that meets your needs can make your business run better and keep your customers happy.


Is free POS software really free?

Some parts of a POS system might be free. But to use it all, you’ll probably need to pay. This is because POS companies earn money through payment processing and selling hardware.

They also add fees for extra services like training and support. So, it’s not entirely free.

What is the difference between a POS system and POS software?

POS software is the app you put on your device. It includes things like sales software. But a POS system is the full setup – software and the necessary hardware to run it.

How do free POS systems make money?

Free POS systems make money in several ways. This includes fees on payment processing and selling extra hardware. They might also charge more on processing fees than paid systems.

Do I have to pay credit card processing fees with a free POS system?

You will need to pay credit card processing fees, even with a free POS system. The reason is that these fees are set by the companies and can’t be avoided.

Free POS systems often add a small fee to each transaction or direct you to an external processor. Then, they get a referral fee.

What hardware do I need for a free POS system?

Though you may get a free reader or tablet from some companies, you’ll need more. For a complete system, you should have a tablet stand, barcode scanner, printer, and cash drawer.

Are there any additional costs with free POS systems?

Yes, there might be extra costs with a free POS system. Watch out for training and installation fees, and fees for support.

Always read the details to know what you’re getting into before choosing a free POS system.

How much does a POS system cost?

The cost of a POS system varies. It depends on your business size, needs, and the industry. Bigger businesses might pay more for advanced features, compared to smaller ones with basic needs.

How do I choose the right POS system for my business?

To pick the right POS system, think about what your business needs now and in the future. Look for a system that can grow with you and integrate with other software.

Is a free POS system the right choice for my business?

For small businesses watching their budget, free POS software can be tempting. However, it’s crucial to consider the possible downsides, like hidden costs and limited support.

Before going for a free POS system, make sure to assess your business needs and growth potential carefully.