An easier way to get paid: Zettle Reader
An easier way to get paid: Zettle Reader

Free POS systems

poshunter.comLast update 8. June 2020 Reading time 2:38 min

No matter what your industry, everyone is after a bargain. Think of a product, and the prefix “free” will be one of the top Google search terms.

It’s the case with POS systems too, and many of the top vendors have picked up on this, ranking for “free POS systems” on search engines. But what do you actually get for free? And is free even worth it? We’ve got the lowdown for you.

Is there really such a thing as a free lunch?

Yes and no. Most POS providers have free software options, with no setup costs and no tie-ins as a standard. Zettle has Zettle Go, Square is free but offers add-ons at cost and PayPal also offers a free software option. SumUp is the same; in fact, out of the top-selling POS providers, only Epos Now doesn’t offer a “free” setup option.

But what does “free” actually mean? Well, in the case of POS vendors, it means that the software is free to use and you get your account for free.

However, unless you are planning to take cash payments and nothing else, you are going to have to pay for a card reader at the very least. Then, if you’re accepting card reader payments, there is the cost associated with payment processing; Zettle and Square charge 1.75% on your transactions, for example. Sure, this isn’t a massive outlay, but it also isn’t “free”.

And of course, there are several add-ons to POS systems that can only be accessed if you upgrade to a paid version – more about this later in the article.

Best POS systems

What are the best free POS systems?

There isn’t much to choose between Zettle, Square and SumUp. All three have similar interfaces and functionality, similar add-ons and comparable costs.

For small businesses, SumUp has a marginally lower transaction fee – 1.69% – than Zettle and Square, who both charge 1.75%. PayPal Here is also worth mentioning, although its sliding scale of transaction fees make it less accessible to small businesses.

Zettle has greater functionality with reporting and the ability to send receipts and save customers. All three are reliable and have good reputations in the UK and beyond.

They are also all Making Tax Digital compatible and offer the highest levels of security, data protection and encryption.

Free or paid?

To free or not to free? That is the question. But the answer really depends on your purpose.

If you’re a small business looking to use a POS system for occasional purposes, or you are a market or pop-up vendor looking for a portable solution at low cost, then free versions are the way to go.

The market leaders in this respect are certainly Zettle and Square, both of whom are geared towards ease of use and portability. Both offer software that is intuitive, secure and reliable and you get your money quickly and safely – minus the aforementioned 1.75%.

If, however, you’re looking for a more static POS system in a permanent location, or you’re anticipating using the system every day with high sales volumes, then you might want to consider the advantages of paying for the system. With Zettle, the upgrade gives you access to a 2-year card warranty, the option to sell online and in-store via a single inventory, and longer hours for support lines, which may prove crucial if your system goes down.

For Square, there isn’t so much of a clear-cut difference between free and paid, but add-ons include multiple employee profiles with varying levels of access, and the option to receive your money more quickly, both of which might be useful (although you could use PayPal Here and benefit from instant access via the main PayPal interface). And with Epos Now, upgrading the amount you pay allows you access to 24/7 support, which is ideal for late-night or irregular hours establishments.


The question of whether there is such a thing as a free POS system may be muddied with percentages and start-up costs, but the merits of the free software options are very clear; they are worth it for small to medium-sized businesses and occasional users. For larger sales volumes, though, the likelihood is that you will either go straight for the paid option, or end up upgrading for the extra features.

Best POS systems

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Top image: Simon Kadula | Shutterstock

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