Update 3/21/16: This post has been updated with additional POSs based off of the great suggestions and feedback in the comments. The pre-existing solutions on this list have also been updated so their information is current.
Free point of sale software? Isn’t that like Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster? Like things only children and crazy people believe?
Guess what? It’s NOT a myth.
Free POS exists, although, to be fair, you still have to buy the hardware on which to run the software, whether that hardware is a full register/scanner/printer combo or just a home computer or tablet.
Below I’ve gathered a list of the elusive unicorns of the software world.
In this collection, you’ll find a few open-source options, a few truly free versions (which is an anomaly not just in the POS world, but in the software world at large), and one freemium product. Of the list below, most of the solutions are locally installed, except where specified, and none are in any particular order.
Keyhut’s Cash Register software is the brainchild of the inimitable Dale Harris, who is the internet’s greatest grouch. His site is worth looking at even if you never need POS simply for a good laugh. He is unapologetically himself and he is hilarious.
Cash Register is a completely free POS system because, as Dale puts it, coding is his hobby and he might as well do something with it. He designed this system for small businesses. It works with any cash register/printer/computer combo you might have, and he’s considering expanding the coding to include tablets. For extremely small businesses, the software can be run off your home computer provided you don’t mind receipts being printed on regular sheets of paper.
This system, despite being free, can actually hold its own among paid POS systems aimed at small business. It can run multiple types of reports – including breaking the sales down by employee. It has some basic employee management, CRM, and inventory tracking features. It supports multiple registers. As well, Dale offers better customer service than some paid versions I could name. He responds very promptly to his email, runs an open forum, and is available via chat and phone from 8-10pm every weeknight to work any and all problems out.
There are no official reviews out there of this system, but of the links Dale has posted to his website and two reviews I managed to dig up out of forums, users like Dale’s brusque, but easy-to-use approach, while finding both his website and interface hideous.
Personally, I find his website charming and from the screenshots, I find his interface to be identical to ones used in many grocery stores – so, not that bad. Which is all Dale was going for, he’d likely remind you.
2. Loyverse POS
Loyverse is a totally free POS app intended for use on any IOS or Android devices. Loyverse, as the name suggests, was built with the intention of making it easy to build customer loyalty through technology. As a result, Loyverse has a companion app for your customers to install, which you can use to easily create a killer loyalty program and send push notifications. Loyverse has multistore management and a dashboard app for easy management.
Loyverse seems to be very new on the POS scene, making it better for smaller stores. (It’s unclear exactly how long Loyverse has been around, but it seems to be reasonable to guess it was launched in December 2015.) It’s going to be interesting to watch this solution grow, though, given its loyalty-focused concept.
uniCenta is currently the biggest name in open-source POS software. It boasts a system that could rival any paid small business POS. It has inventory management, reporting, CRM, and even employee management features (many paid products don’t even come with all of those.) uniCenta is also formatted for any type of hardware – even mobile.
Users’ reactions to the software are overwhelmingly positive – a lot of users tout the ease-of-use that this solution has achieved, especially considered it’s open source. One review does mention that the reporting feature is clunky
For users who like uniCenta but are looking for more built-in features, Chromis POS has recently been built off uniCenta. It runs on Java 1.8 and is much more feature-rich than its parent software.
ProffittCenter EPOS is another completely free POS system written during one man’s free time, albeit a much less cynical man. Like KeyHut, this system is definitely intended for small retailers, especially because it’s a more pared down version of POS than some of the other options on this list.
ProffittCenter is mainly a cash register – it takes money, runs discounts etc. It does run reports and have some inventory management capabilities that relate directly to automatic ordering of products. As well, it has an extremely easy-to-use user interface. Dave Proffitt, the man behind this operation, does provide customer support whenever you need it. And, like Dale Harris, Dave told me he provides a really high level of service – he’s available via email, phone, chat and is willing to rework code. ProffittCenter also boasts an active user forum for support.
Overall, perhaps because of the lack of features, ProffittCenter is actually a great solution for merchants who are new to POS software. It’s got a great user interface, and it has the basic functionality to allow a new user to learn how to operate and set up POS software.
Vend, the other web-based system, is actually one of the biggest names in POS, so it’s nice to see them offering a freemium version. Their free option is for one register and user with 10 or fewer active products and up to 1,000 customers, with community support. Again, this is an option for an extremely small retailer, and one who is planning on upgrading as they grow. Nonetheless, if you run a stand at a farmer’s market, or perhaps a mall kiosk, this could be a really good permanent option for you.
Like TruePOS, Vend is cloud-based, but continues running with limitations when offline. It’s a feature-rich, easy-to-use system (can you say buzzwords?). They’ve got all the standard bells and whistles with regards to inventory management, CRM etc., and unique features include a dollar for dollar loyalty program that users can customize for their store.
ZeroPOS is a cloud-based POS that is completely free for all basic POS functionality, and what they define as basic will run nearly all small-mid size retailers. Its basic version can easily compete with other full POS systems.
ZeroPOS gives you unlimited stores, support, registers, users, and products. Other features (beyond your standard ringing up) include:
- Email receipts
- Accepting tips
- Signature capture
- EMV chip-ready
- Built-in CRM that can even track customer activity
- Mailchimp integration
- End-to-end inventory control
- Mobile payment processor
- Full reporting
They do charge for some added features, and for hardware. A sample of features they charge for include:
- Personalized email marketing
- Supply chain management
- Employee management
eHopper is a POS solution that was created the intention of helping small business owners stick to their budget, without sacrificing quality in their software. Additionally eHopper seeks to prevent small business owners from getting locked into systems or hardware that are a poor fit for the company. As a result, eHopper can easily run a small store end-to-end for free. Its features include contact management, inventory management, handling tips and split payments, and employee management. You even get email support!
While the software is totally free, they offer a few upgrades, so to speak, that are paid for. First, if you want to get phone support and training on the software, you can for $34.99/month. If you choose to use eHopper’s payment processor, though, they waive the $34.99/month fee (though you do have to pay their credit card processing fees). Additionally, while you can use the software on your own hardware, they do offer hardware for purchase or rent.
JPOS is another open-source system, in a more recognizable form. JPOS, like many other open-source solutions, offers a paid consultation/customer service option, as well as a paid version of the code that the people behind JPOS maintain 100% for you.
What makes this bonus? Well, JPOS isn’t so much a POS solution as it is a basis for you to write your own POS solution onto. So yes, you will need someone, or a team, who is excellent at writing code. But if you have those kind of resources, JPOS is a great option – they boast a rather impressive client list that includes Safeway and MasterCard.
So that’s my round up of the top open source and free POS software solutions. Have you come across any more of these elusive systems? How did you like them? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for Point of Sale software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Point of Sale software solutions.