Our recommendation for the best free POS system is Square because you can use it for everything from healthcare to ecommerce to brick-and-mortar businesses. Sign up for free today and get a free magstripe card reader. 

Every business needs a point-of-sale (POS) system to manage transactions. When you think of POS systems, you might think of the handheld card reading terminals and tablet registers they require. And what about the complex software that keeps track of sales, orders, inventory, and more? How could a POS system ever be free?

Despite the odds, we carefully researched the entire internet to find five free POS systems for you—including a couple with free hardware. Let’s dig in.

The Top 5 Best Free POS Systems

Whether you’re in the restaurant business, own a medical practice, or run a landscaping service, there’s a free POS system for you.

With Square, you can process just about any type of sale—including those that involve HIPAA-protected information. Even better, Square sends you a free magstripe reader when you sign up for a free Square account.

  • Square — Best overall
  • Toast — Best for small restaurants, food trucks, and cafes
  • Host Merchant Services — Best for service-based industries 
  • Loyverse — Best for businesses with multiple locations
  • Nextar — Best free, offline POS for Windows

In the scenarios and reviews sections, we’ll take a closer look at what’s unique and useful about these free POS systems.

Best Free POS Systems logos.

Match Your Scenario to the Right Free POS System Solution

No matter what you need a POS system for, one of our top free POS solutions will fit the bill. This section will help you narrow down which free POS system works best for a variety of situations. 

You need a portable POS system for your landscaping business 

Best Option: Host Merchant Services

Landscaping businesses—along with HVAC, automotive repairs, plumbing, and other service-based businesses—tend to run without a tip system. In addition, these services often take lots of time and skilled labor, costing your customers lots of money. Which means more revenue for you. 

Why am I telling you this? Because Host Merchant Services offers free payment processing for any merchant who makes $5,000 a month or more and doesn’t use a tip-adjust option. Grab one of the mobile credit card readers compatible with Host Merchant Services and you’re good to go.

Screenshot of Host Merchant Services free payment processing features described.
Home Merchant Services is dedicated to bringing merchants free and low-cost POS solutions.

Another great choice: Square

There’s a reason you’ve probably paid everyone from your baristas to your plumber using Square. It fits just about any possible situation—including that landscaping business that needs a portable POS system for collecting payment at customers’ homes. 

All you need is your iPhone to get started—or an Android phone and Square’s free magstripe reader

A screenshot of how the Square POS services interconnect.
Square offers smart tools that enhance the POS service.

If you run a business that’s regularly on the go, keep these features in mind when you’re looking for a free POS system: 

  • Payment processing fees: what percentage of each transaction goes to the POS system? 
  • Hardware: is free hardware included, or will you need to pay extra? 

You need a HIPAA-compliant POS system

Best Option: Square

It can be hard to find a low-cost or free HIPAA-compliant POS system, but Square is your friend if that’s what you need. The best thing about Square as a HIPAA-compliant service is that it integrates with essential tools for medical and healthcare practices: 

  • DrChrono EHR & RCM for health records and compliant video chat for telehealth.
  • Xero for taxes and accounting.
  • Acuity Scheduling and MassageBook for scheduling.
  • Jotform for online forms and signatures.

Use the apps you need to run your practice while managing payments and sales from Square. 

Screenshot of DrChrono EHR & RCM webpage.
DrChrono integrates with Square, connecting your HIPAA-compliant POS with a top-notch medical management system.

Another great choice: Host Merchant Services

Host Merchant Services also offers HIPAA-compliant payment processing. Plus, HMS understands that medical payment processing is a lot different from payment processing in an industry like retail. It offers a way to process recurring payments, payment plans, online payments, and HSA/FSA debit card payments. 

If you’re looking for a HIPAA-compliant payment processing system, keep these points in mind: 

  • Types of payments: do the POS system process payment plans and other types of payments common in healthcare?
  • Integrations: what apps does the system integrate with? Can you manage them all from the POS system?
  • Hardware: does the system come with any hardware? How much does it cost?
  • Payment processing fees: what processing fees are there for the different payment types?

You want to offer takeout and delivery

Best Option: Toast

Toast is a fully-featured POS system for restaurants—and it’s also a takeout and delivery app. This combination makes it easy for restaurant owners to manage everything from in-store sales to delivery orders without using a third-party app like Grubhub or Postmates. No more third-party commissions for you!

A screenshot of the Toast POS landing page.
Toast lets you take charge of food delivery without having to pay commissions to third-party food-delivery services.

Another great choice: Square

Square excels at seamlessly integrating with a range of popular apps—including those for food delivery services. If you want to use Square for your restaurant or café, you’ll download the Square – Restaurants POS app. With an impressive range of integrations—including DoorDash, Food Truck Pub, Postmates, and Chowly—all sales can be managed from within the Square for Restaurants app.  

If you need a POS system to help you run a restaurant, consider: 

  • Integrations: what food delivery apps does the POS service integrate with?
  • Fees: does the app provide you with the opportunity to deliver food ordered through the app yourself, or will you need to pay third-party fees?
  • Organization: do all orders—including online orders—come to a centralized location, a.k.a the app’s kitchen display system (KDS) and POS?

You do business outside of the United States

Best Option: Loyverse

A powerful POS service that’s ideal for managing stores across several locations, Loyverse also takes a global view of business. Whether you or your customers are in South Africa or Switzerland, it’s easy to accept money from a variety of global payment processing apps. If you’re based in South Africa, for example, Loyverse’s Yoco integration is all you need.

You can also specify which currency any customer receipt is in, helping to avoid confusion. Plus, Loyverse’s apps can be translated into 30 different languages.

Screenshot of Loyverse's credit card integration for various countries shown on a global map.
Loyverse offers credit card payment integrations for a variety of countries.

Another great choice: Nextar

If you’re mainly working with cash, Nextar lets you set your local currency to wherever it is that you do business. You can accept cash payments easily—credit cards, too, if you upgrade to the Premium plan.

When you’re looking for a global POS solution, think about: 

  • Currency: how easy is it to change the currency settings? Can you accept payments in a variety of currencies and convert them to your local currency?
  • Fees: are there any extra fees associated with currency conversions? Are fees higher for foreign transactions?

You want all of your cafés to sync to the same POS system

Best Option: Loyverse

Loyverse lets you use your tablet or smartphone to process sales—or you can order hardware to use with the Loyverse POS. No matter which option you choose for each of your restaurant locations, Loyverse lets you manage sales, inventory, and employees across several locations from one account. 

A screenshot of how customers can control their POS with Loyverse.
Loyverse helps you grow by making it simple to manage multiple locations from one account.

Another great choice: Toast

Toast also functions well as a multi-location POS service. You’ll like that you can customize the menu for each of your restaurants. If you serve lobster at your Portland, Maine restaurant but not inland at your Cincinnati, Ohio, location, Toast can easily create a specialized menu for each place. 

Prices can be location-specific, too. If you offer lobster in Portland and Cincinnati, you can charge more for the same dishes in Cincinnati since you’re probably paying extra to get the lobster shipped there. 

If this scenario applies to you, pay attention to:

  • Customization: can you create custom menus and prices for each location?
  • Ease of use: is it easy to manage all locations from one place?
  • Data comparison: can you evaluate how well each restaurant is doing and compare your locations to one another? 

Best Free POS Systems Reviews

Free isn’t always better, which is why our research team took the time to carefully examine dozens of POS systems with free plans before narrowing the list down to our top five. In this section, you’ll learn why these five made the cut. 

Square – Best Overall

Square company logo.
Streamline POS sales and diversify revenue streams with Square.

Square pioneered on-the-go payment processing in 2010 with its square-shaped credit card reader. For the first time ever, merchants could collect payments using their smartphones, which connected to Square’s point-of-sale app.

Over a decade later, Square still offers its iconic card reader and POS system—and a whole lot more. Back in the 2010s, you could get started with Square for free—and you still can today. 

A screenshot of the Square pricing plans.
Diverse pricing plans put control back into customers hands.

The best thing about Square is its flexibility. The company has developed multiple apps and services to suit a variety of businesses, from retail to restaurants and even medical practices—thanks to its HIPAA compliance.

However, in the user reviews we researched, something came up time and again: customer service. Or rather, a lack thereof. If there’s one thing Square could bring to its users, it’s readily available, friendly, and reliable customer support. 

What Makes Square Great

Square has come a long way from the company that existed to make it easier for small and single-person businesses to take credit card payments. Now, Square offers a variety of tools tailored to different industries. 

Retailers can manage inventory, create barcodes, take in-person and online orders, build out customer profiles, and integrate all payment types—cash, card, Apple Pay, and gift cards—in the Square POS. 

Home repair businesses can send estimates and invoices with Square Invoices or take card payments out in the field. No matter your needs, Square either has its own tool or the ideal integration for your business. 

Screenshot from Square website showing an ice cream truck business with a list of Square tools that businesses can use.
Square is there for just about any type of business that needs it.

It’s free to create a Square Point of Sale account and start selling. You’ll even get a free card reader when you sign up. There’s no monthly fee to use Square, but each tap, dip, or swipe will cost 2.6% + $0.10.

Toast – Best for Small Restaurants, Food Trucks, and Cafes

Toast company logo.

Founded in 2012 as an app to help streamline the restaurant payment process, Toast hasn’t left its restaurant-focused roots behind. Instead of branching out to other industries, Toast has dug deep into the food service and delivery business. And the results are impressive.

Point of sale is what got Toast going, but these days, Toast offers everything you need to run any type of restaurant, cafe, or food truck:

  • Mobile and in-person POS system
  • Kitchen display system
  • Centralized management of multiple locations
  • Restaurant-grade—in other words, spillproof—Toast hardware
  • Payment processing
  • Online ordering and Toast Takeout
  • Toast Delivery Services
  • Payroll 
  • Team management

It’s an all-in-one system specifically designed to help restaurants thrive, and it does its job well. 

Customers report that Toast’s customer support isn’t as responsive as it was since the company has had to lay off 50% of its staff in recent years.

What Makes Toast Great

Since its inception in 2012, Toast has continuously worked to make food service easier for owners, managers, staff, and diners. After the recent labor shortage, Toast developed a new service, Toast Mobile Order & Pay. 

With this app, in-house diners can scan a QR code with their smartphone, pull up a menu, order items, and pay for them—all within minutes. The order then shows up on your KDS, making it easy for you to prepare the food and deliver it to the table. This feature saves time for your waiters, kitchen staff, and diners.

Toast is easy to learn and user-friendly to boot. If you’re new to starting a restaurant, Toast comes with a robust learning hub, complete with video courses, checklists, calculators, and templates.

A screenshot of the toast resource hub.
This neat interactive feature helps you visualize how Toast works.

Best of all, it’s free to get started with a Toast Starter Kit. You’ll receive a point-of-sale terminal, a payment device, a PCI-compliant router, a software subscription, and free installation and support. 

All for $0 down and $0 a month. 

So, what’s the catch? Instead of paying a processing fee of 2.49% + $0.15, you’ll pay 2.99% + $0.15. If you’d rather pay the (slightly) lower processing fee, you’ll shell out $875 upfront and $69 a month for the Toast Starter Kit. 

Host Merchant Services – Best for Service-Based Industries

Host Merchant Services company logo.

If you need free or low-cost payment processing for construction, landscaping, healthcare, and even high-risk businesses—think casinos and pawn shops—Host Merchant Services is your POS system. 

HMS sells Ingenico and VeriFone credit and debit card readers that sync right to your Host Merchant Services POS system. If you regularly head into the field to provide services, use one of these card readers or the HMS Clover integration to make on-the-go payments easy.

What Makes Host Merchant Services Great

Even though it suits an incredible range of industries, Host Merchant Services is particularly dedicated to making POS easy for contractors, auto repair, and other service-based businesses. 

Attach the free HMS swiper device to your iPad, iPhone, or Android, and your payments will get processed and uploaded to your POS system. 

And if you process $5,000 or more per month and don’t use a tip adjustment feature, you won’t pay any processing fees. Instead, your Host Merchant Services no-cost account will incorporate the fees onto the credit-card-paying customers’ end and discount them from cash-paying customers. 

Screenshot from Host Merchant Services website describing their no-cost account with qualifiers.
Host Merchant Services prides itself on low prices and excellent service.

You’ll have to request a quote to get started. Just mention that you want free payment processing, and the team will see if you qualify. 

Loyverse – Best for Businesses With Multiple Locations

Loyverse company logo.

Whether you’re planning to grow from one clothing store to several or you want to manage your three existing coffee shops from one POS, Loyverse can help. Rather than providing payment processing, Loyverse gives you the software you need to run a business. 

Loyverse offers order management, inventory tracking, sales analytics, and customer loyalty programs in its POS system. It integrates with SumUp, Worldpay, and Zettle in the United States and countless payment processors in other countries. 

This is especially helpful for larger businesses with locations in more than one country. 

What Makes Loyverse Great

The best thing about Loyverse is that its four core products are free. Here’s what you get: 

  • Loyverse POS: multi-store management, inventory management, sales analytics, and loyalty program.
  • Loyverse Dashboard: real-time inventory tracking and sales analytics.
  • Loyverse KDS: all food orders are synced through to this kitchen display system.
  • Loyverse CDS: customers can see their order with this customer display system.

These tools should be enough to help you manage multiple locations. But if you want to track employee sales, timecards, and rights, you’ll need to pay $5 per month per employee for the employee management add-on. 

For advanced inventory—including purchase orders, valuation reports, and stock management—pay just $25 a month. Loyverse offers special deals for business owners with more than three locations, though. 

Screenshot from Loyverse website describing their supporting features to scale a business.
Loyverse excels at helping business owners manage POS across multiple locations.

Of course, if you want any hardware to process payments and scan barcodes, you’ll have to pay for those. Or you can use the Zettle integration and card reader to process payments.

A screenshot of the Loyverse pricing for add-ons.
Loyverse provides clients a wide range of add-on services.

Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay for a $9/month add-on to use any Loyverse integrations. 

Nextar – Best Free Offline POS for Windows

Nextar company logo.

Nextar is a free, no-frills POS system with an offline interface that takes you right back to the late ‘90s. That might not sound like a good plan, but if you work mostly with cash and or don’t always have reliable or speedy internet, Nextar is ideal.

Nextar keeps careful track of every sale you make, prints your receipts, and edits transactions. It’s basically a cash register on your Windows computer. And because you download the software to use Nextar, you won’t need the internet to run it. 

This free POS system is all about going back to the basics. 

What Makes Nextar Great

While cloud-based POS systems with payment processors and integrations galore are becoming increasingly popular, sometimes you just want something simple. Enter Nextar. 

The free version of this POS system acts as a cash register and inventory manager. You’ll also receive chat- and email-based support—which customers praise as being quick, friendly, and reliable.

Screenshot of Nextar POS current register screen.
Free, simple, and good at what it does. That’s Nextar.

If you want to offer multiple payment methods—such as credit card payments—upgrade to the Premium plan for $19 a month. 

The one obvious downside? Nextar only works on Windows, so trying to integrate it into an iPad system won’t work. But if you’re already running a mostly cash and/or mostly offline system, you probably aren’t using Apple products to begin with, so that problem may solve itself. 

The Top Free POS Systems in Summary

When you’re looking for a free POS system, you’ve got options. A free POS system saves you money and keeps you organized. After days spent researching free POS systems, Square came out on top. After all, it’s hard to beat a free card reader and a free POS system.