Best Free and Cheap EPOS Software Solutions

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 8 January 2021

Free software can help to reduce your monthly overheads, but at what point does a money-saving solution become a false economy?


Shopping with an EPOS system

Free EPOS software. That’s a myth, right? Like the Loch Ness Monster, and leprechauns? Dare we believe? Yes.

In a world exclusive, Expert Market can confirm multiple sightings of free EPOS software all over the internet, and it would seem there are plenty of providers to choose from.

In this article, we’ll compare five of the best free and cheap EPOS solutions and ask the question: “Is free EPOS software right for your business?” 


The best free EPOS software solutions

We scoured the internet so you don’t have to. We found five of the best free EPOS software solutions available to download and added a handy breakdown of the pros and cons of each.

These programs are all cloud based — so can be accessed at any time, from anywhere — and have the basic functionality you require to process transactions.

1
HiboutikBest for fashion and ecommerce
2
ProffittCenterBest for affordability
3
uniCenta POSBest for restaurants
4
ImonggoBest for use on handheld devices
5
eHopperBest for small retail businesses

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1. Hiboutik

Best for: fashion and ecommerce

Hiboutik EPOS software on a tablet

Hiboutik is a free EPOS solution developed by the IT team behind a well known fashion brand. It’s designed to bridge the gap between a traditional bricks-and-mortar store and an ecommerce store, combining data sets to give business owners a complete overview of sales.

For a long time it was the best kept secret of its developers, before being made available for the general public to download in 2012. This extensive trialing period means that all the bugs have been well and truly ironed out, and makes Hiboutik one of the most reliable free software solutions on the market.

Pros:

  • Secure login for each employee
  • Slick user interface and intuitive menus

X Cons:

  • Dashboard and accounting features not included
  • Single till use only

Type

Freemium

Supports Mac

# of free users

1


2. ProffittCenter

Best for: affordability

ProffittCenter free EPOS software interface

With a name like Proffitt, Dave Proffitt was always destined to do great things in business. And ProffittCenter — the culmination of over a decades’ work — is proof of that.

ProfittCenter is free. Entirely free. There’s no paid plan or upgrades, nothing like that. But it is rather basic. And it’s worth noting that on his website Dave says he intends to maintain support for the system for as “long as he is able to”, which isn’t a particularly reassuring thing to read as a business owner — especially when you’re looking to plan for the future.

Pros:

  • Free support included
  • Supports multiple currencies

X Cons:

  • Outdated website and user interface
  • Single developer — no guarantee of ongoing support

Type

Open source

Supports Mac

# of free users

Unlimited


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3. uniCenta POS

Best for: restaurants

Unicenta free EPOS software interface

Winner of “Best Open Source Application” at the 2013 Bossie Awards, uniCenta POS is an intuitive and dependable free POS software bundle which can be tailored to suit the needs of a wide variety of different retail businesses — from fashion boutiques and pubs to supermarkets and restaurants. Support for UniCenta users is available through community forums, and the developers can be reached by email.

Pros:

  • Specially designed for touchscreen operation
  • Open source — so can be modified to meet your needs

X Cons:

  • Some users report compatibility issues with Mac
  • Requires some technical nous to install

Type

Open source

Supports Mac

# of free users

Unlimited


4. Imonggo

Best for: use on handheld devices

Imonggo free EPOS software interface

Imonggo was designed specially for touchscreen devices such as tablets and smartphones. It works on standard computer-and-keyboard setups as well, but the features are especially useful on handhelds. The interface is intuitive and easy to use, with big buttons and bright graphics. It also features an offline mode for devices without a wireless internet connection.

Pros:

  • Creates CSV files for accounting integration
  • Customer loyalty and rewards features

X Cons:

  • Transaction volume limitations with free version
  • No card machine integration with free version

Type

Freemium

Supports Mac

# of free users

1


5. eHopper

Best for: small retail businesses

eHopper free EPOS software on a tablet

eHopper is an established provider offering both subscription based and “freemium” EPOS software designed with small businesses in mind. As you would expect, the free version has limited functionality; the major drawbacks are that you can only install it on one till and you can’t integrate it with a card reader. Bummer. But as a starting point for fledgling retail businesses, eHopper is an excellent choice of provider.

Pros:

  • Versatile and professional EPOS software
  • Compatible with iPad and Android tablets

X Cons:

  • No card machine integration with free version
  • No inventory adjustment with free version

Type

Freemium

Supports Mac

# of free users

1


The best cheap EPOS software

The best cheap point of sale systems come from Square, Nobly POS, EPOS Now, TouchBistro, and Vend. See how they rate against each other in our table:

Software SupplierBest forStar rating
SquareFree software
Nobly POSValue for money software
EPOS NowValue for money hardware
TouchBistroRestaurants
VendRetail

1.Square

The best free software supplier

Yep, we’re being 100% honest with you – Square really does dish out its software for free. And you’ll benefit from heaps of features, too. You can set up your inventory or restaurant menu, check out sales stats, manage your team of staff, and kickstart marketing campaigns.

Best thing is, you can order a Square point of sale system and get started straight away. Download its software onto your tablet, place your tablet on to the Square Stand, configure your card reader, then you’re ready to go.

The downside

While Square’s point of sale software is free, it charges more to process credit card payments (1.75%). This isn’t particularly an issue for businesses with a smaller turnover, but for those churning the big bucks, the fees could start adding up.

Basic pricing

HardwareSoftware
Square Stand – £96

Card reader – £29

Free

2. Nobly POS

The best value for money POS software

While Square favours the smaller businesses, Nobly POS champions the bigger companies. Okay, so it doesn’t offer its software for free, but in terms of monthly outlay, it’s pretty cheap in comparison to other point of sale suppliers.

For a standard rate, you’ll receive a software package tailored to your business. That means restaurant owners and shop owners will receive software features that’ll help them manage the individual demands of their sector. And if you’re looking for more than software and a card reader, Nobly’s basic hardware bundle is pretty decent, too.

The downside

Unlike Square, Nobly isn’t a merchant account provider. That means you’ll have to set up your merchant account separately. Additionally, while it says its point of sale system is available with no strings attached, if you want to make it an even cheaper point of sale system, you’ll need to pay for the year in bulk – otherwise, you'll find yourself paying £20 more every month.

Basic pricing

HardwareSoftware
Basic hardware package – £654

(includes iPad, cash drawer and receipt printer, and stand)

Billed annually – £39/month

Billed monthly – £59/month

3. EPOS Now

The best value for money hardware

EPOS Now is fairly new to the world of point of sale, but it’s certainly found its place in the cheap EPOS system market – and in a very good way. Its hardware is known for its rigidity, making it perfect for busy working environments.

Unlike other cheap EPOS suppliers, EPOS Now allows you to pay either upfront or in monthly installments. While the upfront cost may look expensive, it does include a powerful touchscreen terminal, software, a thermal printer, a cash drawer, and installation.

The downside

EPOS Now isn’t the right supplier if you’re looking for a portable terminal – its terminals are fixed. While some cheap suppliers offer contract-free services, EPOS Now does like to keep you on board. In fact, if you’re looking to pay monthly, you can expect to be tied into a contract for three years.

Basic pricing

HardwareSoftware (if bought separately)
Basic hardware package – £1,199 upfront or £47/month.

(terminal, cash drawer and receipt printer, and stand)

Billed monthly – £25/month

4. TouchBistro

The best cheap POS system for restaurants

TouchBistro’s software has been designed for restaurants by ex-restaurateurs, so when it comes to the specifics of restaurant management, it has you covered. Whether it’s engineering a unique menu ordering system, or helping you to make essential business decisions, you can rely on this point of sale software to help you fine tune your restaurant’s operations.

Best of all is that TouchBistro has created cheap point of sale packages around your specific restaurant area. So whether you own a quick service food truck, a pub, a bar, or even a brewery, you’ll never pay out more than you need to.

The downside

The downside to TouchBistro is that it’s really just a software-only business. While its monthly fees can include the price of one to nine iPads, they use third party suppliers to provide you with other compatible hardware. The only issue with this is that you may be paying more for your hardware than if you went to the supplier directly.

Basic pricing

HardwareSoftware
Cost of iPad – Included in software priceBilled monthly – £49/month

5. Vend

The best cheap POS system for retail

Vend is the ideal cheap point of sale system if you’re looking to move your business from your current provider. Why? Because its system is compatible with hardware from a range of POS hardware suppliers. This means you won’t have to go about purchasing a brand new system when you switch.

Vend’s cheap point of sale software is particularly handy for businesses with online shops. Although you’ll be looking at purchasing the Pro package to have access to the online shop features, you’ll benefit from full reporting is enabled, whereas the equivalent package from a supplier like Shopify doesn’t come with that ability.

The downside

As we’ve already mentioned, the downside to Vend really is that the ecommerce package isn’t enabled in the lightest version of the software. This is a shame for businesses with a lower monthly turnover of £15,000, as they’d have to invest in the Pro package without necessarily needing the rest of the features.

Basic pricing

HardwareSoftware
Cost of iPad – Included in software priceBilled monthly – £49/month

Pro package billed monthly – £69/month.

Expert verdict

At the end of the day, free EPOS software can be a good place to start. Most businesses, however, will soon outgrow these basic softwares quite quickly, and will find the paid plans much better value – especially with prices starting at as little as £9.99 a month, with no fixed contract.

Expert Market is one of the leading EPOS software comparison companies and we can help you get the best deal for your business by matching you with the most suitable providers.

To speak to up to four providers today, and receive free quotes, simply complete our short form.

This comparison process is free, quick and easy. It’s guaranteed to save you time, and it could even save you money.

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FAQs

1. Is free EPOS software really free?

Yes. Well, kind of.

Take Hiboutik Free POS Software — a company that actually has “free software” in its name. Hiboutik offers three solutions and the most basic is indeed free to sign up to. It has all the functionality you need to process transactions; you can import inventory and organise products into quick-access menus, print receipts, view stock levels, the list goes on.

It’s ‘freemium’, not ‘free’

The catch comes when you want to operate more than one till system or access advanced reporting features. In order to do this, you will need to subscribe to Hiboutik’s “Multi-stores” plan for £9.90 per month. So, the reality of it is that most providers offer “free EPOS software” with a view to luring you in and, ultimately, signing you up to a paid plan. Think ‘freemium’ rather than ‘free’.

But is this really such a bad thing? For many small companies, basic EPOS software will be more than sufficient for day-to-day operations. And as business booms, business owners can upgrade to a full-featured software plan with the advantage of already being familiar with how the thing works.

So yes, free EPOS software really is free. It’s just limited in functionality and not suited to large businesses.


2. Is free EPOS software right for my business?

A free EPOS software download is the right choice for your business if:

  • You operate on a single premises with one till
  • You have a knowledge of coding
  • You don’t require advanced analytics functions
  • You don’t require help installing and updating your system

But if you don’t tick these boxes, it’s worth considering paying for your software. Because in the long run, free software programs can prove a false economy when they fail on you at a crucial moment or the developers withdraw support.

By investing a little money in your EPOS software — either on a monthly basis or upfront as a lump sum — you can rest assured that your system will perform for you day after day. Plus, the advanced reporting and analytics functions that come with paid plans help you to make smarter business decisions based on data, rather than relying on gut instinct.

You wouldn’t cut corners with the products you sell or services you provide, so why do it with business-critical equipment such as EPOS?

The cost of EPOS software is probably a lot lower than you imagined, and Expert Market can help you get the best deal from providers.


3. What is open source software?

There is a second type of free software to consider, though, and that’s open source. Open source software is software where the source code is available for anyone to inspect and modify. This means that, with a knowledge of coding, you can tailor an open source program to meet your specific needs.

The benefit of open source software is that it is, genuinely, 100% free. In most cases the program has been developed as the passion project of some kind soul and you can download and install it on as many systems as you like without paying a penny.

The downside is that support for open source software is limited. If the developers get bored or distracted by another project and stop updating the platform then you can be left hanging with an underperforming system.

You will also require a fair amount of technical knowledge to get the most out of open source EPOS software, as even minor tweaks to things like product menus require you to dive into the source code.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

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