What is FreePOS?
FreePOS is Free EPOS software.
There’s two ways you can get EPOS software for free. The main way is with a company with a two-in-one business model (sometimes called a “payment facilitator”) which means iZettle, Sum Up, Square, and PayPal Here. They include payment processing and EPOS software in one go. They charge a payment processing rate; but their EPOS software is free.
The second option is “Freemium” software, for which there is only one brand available in the UK: Loyverse. Loyverse does not include payment processing, and most features need to be bought; but it will do basic EPOS for free. We think that puts it in the mid-market range, so this article is mostly about the first route.
What FreePOS software companies are there?
The five FreePOS companies are iZettle, Square, Sum Up, PayPal Here, and Loyverse. All of them include payment processing except Loyverse, which works as a freemium model where you can buy additional features as you need them. Unlike with traditional payment processors, you’ll need to buy a card reader for the others – which is likely to work out a lot cheaper than the card reader rental fees levied by processors. We’ve explained the differences between them below.
Who is FreePOS for?
We know that a very common journey is to start out with FreePOS, and then wait to outgrow it. There will be a point where you’re big enough that you need the kinds of things that only paid-for software can do.
That’s absolutely fine! That’s also where it helps to plan ahead. At the point where you do outgrow FreePOS, it may make sense to continue using them for payment processing. Therefore, it’s worthwhile finding a well-integrated EPOS. At the bottom of this page, there’s a table which shows which integrations with larger EPOS systems are available through StoreKit at the point you want to upsize.
FreePOS is absolutely the right decision if you don’t know what you need and you don’t want to make any big decisions.
2) Merchants with basic needs
If your needs are very basic, FreePOS is a great shout! It might be that you just want to take payment for something via your iPhone, or you’re setting up your first stand as a merchant stall, or you’re managing the bar at your cousin’s wedding. Congrats – you’re a merchant, and FreePOS is right for you.
The first thing you’ll *miss* that you’ll want to use a more complex system for is likely to be inventory management. If you have very few inventory needs, you’ll be OK using the software on these. If not, you can simply continue to use one as your payment processor and buy EPOS software afterwards.
3) Merchants looking for payment processing only
You might decide you only want payment processing through your FreePOS provider. That’s fine! Check integrations in the next section to figure out which EPOS you can integrate with when you’re using FreePOS solely for its ability to process payments.
Or, to understand whether FreePOS is cheaper for you on payments than a traditional processor, chat to a payment expert for free.
Which is the best FreePOS?
All of the two-in-one businesses are respectable decisions; and realistically, they all run similar software. We’ve compiled the table below to give you a sense of which does what.
|Payment processing rate starts at...||1.75%||1.75%||1.69%||2.75%|
|Goes as low as...||1%||1%||1%||1%|
|Card Not Present||2.5%||2.5%||2.5%||2.5%|
|Their EPOS||basic||basic||very basic||very basic|
|EPOS integrations||(see table below)||(see table below)||(see table below)||(see table below|
|Accounting Integrations||Xero, Debitoor||Xero, Quickbooks||Xero, Debitoor||Xero, Quickbooks (with PayPal online)|
|Can download main app to||iOS phone/tablet, Android phone/tablet||iOS phone/tablet, Android phone/tablet||iOS phone/tablet, Android phone/tablet, Windows phone/tablet||iOS phone/tablet, Android phone/tablet, Windows phone/tablet|
|Reader cost||£9 through StoreKit||£39 + VAT||£19 + VAT||£62.50 + VAT|
How do I get FreePOS?
We have partnered with iZettle and we can discount iZettle card readers when you start your account through our link. If you’re yet to buy your first card reader, it should cost you just £9 (!) when you sign up with iZettle via our magic link.
Go to a device on which you can download an app. The iZettle app can work on iOS (Apple) or Android devices; unfortunately, they have not yet developed an app for Windows phones or tablets. This doesn’t have to be the device from which you eventually plan to launch your business, since we can always download the app twice and log in from multiple devices.
Then, click on the link above. The link will take you to a page through which you can download the iZettle app. In turn, it will generate a code which will enable you to buy your iZettle card reader for just £9 through StoreKit.
We have partnered with Sum Up and we can discount Sum Up card readers when you start your account through our link. If you haven’t yet bought a card reader, you can buy one for just £19 when you sign up to Sum Up for the first time through our link.
(Here is that link)
Find a device where you can download an app. (The account on which you will use the software is useful but not essential.) This can be any phone or tablet. Then, click on this link and set up an account here. It will generate a code and you can subsequently buy a Sum Up reader for £19 on StoreKit.
We’re not partnered with Square, so unfortunately we cannot discount Square’s very trendy card reader. To get Square, go to the app store and search, Square. You can buy your Square card reader from StoreKit’s main site here.
We’re not partnered with PayPal Here, so unfortunately we cannot discount their card reader. We note that PayPal Here recently acquired iZettle, the market leader. To get PayPal Here, go to the app store and search for PayPal Here. You can buy your card reader from StoreKit’s main site here.
Loyverse does not sell card readers – remember, they don’t do payment processing themselves, and can be used in conjunction with a processor like iZettle if you prefer their software. In order to get Loyverse, book a call with a StoreKit team member and they can arrange a demo with you or chat to you about the product, and what hardware and payments might fit with it.
What does FreePOS software include/not include versus paid-for software?
When we say that the software on FreePOS tends to be “more basic” than the paid-for software, you might find it has ample features to suit your business. It’s really a case of what you need. Here’s an idea of the levels of features you get on a FreePOS system versus what’s possible on a paid-for system.
FreePOS will: process your payments at between 1.75% and 1% depending on your volumes.
FreePOS won’t: permit you to integrate with a payment processor other than themselves, although conversely, you can integrate with other EPOS if you use them for payment processing. That means you’re tied to pay-as-you-go payments for which payments are billed before the money enters your account, rather than monthly. (Chat to a payments expert).
FreePOS will tell you: which product lines are doing the best and show you a log of what you’ve sold.
FreePOS won’t tell you: if you’re putting on sales and discounts, it could be awkward to check how the sales have affected the performance of various products. FreePOS can’t usually do analytics by part of the store performance such as shelves, or in restaurants, tables; and it’s not set up for multi-site so it would be awkward to compare stores. It can’t do analytics by different aspects of an item such as “brand” or “size”. You may find the tools for e.g. date range on sales view a tad inflexible.
FreePOS will let you: quickly and efficiently sell items at a till. Depending on brand, it will usually allow you to discount items or return items easily; and it’s set-up to handle things like email or text receipts. You can send an order ticket through to a kitchen with FreePOS.
FreePOS won’t let you: manage tables, split bills between different parties, override course defaults such as “can I have this starter as a main”. It isn’t set up for price scheduling such as happy hours or sales, and we wouldn’t count on it for integrations with marketing such as “identity stitching” between an in-store purchase an an e-commerce fan. If you have quantities delivered to you and shipped out in different formats, it might translate a bit awkwardly and be unable to keep track of stock.
FreePOS will let you: have different staff logins with different permissions levels – some are permitted to sell items only, other, to do more sensitive stuff.
FreePOS won’t let you: manage staff timetables; or analyse which staff members are performing well. Because FreePOS tends to come without multi-site functions, the different staff permissions levels are fairly basic because there’s not that much to keep from them!
FreePOS will let you: upload different categories of item from an excel sheet into the app. It will show you how many of each item you have left in stock, which you can see across all tills as this is cloud software.
FreePOS won’t let you: create purchase orders; it won’t allow you to look up items in different stores; and it won’t show you where those items are being kept. Although you can update your stock counts whenever, it isn’t set up to help you investigate the causes of stock shrinkage. It isn’t set up for “recipe” creation – so you can’t translate between items coming in (e.g. flour) and items heading out (e.g. a quiche). You can’t stock take with a barcode scanner, usually – it must be done manually. Also, it won’t send you notifications for low stock.
Is FreePOS really free?
Yes, for the software.
An EPOS system is composed of software, payment processing, and hardware. FreePOS is a payment processor AND a software provider. They’re throwing in their software for free, but you’ll be charged for processing – every time someone taps their card against your machine, your FreePOS brand will deduct their payment rate before sending the remainder of the money to you. That rate starts at 1.75%, but can get cheaper as you grow.
Were you to choose paid-for software you would still need to buy a payment processing contract; either from one of these companies or from a traditional processor like Worldpay. Therefore, the EPOS software “bit” of what FreePOS are offering is indeed free.
The payment rates for FreePOS are quite competitive for the segment of the market FreePOS are targeting – smaller merchants. To work it out, you’d need to know the cost of the software you would choose, in addition to the amount you’re projected to spend per month on payment processing with a traditional processor. Compare those two rates together to 1.75% of all card transactions in one month and see which works out cheaper. If you need help figuring out what those figures would be, we can help over a five-minute call.
But here’s a generalisation: the smaller you are, the less you take in card, and the smaller the average value of a single transaction, the cheaper by comparison FreePOS is likely to be. FreePOS is also way more flexible than a long-term processor, as you can stop processing whenever you like.
You can also cut down on hardware costs, as FreePOS is designed to work just as well with a smartphone as a tablet.
Is FreePOS payment processing a good rate?
As shown above, the two-in-one business models all charge a flat rate and a pay-as-you-go contract.
They can be more expensive than traditional processors in some circumstances; but if you’re a smaller business, or you have a low average transaction size, they’re often cheaper, especially if you’re using their Free EPOS software in lieu of paid-for software. If you want to understand whether their processing would be cheaper than a traditional acquirer, you can chat to a payments expert for no cost.
However, they also tend to be more convenient than traditional card processors:
|Normal Processor||FreePOS Processing|
|Contract||1-2 years||No contract|
|Rate style||Different rates for different cards||Flat percentage|
|Billed||Monthly||Before the money enters your account|
|Card Reader||£15 per month for the duration of the contract||Bought outright at the start for around £30|
|Get started||Around 2 weeks||Start/stop whenever|
As you grow, you may wish to continue using the payment processing of your two-in-one provider but to upgrade to paid-for EPOS software. At that point, it’s useful to have chosen software you can integrate with a bigger and better POS system, which you’d pay for. iZettle is the best integrated; but to give you a sense, here’s some of the popular EPOS systems available through StoreKit.
An integrated system just means that when someone pays for something by card, the system automatically updates.
Want to talk about it?
If you want to compare the EPOS systems, then we’d recommend trying our smart recommendation engine? Alternatively, book a call, and we can talk you through any questions or concerns you might have.