The figure is staggering.
Doing an Internet search for “Free POS software” yields nearly 100 million results.
Clearly, there aren’t that many POS solution providers.
However, there are seemingly an infinite number of ‘POS system for free’ ads online.
Here are 3 reasons why free POS isn’t really free….
#1: Misleading Offers
There are two major components of any POS system. One is the software. The other is the hardware. Most free POS offers provide the software for free.
What’s an example of free software? It’s the coding within the POS system that records transactions; manages inventory; collects customer data; processes payments; monitors employee hours and tips; and offers detailed business reports.
Sounds great so far. Who wouldn’t want all those valuable metrics for free?
But what misleading free POS offers don’t make unambiguously clear from the start is that the hardware components cost dearly.
It’s like saying the cart is free, but the horse costs several thousand dollars.
If touch screen monitors; receipt printers; barcode scanners; and PAX ethernet-connected payment terminals with built-in EMV pads for chip and pin use are vital to your business, chances are, a free POS offer will not also include free hardware.
In fact, you could very well pay far more for hardware from a company advertising a free POS offer.
And while advertising “free POS software” isn’t as disingenuous and misleading as “free POS solution,” free POS software is often not actually free.
For example, a free POS software might include access for one or a few employees. But say you have a busy restaurant with dozens of employees who have to use the software, you might be charged significantly more for additional employees to use the touch screens.
#2: Hidden Merchant Account Fees
Some free POS software offers may in fact include robust transaction reporting and all the business metric bells and whistles you’d want to be able to successfully manage–and grow–your business.
However, the fine print may not include monthly transaction fees. Add these fees to the above-market-rate for hardware, and you can see how you’re not exactly getting a free lunch.
Even if a POS offer includes free hardware, another possible item that will be sneaked into the fine print is steep credit card processing fees. Instead of having a monthly credit card transaction fee, you may end up paying a few percentage points-per transaction.
#3: No Support and Training
Learning a new POS system takes time and training. A reputable POS company (ahem, like us) offers several support services, such as 24/7/365 phone, chat and email support. In addition, POS support should include secure, efficient, and encrypted daily off-site backup of critical data.
Moreover, it’s doubtful that free POS support comes with firewall security and will protect you against Internet threats.
On the contrary, a free POS offer will leave you scratching your head, wondering how to use the system and wondering if your customer’s data will be protected.
And do you really think a free POS solution will answer your call in the middle of the night or during a critical juncture during your business day when you realize the software has crashed?
#4: Limited Amount of Transactions
If you process thousands of transactions a month, a free POS offer can end up costing you dearly. Some free POS offers are restricted to a very limited number of transactions.
#5: Lengthy Contracts
While some free POS offers let you go month to month, others may require you to lock in for a year. And if you don’t read the fine print, the steep credit card transaction processing fees along with the missed sales while your network goes down won’t merely affect your bottom line over a year; it might just run you out of business.
Want to learn more about fully-integrated POS systems with stellar service and support? Contact us today to get your questions answered or for a demonstration.