OK, a free POS System sounded very tempting to us at first glance as well, and since only banks were offering them at first, we knew it had something to do with forced lengthy contracts, at a “not so competitive rate”, for credit card processing with a certain processor (not a processor of your choosing). And that deal doesn’t sound too bad either, when you consider we are discussing a full POS system, meaning you get the POS Software and you also get the POS computer hardware, all together, all free of charge, so how bad can this credit card processing deal be, right ? But if you thought that it sounds too good to be true, then you guessed it, it is…. We called a few of these companies offering this kind of a point of sale system for free and here’s what we found out (the story repeated to the minutest detail for all of these companies)…
I. Yes, you get a free pos computer, but that computer is closer to a tablet than a proper computer, with proper hardware and computing power. No big deal, it is free, so we shouldn’t complain about this – just thought you should know.
II. Yes, you get a free pos software, but that basic POS Software cannot compare with software that has hundreds of features and integrates with a ton of POS Hardware peripherals and other equipment, these things can mostly support only a barcode reader, and a printer and literally just replace a cash register (no extensive business management or employee management functions there). So it won’t be a POS Software that you run your entire business on, it is just a fancy cash register. Again no big deal, it is free, so we shouldn’t complain about this – just thought you should know.
III. You will be locked in a contract for credit card processing with a company that is not of your choice and this contract will be legally binding for as long as you keep that darn “FREE POS System” and if you try to break out of it early, you will pay penalties and return everything you got for “FREE” (POS System and Software). So you will get a credit card processing deal forced on you, which mind you, it may not be the best deal for you (you may find a better deal elsewhere, if you had the freedom and luxury of shopping around and hand picking your processor), but more importantly, what if you didn’t even want to process credit cards at the beginning or if you had another way to do so, like through your cell phone with PayPal or something like that ?
IV. Since you took their POS System and they gave it to you for free, you will have to maintain some “minimums” for credit card processing, meaning even if you do not process anything, you will still have to pay a minimum credit card processing fee monthly. Now, to be completely honest with you, everyone does that, every processor, but while “normal processors” charge about $8-$9 for minimum processing fees per month, these processors, because they gave you a POS System for free, have minimums in the neighborhood of $30 per month. So now your FREE POS System turned out to be FREE with a $30 or more per month charge, a perpetual SUBSCRIPTION.
V. Now since POS Systems are a high-tech gadget, they will tell you that you will need technical support guaranteed. And since they gave you the System and the POS Software for free, they will tell you that they cannot also afford to give free technical support service for it (quite fair, no arguments there), then you get to be charged for technical support. But the real surprise to you will be when they tell you that you must purchase technical support, it is not an option to tell them “I’m a self-starter, quick-learner, I’ll figure it out myself”, no, no, no, that is not how people that offer you free stuff make tons of money out of you, you are forced to sign-up for a tech support contract, where you pay a super-duper low price of just $30-$40 per month for support on your FREE POS Software and system, each and every month, whether you need it or not. So now your FREE POS System turned out to be FREE with another $30-$40 per month charge, a perpetual SUBSCRIPTION.
So in conclusion, if you think paying a perpetual and indefinite subscription of anywhere from $60-$70 and more, per month ($720 – $840 or more, per year, for as long as you have this) is a FREE POS System, then yes, OK, you got it, you got a FREE POS System.