Business Hardware

Get a totally free point-of-sale system for your small business

It goes without saying that Square has revolutionized payment processing for many a small business—but it's not the ideal solution for every small business.

For one thing, it doesn't accommodate cash. For another, it doesn't print receipts (not without a third-party printer, that is). And it requires you to own a smartphone or tablet, hardware not every business owner can afford.

If you're looking for a more traditional point-of-sale system, but with Square-like pricing, check out GoPago Live. It's a soup-to-nuts POS setup that's absolutely free.

Update: GoPago Live now charges $99 per month.

Yeah, I was skeptical, too, but there's no catch that I could find. Instead, there's something of an embarrassment of riches in what the company offers.

GoPago Live comes with an Android-powered tablet, a tablet stand with credit card reader, a cash drawer, a receipt printer, and, perhaps most amazing of all, a free 4G data plan courtesy of Verizon.

Once again, there's no charge for any of this. Your only expense is a per-transaction fee of 2.85 percent—and that applies only to credit-card transactions, not cash. (Customers can also use the GoPago app to make mobile payments.) There are no other charges, no monthly fees.

Granted, Square charges 2.75 percent per transaction, and other payment-system providers have rates slightly lower than that. But a few tenths of a percent probably isn't make-or-break for most businesses, especially considering what you stand to save if you're replacing a provider that fees you to death.

You can, of course, customize GoPago's payment software for your business's products and services, and the system offers to promote your business via Facebook, Twitter, and your customers' smartphones.

Because I don't run a POS business, I can't really put GoPago to the test. If you've had a chance to try it yourself, or you can see any reasons why it's not as sweet as it sounds on paper, let's hear from you in the comments.

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