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Payment apps that pay off

Today’s businesses need payment systems that can adapt and integrate with ease. Here are some options available for free.

As cashless payments have not only become more widespread but also more varied, it has become important that your business’s point of sale (POS) system and payment app have the ability to process multiple payment options. And as a cash-strapped small-business owner, you need to consider a POS system or payment app that can provide you with the necessary hardware to start processing payments without having to pay extra.

Here are some of the most effective, efficient, free payment apps – ranging from payment channels to POS systems – to help in processing transactions:


When it comes to online payments, PayPal comes straight to mind due to its long-established stature and its popularity – it has over 400 million users worldwide. This reach means payments can be processed in multiple currencies, including cryptocurrency. PayPal also offers multiple payment options, including an option of up to four interest-free payments. On the downside, PayPal charges expensive transaction fees, so cashflow-conscious users may need to reconsider using it as a primary payment app, keeping it in mind for more complex, international transactions.


Stripe is one of the most widely used payment apps globally. It is available in more than 35 countries and supports over 135 currencies, and is used by millions of small and large businesses. It can be integrated into several systems, including Shopify, NetSuite, and WooCommerce. Users can also personalise their Stripe integration by embedding their own custom checkout using JavaScript with a custom UI toolkit. Setup is free and users are charged a 2.9 per cent transaction fee for every successful charge.

Google Pay

Google Pay is a gamechanger for online businesses and those looking to set up a contactless payment system. It enables quicker, safer checkout in apps and websites and makes it easy for customers to make contactless payments with their phones. It also integrates flawlessly with different payment platforms, such as Stripe, Square, Shopify, 3dcart, and many more. Transactions are made secure thanks to enhanced security and identity controls. Apart from a 2.9 per cent transaction fee, Google Pay is free to set up and use.


One of the most popular POS systems on the market, Square’s free offering is robust, with no usage limits, and it offers a wide range of premium features – even on its free plan. These include built-in payment processing, mobile POS app, website builder, and invoicing. A free magstripe card reader is also provided, to get businesses started accepting payments right away. However, users are locked into its built-in payment solution, which some small businesses may find limiting, and the fees it charges for payments processing can be expensive, compared with other providers.


For small retailers with a single-store setup, such as pop-up stores and start-up stores, Vend is the ideal POS solution. Its free plan already comes with a register and set up for one user with up to 10 active products and 1000 customers. Vend also provides free software for POS, inventory, and customer loyalty programs, which can be set up on any device. While it is a cloud-based service, it can work in offline mode as well.


Erply offers a scalable POS system catered especially for start-up retailers, but it also provides the added benefit of being able to accommodate unlimited inventory items. It offers inventory-management software, a CRM, and can support a multi-store management setup. Erply incorporates multi-currency, multi-register, credit- and gift-card processing, time clock, and reporting functions. The cloud-based POS software is compatible with any browser, with apps for Windows, Android, and iOS.

This story was originally published on Inside Small Business.

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