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The best free invoice software of 2020

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11 min read

The best free invoice software of 2020

By Jessica Greene · December 20, 2019
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You've finished the work, and now it's time to get paid. To do so, you need to send an invoice and give your customer options for how to pay. While you could draft an invoice in your favorite word processor, print it off, send it via snail mail, and wait for a check to arrive, using invoicing software simplifies the whole process—and gets you paid more quickly.

The following eight tools make invoicing easier, so you can worry less about getting paid and focus more on finding your next opportunity. Click on any app to learn more about why we chose it, or keep reading for more context on invoicing software.

The best free invoicing software

  • PayPal (Web, iOS, Android) for creating invoices on mobile devices

  • Square (Web, iOS, Android) for accepting in-person and online payments

  • Wave (Web, iOS, Android) for invoicing and accounting for small businesses

  • Zoho Invoice (Web, iOS, Android) for invoice workflows

  • Harvest (Web, Mac, Windows, Chrome, iOS, Android) for reducing transaction fees on payments

  • Invoice Ninja (Web, iOS, Android) for extreme customization

  • Invoice Generator (Web) for sending invoices without creating an account

  • AND.CO (Web, Mac, Chrome, iOS, Android) for automatically adding expenses to invoices

  • Plus, how to streamline your invoice workflows

What makes great free invoicing software?

To find the best free invoicing software, we evaluated and tested more than 30 tools. Then, we narrowed the pool by looking for tools that met the following criteria:

  • Unlimited invoices: While some of the tools listed below limit the number of active clients you can invoice on a free plan, all let you send an unlimited number of invoices without having to upgrade to a premium plan.

  • Simple and intuitive to use: We selected tools that made invoicing as simple as typing in a word processor and offer features to expedite the process by letting you save client information, product/service details, standard prices, and more.

  • Accept payments online: The most important part of invoicing is getting paid. All the tools below let you accept payments by credit card. Some also accept bank and wire transfers.

While all these tools let you quickly create invoices and send them to customers, they are first and foremost free apps—they don’t offer advanced features that come with paid plans. If you are interested in more robust invoicing tools, read our post on the best overall invoicing software.

Accepting online payments requires the use of a payment gateway—a service that processes card and bank payments. It's important to note that while the invoicing software below is free to use, all of the apps charge payment processing and transaction fees for accepting payments. Those fees are automatically deducted from any payment you receive.

Some of the tools below—like PayPal and Square—are payment gateways. Others use third-party payment gateways to process payments. For invoicing apps that are also payment gateways, we've listed the applicable fees. For those that use third-party payment gateways, the fees are subject to the terms of the payment gateway you use to accept payments.

Note: Quoted payment processing and transaction fees apply only to payments sent to and received from individuals within the United States. International fees may vary by both provider and location.

Best free invoice software for creating invoices on mobile devices

PayPal (Web, iOS, Android)

Creating an invoice on the go with the PayPal Business app.

PayPal has been around for more than 20 years and is one of the biggest names in online payment processing. In addition to the benefits of PayPal’s name recognition and credibility, it also has the best free mobile app for invoicing.

The PayPal Business app allows you to create and send invoices, review account activity, and issue refunds on the go. You don’t need a special business account to use the app—logging in with your usual PayPal credentials works just fine.

You’ll see a dedicated tab just for invoicing, where you can create a new invoice and view paid and unpaid invoices. Creating a new one takes a few seconds, with PayPal pulling in the contact information of your recent "customers" (people who you have paid recently). The editor is also strategically reconfigured for mobile, with big buttons and easy data entry. You can create a basic invoice with just a few line items or create something more advanced that allows tips, partial payments, or for photos to be included. The entire experience is quick and intuitive.

Customers will receive the invoice through their PayPal account, where they can pay via credit card, debit card, or PayPal balance. The funds will then be deposited into your PayPal account, where you can transfer the balance—subject to certain limits—to your debit card or bank account.

PayPal price: Free to create an account and send invoices

PayPal payment processing fees: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

Automate PayPal with PayPal's Zapier integrations.

Best free invoice software for accepting in-person and online payments

Square (Web, iOS, Android)

creating an invoice in Square

If you need to accept payments in-person and online, Square is your best option. Use its point of sale hardware to accept card payments, whether in your store or on your phone while at a customer's house or business, or to accept post-sale payments from an invoice. For invoicing specifically, you can choose to use the standard Square point of sale app or the Square Invoices app.

To create invoices faster, Square lets you build an item library of your products and services, including prices. Once set up, select the item from your library that you want to bill for, and the price is added to your invoice automatically.

Square also lets you create recurring invoices, schedule invoices to be sent at a later date, and schedule automatic payment reminders. And within your account settings, you'll find a few options for customizing your invoice: add a logo, select a color, choose whether or not to display your address, and add custom text or a return policy to every invoice you send.

Square price: Free for point of sale payment processing and invoicing

Square payment processing fees: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for credit/debit card payments made on invoices. 3.5% + $0.15 if processed using Card on File.

Automate Square with Square's Zapier integrations.

Best free invoice software for invoicing and accounting for small businesses

Wave (Web, iOS, Android)

Creating an invoice in Wave

You could have two separate tools—one for invoicing and one for accounting—but with Wave, you get both in one package.

Wave is a full-featured accounting app with all the tools you need to track your business's income and expenses. Connect your business bank account, and Wave pulls in all account transactions for you automatically. Choose a category for each expense, and you can access detailed reports on where all of your money is coming from and going to. You can also use the receipt scanner on Wave's iOS and Android apps to track your business receipts.

If you don't need all of the extra accounting features, you can still use Wave's invoicing tool to create and send invoices, and receive payments. If you take time to create customers and add products/services to the tool, you can quickly pull in the details for both just by tapping the applicable section of the invoice. With data saved in Wave, you can create and send an invoice in less than 60 seconds.

Wave lets you do some basic customization of your invoice, such as adding a logo or custom title, and selecting what information to display about your business. You can also create recurring invoices that are sent based on a schedule you specify and—if customers opt-in—charge saved customer payment methods automatically.

Wave price: Free for accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning

Wave payment processing fees: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for card payments; 1% per transaction for bank payments (ACH)

Automate Wave with Wave's Zapier integrations.

Best free invoice software for invoice workflows

Zoho Invoice (Web, macOS, Windows, iOS, Android)

Automate workflows with Zoho Invoice.

Creating invoices can include a lot of manual tasks, like data entry and repetitive formulas. But buried within Zoho Invoice’s feature set is the ability to set up workflows to automate these tasks, like scheduling triggered emails or calculating and adding discounts, late fees, and due dates.

To get to the workflow editor, click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of Zoho and select "automation." You’ll then see five different automation types, from email alerts to custom functions.

With Zoho’s out-of-the-box features, you can set up an email alert to go out when an invoice is created or overdue, or you can schedule an in-app notification for the finance team whenever an invoice is paid.

The most powerful features, however, are the custom functions. These allow you to write small pieces of code using Deluge script to automate invoicing processes. For example, you can write a script to automatically calculate and add a late fee to overdue invoices. Or you can create a function to provide a 5 percent discount if payment is made before the due date. Zoho provides examples with guidance on how to update and create these common workflows. Otherwise, you'll have to learn Deluge to get the most out of this feature.

Zoho Invoice price: Free for unlimited invoices, one user, and up to five customers; from $9/month for the Basic plan that includes unlimited invoices for one user and up to 50 customers

Zoho Invoice payment processing fees: Payments accepted through Zoho Invoice are made through third-party apps like PayPal, Stripe, and Square, so transaction fees vary based on the terms of your selected payment gateway

Automate Zoho Invoice with Zoho Invoice's Zapier integrations.

Best free invoice software for reducing transaction fees on payments

Harvest (Web, Mac, Windows, Chrome, iOS, Android)

Harvest invoice screen

Harvest is a solid invoicing tool if you charge your customers by the hour. It's first and foremost a time-tracking app. Choose a project, add tasks, and then start your timer to track exactly how much time you spend on each task. You can also track expenses, monitor your project budgets, and get notifications when your billable time is approaching your budget for a project.

As a time-tracking and project management tool, Harvest's free plan is fairly limited—you only get two projects before you have to upgrade. However, if you don't need those features, you can use Harvest to send unlimited one-time and recurring invoices—and to get paid with the lowest processing fees of any app on this list.

With PayPal Business Payments through Harvest, you pay only $0.50 per transaction for payments made using a U.S. bank account. It's a significant discount from the 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction you normally pay to accept online payments through PayPal. It is somewhat limited—the discounted rate doesn't apply to credit card or international payments—but if you live in the U.S. and have U.S. clients willing to pay with a bank account, it can significantly reduce the amount of revenue you lose to payment processing fees.

Harvest price: Free for unlimited invoicing, one user, and two projects; $12/month per person for the Solo or Team Pro plans that includes unlimited invoicing and projects

Harvest payment processing fees: Payments accepted through Harvest are made through either PayPal or Stripe, so transaction fees vary based on the terms of your selected payment gateway

Automate Harvest with Harvest's Zapier integrations.

Best free invoice software for extreme customization

Invoice Ninja (Web, iOS, Android)

Entering a new invoice in Invoice Ninja

Invoice Ninja is one of the most customizable invoicing apps on this list. If you're willing to self-host your invoicing app, you can download the open source version of Invoice Ninja and write the code you need for custom invoice templates.

With both the web app and the self-hosted versions of Invoice Ninja, you can also choose from a variety of payment gateways. Invoice Ninja supports more than 40, giving you more options than any other tool on this list. You also get a custom client portal where your customers can view all of their current and past invoices.

Beyond that, Invoice Ninja offers all of the features you need to manage your projects and handle invoicing and billing in a single tool. Add clients, projects, and tasks to the tool to build invoices quickly. Use its time tracker to track spent on projects and tasks, or enter your time manually. You can even track your progress on a Kanban board.

Invoice Ninja price: Free for unlimited invoices and 100 clients, or free self-hosted Invoice Ninja; from $8/month for Ninja Pro for unlimited clients and quotes and custom URL and branding

Invoice Ninja payment processing fees: Payments accepted through Invoice Ninja are made through third-party apps like PayPal, Stripe, and, so transaction fees vary based on the terms of your selected payment gateway

Automate Invoice Ninja with Invoice Ninja's Zapier integrations.

Best free invoice software for sending invoices without creating an account

Invoice Generator (Web)

creating an invoice in Invoice Generator

If you don't send enough invoices to justify signing up for a specific invoicing tool, Invoice Generator by Invoiced is the tool for you. It lets you create invoices, send your invoices to clients, and even accept payments online—all without ever requiring you to create an account.

Just type in your invoice details and—if you want—take advantage of Invoice Generator's limited customization options. Add your business's logo, and choose whether or not to display amounts for tax, shipping, and discounts. Then, click Send Invoice to enter your client's email address and choose what payment methods you plan to accept. Invoice Generator lets you add payment links for PayPal, Venmo, and Square Cash.

Although you don't need an account to use Invoice Generator, it does use cookies to remember some of your preferences. For example, if you use the tool again without clearing the cookies on your browser, it remembers what invoice number you're on, what payment methods you accept, your email address, and your Square Cash $cashtag.

Invoice Generator price: Free

Invoice Generator payment processing fees: Payments are made through PayPal, Venmo, or Square Cash, so transaction fees vary based on the terms of your selected payment gateway

Best free invoice software for automatically adding expenses to invoices

AND.CO (Web, macOS, Chrome, iOS, Android)

Store documents in AND.CO’s Shoebox.

AND.CO is an all-in-one invoicing, time tracking, and task management app designed specifically for freelancers. The experience is straightforward and intuitive, even giving you the ability to create invoices based on your contracts and projects.

AND.CO also offers one unique feature to complement your invoicing process: the Shoebox, a digital storage folder for all your receipts, documents, and files that are auto-populated into invoices. You can upload files directly to the Shoebox or email them to a dedicated email address.

In AND.CO, your contracts, invoices, expenses, and proposals are organized by project. Let’s say you incur a handful of expenses as you are working on a project. You can upload all your receipts to the Shoebox, attach them to the project, and create a "billable to client" expense. Then, when you’re ready to send an invoice, you can visit your project and create an invoice, automatically aggregating the services and fees outlined in your contract as well as your expenses.

AND.CO price: Free for one active client. The Pro plan is $18/month for unlimited clients, editable contracts, and the ability to remove AND.CO branding.

AND CO payment processing fees: Payments accepted through AND.CO are made through WePay, Stripe, or PayPal, so transaction fees vary based on the terms of your selected payment gateway

Automate AND.CO with AND.CO's Zapier integrations.

Streamline your invoice workflows with Zapier

Using invoicing software to bill your clients quickly and easily isn't the only way to reduce the amount of time you spend on administrative tasks for your business. With Zapier, you can automate all of the repetitive administrative tasks you're responsible for, giving you more time to focus on the work that actually makes your business money. Here are a few ideas to consider:

If you're using separate tools for invoicing and accounting, use these Zaps to automatically create customers in your accounting tool after creating them in your invoicing app:

Keep your business at the top of your customers' minds even after a project is finished by using these Zaps to automatically add customers in your invoicing tool to your marketing email list:

If you want to manage your tasks in separate time-tracking, invoicing, and project management systems, use these Zaps to replicate tasks in different tools automatically:

And if you communicate with prospective customers over email first, use these Zaps to automatically add new email contacts to your invoicing tool as clients:

Originally published in January 2019, this post was most recently updated by Emily Esposito with each app's latest features and pricing, plus great new apps.

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Jessica Greene picture

Jessica Greene

Jessica Greene is a freelance marketing and business writer. A former writing instructor and corporate marketer, she uses her subject-matter expertise and passion for educating others to develop actionable, in-depth, user-focused content.


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