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What’s the Difference Between a Cash Register and a POS System?

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Update time : 2022-03-28

Cash registers have been around since the late 19th century. After discovering the technology used to count the revolutions of a ship’s propeller, a saloon owner in Ohio named James Ritty created a machine that could keep track of his sales. He patented the machine in 1879 and called it Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier. This first cash register didn’t include a cash drawer — it only tallied totals from each sales transaction. After Ritty sold the rights to his invention, John H. Patterson founded the National Cash Register Company in 1884 and popularized this machine with business owners all over the nation. The cash register has long been a staple piece of technology for business, both big and small. Today, many small businesses still rely on traditional cash registers to facilitate transactions. Modern cash registers are electronic, but they still fulfill the basic functions of earlier cash registers. Electronic cash registers consist of a cash drawer, a small display screen and buttons the cashier can press to add up dollar amounts, assign sales to particular departments and calculate change. Some registers will also print a basic receipt.Cash registers are essentially calculators designed for sales transactions attached to a drawer to keep cash secure. So, how does the traditional cash register compare to a POS system? A POS system takes advantage of modern technology to expand greatly on the basic capabilities of a cash register. Like a basic register, a POS system includes a cash drawer. POS systems vary, but with an all-in-one POS system, you can also expect additional integrated hardware, such as:

  • Barcode scanners
  • Scales
  • Receipt printers
  • Credit card processors

These components are typically all separate for businesses that use cash registers. At a glance, one of the most significant things that sets a POS system apart is that it features a touch screen, which no longer limits cashiers to a set of manual buttons. Now, cashiers can access multiple menus and options to fulfill a range of functions. Because of this advanced hardware, a POS system is sometimes called a touch screen cash register, but POS software is capable of doing far more than just facilitating sales transactions. It may also be able to:

  • Track inventory
  • Record sales analytics
  • Log employee shifts
  • Facilitate sales promotions

It’s easy to see how a POS system offers far more capabilities than even the best cash registers. If you want to upgrade from a standard cash register, a POS system is the modern solution that your small business needs.

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