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Point of sale can be referred to as cash wrap and is the location in a restaurant or retail store where transactions for the exchange of goods and services take place. Included in this description are the electrical hardware and peripherals used to conduct a transaction. The hardware can include a TouchScreen Computer or tablet device. Value Added Resellers interchangeably use the word POS when discussing checkout and the hardware locations. Merchant services providers processing credit card alongside their independent sales organization will also define standalone credit card terminal as point of sale. In this sense, a POS is merely a Peripherals that reads the credit card, then sends the transaction details to the card processor and bank and once approved issues a receipt.

The initial Point of Sale which was a mechanical cash register was invented by James Ritty (the owner of Dayton saloon) in 1879. The idea was to keep workers and customers honest. Currently, mechanical cash registers are rare. 99% of Systems are now electronic. These use a computer CPU to house the Software. Electronic cash registers assist shop owners to streamline most of the end of day calculations that they need to process daily.

The POS system therefore, is a hardware combined with software that stores and computes data. The system helps a store clerk manage the process of selling and recording transactions. At a primary level, the software handles the transaction calculations. However, the software is relatively scalable and one can add modules for inventory, accounting and customer relationship management. Value priced software can offer a sole proprietor some of the same tools used by the large fortune 500 retailers thus leveling the playing field to some degree.

Examples of Peripheral Devices include:

Receipt printers

Magnetic stripe reader (MSR)

Bar code scanners

Cash Drawer

Programmable Keyboard – used for non-touch systems. It is a retail hardened keyboard built to take on the regular use in a retail setting to enter products, services, or customer info. These often have a in built MSR. Most of the big grocery stores use mechanical keyboards.

Electronic scales
Automate weight information data entry

Signature capture
It saves the electronic data of the customer’s signature.

Computer Display
It is used to display information. May employ touch screen technology.