Cash Registers Review

Why Buy Cash Registers?

Cash registers are a necessity for small businesses that sell goods or services in exchange for cash. Not only do they calculate the amount due by customers, they offer a host of notable features that make record keeping efficient and easy, especially when it comes to preparing sales reports and paying taxes.

You can find cash registers throughout the retail world, whether in mom-and-pop shops or restaurants and boutiques. Cash registers have a cash drawer that provides a secure place to hold money and receipts after each transaction, and a locking feature keeps the register and its contents secure when it is not in use. Models with an attached printer also provide receipts for your customers that detail their purchases. A few cash registers used by businesses include the Casio PCR T500, the Sharp XE-A507 and the Sam4s SPS345.

Cash Registers: What to Look For

Cash registers fall into three broad categories: entry level, midline and commercial grade. Entry-level cash registers usually have a basic design and offer few advanced functions, if any at all. Midline and commercial models offer advanced functions, including several levels of reporting and more storage capacity. They also tend to integrate directly with a PC or Mac for easy programming.

Screen Type
When shopping for a cash register, you'll notice that there are two types of screen; there are basic screens that only show the current total and more advanced LCD screens that show the total and previous products entered   and each one has its own benefits. LCD screens are backlit and easy to read, but they are also more prone to error than basic electric screens. Electronic screens simply display one line of information, whether it is the price of the last product entered or the total, which is input with a physical keyboard. The keys are usually large and easy to read, although user error is still possible. LCD-screen cash registers are also pricier due to the technology, and this is often a deciding factor in choosing one over the other.

Common Features
Product look-ups (PLUs), are specific codes that identify products. Some businesses use the PLU function regularly while others use it sparingly, and the number of PLUs you can program in a cash register varies by model. Your needs depend on the number of items your business offers and if you plan to set up the PLU feature. PLUs are commonly used for produce items, but they can be set up to your specifications. Many cash registers have a built-in printer that uses thermal printing to issue customer receipts. Thermal printing is widely used in cash registers as opposed to print ribbon ink because thermal is more cost effective in the long run. The expense is greater up front, but you won't have to replace ink cartridges.

Programmable Tax System
Gone are the days of calculating tax by hand and using tax tables to determine what to charge customers. Cash registers now have software that allow you to program tax rates and codes right into the register, so it calculates automatically. When it comes time to pay sales taxes, you can run the sales tax report right from the register to determine what was collected during that tax year.

SD Card Slot
The SD card slot is used primarily for backing up the cash register software or transferring data. It gives added protection so that in the instance of a power outage or a malfunction, the information stored in the machine is not lost. It eliminates the need to hook the cash register up to the computer via a UBS cord, which may not be possible in all locations.

Before purchasing a cash register for your business, it's important to thoroughly research your options. Comparing features and specifications is a necessity, especially if you're looking for specific functions or capabilities, otherwise you run the risk of purchasing a device that is incompatible with your needs.