What is a POS System?

girl checking the receipt

POS, also known as a point of sale system, is an integral part of any retail business. Whether looking to improve the sales, marketing, delivery process or anything else, you will need the right POS system in order to achieve these goals. POS is a combination of hardware and software that manage the whole checkout process. Depending on the system and company, some of them can handle payroll, scheduling, reporting and back-office management.

The most important and core feature is that the POS hardware system can accept multiple payment options like credit and debit cards, cash and mobile payments. It’s even said that POS hardware is preparing for accepting the newest paying method – bitcoin.

What Are the Necessary Hardware Components of a POS System?

girl smiling in front of computer while working

Display Unit

This is the core of every POS system because it’s the primary interface used to process orders and manage the checkout process. Through it, you and your employers will be able to see customer information, performance data, inventory and so on. All in all, it is a crucial component of a POS store.


The most important thing you need to know about the terminal is that it’s the hardware interface that customers use to make payments. While in the past, wired terminals were the main choice for terminals, however, this has changed, and nowadays, POS systems can also provide you with wireless handheld terminals that can be moved at different locations. Thanks to them, you can improve the customer experience while increasing the employees’ efficiency as they can finalise the purchase without going to the checkout counters.

Input Devices

The truth is that all POS systems can rely on similar input devices like the mouse and keyboard, the main difference is in their assessment. For instance, some of them are hardware attached to the terminals, while other models can be accessed through the software on the display unit itself.

Card Reader

As the name implies, the card reader is designed to read the cards through the magnetic strip. These readers are designed for both debit and credit cards, but they can also scan ID cards in order to track sales from multiple employees on the same device.

Barcode Scanner

Barcode scanners can certainly facilitate the job of employees as they speed up the checkout process by obtaining the needed product information through their barcode. That way, the scanner adds the product/s to the checkout list without doing it manually. In other words, these scanners are connected to the POS system’s inventory management module in order to update the product stock levels once a product is sold.

Cash Drawer

Although these days people seem to prefer payment via credit and debit cards, still there are lots of people who still choose to pay in cash. That being said, it is understandable why today’s modern POS systems still offer cash drawers. That being said, today’s POS system providers offer different types of cash drawers and usually, all of them include key locks or removable cash trays for security.

The most common cash drawers are printer driven and connected by a telephone-style cable which is also known as an RJ12 connector. This cable is designed to be directly plugged into the drawer kick (DK) port on the receipt printer. Usually, these drawers are a standard 24 volt because the same voltage is used by the printer to activate the internal solenoid in order to open the cash drawer. Generally speaking, you can choose from three types of cash drawers: flip-top, compact and standard full-size cash drawer. Once you have the needed type, all you have to do is to set it up.

Receipt Printer

POS systems come with a receipt printer while today’s POS systems can also come with receipt delivery options through email and text.

Display Pole

The display pole is designed to provide customers with a running total of items scanned, including their number, weight, price and some other needed information like GST and so on.

The most important thing you need to know is that the best POS systems for your business can mainly depend on your business and the products you sell. Nowadays, you can choose from different types of POS systems like restaurant POS systems, retail POS systems, mobile POS solutions, grocery and convenience store POS systems, and so on. One thing is certain, regardless of the type of POS system you need, the chosen one will provide you with all of the essential tools in order to be successful. They also help you have a clear picture of your products and the products your customer is looking for. They can also reduce the time customer spend at check out, reduce the error rate and so much more. If not sure which is the right POS system for you, consulting with a professional is the best option you have in order to make the right choice.