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Compare Cash Register vs POS System Costs

POS System Overview

POS systems are the next generation of cash registers. Essentially, they’re cash registers on steroids.

Even the most basic POS systems incorporate advanced components like a computer, monitor and scanner with simple features such as a cash drawer and receipt printer. High-end POS systems are capable of tracking and analyzing all sorts of data that is useful in making business decisions.

How Much Does a POS System Cost?

Complete POS systems usually range in price from about $1,500 to $8,000 per terminal, depending on the level of technology and the amount of hardware. In this price range, you can expect the cost to include software, installation, training and customer support.

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POS System Pros

  • Functionality - With a POS system, you can keep detailed reports, track inventory and monitor sales trends. A POS system does more than just calculate customer transactions - it provides information that can be used to make important business decisions.
  • Expandability - POS systems easily grow with your business. You can add terminals or individual features and components as your business grows. If you outgrow a cash register, you just have to replace it.
  • Accuracy - There’s little room for operator error with POS systems due to the barcode technology. Employees will almost never have to manually enter an item’s price.

POS System Cons

  • Cost - POS systems are significantly more expensive than cash registers. They are priced out of the range of some small businesses and startups.
  • Complexity - POS systems are also more difficult to use. They require some employee training, and you should anticipate a bit of a learning curve.
Cash Register

Cash Register Overview

Cash registers allow a business to tally transactions, store money and keep simple records. Basic cash registers calculate and track sales, but lack advanced features such as barcode scanning.

High-end electronic cash registers usually have a barcode scanners, touch screens and inventory control tracking. However, they still fall very short of POS systems when it comes to features and functionality.

How Much Does a Cash Register Cost?

Very basic cash registers can be found for less than $300. They are suitable only for the smallest of businesses because they allow a very limited number of department codes and PLU’s (price look-up codes).

More sophisticated electronic cash registers with touch screens and inventory control tracking sell for about $2,000 to $3,000.

Cash Register Pros

  • Cost - Cash registers offer basic functionality at a price that small businesses can afford.
  • Ease of use - Because cash registers are not as complex as POS systems, they’re easier to use. Less training is required.

Cash Register Cons

  • Functionality - Cash registers lack the sophistication of larger POS systems, offering only basic functionality. Don’t expect detailed sales reports or the ability to analyze sales trends.
  • Accuracy - Because some cash registers require the employee to manually enter a price, there’s greater potential for operator error than with POS systems, which rely exclusively on barcode scanners.

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