The following are important terms to become familiar with before seeking to purchase a POS system:
Card Reader: A card reader allows the POS system to accept credit cards, eliminating the need for a separate credit card terminal.
Cash Drawer: Stores cash payments of customers. Usually connected to the POS terminal.
Central Control Unit: The main computer to which all POS terminals are linked.
Check reader: Similar to a card reader, a check reader scans a customers check and verifies available funds. Check readers can be linked to a merchant service, and have the capability to convert a check into a debit transaction, allowing for quicker receipt of funds.
Check conversion service: A merchant service provided by banks that allows processing checks as a debit transaction. A check reader is required to scan and verify checks.
Credit card terminal: A device that performs credit card processing functions, such as accepting payments.
Customer display: Also called a customer pole display, this is a screen that displays information such as total price for a customer at a POS terminal.
Hardware: Physical components of a POS system, such as a credit card machine for credit card processing.
Keyboard: A component of a POS terminal. Information can be input using a traditional keyboard or a customized one, depending on the business.
Scanner: A device used to scan barcodes on products. Scanners allow employees to input product information more quickly and accurately than some other methods.
Signature capture device: A component of a credit card terminal used to capture and record the electronic signature of a customer who has paid by credit card. Avoids the need to keep and store signed paper receipts.
Software: The program components of a POS system. Software is often industry-specific or customized to the needs of an individual business owner.
Terminal: A station where sales information is input, such as a cash register.
Touch Screen: A screen on a POS terminal that allows the user or employee to easily specify the items a customer is purchasing. Touch screens are easy to use and better suited for some industries that cannot scan products, such as restaurants or bars.