4 Essential Hardware Components for Your POS

September 18, 2014 - Written By Chris Yackulic

4 Essential Hardware Components for Your POS

Point of Sale is basically a cash register, but when you dig deeper you’ll discover there is a lot more to it. POS software is essential for managing your business. It is the cornerstone on which your business stands. But in order for it to function you’ll need the right hardware. There are a lot of companies that offer hardware bundles. Some may offer start-up kits with all the essential tools you’ll need. Others might give you junk. Here’s a quick list of the five most essential hardware components you’ll need to get your POS up and running.

The POS Terminal

The POS terminal is the computer which runs the POS system. Every business will need one. Small businesses usually just need one. According to Point of Sale, only 13 percent of businesses tend to need more than 10 POS terminals. Traditional POS terminals are quite bulky, needing a computer, a monitor, a keyboard, and a network hub. Modern POS providers like Shopify simplify the process by offering mobile options. You can now use your iPad as a POS terminal. All you’ll need is a paid account to have full access to their Cloud service and features. Whatever your choice is, choosing the optimal terminal is the first step in getting the right hardware for your POS.

Mobile POS terminals give far more flexibility than traditional systems. This is because all you’ll need is a stable Internet connection and an account with a merchant account provider. As a matter of fact, many companies have switched to mobile terminals. According to Payments Source, a whitepaper by Mobey Forum states that mobile POS terminals will reach a market penetration of 46 percent by 2017. 32 percent of US companies with five hundred employees and above are already using mobile POS terminals according to a Yankee Group IT study mentioned on Mobile Payments Today.

POS Card Reader

This is the hardware component that puzzles a lot of small businesses. You will need a credit card reader, but you also need to read its terms and conditions agreement. A lot of merchants fail to do so. This is why they get shocked by large transaction fees after accepting a credit card payment. Mobile POS providers offer some flexibility by giving you more than one option. You could either pay a certain percentage for every transaction or settle with a monthly fee. POS Software Guide suggests making sure that the POS card reader is compatible with the software on your POS terminal. It is always better to get hardware combined in a single bundle so that they are all guaranteed to be compatible.

Cash Drawer

You’ll need a cash drawer. That sounds simple enough, right? But having a cash drawer is not as simple as it may seem. Security is the biggest concern when it comes to the POS and that should be your primary concern. Looks and extra features come second to keeping the money safe. This is why you should get a cash drawer that has some form of safety lock. Some of the more advanced drawers need active logins on the terminal before they can open. Others need special login data from an ID or from a transaction. This will make sure the money does not go in or go out unless the transaction goes into the database. Having a physical lock is great too. It can come in handy in emergency situations such as robberies or with dishonest employees.

Physical Receipt Printer

The receipt printer might not seem like an important element, but it is. The receipt is the only physical proof that a transaction took place. It is important in calculating taxes and is important for refunds or product returns. This is why you will want a receipt printer that prints out the right info with the right size of paper. Usually it is up to the POS terminal to design what information prints on the paper. It also determines how the receipt looks, but you need to make sure that the printer has the appropriate size and compatibility.

Looking for Extra Hardware

There are a few extra hardware components that you might want as well, such as a barcode scanner. Online exclusive merchants won’t need one though. However, a scanner is important for those with a brick-and-mortar store for inventory management. Of course, along with a barcode scanner, you’ll need to get a barcode printer. They go hand-in-hand. Another piece of extra hardware is an iPad stand for those wanting a mobile POS terminal. Just make sure that the stand you get is appropriately sized for the iPad model you have.

Getting the right hardware components for your POS is the first step to smoother transactions. Mobile POS hardware is gaining traction these days. It doesn’t look like it has plans of slowing down either. Whether you choose the traditional POS or the more advanced mobile system, getting these four components is a must.