Cash Register vs POS System
Quick Answer: The difference between a cash register and a POS (point-of-sale) is that POS systems are digital, many online or cloud-based, can process many payment methods and may offer additional features such as inventory tracking and a customer database. Cash registers are analog (non-digital), offline, and can transact cash purchases.
Scroll down below to see a deeper comparison between the two types and to help determine which is the best fit for your business.
Typically anywhere from $100 to $700; less expensive
Easy to use, reliable hardware, long-lasting capability
Limited functionality, basic reporting features
Next to $1,000 per year in hardware and fees.
Very robust feature sets, incredible functionality, multiple reporting options
Subscription fees, requires employee training
Cash Register vs. POS
Businesses today rise and fall at the speed of data, and the most important data comes from your customers when they vote with their wallets.
So, what is the big difference between a cash register and a POS (point of sale) system? Think of it this way, a cash register is basically a calculator attached to a lock box or cash drawer.
A POS system is a computer connected to your entire business that manages important information relevant to your business operations.
Both usually have some form of barcode scanner when configured for retail stores, but that is mostly where the similarities end. It's like going from a rotary dial phone to a smart phone.
Plus, POS systems can handle the calculator and lock box part, too.
Any retail business, whether it is small or large, can benefit from this type of data. A POS system can track sales so you know what is selling and what isn't. It can track inventory and help you with inventory management so you know what stock is running low and when to order more.
It can also help at tax time when you need to record your assets and inventory for filings. A cash register will record your financial transactions and have a place to store your cash, but it won't provide much else in the way of help for your business, which is a material disadvantage.
In this ruthlessly competitive business world, any disadvantage can kill a business before it gets off the ground.
Small, medium, and large businesses can all benefit from the data and knowledge to keep a true handle of their business.
You can track growth, adjust for downward trends, and help your business succeed in any environment with a POS system. Certain POS systems also help you implement customer management practices by storing all the information needed for things like loyalty clubs and customer outreach.
POS systems are also much more flexible in payment forms with the ability to accept things like Apple Pay, Pay-Pal or G-Pay. Cash registers can't do either of those!
Knowledge is power, the power to effectively manage your business. Leave the cash registers to the lemonade stands where they belong.
Because of these compelling reasons, POS systems are the clear choice for most businesses but if you are still only interested in a cash register then see our page on the best cash registers for small businesses or learn how to use a cash register.
If you are ready to start shopping for a POS system, click the button below to get started.