When considering a modern cashier machine, the primary benefit for any business is that it records every purchase. Furthermore, it provides a written receipt for the customer detailing the item price and tax rate. Modern digital machines also use price codes, accept card payments and remember customer accounts, to name but a few.
But how much does this technology cost?
On average, you can expect to pay from under $100 for the most basic to over $2,000 for a top-range model. Many reputable manufacturers produce modern computerized cash registers with heaps of features at very affordable prices. Moreover, you can customize and program them to support almost any type of business, from a small independent craft store, bar, or restaurant to a much larger grocery store, discount warehouse, or technology center.
Cash register costs have reduced considerably in recent years, making them easier for small businesses and start-ups to afford. Therefore, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t invest in a modern electronic cash register with all the features to help your business run smoother and more efficiently.
In this guide, we intend to tell you about some of the models available, their features and how much you can buy them for. Moreover, you’ll find that many manufacturers sell through independent agents, so expect prices to vary considerably.
How Much Do Cash Registers Cost?
Cash register prices vary depending on the features each one offers. Below we have listed a mix of entry-level, mid-level, and high-level cash registers and their estimated costs. Furthermore, we haven’t listed them in any particular order.
|Clover Station Solo||High level||$1,350-$1,650 or $65/month|
|Lightspeed POS Cash Register||High-level||$70-$200/month|
|Royal POS 1500||Mid-level||$650-$800|
|Sharp XEA107||Entry level||$170-$250|
|Square Register||Mid-level||$800 or $40/month|
*We have compiled these facts and figures from various online sources. They were accurate at the time of writing (September 2021) but may have since changed. Also, please keep in mind these may not be like-for-like comparisons as each brand offers different solutions. Therefore, you should use this guide as a starting point for your research.
Below we’ve detailed each cash register model’s features and benefits.
Clover Station Solo
The Clover Station Solo is a fully integrated commercial cash register. Moreover, you can link it to the Clover point of service system. It’s easy to adjust this model to any business, whether a bar, restaurant, or convenience store. And, it contains everything you need to manage your inventory, customers, and your employees.
Although it can work in any industry, it’s specifically designed for restaurant owners, with fully integrated table mapping and menus. Furthermore, If you wish, you can add portable payment processors and card readers to the system, with the Clover using WiFi and LTE communications. Finally, the machine produces sales and performance reports so you can keep up-to-date on your sales.
Typical prices range from $1,350 to $1,650.
Lightspeed POS Cash Register
The Lightspeed POS Cash Register is ideal for retail premises that also use the Lightspeed POS system. Moreover, the model also has everything you need to run a hospitality business too.
More of its features include:
- Cloud data back-ups.
- Integrated with Lightspeed point of sale system.
- Accepts debit, credit, and gift card payments.
- Integrates with Door Dash and Uber EATS.
- Synchronizes with orders from your online sales portal.
- Uses iPad mobile terminals.
This cash register costs $69/month for the BASIC system, $119/month for the STANDARD system, or $199/month for the ADVANCED. Alternatively, if you’re a high-volume retailer with a large business, contact the company for their ENTERPRISE pricing.
Royal POS 1500
The Royal POS 1500 is a touchscreen cash register, ideal for a retail convenience store, bar, or similar enterprise.
In addition, the register offers the following features:
- 12″ LCD touchscreen in full color.
- Supports age verification.
- Calculates tax for different states.
- Flags up age-restricted products.
- Integrates with a separate thermal printer.
- Works with guest discounts, group discounts, and loyalty schemes.
- It has 200 keys with individual prices and various tax rates.
- It has a customer-facing price display panel.
Typically, average costs range from $650 to $800.
The Sharp XEA107 is ideal for a small business or any company looking for a cheap cash register. It also comes with a free card payment terminal if you choose to join Sharp’s Merchant Services.
Additionally, this model has the following features:
- Eight programmable departments.
- 31 user programmed keys.
- 80 Price Look-Up Codes.
- Allows four servers to use the till at the same time.
- Compact size for small counter-tops.
- Integrated thermal printer.
- The keys include Microban® for microbe protection.
- Large operator display panel.
Typically, average costs for this cash register range from $170 to $250.
The Sharp XEA207 helps out any retail or hospitality business. It offers basic operation together with support for 600 customers a day.
Its many features include:
- Fully programmable 53 button keyboard.
- Has 2,000 Price Look-Up Codes.
- Allows 25 cashiers to use the machine.
- Reporting and performance recording.
- Integrates with QuickBooks Pro.
- LCD price panel.
- Thermal printer.
Usually, you can buy this machine for between $350 and $550.
Square Register is ideal for any store using the Square point of sale system. Moreover, the cash register is fully integrated with a touchscreen, integrated card payment system, and a customer-facing display panel.
Furthermore, some of its many features include:
- Integrates with Shopify point of sale system.
- Although it has an integrated receipt printer, you can buy individual printers if you prefer.
- Complete integrated customer management system.
- Unlimited Price Look-Up Codes.
- This deal comes with all tablets and screens.
Typically, the cost for this cash register is $800 or $40/month.
Components of a Cash Register Till System
Although many cash registers are as different as chalk and cheese, they all have components in common. And it’s those items that a retailer must know how to use. Moreover, the cash register you choose has specifics that work well for your particular business.
You probably bought your existing cash register as a readymade bundle. However, it’s common for retailers to purchase each component separately to suit their circumstances, just like you would a PC. But, you’ll find the prices of the various components differ depending on the brand and the level of technology used in the component.
Let’s look at the components common to nearly all cash registers to understand why you need them.
The hardware is the brains of the outfit. It contains the computer chip or CPU that runs the software and provides the basis of the register. Moreover, the software manufacturer designed the program to run point of sale activities like sales transactions, credit or debit card reading, issuing reports and receipts, and controlling inventory. Furthermore, for many of these, the machine needs access to the internet. However, you mustn’t use the cash register for the internet activities you would do on your PC or phone. Instead, use the CPU to do what it was designed for.
Items for sale in your store will usually have a barcode attached. At the point of sale, a barcode reader scans this to extract essential data. Moreover, the scanned information tells the software the item’s price and its tax level. Furthermore, the barcode also tells the CPU to reduce the item’s stock level, so you know when to order more. From this data, the software knows which items sell and which don’t.
Depending on the type of machine, some registers don’t have a physical keyboard. Instead, they have a touchscreen to allow the retailer to interact with the software. This input device is standard in food and drink outlets where you can preprogram entire menu items onto the screen with the associated price. All the user has to do, is touch the menu item to charge it to the tab. Moreover, some systems also send the order directly to the kitchen or serving area. This saves time and reduces mistakes as they are much faster than keyboards. Moreover, touchscreen devices save counter space when there isn’t much room.
Usually, if the input device doesn’t use a scanner or touchscreen, it displays numbers and keys with names such as SUBTOTAL, TAX, and TOTAL. The keys allow the retailer to manually input an item’s price, calculate tax, and add up the subtotals of each, giving a total that the customer must pay. However, even if you have a scanner, registers often have numeric keys as a backup to input prices manually. Alternatively, the keys might be physical push-button keys like you find on a PC keyboard or electronic keys that you can program for special functions.
So, before purchasing a register, determine the type of input device you need for an efficiently run store based on your business type.
If you have a supermarket with more than one till and many mobile scanners used in the retail area when stacking shelves, you may want them linked. For example, you have a till adding sales to the sales ledger and deducting stock from inventory. At the same time, you will have colleagues stacking shelves. Moreover, they will also price each item with a scanner, which adds them to the inventory. If everything is linked wirelessly, you can monitor and update all prices and stock levels from a central manager’s desk. The main machine monitors and connects every terminal, managing inventory, pricing, discounts, etc.
The retailer always needs a display detailing the items bought and price totals. But so does the customer. Previously, it was visible to the rear of the till. However, it’s become more common to separate the customer display from the till, thus providing better cash security.
When not in use, some displays can also provide messages to the customer or advertise special offers.
Each transaction needs a receipt as proof of purchase for the customer and as an aid for the retailer to check inventory and end-of-day sales figures. The solution is to include a printer. Many tills have a printer supplying written confirmation of transactions built into the main casing, while others have a separate printer. The choice depends on your preference and how you have set up your countertop.
Usually, cheap printers produce a receipt using a simple dot-matrix system. Alternatively, more expensive printers use a thermal or laser printing method. Generally, the paper used for a dot matrix receipt is cheaper than the special paper for thermal printing.
You could regard this component as the essential part of a cash register. The cash drawer is where the retailer stores the money, checks, discount vouchers, gift certificates, and credit card receipts. It’s also the place from where the retailer gives change. Incidentally, if you have an entirely cash-free business, for example, taking payments over the phone, then you won’t need this item.
A card reader is a way for the customer to pay for the transaction using a credit or bank debit card. Most card readers also input data from loyalty cards and gift cards.
The till might have an integrated card reader. However, it’s usually more common to use a separate unit remotely connected to the till by cable, WiFi, or Bluetooth. The card reader might consist of a magnetic strip reader and a PIN input keypad.
Card readers help speed up transactions using credit and debit cards, encouraging customers to pay for transactions without cash. Also, the PIN protects the retailer from accepting stolen credit cards. Moreover, the cashless transaction means there is less money in the till, so less chance of robbery.
Types of Cash Registers
There are four types of cash registers available to buy, although some might almost be obsolete.
Electronic Cash Registers (ECR)
ECRs have been used for many decades and were the only way to accept payment from credit and debit cards. Although initially, they were simply a method of accepting payment, the ECR gradually developed by adding inventory tracking, sales reporting, and rudimentary inventory management features. Moreover, although more modern CPU devices have superseded most of these models, they continue to be adequate for small retailers and other businesses that don’t need inventory tracking.
Generally, an ECR consists of a cash drawer with an input pad or screen above. Usually, old ECRs had push button analog keypads, while more modern models used digital buttons or primitive touchscreens. ECRs also came with compatible receipt printers and barcode scanners and were powered using mains electricity, although some models used batteries.
Generally, these tills are easy to set up and use, but those stores needing a more sophisticated inventory control system will require more modern tills.
Point of Sale (POS) Cash Registers
The electronic cash register eventually gave way to the Point of Sale (POS) register. These contain advanced CPUs that allow them to do many tasks previously unheard of. The POS can be regarded as a computer in a cash register housing, able to take on the tasks involved with sales, reporting, inventory control, and inventory updates. They can also be customized to allow for specialized use and therefore provides more flexibility across many industries.
A POS cash register always comes with scanners and card readers as standard and use purpose-made business software able to provide retail analysis and many other commercial procedures, including:
- Sales reports.
- Employee management.
- Inventory management.
- Loyalty programs.
- Customer relationship management.
- Sales discounts and promotions.
- Commission calculations.
- Till consolidation across multiple stores.
- Various accounting tools.
- Integration with eCommerce.
A POS register gives retailers more tools to run their stores and provides for an improved customer experience. Checkout areas and lines move noticeably faster while at the same time reducing cashier mistakes.
Mobile Cash Registers on Tablets
Many retailers such as restaurants and similar businesses prefer to use mobile cash registers on tablets. Sometimes called tablet point of sale or mPOS, each waiting staff member has a tablet to take orders, total bills, take payment using credit cards, and print receipts. Furthermore, the order can be electronically sent directly to the kitchen or serving area without the waiter leaving the floor.
Similarly, retailers with large retail spaces or showrooms can use the same mPOS solutions making all the transactions while interacting with the customer on the floor. Typically, the mPOS sends the order electronically to the warehouse, where colleagues select and pack the merchandise, ready for collection by the customer within minutes.
An mPOS comes with similar business operations as a POS, as they use similar software. Moreover, they cost much less than a traditional POS solution and are much smaller than a counter-top POS system. Also, employees can quickly move the tablets around the store
Unfortunately, mPOS tablets have their downsides too. They aren’t as fast as a desktop version and possess less processing power. Furthermore, they are easy to steal, and unscrupulous store workers might sell them.
However, they can usually operate as efficiently as a desktop version when linked to the scanner, receipt printer, and cash drawer peripherals.
Cloud-Based Cash Registers
One step on from a mPOS or POS system is to use the cloud. The only real difference between in-house and cloud transactions is the different software rather than hardware. Generally, using your point of sale cash register through the cloud allows for better connectivity. Any device loaded with the app can access the cloud-based system from any location on the planet. All you need is internet access. Then, at a central location, the software management company can update the software on all cash registers and tablets that use it. This is useful if you have a chain store and want all prices to change simultaneously on a particular day.
It also means that you can constantly monitor all inventory stock levels across stores and add extra deliveries if necessary. Similarly, business owners can monitor sales in every branch, track sales promotions, and perform accounts procedures anywhere they prefer. Even if the company is a small retail outlet, the business owner can do all accounts work through the cloud at home without carrying piles of paperwork and receipts.
You’ve probably already noticed a considerable advantage in using the cloud. Remote servers store all your data in the cloud. Therefore, if your premises get broken into or are involved in a devastating fire, you haven’t lost all your documentation showing inventory, sales, and other financial information necessary to run your business.
Finally, as with all cloud computing, a software update can occur overnight, and when the store opens in the morning, your employees are running the new software version immediately.
How Much Do Touchscreen Cash Registers Cost?
Cash register prices vary depending on the brand, type, model, and features that come with it. However, you can expect to see price tags from less than $100 to more than $2,000. Fortunately, this broad price variation means that a cash register is available to suit almost any budget, including small convenience stores that don’t have a big budget. However, if you are a store that’s starting small and intends to be a big name one day, you need a scalable cash register. Therefore, go for a point of sale system, such as those we’re considering now.
These simple machines come with a basic electronic display, a receipt printer, a keypad, and a cash drawer. Although hi-tech, they are suitable for small businesses with a handful of employees. Prices must be entered manually, and the dot-matrix printed receipts show only basic information. However, these are perfect for most small businesses.
You can buy an entry-level machine from big names such as Royal, Sharp, and until recently, Casio, who have stopped selling new cash registers, although there’s still a roaring trade in pre-owned Casios. Typically, prices for this level range from $100 to $350. But you can buy a Sharp XEA 107 for between $170 and $250 or the Sharp XEA 207 for around $350.
Mid-level cash registers cost slightly more than entry-level machines. But, if you can pay a bit more, you will buy a model with more sophisticated features. Models in this category tend to favor displays facing the customer and thermally printed receipts. You will also find that most have a laser barcode scanner to speed up the transaction time.
The CPUs in these models have enough processing power to remember product information, and you can use the Product Look-Up Code feature if the item hasn’t got a barcode. Prices for this range go from around $300 up to $800.
Although you can’t buy new Casio machines anymore, a preowned Casio SE 3500 is good enough for most transactions. But if you’re after a new model, purchase a Royal POS 1500 for around $700, or an ideal machine for restaurants might be the Sam4s ER 940 for around $650.
One of the top-end models you can try is a Clover Station Solo. This POS retails for around $1,500. And, if you’re interested, Clover sells entry and mid-level POS systems as well. Alternatively, you can lease one for around $65/month. However you decide to pay, this model’s perfect for all large retail stores. It has touchscreen controls with many programmable keypad buttons. And, you use a high-end printer with it too.
Considerations & Questions To Ask
There are many questions you could ask a POS sales team when you’re deciding on the right cash register for your business. These are just a few of the questions you can ask. I’m sure you can think of a few more relevant to your business needs. Typically, the answers you receive will guide you to the best POS system for your particular industry.
Why do I need a modern point of sale system rather than my old cash register?
Your old machine will eventually break down, and discontinued models have problems getting spares. Also, a new machine can help to streamline the transactions in your store and make the after-hours bookkeeping much more manageable. A new machine will also notify you when stocks are running low.
Do I need a touchscreen?
These days your employees expect a computerized device to have touch screen capability. There are no moving parts, so there’s no wear and tear on a keypad. Finally, if you work in a dusty or wet environment, there’s less chance of the keys becoming clogged.
Could portable payment terminals help me in my bar?
Think how much easier it would be for your waiters to take card payments at the tables. Your customers won’t have to line up at the counter to pay at a central cash register. Furthermore, if you go one step further, you can buy a mobile POS system, enter orders directly at the table, wirelessly send them to the bar or kitchen, and accept card payments.
Is it worthwhile running a customer loyalty scheme?
Definitely yes. You build up a dedicated following of loyal customers who keep coming back for more of your product. At the same time, they’re earning points off purchases and automatically receiving notifications of discounts and special offers.
How can I make sure my customers get the same in-store discounts as they do when buying online?
By electronically linking your online sales to your in-house sales, you can alter the prices in each just by entering a single price change or code number.
How long does budgeting and sales reporting take each week?
Well, this answer depends on how big your company is. But, if your POS system has done most of the work for you during the week as each transaction takes place, it’s a simple job for you to read the figures. Then, you check that the weekly takings match the numbers on the printout and find out if you need to order any stock. At an educated guess, we’d say that if you work on this for more than two hours a week, you are spending too long.
Can my front desk colleagues access customer bookings and account details from the sales terminal?
Even small POS systems have enough processing power to remember your account customers’ details. From there, it’s just a simple step to link to previous purchases and any other data. You can also check whether they have preferential discount levels.
Choosing a new cash register for your business can be difficult. You have to weigh up your company’s present needs with your projected size in five years. Moreover, you have to consider how easy the new machine is for your staff to learn, and its cost must also fall within this year’s budget allocation.
Complete the form on this page, and we’ll put you in touch with companies that can send you quotations for the cost of cash registers that will suit your business today and in the future.