ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Business and Employment»
  • Marketing & Sales

What is a Point of Sale (POS) System?

Updated on September 29, 2012

What is a Point Of Sale System? Also known as a POS system, it is the system or tools used to make the sale of any item. It is the point where the sale takes place, where money changes hands and a receipt is received by the consumer. It may be a cash register at the local department store, the debit card reader on a cell phone at a craft show or the hand written ticket at a county fair. They are all a type of a Point Of Sale system. Technology has made the POS an easier and more mobile tool for businesses of all types. Here we will look at some different types and will help you find one that will work for you.

Regardless of the method of payment, the Point of Sale is when the funds change hands.
Regardless of the method of payment, the Point of Sale is when the funds change hands. | Source

Where is the Point Of Sale?

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, describes the Point Of Sale as: "Point of sale (POS) or checkout is the location where a transaction occurs in exchange for goods or services." You can read more about it at the link below. To make it simple, it is the point where the money is actually exchanges hands.

As an independent consultant for several home-based businesses, this takes on several different forms. We don't really think about it in these exact terms, but it is exactly that: the Point Of Sale. The POS at a yard sale is when you take the money and hand them their goodies. At a home party, it is when you accept payment and they receive their receipt. At a department store, it is the cash register. Online there are many methods including those used by many direct-sales companies. There are many types of POS systems. We will look at a few of them here including some different types used in home-based retail sales.

Customer Order Forms are a hand written documentation of the purchase and method of payment.
Customer Order Forms are a hand written documentation of the purchase and method of payment. | Source

Customer Order Forms

In many home-based businesses, the consultants use customer order forms. One copy of this form serves as a receipt for the customer while the other copies are used as an order form and an income document for the consultant. They are filled out by hand by the consultant and are the paper trail for the purchase. Most of them have an area on them for the documentation of the form of payment and the verification of the receipt of payment.

Each company has its own form with the information on it which is most conducive to the purchase of their products. In the long run, they are all the same. They are the receipt for the Point of Sale. The receipt of cash or a check from a customer makes it official. The sale is final within the policies of the company which is often included on the back of the order form.

Intuit offers a card reader plug-in device, GoPayment, for smartphones that makes using a credit or debit card work anywhere you are.
Intuit offers a card reader plug-in device, GoPayment, for smartphones that makes using a credit or debit card work anywhere you are. | Source

Credit Card Readers

Cash registers have been around since 1879. There have been many versions throughout the years. Likewise, there have been many payment methods. Cash, checks and credit cards are the more familiar methods to most of us. Debit cards have practically replaced the use of cash and checks for many people. Debit cards have gained great popularity due to their convenience and security.

In a retail location, most debit or credit cards are now swiped through an electronic authorization device often called a PINpad due to the number pad on the device used to enter a Personal Identification Number or PIN. These are conveniently located at the POS, which is most often called the checkout. The funds are electronically transferred from the consumers account to the retailers account automatically with a simple swipe. Not so long ago, cashiers would have to manually enter the numbers into a keypad which used a dial up connection to process the information. It is now instantaneously transferred and the transaction completed on the spot.

For home-based direct sales and independent business owners, the use of card readers has become a popular option. These are now available in a plug-in device which attaches directly to a cellular phone or other electronic device which will also electronically transfer the funds to an account for the business owner. There are some products offered by companies that are available for anyone to use. They are convenient and simple to use, making a transaction at an outdoor event quick and efficient for both the customer and the vendor.

There are several types available. Two popular card readers are the Intuit GoPayment by Intuit and the Square Card Reader. The GoPayment by Intuit is free and requires a small fee for each transaction. This is readily absorbed by the customer as a convenience charge. The monies are transferred to a prepaid debit card that is in the vendor or business owner's name. The vendor can then complete the order using this debit card or pay for their own business expenses using this card. It is quick and efficient and without hidden fees. This POS device is a handy business tool for the average person. Co-ordinators for groups can use it to control dues, equipment and uniform purchases by the individuals within the group and payments for expenses. They are extremely useful and the possibilities are practically endless!

Online checkouts make the Point Of Sale quick and easy for every shopper!
Online checkouts make the Point Of Sale quick and easy for every shopper! | Source

Online Checkout

If you have ever purchased anything from a store or catalog online, then you have used an online checkout POS. The purchase of an item using an online checkout may involve any one of several payment methods. This may be using an e-check, a credit or debit card, or even a payment system like PayPal. Whatever the method of transferring the funds, the use of the online checkout is only a laptop away! It is being used by major companies like Sears, insurance companies and direct sales companies all over the world. It offers consumers a quick and easy way to make payments on utilities or purchases of products. Online checkouts are quick and user-friendly. They make purchasing a product from around the world easy for everyone.

Making The Sale

There is software for POS that is product specific for restaurants, bars, retail stores, auto dealers, and on and on the list continues. Look for the software which is specific for your needs and you will find that you can make your POS a simple and effective way to exchange money for products and helping your business to become successful.

It all comes down to making the sale. The place, the method and the equipment are all just a part of making the sale. The POS is the most important part of any transaction. The exchange of money for a product or service is what makes a company successful. The use of the most up-to-date equipment, technology and software can make the sale quicker and more efficient. Consider what Point Of Sale is most efficient and put it to work making money for you.

text and photo copyright 2012 Deborah M. Carey

Share Your Thoughts And Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA


      Thank you for your gracious compliments! I too was a concrete check writer, but I LOVE my debit card! No more waiting for it to process! Thanks for reading! God bless!

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 5 years ago from Florida


      What a great hub, and now I know everthing about POS. My sister uses a debit card---I still cannot make myself use one---but she is working on me. I am an old fashioned check writer--LOL.

      I enjoyed your hub and I will tell my sister about it too.


      Bobbi Purvis