A business uses a POS machine to make financial transactions. The acronym stands for point-of-sale.
Essentially, these machines are the cash registers that you see in a variety of locations, such as a supermarkets and clothing stores. The purpose of a modern, technologically advanced POS machine is to make secure transactions, since an increasing number of people use debit cards or credit cards to pay for merchandise.
There are numerous other devices that also qualify as POS machines or as accessories to them. A typical, modern POS Machine uses an operating system that is common to many computers on the market today.
Microsoft Windows is widely used because many businesses assume that their workers will already possess a familiarity with this interface and need less training. However, Apple also makes software for point-of-sale machines and there are a number of free, open source POS software programs available on the internet
Each type of software has distinct characteristics. These machines automate many of the tasks that used to take people much longer to perform.
The credit card readers in place at most retail outlets today can scan the magnetic strip for identification purposes, secure authorization of the charge and even read your signature with a digital pen to verify your identity. All of this is done securely and resists all forms of computer surveillance.
This capability is crucial if people are going to feel confident enough to use their debit cards and credit cards at a particular business. These machines even print out the receipt
There are actually several devices in stores and other businesses that fall into the category of a POS machine. Besides the cash register and the credit card reader that many recognize from personal experience, the receipt printer and the bar code scanner are also considered POS machines and they use point-of-sale software.
The two purposes of a POS machine / Card Swipe Machine are to improve efficiency and provide financial security. Such a device can perform almost all of the actions of a cashier with greater alacrity and in greater security as well.
In most places, the checkout worker is still needed to watch over the machines, but even that role has become one of security as well. The checkout worker is really making sure that the customer pays for the goods sold.
Evidence of this changing role of the human worker and the increased capacity of the POS machine can be seen in any big box store. Many of these locations now offer self-service checkout.
The customer interacts with a highly capable POS machine while a worker watches over several of these machines at once. The POS machines are essentially doing everything but keeping you from walking out the door with the merchandise.
The POS machine has come a long way from the cash register of decades ago. Not only can these machines do what people used to do much faster, they can do much more.