How to use a cash register

Find out everything you need to know to use a cash register for your small business.

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How do small businesses in South Africa use cash registers?

Cash registers are everywhere you go when shopping. But have you ever thought about how they work because you need one for your small business? Find out more about operating a cash register. You might need to know how all these bells and whistles work because that is how you could collect your cash as a small business entrepreneur. 

We had a great chat with Jen, who owns her own health shop called Cyrus Farms Health Store. 

Jen gave us helpful info about cash registers after asking her popular questions about using cash registers.

What cash note handling tips do you have for using a cash register?

 “I would say that you would need to set up a proper cash float to have change to give customers if needed. I would also keep a petty cash book to keep track of the money that flows in and out of your cash register. This will also help you cash up at the end of each day.”

How do you use a cash register machine? 

“I would say read the instructions inside the manual for your cash register. I went over the instructions in the manual to do a simple transaction, and yeah, I would say putting some time into reading your manual.” 

What tips do you have to make working a cash register faster?

“Definitely by pre-saving all your products so that you could just highlight the courts drawing up a code poster so that it's easy for a quick reference, they would definitely help. ”

What tips do you have for someone using a cash register for the first time? 

  • “Please remember to breathe. It can be overwhelming, especially when you've got a queue of people waiting. Just slowly process payments one step at a time.

  • Don't rush. 

  • “Don’t make your processes too complicated.

  • “I think it would be good to put little written tips down on cards for quick reference and keep them under your cash register for easy access to them. So if you get stuck and flustered, you help yourself quickly. 

  • “Practice using your cash register - it’s not like your till paper costs a million bucks.”

How do you avoid cash shortages with a cash register?

“Make sure that you have enough coins and notes that you expect to need for the day ahead. For example, a cash float of R150 most likely won’t be enough to cover you for a day.”

Jen gave us some good tips to get going with a cash register. Do you still have questions? Then, let’s dive a little deeper into the ins and outs of cash registers.

Learn more about how to use a cash registers

Read on to get more information about cash registers to cover your bases before using one.

What exactly is a cash register?

A cash register is also known as a ‘till’. It is a machine that records amounts paid and processes cash in a retail point-of-sale (POS) system. There are four popular types: POS cash registers, electronic cash registers, tablets or mobile cash registers, and cloud-based cash registers.

Setting up a cash register

First, choose a suitable flat surface in your shop, preferably near other POS terminals (e.g. where you keep your card machine). The ideal spot will be where customers will usually be paying you. Second, plug the register straight into the socket.

Insert the battery

A cash register usually has battery backup power for the cash drawer in case of a power failure. Install it before you start operating the cash register. Then, remove the receipt cover of the battery compartment, insert the battery, and close the cover. Replace the battery once a year to allow for optimal functioning.

Next, install receipt paper rolls

A cash register could print receipts after every sale. Find the receipt drawer, open the cover, and install a receipt roll at the front of the register. This is where the cashier tears off receipts for customers. Press the ‘feed’ button to do a test run.

You can buy paper rolls at most stationery shops. It's best to keep a few spare rolls of paper for your cash register.

How to unlock the drawer

Your cash register should have a lockable cash drawer. You will have to use the key provided when unlocking the drawer for the first time. After the drawer has opened, leave the key in the drawer.

Be careful not to lose this key as you use it to lock the register after each sales session.

Now switch on the cash register

You might need to press the ON/OFF button or turn a key to the REG position to activate the register. Some later models may have a MODE button which you need to press and select the REGISTER mode.

Configure the cash register

‘Configure’ is just a fancy computer term that means to set up a computer system for a specific purpose. For example, your retail store will have taxable and non-taxable items. You can program these and the time and date by accessing the program function. Don’t freak out, but some cash registers have four buttons - catering to different tax rates such as Value Added Tax (VAT).

Connecting with other POS systems

A POS (Point of Sale) terminal used to process sales at retail stores has a cash drawer, a credit card reader, a receipt printer and a barcode scanner. These are usually connected wirelessly via Bluetooth. Always ensure the POS system operates correctly by running several test runs before the store opens.

Close the drawer immediately

This is done for security purposes. At the end of each day, empty and balance the cash drawer. And that’s it!

What about a card machine?

How will you handle card payments? Mobile card machines are popular for processing card payments for small businesses. These cashless payments make life much easier for customers. For example, Yoco Go takes card taps, inserts, swipes and digital payment methods like Apple Pay, Google, and Samsung.

You can make it happen

Take your business to the next level by mastering how you process your customer transactions. So, learn, adapt and grow your business to make you famous. Get in touch with us today.

Source: How to use a cash register? Basic guide to operating a cash register

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