How to Use a Modern Cash Register

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Operating a cash register is an essential workplace skill for those in the retail world. This is the point at which the financial transaction occurs, so it must be handled with care. Using a modern cash register isn't the most difficult task, but you do have to take some time to learn and understand the technology to assure that the job is done well. Failure to do so could lead to unnecessary mistakes that result in financial miscalculation and loss.

Prepare the register for daily sales. Be sure that the mode switch is in REG position, enter your clerk code, verify that there is enough tape in the register to print receipts, and make sure the cash drawer isn't locked and is ready with the correct amount of bills and change.

Scan the items the customer wants to purchase. Pay attention to multiple items so you don't over or undercharge. Instead of scanning multiples of the same item individually, scan one of the items and use the multiplication or "@/for" key to manually type in the quantity.

Enter coupons or other discounts. Scan the coupon if it has a barcode. If not, verify that the discount is valid and manually apply the discount using the "Discount" key.

Hit "Subtotal" and accept the payment. If the customer pays by credit or debit card, he'll swipe it through a separate machine that will connect with your register and automatically input the amount paid. If there are problems, manually enter the card number, expiration date and verification number. If the customer pays cash, type the exact amount of cash you're handed into the register.

Hit "Total" and give the customer her change and receipt. Count out the bills carefully, aloud so both you and the customer know the amount is correct. If the customer paid with a credit or debit card, have him sign the store's copy of the receipt if necessary.


Pay attention to the bills you're handed. If your employer requests that you drop large bills into a safe box, don't drop them until the customer has left the store. That way, if the customer says he handed you a hundred dollar bill when you thought it was a fifty, you have the bill on hand for verification.


Don't apply discounts on questionable or expired coupons or tax overrides without your manager's permission.

A transaction can only be voided by turning the mode switch with either a manager or operator key. Do not attempt to void a transaction by simply starting over. That starts a new transaction, but the old one is still on record. This can result in wrongful charges on the customer's credit or debit card, or in a short drawer.