In today’s fast moving world, customers spare no time for payments once they are done choosing products from retail shelves or meals at a restaurant. Even the customers, who seem to linger between shelves, become impatient at payment terminals. With payment terminals being the least favorite place customers want to be at, they need to look friendly. This friendliness can be achieved by making the payment process faster and more accurate with a POS (Point of Sale) system implementation. A POS system is a set of computer hardware, software and peripherals integrated together to work as a whole system, for example: A PC running POS software with a receipt printer, RFID or magnetic card reader and a bar code scanner, makes up a POS system together. There are also companies that manufacturers all-in-one POS systems, which are easier to deploy and use than the assembled ones. All-in-one POS systems come with all essential hardware and peripherals already integrated in an ergonomically and easy to use design.
All-in-one POS systems typically come with a touch screen, receipt printer, cash drawer, magnetic stripe reader and bar-code scanner. Some high-end POS system may also incorporate a built-in fingerprint scanner. All-in-one POS terminals have all essential hardware and peripherals and often do not need an additional hardware, however, additional hardware can be connected should the need arise. POS systems are very popular from small to large retailers and why not, it not just the billing that they can take care of. POS systems simplifies hours of manual work by recording transactions and providing customized reports, unlike the manual cash register system.
Benefits of implementing a POS system
Billing automation and improved efficiency
There is no need to input item code or description during billing. All product information is filled instantly with a bar-code scan of the product. Real time integration with inventory eliminates chance of any human error. Accounting efforts are greatly reduced after implementing a POS system. It generates comprehensive reports to provide all the details in a few clicks. POS system automates many tasks, which could have been time intensive in a manual system.
Integrated inventory management system
POS systems have built-in inventory management system, anything going below a certain stock level will raise an alert. POS systems can maintain vendor and supplier lists, so reordering stocks becomes easy. Manual management of inventory becomes a near impossible task in a medium to large retail store. Running out of stock of a hot selling product can result in profits that could not be earned. Out of stock scenarios occur more often in manual system and can be easily addressed with a POS system.
Reports, analytics and management
Fetching past records of transactions becomes a matter of few clicks in a POS system, which could have taken hours to sort through papers in a manual system. POS systems do much more than what their name suggests. They come handy when a need arises to apply some analytics like what products are moving fast, customer’s buying habits, particular product selling on particular season/time, etc. Analytics capabilities may depend on capabilities or customization of your POS system. POS systems also provide performance reports of overall business. These reports can be helpful in estimation of future business prospects. POS systems are available as off-the-shelf software, however, some software vendors do offer customized POS systems as per the business needs.
Employee friendliness and customer satisfaction
New generation employees who grew up with smartphones, tablets, touch screens and computers; feel more comfortable on POS systems. POS systems not only benefit businesses, customers also benefit from faster processing and informative billing. Since a POS system comes integrated with inventory management system, customers receive itemized bills with detailed product, tax, list price, sale price and payment information.
POS systems of different stores locations can be connected via web and a single system can be used to manage multiple locations.
Security threats to a POS system
POS systems are great to employ, they can empower retail and hospitality businesses, expedite processes and save a lot of time of customers, however, being a connected IT system, they are prone to vulnerabilities of any connected IT system. POS systems around the world perform numerous transactions each day and exchange sensitive credit / debit card details over the internet. This association with payment card information makes POS systems a target of hackers and other people with malicious intentions. Criminals can steal information by anchoring a monitoring device to the POS system, installing a malware remotely or sniffing information over the internet. POS systems verify card details by connecting to the card issuer via the internet. This information stays unencrypted for a while and remote hackers can steal it during that unencrypted time frame.
Security of a POS system can also be compromised by an employee or a staff member who has access to the system. Employees can take advantage of loopholes of the whole process. Employee thefts is one of the loopholes, where a friend of an employee poses as a customer and the POS operator lets some of the items go unbilled. A crafty staff member can install a malicious application to steal customer’s debit or credit card details or anchor a device on the network that sniffs the communication taking place to and fro the POS system. POS Systems are so much targeted for stealing card information that there are malware programs that are specially written for POS systems.
How a fingerprint scanner can make a POS system securer?
Biometric technology can strengthen security of a POS system by deploying a superior authentication method. A fingerprint scanner, being the most cost effective, secure and easy to install biometric authentication method, can add an extra layer of security to a POS system. Fingerprint authentication might look like new technology on smartphones and tablets, but as a matter of fact, it is relatively old and has been used at various fronts where secure authentication or identification is required.
Since POS systems process a number of credit / debit card transactions, they are always a target for information theft. Adding fingerprint authentication to a POS system ensures user accountability if any incident takes place. Traditional Login ID and passwords based protection pose more chances of compromising sensitive data like card details in comparison with fingerprint authentication. With fingerprint biometrics, users cannot use someone else’s credentials to login into the POS system. If a user tries to manipulate the system or install a malware, it can be easily caught.
Fingerprint authentication with proper surveillance can also encounter cases of employee thefts. It also eliminates buddy punching and increases payroll efficiency. Fingerprint authentication for logging into a POS system can deter any malicious attempts to steal information or abusing the system. All the areas of a POS system, where password authentication is a requirement, can be replaced with fingerprint authentication. It provides superior security as compared to passwords, which can be shared, forgotten and even stolen. Once integrated with the software and hardware, fingerprint scanner takes charge of POS security and all personnel have to scan their fingerprint before they can access or use the POS terminal. Use of fingerprint scanner in a point of sale system also makes it future-proof for fingerprint based payments, which are expected to gradually replace card based payments.