Cash Drawers

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Cash Drawers vs Cash Registers

Cash drawers are considerably different from cash registers.

A cash drawer (or "till") is part of a cash register. It's the 'drawer' that pops open when a sale is rung up and it's the place where currency is stored, usually just during business hours.

A cash register is a cash drawer plus a receipt printer plus sales processing and end-of-day reconciliation of sales with the total of money in the drawer. It is a complete 'cash-register program'.

A register typically prints a receipt on 3-inch-wide receipt paper. The receipt includes the date, name of store (and address), invoice or transaction number, items purchased and quantity of each, sales tax, discounts, notes about the purchase and slogans like "Thank you for shopping with us". The paper is common paper sold in most office-supply stores.

Registers can be connected to barcode scanners, scales, check stands and credit-card/debit-card terminals. They can calculate sales tax and discounts, record details of transactions and record payment methods.

The BCSS software combined with a receipt printer, barcode scanner and cash drawer supplant a cash register and perform the same functions including printing sales receipts with detailed information, removing sold items from inventory and scanning barcodes at POS to populate the new-sale (invoice) screen. (It should be noted that stores selling used merchandise and having a 'no-return policy' may not need to print receipts and can forego the cost of such a printer. See discussion.)

A register has an "NS key" (No Sale) which allows the drawer to be opened without entering a sale or printing a receipt. BCSS has been configured to open the cash drawer by pressing a key on the keyboard for the same purpose. This was done so that stores could eliminate the receipt printer and still have the ability to open the drawer.

Registers can be used in conjunction with BCSS but that does require some additional double entry (unless the register in only being used as a cash drawer).

The POS-X cash drawer and other hardware used with Best Consignment Shop Software can be viewed on the hardware page.

The POS-X Heavy-Duty Cash Drawer ($133 or $183) attaches to the receipt printer and opens when a sales receipt is printed. It can connect directly to the PC if a printer is not used ($183). Either way it can be opened in BCSS by pressing a keyboard key. The drawer can be locked.

Change the Date on Your Computer

When entering inventory items in batch for a date other than the current date, changing the date in Windows will avoid having to edit the date entry for each item.

  1. Click on the date/time display at the very lower-right corner of the Windows screen. (If the date/time isn't showing, the taskbar may be hidden. Hovering over the bottom of the Windows screen will make it appear if the taskbar location wasn't changed from the default of 'bottom'. Alternatively, click on the Start Button and type 'date' then select the option to change date and time.)
  2. Click on 'Change date and time settings'.
  3. Click on 'Change date and time'.
  4. Use the calendar to select the desired date.
  5. Click OK twice to close the date/time window.
  6. Remember to change the date back to the current date when finished with the task that required this change.

Reopening BCSS (and screens within the program that display 'date') will now display the revised date.

This hack is helpful when adding several items to inventory, for example, where the 'Date In' is different from the current date. It can also be helpful when creating new client records when the beginning date for new clients differs from the current date.

Remember to change the date back to the current date when finished with the task that required this change.

POS Cash Drawers for Consignment Stores

A 'drawer' is different from a 'register' (till). A register has a drawer but a drawer doesn't calculate sales transactions and print receipts, or provide the means to balance at the end of the day. A 'drawer' is just a place to store valuables.

A cash drawer will not prevent all forms of theft. It is possible, for example, for a store clerk or employee to process a sale, pocket the money and void the sale after the transaction has been recorded. Good consignment software programs (like BCSS) allow the store owner to prevent anyone from voiding a sale without authorization. BCSS also allows store owners to deny access to software functions, and it provides for real-time audit of the till by employee.


A drawer commonly does not connect to the computer but connects to a receipt printer which connects to the computer. When the POS software sends a command to print a receipt, the receipt printer sends a command to the drawer to open.

Many consignment stores don't need to print receipts because receipts have no purpose if there is a no-return policy in place. More advanced consignment software like BCSS allows the drawer to be connected directly to the computer. Such a program also provides an alternative to printing a receipt for those times when a receipt in requested.

Drawers with Key Locks

For peace of mind and to avoid tempting sticky fingers, it's common practice for consignment stores to utilize cash drawers with locks for safe keeping of money. It makes good business sense to keep all forms of money under lock and key to avoid theft.

A drawer with a lock is not necessary, but the mechanism of unlocking the drawer with a key is a good backup to opening the drawer with a 'no-sale key' or depending upon software to always send the signal to the receipt printer to print a receipt and open the cash drawer, and for the printer to perform as expected. Mechanical unlocking protects against a number of possible problems, including power outage.