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Coin-operated machines and cash registers: practical, reliable and secure
So, what exactly is automatic about an automatic cash register? Since the invention of the cash register in 1878, an automatic register is just a cash register. Yet, its degree of automatism has advanced with technological developments. Cash registers began by printing out a receipt automatically, then automatically recorded sales, then performed an automatic electronic calculation, then automatically read barcodes, thus becoming what their contemporaries have called each successive generation - automatic cash registers.
The new generation of cash registers adds two automatic functions that are truly revolutionary – the automatic change machine and the automatic self-service cash register. Both types of cash register have become more popular in recent years with both small traders and in supermarkets. The features and advantages of these new models make them suitable for different types of businesses.
How do these two types of cash register work? What are their respective advantages? How much should a retailer expect to spend on one?
The new types of automatic cash registers and how they work
These two types of cash register each demonstrates a different definition of the "cash register" – the cash register as a simple cash drawer for the first and the cash register as a full payment station for the second. Explanations.
The automatic change machine – an automatic cash drawer
With automatic change machines, the cashier no longer needs to enter the cash payment of the customer or hand them any change that may be due. The automatic change machine, also known as a cash recycler or change counter is, therefore, in a way a simple automatic cash drawer.
It is usually in the form of a large, solid column, secured to prevent theft. It is often placed in front of the cash register itself to which it is connected so that the transactions can be recorded.
It usually accepts both banknotes and coins.
In short, it is an accessory to the cash register in the same way as an electronic point of sale.
The fast checkout – an all-in-one self-checkout
With self-service fast checkouts, the cashier has nothing to do except check that everything runs smoothly and provide assistance in the event of problems. These cash registers allow the customer to manage all the stages of checking out independently by scanning barcodes directly. Hence the term "self-checkout".
This type of cash register is made up of:
- a touch screen with a simplified interface (and, therefore, appropriate cash register software),
- scales so that the customer can weigh their fruit and vegetables,
- a barcode reader (either fixed, handheld or both) for scanning items,
- and one or more payment interfaces (bank card reader and automatic change machine) so the customer can pay for their shopping.
These automatic cash registers are often grouped in a specific area of the supermarket where operations can be checked by a cashier who can assist the customer in the event of problems (bugs, jams, specific incidents etc.)
A maximum number of articles is sometimes specified as too many can slow down the checkout process since – contrary to what you may think – a fast checkout operated by a non-professional is slower than a traditional checkout operated by a cashier.
The advantages of automatic cash registers
These cash registers have many benefits for both the customer and the merchant and their business.
The advantages of automatic change machines
The main advantage of automatic change machines is improved security in handling cash in a public place. It is no coincidence that they first appeared in banks and no coincidence either that bakeries are often equipped with this machine.
By concentrating all change in an imposing, unbreachable column that is often sealed, the aim is to deter criminals as the staff themselves do not have access to the money.
But there are also practical advantages for the customer and the trader.
- The right change returned to the customer – errors are no longer possible,
- Better hygiene as staff no longer need to handle coins,
- The automatic authentication of banknotes and rejection of counterfeits,
- Better queue management – transaction time is more constant, which results in a more streamlined checkout process,
- And, of course, time saved thanks to simplified counting, collection, floats and bank deposits as everything is calculated by the automatic cash register.
The advantages of independent automatic cash registers
The main reason they are installed is not security but cost-saving.
As the cashier is no longer needed, except one for five or six automatic cash registers for monitoring, considerable savings can be made in terms of wage costs. So, it is no surprise that we often find automatic cash registers in supermarkets, which are synonymous with low margins and high volumes.
They also have all the benefits of change machines described above as they necessarily include this type of accessory.
There are also "business" advantages:
- The ease and rapidity of installation, which means they can be an ideal overflow solution at peak times,
- The streamlining of queues, as long as the maximum number of articles is limited, as customers take longer using these cash registers than professional cashiers do using traditional checkouts,
- Space-saving as these cash registers are much less bulky than traditional cashier-operated machines with conveyor belts.
Automatic cash registers – Price
As these two types of cash registers are completely different in both the number of their features and the extent of the benefits they bring traders, their prices are logically appreciably different.
Automatic change machines – Price
Change machines are ultimately a fairly accessible accessory even for local shops.
For purchase, they can be negotiated for prices starting around 2,000 euros or up to 5,000 euros for the fastest, most secure models.
They can also be rented for a price that may initially seem interesting but quickly rises to 20-25 euros per day.
Automatic cash registers – Price
With independent cash registers, the B2B customer enters a whole different price category.
It is very difficult to find a single complete model, including a change machine, bank card reader, terminal, scales and display for less than 10,000 euros.
Prices are rarely communicated by the manufacturers who generally – but not always – deal with large accounts for which each price is negotiated based on high volumes. It is, therefore, essential to request several quotes for automatic cash registers to accurately identify the budget that corresponds to your needs.