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We have collected an extensive list of some of the most commonly used terms and acronyms within the EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) industry, including a definition that explains what each term describes.

Glossary of Terms Explained

Barcode scanner that scans 1 dimensional barcodes, traditional barcode made up of varying black and white bands that reflect light produce a code.
A scanner that scans 2 dimensional barcodes; also known as QR codes. These have 2 dimensions of black and white pixels that reflect light to produce a code.
A/B testing (bucket tests or split-run testing) is a controlled experiment with two variants, A and B. It is a form of statistical hypothesis testing or "two-sample hypothesis testing" as used in the field of statistics. In online settings, such as web design (especially user experience design), the goal of A/B testing is to identify changes to web pages that increase or maximize an outcome of interest (e.g., click-through rate for a banner advertisement).
A customer has a relationship with a business, either through credit terms or loyalty scheme.
An Acquiring Bank enters into an agreement with a business and provides a bank account to deposit credit card payments into. It exchanges funds with the Issuing Bank and places these funds into the Merchant Bank Account minus any fees.
An applications ecosystem is a set of capabilities and processes that provides full lifecycle management of an application, from its creation to end-of-life.
Software that connects to an EPoS system to handle complex reporting, stock control, customer management and other management functions
A barcode is made up of varying black and white bands that reflect light produce a code.
An itemised list of a statement of charges or fees or a written or printed account or statement of money owed such as an account for food or drink in a restaurant
A blog originally came from the word “weblog” or a “web log”. You can think of it as an online journal or diary, although blogs are used for much more now, like online journalism. A blogger is someone who blogs, or writes content for a blog. Blogging is the act of writing a post for a blog.
A drawer, usually set in a cash register or EPOS system, that holds cash tendered from sales, as well as credit card receipts and other paperwork and change. Cash drawers should be secure and resistant to force.
Simple mechanical device used for recording sales and storing cash during a sale or transaction where money is exchanged for goods. Although technically incorrect, Electronic Cash Registers and EPoS systems are also referred to as Cash Register.
Customer Facing Display (CFD) is a second screen/display which shows customers, what they are ordering along with prices and total. It is also used to display promotions, greetings and other information of benefit to the customer.
A system for processing credit cards - or other smartcards - requiring the customer to enter a unique identification number instead of a signature to authorize a payment
CID means ‘Caller ID’, this is the number of the caller sent down the phone. TouchPoint and many other EPOS systems are capable of capturing this number and using it to look up customers in their database for capturing against telephone orders for home delivery
Hosted service delivered over the Internet to both fixed and mobile devices. The service or application processing is performed within the hosted environment, with just the user interface component available on the user's device via the Internet. The internet is often referred to as the cloud due to the nebulous way the infrastructure is routes data, the actual network paths are abstract concepts with no defined route from start point to endpoint, hence the term cloud based for services delivered through the internet.
Forces the manager to declare the amount of cash counted from the cash drawer when performing the end of day readings on the till.
A method of payment that uses a "tap" or "swipe" method on the credit/debit card to allow low value payments for goods without the need to authorise the payment through traditional means such as PIN. Aimed to speed up payment for low value sales. Some contactless payment systems, such as Apple Pay, may include a biometric element (e.g. fingerprint) for additional security.
‘Customer Relationship Management’ is a term used for the practices, analysis and technologies for customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle; the aim is to improve the business relationships with customers.
A person who buys goods or services from a shop or business
A screen facing the customer connected to the EPoS system that displays relevant information to the customer such as the sale information, additional offers, upselling or other promotions, loyalty balance or relevant advertisements.
A screen or facility used to keep track of information in real time. Often has various "widgets" to provide information about different areas of interest.
Digital signage uses digital screens or monitors to provide information, way finding, place making, exhibitions, public installations, marketing and outdoor advertising through use of content management systems and digital media distribution systems. These create a customised experience for the target user.
Short for electronic commerce, is trading in products or services using computer networks, such as the Internet
‘International Article Number’ (previously ‘European Article Number’) assigned to products as a unique reference number. 13-digit number assigned to a barcode
‘Electronic Data Interchange’ is the standardised format for electronic exchange of data and documents between computer systems and business partners; for example, between a PoS system and back-office systems from different vendors.
EFT stands for ‘Electronic Funds Transfer’. EFT provider supplies either the credit card machine, the service the processes the payment or receives the money into the business bank.
More advanced than a Cash Register, the Electronic Cash Register uses a processing unit to allow complex services such as multiplication and discounts. Similar to a powerful calculator.
‘Electronic Point of Sale’.
The EPoS Dealer is the company that provides services and EPoS equipment to end customers. Often referred to as resellers because they resell hardware or software licences from the respective vendors.
Software is often sold under licence to be used, a legal instrument governing the use and redistribution of the software; the caveats of which are usually defined through End User Agreements or Terms and Conditions. An EPoS licence is granted to a User to use the EPoS software, normally in exchange for money and in accordance with any applicable End User Agreements.
Software application running on the computer that performs the Point of Sale function. May be different to the hardware supplier.
A computer device that runs the Point of Sale software, this is more complex than an Electronic Cash register and can be programmed to perform complex operations, store and create reports, manage stock or control and interface with other applications.
A scheme enabling registered charities and community amateur sports associations to reclaim tax on a donation made by a UK taxpayer, effectively increasing the amount of the donation.
‘High Amount Lock Out’, feature to prevent ringing in very high values by mistake. EG mistyping £1,000.00 instead of £10.00 the effects of which can be limited by locking out high values. Mainly used on products with an Open or Miscellaneous price.
The physical parts of a system such as the screen, hard drive, keyboard. Rather than the software applications running within the operating system inside the device.
"Broad category within the service industry including Cafes, Restaurants, Pubs, Bars, Clubs, Hotels and Cruise Liners. The industry is built around leisure time and the ability to spend disposable income. "
iOS (originally ‘iPhone Operating System’) is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. and distributed exclusively for Apple hardware. It is the operating system that presently powers many of the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
The bank that issues credit cards, such as stamped with VISA or MasterCard. The cardholder will have a credit agreement with the issuing bank to supply funds, which is then taken from their bank account.
Kitchen Display System (KDS) displays the orders back to the kitchen staff. There is no need for printed kitchen receipts. It improves kitchen efficiency and saves paper. Also allows for quick easy amendments if a customer changes their mind on an order.
Screen based alternative to a Kitchen Printer, allows for more interaction between the preparation staff and the PoS, waiting staff or delivery drivers.
‘Kitchen Printer’. A printer, typically an impact printer (dot matrix) located in the area where goods are prepared. An example is a restaurant kitchen, where the order is placed and a printer in the kitchen prints a ticket with the details of the food that needs to cooked. The concept is also extended to remote bar locations, delicatessens and warehouses where goods are prepared and shipped in a location away from the Point of Sale.
‘Low Amount Lock Out’ is a feature that prevents under selling products by preventing the transaction from completing.
This is when a customer wishes to rent or hire the EPOS solution for a period of years. Typically this would be for 3 years and paid monthly via direct debit. The benefits are that you spread the cost along with tax advantages. Another benefit of Lease Hiring is at the end of the agreement you could upgrade your EPOS system to the latest version available at that time, which is easier to do if you are Lease Hiring, because you send back the old system for a new one. Please note, the customer has to fulfil standard credit acceptance/clearance criteria for this option to be available. Full details on request.
See Lease Hire.
See Lease Hire.
A scheme available to account customers, members or the general public that encourages return custom via various schemes such as discounts, rewards, points, free items etc.
A magnetic stripe card is a type of card capable of storing data by modifying the magnetism of tiny iron-based magnetic particles on a band of magnetic material on the card. The magnetic stripe, sometimes called swipe card or magstripe, is read by swiping past a magnetic reading head.
The bank account provided by the Acquiring Bank where funds are deposited from the credit card issuing bank.
MIFARE is NXP's well-known brand for a wide range of contactless IC products, some often refer to all proximity devices as a MiFare device in a similar way to calling a Vacuum Cleaner a Hoover.
A promotion where you can buy multiple different products for either a set price or other discounted amount
A computer network or data network is a telecommunications network that allows computers to exchange data. Network links can be wired or wireless, and the Internet is also made up of many interconnected public networks.
‘Near Field Communications’ allow devices to communicate when they are in close proximity. There are many different formats and radio frequencies that devices can operate on, and only compatible devices will be able to communicate with each other. Examples include contactless payments via card or smartphone. Accessories that trigger when NFC enabled devices near, such as night stands or door locks in hotels.
This refers to products, often fresh food products, where the price is not looked up by the register/computer at the time of sale but rather, the price is obtained directly from the barcode.
In EPoS Non-Turnover refers to actions that do not affect the business turnover, in other words are not counted as sales and do not count towards sales turnover or profit levels but could affect stock levels.
Omnichannel/Omni-channel is defined as a multichannel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated shopping experience. The customer can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a bricks and mortar store and the experience would be seamless.
This is when a customer purchases the EPOS solution and pays in full to own it as an asset of the business.
A 3rd Party that processes the transaction between a card issuer and the acquiring bank.
Short for Peripheral Component Interconnect, PCI was introduced by Intel in 1992. The PCI bus came in both 32-bit (133MBps) and 64-bit versions and was used to attach hardware to a computer
The ability to comply with the relevant security standards developed by the PCI Security Standards Council
Data Security Standard, one of the security standards developed by the PCI Security Standards Council relating to card data storage, processing and transmission.
Payment Application Data Security Standard. A security standard developed by the PCI Security Standards Council for applications involved in credit card transactions.
Pin Transaction Security. A security standard developed by the PCI Security Standards Council for credit card transactions that are authorised by PIN.
The set of rules that merchants, vendors and service providers must comply with when involved with card transactions.
The Payment Card Industry is the global governing body that is responsible for the development, management, education, and awareness of the PCI Security Standards.
Stands for ‘Process Data Quickly’. A machine that takes credit/debit cards and processes a transaction with an Acquiring Bank or Payment Gateway Provider. Can be a chip and PIN device, or a simple Magnetic Card Reader
‘Pin Entry Device’, normally for taking credit card payments like a PDQ machine but will have a Chip & PIN facility rather than just a magnetic swipe reader.
A peripheral is a "device that is used to put information into or get information out of the computer.
A ‘personal identification number’ (PIN, pronounced "pin"; often redundantly PIN number) is a numeric password shared between a user and a system that can be used to authenticate the user to the system. Typically, the user is required to provide a non-confidential user identifier or token (the user ID) and a confidential PIN to gain access to the system.
See PED.
Stands for ‘Price Look Up’ and dates back to the early days of cash registers when you could call up pre-set prices by entering a number and pressing the Price Look Up button
‘Property Management System’, this is a term to describe many backend systems that is used for managing hotel rooms and bookings
‘Point of Sale’. The place and time that goods are ordered and funds are exchanged or credit is accepted.
Provider of support and maintenance for the till system, often the supply of the system to the end customer.
A card using near field communications to perform an action such as identify a customer or open a door lock.
A machine readable 2 dimensional barcode made up of a pattern of black and white squares, tradionally containing URLs but are often used in pos to encode discount vouchers and customer sign on information
A fast food restaurant, also known as a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) within the industry, is a specific type of restaurant that serves fast food cuisine and has minimal table service.
A method of using a small mobile point of sale device to collect a list of items that customers in the queue for the till are purchasing, in order to speed up the throughput at the till and so 'bust the queue
The number used to make a barcode. Subject to a standard such as EAN13 or UPC
The actual time during which a process or event occurs. Relating to a system in which input data is processed within milliseconds so that it is available virtually immediately as feedback to the process from which it is coming, e.g. in a missile guidance system.
A receipt is a written acknowledgment that a specified article or payment has been received. A receipt records the sale of goods or provision of a service. Not to be confused with a bill or invoice.
A report provides details about information gathered in an easy to understand format. In relation to EPoS, reports include details about sales, stock, commission, and employee working hours, commission.
The functions and activities involved in the selling of goods directly to consumers
‘Software as a Service’. A term used for software running within a server, set of servers or virtual environment that is dislocated from the user. Often referred to as cloud-based services, hosted by the service provider and delivered over a network and typically sold on a subscription basis.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine's unpaid results—often referred to as "natural", "organic", or "earned" results.
‘Stock Keeping Unit’. A retailer's product and service identification code, often portrayed as a machine-readable bar code that helps the item to be tracked for inventory
‘Short Message Service’. Messages delivered over the mobile phone network, originally simple text based messages of limited character length but have evolved to refer to any form of message or image content delivered through the mobile phone network.
The programs and other operating information used by a computer
Company developing and providing the software that performs the Point of Sale Function. May be different than the hardware provider or the EPoS dealer. Also referred to as Software Vendor.
‘Structured Query Language’. This is a common form of database used by modern EPOS Systems
Often refers to the physical EPoS system rather than the software that runs on it, but it can also refer to peripheral devices such as the credit card machine.
A generic term that could refer to Cash Registers, Electronic Cash Registers, EPoS System, Touchscreen Terminal.
A computer that has a built in touch screen that is used as it's human interface
‘Universal Product Code’, a barcode format used predominantly in the US and Canada. UPC-A is 12 digit numeric code.
‘Uninterruptible Power Supply’, is a power back-up battery with alarm, which alerts the user to an external power failure, where data should be saved and the system then requires shutting down before the battery itself goes flat (dependant on battery size and charge level). Depending on the UPS specification, the system may be able to operate during the power outage for a period of time. These units typically also have surge protection, to avoid damage to the system in the event of a power spikes.
Similar to a Z Read in so much that it prints out your day’s totals, but an X Read differs in that it allows you to take a peak without actually resetting them back to zero
Typically used on cash registers and till systems at the end of day to print out the sales totals and 'Zeros then ready for the start of the day