Guide To POS (Point Of Sale) Receipt Printers
Why Should You Provide A Receipt?
There is no law in the UK that says a seller of goods or services must provide a receipt to the customer. The relevant Government legislation is the Consumer Rights Act (October 2015).
Primarily this act deals with rights to return faulty goods for refund, replacement or repair and includes rights on the purchase of digital content. It adds to the unfair terms in consumer contracts regulations 1999, unfair contract terms act 1977, sale of goods act 1979 and the supply of goods and services act 1982. It's fair to say that our existing legislation is in a state of disrepair and needs a complete overhaul.
A receipt is an acknowledgement of payment and is given by the vendor to the purchaser, it is different from an invoice in that businesses who are VAT registered are legally required to produce an invoice if selling to another business. An invoice can also double as a receipt when a business sells to a consumer. (For example when you go to your local independent DIY trade store)
A consumer can ask for a receipt but the vendor is under no obligation to produce one.
So with the legalese out of the way, why should you go to the trouble and expense of providing a receipt for your customer?
Firstly it is an issue of trust. No one expects to get a receipt for the pile of DVD's they just bought from a car boot sale. But a consumer would expect a receipt if purchasing the same goods from a high street store. The receipt is proof of purchase, and you can use it to return or exchange your purchased products. If the customer does not get a receipt, then they have the option of going to a store where they will get one.
Secondly, receipts are used by vendors in advanced marketing tactics. For example, selling goods that are destined as Christmas presents and may be returned if unsuitable. The customer can return the good with a valid receipt.
The lack of an accompanying receipt for all those perfumes and other gifts is one reason why eBay is rife with “unwanted presents” so soon after Christmas.
Thirdly, it makes your job as a vendor so much easier. Producing a valid receipt as proof of purchase can do away with all kinds of uncomfortable conversations and situations.
Lastly, there are certain situations and industries where receipt printing is an essential part of the transaction. For example in restaurants where the receipt is also printed in the kitchen and used as the food order.
If you are using point of sale hardware such as Square, Sumup or iZettle, then you will have the option to send a digital receipt. On purchase, the customer can receive their digital transaction details by SMS or email. You don't need to send a receipt to yourself because all the transaction details are captured and displayed in your POS dashboard.
How It Works:
Receipt via email
To send a receipt via email, ask your customer to enter his or her email address and click on “Done”. The receipt transmits via email to your customer’s inbox.
Receipt via text message
To send a receipt via text message, ask the to customer enter his or her mobile phone number and click on “Done”. The receipt transmits via text message to your customer’s mobile phone. You don’t pay for the text message.
It's a little-known secret that you can handwrite receipts and this may be an option if you have a meagre transaction volume
The receipt needs to contain the following information:
- Name of your business
- Address of your business
- Receipt ID or transaction reference
- Transaction amount and currency
- Transaction date
- Truncated card number (only the last four digits)
Printed receipts are the generally accepted way in which an acknowledgement of sale is produced.
How To Choose A Receipt Printer
There are four types of printer that will print receipts and each has it's advantages and disadvantages.
Dot Matrix Printers
Cheap, very reliable and easy to maintain, dot matrix printers work in the same way as a typewriter in that the impact of the pins on the print head work with an ink ribbon to produce characters made up of tiny dots. These printers can also create very elementary graphics.
You would use this type of printer in environments where you need a hardy workhorse, for example in a garage where the grease monkeys get to feed the paper or change the ribbon.
This printer type is also commonly used in kitchens where the humidity and higher temperatures render a thermal printer unusable.
Ink Jet Printers
These are the most commonly used printers and most households who have a computer have one of these to print out the kid's schoolwork and family photos. They are incredibly cheap to buy, but the running costs are high and not suitable for high production environments. They are also quite a chunky piece of kit and not easily carried.
The most expensive printers on the list but a laser printer is fantastic where high-quality invoices need to be produced in quantity and at speed. Usually, laser printers are used in an office environment and are placed where they are easily accessible but not moved from place to place.
Thermal printers are the choice of the mobile operator and those on the go. Thermal printers work by heating up the print head and using a thermal transfer to imprint on specially coated thermal paper. In a thermal printer, there are no moving parts, printing is quieter, and running costs are lower than a dot matrix or inkjet printer. You only need to replace the thermal rolls, and there are no ink or ribbons to substitute.
Thermal colour printers are now commonly available, and they can also utilise double-sided printing. Thermal printers are the type of printer to use with a hand-held card reader or POS equipment.
Laser printers are the perfect choice for the highest print quality and fastest print speeds. Laser printers are ideal for producing high-quality receipts when making a good impression is important.
Types Of Printer Connections
LAN (Local Area Network)/Ethernet Cable
Using an Ethernet cable produces the most reliable connection to your receipt printer but is dependent on the length of the cable running to it. If you have excellent cabling options and won't be trailing cables across the restaurant or kitchen floor then this is the connection to go for. Because the printer is reliant on the cable though it is not a mobile receipt printing option.
Printers fitted with Bluetooth can communicate with Bluetooth enabled devices like smartphones and laptops.
The advantage of using WiFi over Bluetooth is that you get a better connection over a longer range. Most Epson printers support a WiFi option.