The point of sale, often referred to as POS, represents a significant time and place for retailers hoping to complete a transaction. The point of sale system bears the responsibility of registering purchased items, calculating a total, maintaining inventory and processing payments. The point of sale process works differently for cash, check and credit card payments, but the POS process ultimately ends up as the final step in a retail purchase transaction.


POS Systems

Payment Processing

Credit Card Processing

If the customer offers a credit or debit card as payment, the merchant will likely begin the transaction process by swiping the card through a magnetic reader attached to the POS system. According to the merchant account website Info Merchant, the point of sale system then bundles information from the customer’s card with other transaction information, like the amount, and sends it to the appropriate credit card network for processing. The network uses the card number to route the transaction to the customer’s bank, and the bank issues an authorization or decline message for the transaction. The network then returns the response, and the point of sale system displays the corresponding message.