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APG Cash Drawers Going Mobile: Interface Basics 101

APG is developing cutting-edge cash drawer solutions to keep up with the ever-changing technological era. Mobility has taken hold in retail in many areas including the point of sale system. Implementing a Mobile POS solution can improve a retailer’s transaction speed, create loyalty, eliminate long checkout lines, save businesses money, and improve the overall customer experience. While many other forms of payment such as mobile wallets, credit cards, etc. are allowing mobile transactions to take place, some folks still prefer to pay with cash.


APG has found a number of ways to work within these requirements making the mobile POS a full system. Here are some cash drawer interfaces that provide value in a mobile checkout setting:
  • Printer Driven Interfaces

    This is the lowest cost option, but it requires an Ethernet interfaced printer. These printers all have a cash drawer port and will still open the drawer. This option is ideal for thin environments (where the tablet is mounted at the POS counter) as opposed to a mobile environment since most of the hardware components such as the printer and the drawer are in a fixed location. This option also allows business owners to use their iPad (or tablet) for transactions anywhere in their store. The tablet then speaks to a printer through the store’s own local hardwired network or through the Wi-Fi network to open the drawer. A caution here: mobile devices can send an open command from anywhere in the network and open the drawer while it’s unattended – this leads to theft.

  • Ethernet Interfaces

    The two different options with this type of cash drawer are hard-wired and Wi-Fi interfaces. The Ethernet cash drawer solution is ideal when there is no printer involved or when the printer is an optional part of the system. One of the benefits of this solution is that you physically need to be at the drawer to “claim it” before it can be opened. Claiming prevents someone from opening the drawer from anywhere in the store through the printer option as described above. “Claiming” is a process where an associate scans a barcode or uses a biometric reader placed on the drawer. Claiming requires user proximity and it places the clerk and/or the device at the drawer for a secure transaction. This drawer also can be polled for transaction information such as how it was opened, who opened it, and when. Alerts can be sent to store management when the drawer is opened in an unauthorized manner. All data is stored in the drawer vs. stored on the system. Sales personnel can perform transactions with multiple mobile devices, connected with a single drawer. An Ethernet interface is the best option when a network is available in a mobile environment because of the reasons stated above.

  • Bluetooth Interface

    Bluetooth is another interface option that would be perfect for either thin or mobile environments where a network is not available for the POS system. Data is synced between one cash drawer and one mobile device through the Bluetooth pairing process. Beyond the open command, this drawer will also provide drawer status to the POS device it is paired with. This makes for a secure, low cost, wireless solution for your mobile or thin environment.


The Wifi and Bluetooth interface options will be made available at the end of Q3, 2013. Or for more information on any of these interface options, visit our website.

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By Breanna Brown

Global Marketing Manager
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