What Is the Role of a Cashier?

Hispanic woman helping customer at grocery checkout
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The job function of a cashier is to receive and disburse money in establishments other than financial institutions. Cashiers are tasked with processing debit cards and making credit card transactions, either with the general public or during transactions with employees.

Experience

Experience with a cash register, credit card terminal, or scanner—or related cash or money handling technology—is necessary. Additionally, in some businesses, an auditing mechanism is in place to ensure the integrity of the transactions processed. That said, only candidates with a keen ethical nature are selected for this kind of job.

Compensation

Almost half of all cashiers work part-time. Most cashiers are asked to work weekends, evenings, and holidays. According to Payscale, cashiers in the United States take home an average $9.15 per hour. Compensation ranges from $7.54 per hour on the lower end to $11.79 on the higher end.

Job Requirements

Depending on where you work (an international conglomerate has different requirements than a local grocery store) the job requirements vary. However, the basic cashier job requirements are:

  • Prior experience working in a retail environment as a cashier or salesperson
  • Basic knowledge of PC equipment and comfort level using such electronic equipment as cash registers, scanners, and money counters
  • Communication and time management skills
  • Ability to focus on customer satisfaction
  • Detail oriented with basic mathematical skills
  • A high school degree or equivalent GED

Cashiers Working for Small Businesses

A cashier in a small operation—like a small grocery store, boutique clothing store, or nail salon—basically functions like a clerk, secretary, or customer service representative. It is important to note that if the responsibility for handling cash or electronic forms of payment is performed in addition to other office duties, then this task must be separate from the person who is responsible for balancing the books. This is necessary in order to maintain good accounting checks and balances.

Job Duties and Tasks

Here's a list of common duties of a cashier, which varies depending upon establishment:

  • Determine prices by weighing items being purchased
  • Sell tickets including lottery tickets
  • Perform carry-out services once check out is complete
  • Issue customers cash refunds and store credits
  • Tally money in cash drawers when commencing your shift so you can provide change to customers
  • Greet customers at the entrance to your establishment
  • Prepare packages for shipment including bagging, boxing, and gift-wrapping items
  • Sort, count and wrap currency and coins according to denominations
  • Make sure checkout areas are clean and tidy
  • Use the paging system to get assistance with purchases and customer requests
  • Mark prices on store items and make sure shelves are well-stocked

Cashiers Working for Medium-Sized Businesses

In larger establishments, the role of the cashier is mostly dependent upon the volume of cash and card transactions that must be completed on a daily basis. Separation of duties is also required in this role to maintain good accounting checks and balances. A good example of a medium-sized business is a national car rental outfit. In this case, the cashier is also the person who functions like a receptionist because the cashier is also the greeter as well as the individual responsible for handling the cash and credit card transactions.

In some cases, the cashier’s role is expanded into a sales role in which a portion of the compensation depends on the sales of a monthly or annual membership. This type of cashier function is typical at membership-based gyms and spas. 

Job Duties and Tasks

  • Establish or identify prices of goods, services, or admission, and tabulate bills using calculators, cash registers, or optical price scanners.
  • Issue trading stamps, and redeem food stamps and coupons.
  • Resolve customer complaints.
  • Cash checks for customers.
  • Receive payment by cash, check, credit cards, vouchers, or automatic debits.
  • Process merchandise returns and exchanges.
  • Meet with customers to resolve issues.
  • Engage with potential customers and sign up members.

Cashiers Working for Large Businesses

In a large office, there is almost always a person that is solely responsible for handling all cash and card transactions. The most logical place to locate this office job is in the business office or accounting department. In a large office, this job is a dedicated function where the volume of the transactions provides cashiers with enough work to justify this role being their only full-time job.

An example of a cashier who works in a large business is a cashier employed in a white shoe law office, major department store, large hotel, or hospital. Cashiers in these kinds of businesses may service in-house lawyers, hotel guests, shoppers, or patients and staff members. These cashier positions are quite different from that of a cashier who scans items in a supermarket—with a lot more responsibility, requiring more math and computer skills. In some sense, a cashier in a global law firm, for example, can function a lot like an accountant.

Job Duties and Tasks

  • Calculate total payments received during a time period, and reconcile this with total sales.
  • Compute and record totals of transactions.
  • Answer customers' questions, and provide information on procedures or policies.
  • Keep periodic balance sheets of amounts and numbers of transactions.
  • Pay company bills by cash, vouchers, or checks.
  • Compile and maintain nonmonetary reports and records.
  • Post charges against guests' or patients' accounts.

It's worth noting that depending on where you work, you might have other responsibilities in addition to the ones stated. If you're a cashier at a small supermarket, you might be asked to return unwanted items to shelves. If you work at a convenience store, you might have to create money orders.