A till roll is a paper roll for recording transactions made with a cash register. Several different variations on the basic design are available from manufacturers of paper products and cash register supplies. Companies can buy single and bulk rolls from office supply companies or directly from paper manufacturers. In some cases, the cash register company supplies the rolls as part of the service and maintenance contract, or if the cash register requires paper of an unusual size.
The most basic till toll is a single strip of paper designed to take ink from the cash register. Other rolls may use thermal paper. Thermal printing can be more cost effective, as it is not necessary to replace ink or inked tape inside the register. It can also be quieter and faster, a benefit in some environments. The till roll comes on a spool that mounts in the register and advances as it prints, providing fresh paper for each transaction.
In addition to single rolls, it is also possible to purchase multiple ply to make copies. Many cash registers generate a copy for the customer while printing a record of the transaction on a copy for the store. The transaction records wind back up onto a spool in the register for review by managers and other personnel later. This roll can become an important record in the event of disputed transactions or concerns about theft, because it records everything people do with the register, including things like “no sale” transactions, where the clerk opens the register with a special button.
As the paper reaches the end of the roll, it may have a printed streak to alert the clerk to the fact that the till roll needs to be changed. Clerks often notice that the paper also tends to curl more toward the end of the roll, because it has been under compression for a long time. This can be a warning sign, and clerks can watch out for the pink or purple mark on receipts so they switch out the roll before it runs out in the middle of a transaction.
Depending on the register, the level of detail printed on the till roll can vary. Some cash registers are glorified adding machines and only indicate amounts and a total. Others will indicate the category of each purchase, or record specific items, using bar codes or inventory numbers. For more detailed receipts, the till roll is usually wide to accommodate all the information. Most machines use standardized sizes, allowing customers to purchase interchangeable till roll products from a number of companies.