TSE memory cards for cash register systems – information and selection

tse memory card featured image

After reading about TSE-ready POS systems on a subreddit, I delved into the topic. TSE memory cards are crucial to the security and legal compliance of POS systems by storing transactions in an encrypted and tamper-proof manner.

The most important things about TSE in brief

  • TSE memory cards ensure security and legal compliance of cash register systems
  • Encryption and tamper-proof storage of every transaction
  • The “Write-Once, Read-Many-Times” (WORM) feature prevents subsequent manipulation of the data
  • Two main types of TSE memory cards:
    • Without external memory: Suitable for smaller systems, lifespan of 3 to 5 years
    • With external storage: Long-term solution through updates
  • Selection is based on cash register model, compatibility, cost and maintenance requirements

tse memory card photo

TSE storage media

The Swissbit TSE SD card and Swissbit TSE USB stick are key components for the secure storage of transaction data, compliant with TSE requirements. They offer a reliable and flexible solution for data security in cash register systems.

Swissbit TSE SD card

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Swissbit TSE USB stick

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Manufacturer of cash register systems with TSE cards

The use of TSE memory cards extends across a variety of cash register systems from different manufacturers, all of which aim to meet the legal requirements for data security and protection against manipulation. The best-known manufacturers whose POS systems support TSE cards include:

  • Sharp: A leading POS system provider that offers TSE solutions specifically designed for its models to ensure seamless integration and compliance.
  • Casio: Casio POS systems are widely used in retail and hospitality industries. You use TSE cards to meet legal requirements and increase data security.
  • Diebold nixdorf: Known for their innovative point-of-sale solutions in the banking and retail sectors, Diebold Nixdorf systems integrate TSE cards for increased security and compliance.
  • Epson: As a manufacturer of POS printers and systems, Epson also offers solutions compatible with TSE cards to meet market needs.

These manufacturers ensure their POS systems comply with regulatory requirements by using TSE cards, which enable secure storage and processing of transaction data.

Selecting a POS system from a reputable manufacturer that supports TSE cards is crucial for businesses to ensure compliance and increase customer trust.

Why are TSE memory cards important?

TSE memory cards play a central role in the security and legal compliance of cash register systems. They not only offer protection against manipulation, but also ensure that data collection complies with legal requirements. But why exactly are they so important?

  • Tamper protection: Every transaction is securely encrypted and stored, making unauthorized changes nearly impossible. This not only protects against fraud, but also increases customer trust.
  • Legal requirements: Many countries, including Germany, have introduced strict guidelines for the management of cash register systems. TSE memory cards ensure that these requirements are met, thereby avoiding legal problems for companies.
  • Data integrity: The data stored on TSE memory cards provides a reliable basis for tax audits and business analysis. Secure storage and signature of transaction data ensures the integrity and traceability of each individual transaction.

The importance of TSE memory cards goes beyond mere regulatory compliance. They are an essential part of modern cash register systems that improve the security, transparency and efficiency of business transactions.

Different types of TSE memory cards

Selecting the right TSE memory card is crucial for the efficiency and security of a POS system. There are basically two main variants, each with their own advantages and disadvantages:

  • TSE without external memory: This variant saves all transaction data directly on the card. It is particularly suitable for smaller companies that are looking for a simple and cost-effective solution. The biggest advantage is the independence from external storage solutions and the associated lower system complexity. However, the lifespan of these cards is limited by limited storage capacity and license expiration date, meaning they need to be replaced after 3 to 5 years.
  • TSE with external storage: These cards create signatures for receipts and store the data on an external storage medium. They are suitable for larger companies with larger transaction volumes. The advantage of this solution is scalability and the ability to install updates, allowing for a longer lifespan. However, this option requires a constant internet connection to access the external storage and may incur higher ongoing costs.

When making their selection, companies should consider the size and transaction volume as well as the technical infrastructure and long-term maintenance costs. Carefully considering these factors will help find a TSE memory card that meets the specific needs of the business while ensuring regulatory compliance.

Choosing the right TSE memory card

Choosing the appropriate TSE memory card is essential to ensure the functionality and legal compliance of the cash register system. Here are some crucial aspects to consider when making your selection:

  • Compatibility: Not every TSE memory card is compatible with every POS system. It is important to choose a card that is specifically designed for the POS model you are using. This ensures smooth integration and avoidance of technical problems.
  • Business Requirements: The size of the company and the volume of transactions play an important role in deciding between a TSE with or without external storage. Smaller stores with fewer transactions could benefit from a simpler solution without external storage, while larger businesses need the flexibility and scalability of external storage solutions.
  • Cost: The initial investment and ongoing costs must be considered. TSE memory cards without external memory are often cheaper to purchase, but require replacement after a few years. Cards with external storage may have higher initial and ongoing costs, but provide a longer-term solution without the need for regular hardware replacement.
  • Future security: Consider how easily future regulatory changes or technological updates can be implemented. TSE solutions with the ability to update can save costs in the long term and make it easier to adapt to new regulations.

Careful consideration of these factors will help select a TSE memory card that meets your business's needs and provides a long-term, compliant solution for your POS system.

Cost of TSE cards

The cost of TSE memory cards can vary depending on the type, manufacturer and the specific requirements of the POS system. Here is a practical overview of the real costs that companies can expect when purchasing and using TSE memory cards:

  • Acquisition cost: Prices for TSE memory cards usually start at around 150 euros and can be up to 500 euros or more, depending on the range of functions and manufacturer. For smaller businesses or retail stores with simpler systems, costs are usually at the lower end of this range.
  • Ongoing costs: For TSE memory cards with external storage, additional monthly or annual fees may apply for the use of external storage solutions or cloud services. These fees vary greatly, but are often between 5 and 20 euros per month. These costs should be taken into account when considering the overall operating costs.
  • Replacement and maintenance costs: For TSE memory cards without external memory, companies must expect regular replacement every 3 to 5 years, which leads to recurring costs. Models with external storage may incur maintenance and update costs, but these are usually less than completely replacing the hardware.
  • Example costs for a medium-sized company: For a medium-sized business that requires a TSE memory card with external storage, the initial cost of the hardware could be around 300 euros, with additional ongoing costs of around 10 euros per month for cloud storage. Calculated over a period of 5 years, the total costs would be around 900 euros.

It is important that companies obtain individual quotes and consider the total cost over the life of the TSE solution to make the most economical decision.

Maintenance and updates of TSE memory cards

Regular maintenance and updates are critical to ensuring the security and efficiency of TSE memory cards throughout their lifespan. Here are practical tips for companies to keep their TSE systems up to date:

  • Regular software updates: TSE memory card manufacturers regularly release software updates to address security vulnerabilities, improve performance, or add new features. Please ensure these updates are installed in a timely manner to ensure the integrity and security of your transaction data.
  • Hardware check: Although TSE memory cards are typically robustly constructed, they should be checked regularly for physical damage or signs of wear. If there are any signs of damage, the card should be replaced immediately to avoid data loss or tampering.
  • Data backup: Although TSE memory cards provide secure storage of transactional data, it is advisable to perform regular backups of this data. This means you can access the backed up data in the event of a hardware failure or loss of the card.
  • Compliance with legal deadlines: Make sure to adhere to the legal deadlines for replacing TSE memory cards. Cards without external memory typically have a limited lifespan of 3 to 5 years. Plan replacements well in advance to ensure legal compliance.
  • Training and Awareness: Make sure your employees are trained on the importance of updates and maintenance of TSE memory cards. A high level of awareness of security aspects and correct handling can minimize the risks of data loss.
  • Technical support: Have technical support contact information for your TSE provider handy. Quick help with technical problems can minimize downtime and ensure the operational reliability of your POS system.

Following these maintenance and update guidelines will go a long way toward keeping your POS system secure, compliant and up to date.


TSE memory cards are legally required for the operation of cash register systems and secure transaction data. Choosing the right card requires balancing compatibility, cost, and business needs.

Regular updates ensure system security and compliance. An appropriate TSE solution is therefore crucial for the efficiency and legal protection of the cash register system.

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