Despite the hype surrounding a cashless society, cash remains firmly entrenched as a payment method and demand for currency is steadily rising. With more than 1.43 trillion U.S. notes in circulation, cash accounts for 55 percent of all in-person payments of $10 or less, and 35 percent of transactions between $10 and $25, according to a study by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The evolution of cash management
Credit and debit card payments have rapidly evolved through the years while cash management technology has remained much the same. Traditionally, cash management has focused solely on security. Safes and vaults have grown increasingly more secure with innovations in the construction of materials and locking mechanisms. While important for cash-intensive businesses, these upgrades have done little to advance cash management capabilities.
With technological advances, however, that is about to change. Cash management systems are more robust, providing merchants with the same level of tracking capabilities and analytic functionality as derived from digital transactions. Currently, the primary component driving the demand for cash management innovation is the need to reduce the human costs associated with it, such as preparing a till, cashier balancing, cash forecasting, and managing shrinkage.
Taking a cue from credit, debit and smart phone point-of-sale readers, manufacturers are introducing cash management systems that validate and process cash while providing real-time reporting, management and cash analytics. These new smart cash devices, including smart safes, cash and coin recyclers, and smart POS recyclers, expand upon traditional cash management systems – pairing innovative data collection functions with advanced security features.
Reducing the cost of cash, providing powerful analytics
A recent study conducted by the IHL Group found that the average cost of managing and processing cash is nine percent of the value of their cash transactions but can vary from 4.7 percent to 15 percent. These are often hidden costs as they are part of the staff’s duties to count, safeguard, transport and deposit cash.
As the complexities of retail operations evolve, however, so does the need for improved processes, such as enhanced loss prevention and proactive engagement in cash management, monitoring and protection. Retailers have always accepted the overhead costs associated with cash management, however, new cash automation systems allow retailers to reduce the cost of cash handling and represent a point of data collection that opens the door to an ever-expanding range of sophisticated real-time analytics. As a result, retailers save money by shifting to an automated cash management system.
Retailers no longer need to accept cash handling expenses as the cost of doing business. With new technology that can do everything from automating counting and bill validation to providing analytics for cash forecasting, retailers can leverage data in ways that reduce what they spend on cash handling.
Source: The Financial Brand