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Cash in Retail: continuous innovation

Categories : Innovation contributes to the efficiency of cash
June 24, 2016
Tags : Automation, Innovation, North America, Retailers
Cash handling in retail has come a long way and is in constant evolution.
Communication Team / Equipo de Comunicación

According to a 2014 research paper by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, cash is still the most popular payment method, particularly for low value transactions.

There might be less “hype” around cash compared to the latest payment apps who claim to be modern and innovative, but behind the scenes cash has been – and still is – evolving, particularly in the past two decades in the retail industry. With the invention of the smart safe – a generic name for retailer cash-handling systems with an integrated deposit safe and note validator – retailers started storing their revenues before the armoured carrier would come pick up the bulk of cash.

Later, with improved accuracy of cash validating machines, banks began offering instant credit to retailers for cash deposited in the smart safe. This allowed retailers to avoid the traditional gap of 2-3 days before the revenues are deposited at the bank. Thanks to this improvement, merchants are less at risk from theft or losses due to misplacement or miscounting of cash.

In 2008, cash recyclers appeared on the market, responding to the needs of large retail chains. A cash recycler is like an upgraded smart safe: it includes a bin for coin deposits in addition to a note recycler. Thanks to the “recycler” bit, merchants have access to cash in-store from which they can “withdraw” money once it has been validated and credited to their account. In addition to the cash recycling function, some financial institutions now offer an extended number of services including cash inventory management, helping retailers with cash-related forecasts.

Through this accrued cash-management support for retailers, cash continues to be an attractive payment method for both consumers and merchants.

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