Taking Cash Handling to the Point of Transaction

In this episode of The Cash News, Tom Meehan, CFI and Shaun Ferrari are joined by Vik Devjee, vice president of CIMA Cash Handling America, Inc., a multinational corporation that manufactures cash management technology like smart safes and cash recyclers. They discuss how we can fully integrate cash handling up to the point of transaction and create a seamless cash management experience with complete cash visibility for businesses in all kinds of industries.

According to Devjee, the biggest question in cash management today is: How do we take the cash handling process to the point of transaction? Part of this involves working closely with manufacturers and solution providers to create a seamless cash management experience. Kiosk providers seem to look at cash handling in a kiosk environment as nothing more than just a peripheral device that accepts bills.

However, managing cash at the store level comes with its own unique challenges, and resolving these issues presents a great opportunity for solution providers to transform the cash handling experience. For businesses with multiple locations, it is difficult to gain store-level visibility of their cash stores with a mostly manual cash handling process. In addition to counting and reconciling their cash funds at the end of the day, businesses also need to prepare the next day’s cash “floats,” or the amount of cash placed in a cash register at the beginning of the workday.

In fact, cash management technology like smart safes plays a huge role in a surprising industry: the cannabis space. Cannabis industries often handle huge amounts of cash, so accurate and efficient cash management is key to their success.

From a banking perspective, the cannabis marketplace is still not federally legal in the United States, which poses some unique obstacles for cannabis businesses, like having to accept payments only in cash. Up until a few years ago, the process of counting and reconciling cash was completely manual for cannabis businesses. To learn more about cash handling in the cannabis industry, listen to our recent episode about cash and cannabis with Todd Kleperis.

Devjee also noted how the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology that enables a touchless experience, like contactless payments and automated cash handling. Particularly in the quick-serve restaurant (QSR) space, many businesses have adopted self-ordering technology like order kiosks to minimize contact between employees and customers.

However, many of these self-service options do not accept cash payments, which means customers have to order and pay in two separate steps or avoid using self-service order kiosks in general. It’s important to note that a vast majority of QSR customers still use cash, even when they order from a kiosk, so the transition to contactless ordering options doesn’t automatically eliminate cash transactions.

As cash management technology becomes more popular and accessible to businesses, we have seen some changes in what organizations want from these products. For example, a few years ago, cash recyclers were mostly large industrial machines with tons of functionality, usually kept in a back office or employee-only area.

However, as cash handling has slowly moved to the front of the store, the design of cash recyclers has also changed. Today, businesses want both form and function from their cash handling solutions, and many cash recyclers have a sleek, minimalist design similar to Apple products without compromising on functionality. This is particularly important for retailers, Tom notes, where every inch of the store floor equals dollars spent.

The deployment of cash recycling in the broader retail space, particularly among Tier 1 brands, has validated the importance of cash recycling and automated cash management. With the growing labor shortage in the United States, cash handling has come under the spotlight, as traditional cash management involves time-consuming processes like manually counting and reconciling cash deposits each day. Even smaller businesses, like convenience stores and pharmacies, have started to express interest in cash recycling, which offers much more functionality than a more basic smart safe.

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