Smart-Safe: Just a reverse-ATM?

Banks are catching the wave, but

 Often, a complex concept is more easily understood when compared with a known product or service. Many times when explaining the ATM with cashconcept of a cash-counting safe to which the store has no access, bundled with armored transportation and cash processing, the retailer or banker says to me, “Oh, that’s just like a reverse ATM. Now I get it!” As that Hertz™ ad says,

“Not exactly!”

This technology reads and secures cashier drops in cassettes. But it also accomodates other transaction critical to the store, and which have to be reconciled. Two examples are envelopes containing cash that cannot be read, and possibly change fund payment transactions. The differences will likely push you outside your comfort zone.

  • Smart-safes probably won’t have the kind or transaction-level communications with the bank you experience with ATMs.
  • The content has to be proven in total. Cassette Cash + Drop Envelopes makes reconciliation a “many-to-one” process, similar to Wholesale Lockbox. An ATM looks to us more like Retail Lockbox.
  • There may be a Change Fund transaction built into the system, which posts separately from the deposit. Now you have two credits, and multiple debits.
  • Banks are unlikely to process the contents because some cash is exposed during removal, so revenue opportunities rest with providing credit, including provisional-credit-from-the-safe. The common methods of removing cash are cassette-swap, or on-site cash extraction from the cassettes. Drop envelopes might be removed by at store employee, but they may or may not go into a separate, tamper-evident bag. For these reasons, the carrier is more likely to verify the contents.
  • The smart-safe is inextricably tied to the store’s sales audit process. Information has to be timely, accurate and available at a granular level so that the store or restaurant can resolve problems of cash-shrinkage.

The bank brings great value to this service. The challenge is to identify where you add to most value, and the least complication.

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