Smart-safes and POS Integration.

Moving back-office functions to the front counter has its risks.

Most retailers would like to “electronify” their cash ASAP. Authenticating and securing your cash as part of the retail transaction is a great idea and several smart-safe manufacturers have stepped up to the plate.  But, just as ACH check-conversion at POS was found to slow things down, reading currency within the transaction can have negative consequences unless you do it properly.

An article in Convenience Store Decisions, July 2009 did a great job outlining the operational and loss prevention benefits. (See “Other blogs of interest, Safe at the store.”) But the article doesn’t discuss transaction time, which is a key benchmark. Bill-reading technology is significantly more effective today than it was 10-, and even 5-years ago but it still adds a step to the transaction.Man paying cash

Considering integrating your smart-safes with your POS? Weigh it out.


  1. You can really enforce cash drawer limits. This has obvious security and safety advantages.
  2. Brief periods without transactions can be used productively. Hopefully you will configure your safe network to allow for dropping cash in close proximity to the POS registers.
  3. Improve your odds of getting paid for what you sell! Counterfeit detection can be enforced for higher denomination notes. And, you might require drops before issuing lottery tickets or money orders.

What if the customer hands you multiple notes, or notes that can’t be read?

Your transaction time will suffer. And, while your cashier is focused on dropping cash, he disengages from the customer.

Consider these guidelines when writing your application:

  1.  Have your drawer limit dictate drop frequency, instead of dropping within  the transaction. This let’s you put customer service ahead of cash counting.
  2. Require bill validation on higher denomination notes. 
  3. Plan for failure. We never recommend a location have only a single bill reader, regardless of cash volume. Also, if  you configure a single bill-reading safe for each register, make sure cashiers can share a safe if one fills up, or fails.

Remember, technology should support the core business, not be an interruption.

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