Merchants, there may be an alternative cash collection option you haven’t considered…

14th June 2018

When we typically talk about cash management, the three main options merchants tend to use to deposit cash into the bank are predominantly: armored transport (AT) service, walking cash to bank, or cash office technology solutions combined with armored transport arrangements.

For many merchants, walking cash to the bank carries too much risk, and smart safe solutions can be cost prohibitive. This leaves the vast majority of merchants with only one viable option – AT services – which for smaller merchants, or for specific stores in a merchant’s network which don’t receive a lot of cash, can be expensive. Many of the costs associated with AT services are fixed – meaning that low cash volume merchants often pay proportionally more for cash pickups. For example, despite having far less cash to collect (Merchant 1), a merchant may still pay the same collection fee as another merchant (Merchant 2) – meaning Merchant 1 is dividing his fixed cost over less takings – making it relatively more expensive to collect/manage each dollar. For some merchants who fall into this category – a relatively new cash management alternative may be an option: mail order cash collections.

What is it?

Mail order cash collection and delivery is a relatively new transport and processing option that doesn’t rely on AT providers. A postal service (provided by either UPS or USPS), collects cash from a merchant’s store before transporting it to the merchant’s bank vault, where it is deposited into the merchant’s bank account.

Merchants place deposits into a one-time use, tamper-proof bag, before logging into an online portal to register the collection and schedule a pickup. Unlike AT services, there are no fixed schedules, and collections can be made on an ad-hoc basis as required by the merchant. This means that merchants who have low cash volumes aren’t forced to enter into a costly AT contract that doesn’t suit their unique operational requirements.

Balancing cost, cash-flow and risk

Potential Benefits

  • More cost effective for smaller merchants who don’t need a regular AT service
  • Postal supplies provided by postal service
  • Many merchants often have a postal service on site daily
  • Postal staff do not need to know that they are collecting cash
  • Services are ad-hoc
  • Changes orders can be ordered
  • Safe – lowers employee risk
  • No lost packages and few delays reported since the service began

Potential Challenges

  • Staff time and resource preparing deposits
  • Employee shrinkage (to the same level of risk as AT service)
  • Insurance caps on volumes collected
  • On-site safe needs to have staff access
  • Currently only available to a limited number of merchants

 

Conclusion

While there is no legal limit on collection amounts, it is typically capped at $5000, and while there is no specific merchant size this solution is aimed at, there can be requirements for the number of store locations. These parameters mean this solution won’t be appropriate for all merchants, or even all stores in a merchant’s network. Conducting a thorough business case will give merchants transparency of their current processes, where this solution could best fit their operations, and provide a far more realistic view of potential savings available.

It’s important to note that this solution should be considered as part of a holistic cash management review – something our expert consultants can help assess. CMSPI is currently helping merchants manage over 25,000 sites across North America – so get in touch today to learn more about reviewing your cash arrangements and impacting your bottom line.

Want to review your cash arrangements?