The month of April has become synonymous with Easter celebrations, public holidays and school holidays.

It is a festive period with religious events, families visiting each other, a rush of holiday makers descending on our coastal regions, and exceptionally high numbers of travellers crossing our borders. During this period there’s also a marked increase in cash circulation; with petrol stations, quick stop convenience outlets, restaurants, as well as other businesses in and around holiday destinations booming. Yet, as festive as things may get, with greater cash flow comes greater cash risk.

Whilst our retail sector might be reaping the benefits of the Easter cheer, it’s also over this period that they stand a higher chance of being victim to an armed robbery.

According to Richard Phillips, Joint CEO of Cash Connect Management Solutions, businesses that still use traditional cash management and payment systems instead of an automated cash acceptance device are even more vulnerable during this time. Such businesses should realise that they’ve now become the primary target for criminals – and this against a backdrop of an average of 51 armed robberies already taking place in South Africa each day, and with most happening due to insider participation.

“During this holiday period, business and retail owners, holiday-makers, as well as those staying at home, should be extra vigilant. Using sophisticated and organised methods with which criminals execute their attacks, this holiday period is prime time for syndicates and gangs. These hit and run type armed robberies not only threaten the safety of the customers and staff, but it is common knowledge that in most cases the target store experiences a significant drop in traditional sales for as much as six months after an attack of this kind,” says Phillips.

Fortunately, with the latest technological advances made in the cash management systems industry, cash handling for businesses over the holidays no longer needs to be fraught with danger.

We now have cash management and payment solutions that remove the cash risk and facilitate fast and efficient settlement directly into the bank account, thereby increasing cash flow and minimising the opportunity for external or internal theft. It’s now up to business owners to take advantage of this technology to reduce their risk for armed robbery.

That being said, too many business owners still prefer to use traditional or manual cash management solutions. For them Phillips suggests the following tips to avoid being a victim of cash robberies over the April holiday period:

  • Avoid broadcasting when cash will manually be taken to the bank for deposit.
  • Do not openly display the money you are depositing while you are standing at an ATM or in a bank queue.
  • Avoid carrying money bags or briefcases when approaching an ATM or when standing in a bank queue.
  • Alternate the days and times on which you deposit cash.
  • Make use of electronic transfers to avoid paying wages in cash to your staff.
  • Alternate between bank branches or ATMs so your banking pattern is not easily recognisable.
  • Refrain from driving to the bank in your company branded vehicle on a typical ‘pay day’.
  • Take the time to investigate converting to an automated cash management service and take away all of the risk inherent in the above.
  • Remember to be extremely vigilant because notwithstanding these precautions you will remain vulnerable and exposed to being attacked.

More relevant links: Cash Vaults that are built to SABS Cat 4 standards 2013/2014 South African Crime Fact Sheets Get to know the lingo in the industry

About Cash Connect Cash Connect Management Solutions offers an end-to-end cash management solution that encompasses cash in transit logistics, specialised payment services and cash processing. Established in 2006, Cash Connect’s specialist solutions for retailers remove risk and maximise cash flow through swift settlements. The company services more than 1,200 retailers processing over R2 billion a month and has been endorsed as the approved service provider to blue-chip companies such as Spar Group, Shell, Engen, Pick ‘n Pay and OK to name but a few.

The executive management team - led by joint CEOs Richard Phillips and Steven Heilbron - has an unrivalled pool of specialised cash logistics, security and banking experience. The board of directors is chaired by Ivan Epstein, CEO of the Sage Group AAMEA (Africa, Australia, Middle East and Asia).

Cash Connect is a private company, with Old Mutual’s specialist fund, Futuregrowth Asset Management, as its largest institutional shareholder.

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