A series of long weekends are approaching, a time when cash volumes are expected to rise, making retailers extra vulnerable to crime.

It is a fact that cash is a magnet for criminals, especially over public holidays when people are likely to spend more freely than usual.

Public holidays and long weekends in particular, not only increase trade turnover, they also increase the pressure on normal cash handling schedules, including cash-in-transit collection services.  As a result, many retailers end up with large amounts of cash in their stores. This, says Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect and expert in cash management and logistics, requires everyone’s understanding and cooperation to ensure continuity and reduce the opportunity for crime.

“The best advice we can give store owners is to confirm their cash collection services for the long weekends and public holidays in advance. It is also a good idea to ensure a CIT collection before the long weekend starts to avoid large volumes of cash accumulating on site, and to schedule an ad hoc collection on the Saturday or Sunday, if increased trading necessitates it” he says.

The Global Cash Index report released in June 2017 confirms that cash is still used in the majority of retail transactions. “We urge retailers to be realistic and responsible,” says Phillips. “Understand that not only is the danger more prevalent in South Africa, but like elsewhere in the world, cash centric businesses are able to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and improve cash flow from investing in cash management automation technology.”

Security professionals offer the following simple tips for safe and secure cash management.

Cash on premises:

  • Is  your cash vault robust enough to withstand violent attacks, including those carried out with explosives. such that it can deter criminals from the get go.
  • Deposit cash into your cash vault frequently throughout the trading day. The goal is to keep cash at points-of-sale to a bare minimum.
  • Invest in automation so that your staff don’t have to count and handle cash – it’s the safer option for everybody.
  • Pay staff wages through electronic transfers.

Cash-in-transit (CIT):

  • Consider closing shop for a few minutes before and during CIT collections.
  • Alternatively, isolate and close down the cash office area during the collections and ensure that the room where the cash exchange or handover is being made has access restrictions.
  • Assist the CIT collection team by being prepared. This keeps the collection service time window short, sharp and safe.
  • Be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles and people lurking in the area – especially a few days before the long weekend.
  • Urge staff to not disclose any information about the way the business is run and to report suspicious enquiries to the business owner immediately.
  • Report anyone wanting to know about banking habits, CIT providers or CIT collection times.

Banking: (only if you really have to)

  • Never announce to anyone when you are taking cash to the bank.
  • Avoid openly displaying the money you are depositing while standing at an ATM or in a bank queue.
  • Don’t carry money bags or briefcases when going to deposit cash at an ATM or at the bank.
  • Change the days and times on which you deposit cash.
  • Avoid using the same ATMs and bank branches; alternate them so your banking pattern is not easily recognisable.
  • Refrain from driving to the bank in your company branded vehicle on a typical pay day.

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