According to a 2021 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, American consumers still use cash for 26% of all payments and for nearly 47% of payments under $10.
Furthermore, the report notes, “A majority of consumers continued to increase the amount of cash they are carrying and/or storing, while nearly 80% of respondents who made in-person purchases did not indicate that they were avoiding or averse to using cash during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Most FI leaders would agree these findings underscore the notion that cash management and cash automation in the branch should remain a priority. However, the challenge for FIs is ensuring their staff can handle and manage cash more efficiently while also focusing on the overall customer experience. Enter: Cash automation, the tool that offers FIs the ability to optimize operations, collect data and forecast better — helping not only the direct handling of cash in the retail banking environment but also the FI’s overall profitability.
Greater Visibility and Stronger Forecasting
The goal of any cash automation strategy should be to eliminate any manual processes to streamline cash and check operations. For example, take a cash recycler monitoring tool. With this in place, FI leaders can better view cash recycler device health, analytics and cash flow. This added control fosters both improved employee and customer/member experiences — which is critical as FIs continue to ward off non-FI organizations looking to attract bank customers and credit union members.
Additionally, cash automation technology supports bank and credit union leaders as they work to identify operational gaps and enable better and accurate cash flow forecasts. By utilizing the data, FI leaders can make more informed decisions — such as how much money should be maintained in a recycler on a Monday versus a Thursday, or how many tellers should be in the branch on certain days based on average transactions per day and more.
Data is the one tool each FI leader has at their disposal to guide them in navigating the future of the bank.
Leaders who face challenges in effectively collecting, organizing and reporting data due to manual processes are best positioned for automation. Cash automation technology makes data collection and organizing easier with customizable queries and reports that can be viewed, sorted, filtered and exported as needed.
Mitigating Human Error
Human error impacts FIs the most when it comes to teller productivity. Tellers are under constant pressure to conduct quick and seamless transactions while attentively engaging with customers or members, and not becoming overwhelmed in the moment. Cash automation strategies should include provisions that enable tellers to use capabilities such as pay-out calculators and denomination adjustments tailored to the customer. The technology should also work seamlessly between the cash recycler and the teller application to minimize keystrokes, enable faster transaction completion and ensure a positive experience for both tellers and customers or members.
Cash automation technology can be simple but powerful, and work seamlessly alongside the FI’s teller application and cash handling devices. FI leaders must acknowledge cash will continue to play an important role in the life of an FI for years to come. Those who do will find the appropriate cash automation technology is not only helpful in creating new efficiencies in the branch but also creates greater visibility into the future of the FI.