If your business handles a large amount of cash, a cash recycler may seem like a good idea. Whether you are considering investing in a cash recycling machine or wondering if another solution is better, read this article first.

Cash recyclers come with a lot of benefits, but they can also come with some issues that can negatively affect business operations and bring security risks. Before you can understand their limitations and alternatives, first you must know, what is a cash recycler and how does a cash recycler work?

Cash counting machine with hundreds being fed

ICL’s software-first CashSimple™ solution streamlines everything from change orders to tracking deposits.

What Is A Cash Recycler?

A cash recycler, or retail cash recycler, is designed specifically for a retail setting. These large back-office recyclers automatically count and sort cash that is deposited into them and then “recycles” that same cash. The cash can then be used for the business to provide customer change, create deposits, or use as petty cash when needed. Their flexible use allows configuration for customers or cashier preferences and have enabled retailers to maintain several cash lanes or POS terminals with added security for current cash on hand.

Teller cash recyclers are sometimes referred to as TCRs or TCR banking machines are used in financial institutions. A teller cash recycler accepts and dispenses cash, then automatically counts and authenticates all bills that are deposited. The cash recycler stores those bills and makes them available for withdrawal when needed to smooth bank teller operations.

Both retail and teller cash recyclers are different from ATM recyclers because recyclers accept coins and bills. More specifically, ATMs are usually for customers and individual use. Cash recyclers are used businesses and banks that consistently handle large quantities of cash such as restaurants, supermarkets, or casinos.

Retail Cash Recycler vs. Smart Safe

Smart safes automatically count and authenticate cash like cash recyclers. The difference is a smart safe is primarily for storing the deposited cash, not for re-dispensing it. If money in a cash recycler needs to be deposited, it is moved into a vault or safe within the machine and deposits are transported to the bank as needed.

Smart safes use provisional credit so that businesses have access to the money from the deposit in their account through temporary bank credits. However, the money is not actually deposited into your account until it is physically taken to the bank.

Alternatively, Integrated Cash Logistics’ (ICL) smart safes are unique in that they come with cash capture technology and eliminates the need for provisional credit. Money deposited into the safe is bought by ICL right away and deposited into your account the next business day even while the physical cash still sits in the safe somewhere in your back office.

Person counting hundred dollar bills on a counter

Smart safes do more than keep cash secure. Learn how cash capture technology shortens your distance to cash.

Cash Recycler Operational Challenges

A cash recycler machine like any machine has multiple parts that work together with the user. Minor and major operational challenges and technical failures are bound to occur with so many complex parts at play and risks of human error. For example, coin recyclers are prone to jams similar to copy machines. Below are some of the specific issues with cash recycling units.

  • Complexity of Usage: These machines can be difficult to understand and come with thick instruction manuals. Managers and employees who are already working at capacity may struggle with another piece of technology to grapple with.
  • Speed and Efficiency: Some retail cash recycler users have reported that the machine did not count money fast enough to keep up with the pace of the cash flow in and out of business. Delays often lead to lost profit and upset customers.
  • Integration Issues: For a cash recycler machine to work properly, it must be connected to your company’s bank account. The software has to be compatible with your computer and any other programs you use for cash management.

Scalability and Flexibility Limitations

Cash recyclers have limited capacities and can become full during peak business hours. This means cash is unsecured or employees have to wait to use the machine, slowing down business operations. Since these money recyclers have fixed capacities, they may not improve efficiency or save time as much as you’d hope.

Businesses that have largely uneven amounts of money going in and out each day may benefit from an alternative like cash capture technology more. Companies must carefully weigh the cash recycler cost based on the capacity they need during periods of high volumes of cash transitions.

Cash retail recycler machines can also be nearly as large as a regular ATM. Consider the size of the recycler machine and how it will affect the physical space around it if employees will need to use it regularly. If a queue were to form in front of the machine, would it block other employees or customers from passing by?

Cash Safe

Integrated Cash Logistics does more to keep your cash secure without provisional credit.

Security and Compliance Shortcomings

When handling cash, security is always a top concern. While a cash recycler is more secure than a cash drawer or similar product, it is not impenetrable to theft and other security breaches.

  • Theft Risks: A retail cash recycler, in particular, can be the target of theft. Consider security and employee safety when deciding where to place the machine.
  • Privacy Risks: Cash recyclers and smart safes record and store a lot of data on financial transactions. This can be helpful for a business’s accounting and taxes, but it could also put the company at risk if that information were stolen or leaked.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Cash recyclers must meet certain compliance requirements. Older models, especially, might struggle to meet current security standards and regulatory requirements, potentially exposing companies to security risks.

User Experience Drawbacks

Employees may be resistant to using new equipment and procedures, especially if they don’t fully understand them or why they are necessary. With a complex electronic cash recycling machine, usability may not be as straightforward as incorporating a smart safe into your processes. Training is needed to teach employees how to properly use the machine and to build their intrinsic motivation and openness to change.

It’s important to keep in mind that like with anything new, there is likely to be a learning curve for employees. Issues or delays with machines can frustrate employees and potentially have a negative impact on customer interactions. Lots of practice using the TCR bank machine during slow hours is key for successful use during busier periods.

cash being dispensed from a machine

Save on your bottom line by avoiding unexpected and hidden fees from other cash handling services.

The Future of Cash Handling and Management

Cash recycler machine features such as speed and integration have improved, the future of cash management may lie beyond TCRs. Many banks charge for cash deposits into business accounts and these fees are required even with the use of a cash processing machine like a TCR. Furthermore, TCRs still have some issues that have not been resolved such as lack of flexibility and security risks.

Emerging technologies like ICL’s CashSimple™ promise greater efficiency, security, user-friendliness, and unmatched customer service. These innovations could redefine the roles of devices such as retail cash recyclers and smart safes.

New technologies combined with streamlined services that offer cash management automation, billing, and support all in one place are leading more business owners and managers away from traditional currency recyclers to better options.

CashSimple™: The Cash Capture Solution You Need

A cash recycler machine may keep your money secure while on site. Once you factor in the real cost of cash in transit, you may find that something with smart safe technology is a better choice for your business. ICL’s CashSimple is the superior alternative to traditional cash recyclers in terms of cost, operational efficiency, and user experience.

Minimize the time between putting your cash in the safe and it being deposited into your bank account. No more waiting for armored truck pick-up or coordinating with multiple contractors. We handle all the scheduling for pick-up and delivery, so you never run out of cash or coins. Contact us today to schedule a free demo to learn how CashSimple cash management stays ahead in a competitive market.