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Reducing the Risk in Retail Cash Transactions

In the age of Venmo, Zelle, cryptocurrency and just plain old credit and debit cards, the topic of cash transactions might seem sort of 20th-century. But some businesses do still rely on cash for at least a portion of their transactions, and younger employees especially might not have much experience in handling cash. Let’s take a look at the safe handling of cash, both in the store and when depositing it.

Cash Transactions

Employees should be trained in the following procedures in the safe handling of the cash drawer:

  • Open the drawer only when making a transaction, and close it before bagging or packaging merchandise.
  • Never leave an open cash drawer unattended. Lock it and remove the key when it’s not in use.
  • When a customer hands you cash, place the bill(s) on top of the drawer until change is made. This heads off any disputes over how much money the customer gave.
  • Let a manager know when excess cash has built up in the drawer so it can be moved to a secure location. Never count that cash in the open where customers can see; do it behind closed doors.
  • At night, empty the cash drawer and leave it open. In the event of a break-in, thieves won’t damage the register only to discover that it’s empty.

Cash Drops

At some point, all that cash will need to go to the bank, another point of exposure. Here are some best practices:

  • Vary your routine. Don’t take cash to a bank or night drop at the same time daily, and don’t use the same route every day.
  • If possible, don’t go alone. If it’s not feasible to take anyone with you, let someone know you’re leaving with the deposit and when you expect to return.
  • Use an inconspicuous container for the cash. If you have a bank bag or something similar, put it inside something else so it’s not obvious that you’re carrying money.
  • Consider how you’re getting there: Don’t take public transportation. If walking, use busy streets. If taking a taxi, call ahead for one instead of flagging down a random vehicle.
  • Go directly to the bank, making no other stops along the way.

There’s always some risk in handling cash, but training your staff in properly handling it and taking precautions with your deposits will minimize that exposure.

Questions about risk exposures for your business? Contact Consolidated Insurance.

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