Choosing the right sized safe for your store cash processing can save lots of time and money.
Choosing the right sized safe for your store cash processing is critical and can potentially save lots of time and money. Too little capacity and you or an armored car service will need to schedule frequent trips to the bank. Too much capacity and you will be investing more in cash management equipment than necessary.
For small businesses that typically bring cash to the bank themselves, a lower cost, small safe with up to 1000 note capacity is likely sufficient for your business needs. This class of safe is designed to be more economical for do-it-yourself cash management.
Businesses that have higher cash processing needs should use smart safes with removable 1200 note cassettes that are easily serviceable by armored car companies. 1200 note cassettes can typically hold about $20,000 of cash, making dual validator safes capable of holding up to $40,000 between trips to the bank.
For establishments that have needs for secure cash deposits as well as safe storage of rolled coin, a rolled coin dispending safe with deposit validators is an excellent choice.
Capacity Safe Sizes
Both physical and information security need to be considered in selecting a smart safe.
Data security should always be among any discerning customer’s top priorities. A system that is vulnerable to hackers manipulating your cash totals or adjusting authorization settings will leave your business vulnerable to theft. From the controller architecture to the communication interfaces, security must be a design priority of the smart safe.
Physical security of the safe itself should be based on your store’s requirements. Safe features that define the security level include the thickness of the steel, the resistance to pry bar attacks and drilling, the quality of the door hinges and lock mechanisms, and integration with alarm systems and sirens.
For many stores, even a modest level of physical security is enough to deter employees from committing acts of internal theft by taking away the temptation of an easy crime opportunity.
For stores located in higher crime areas, look for:
Networking to a secure server dramatically expands the power of smart safes and allows for more effective support of your business operations. If cash transaction data from the safe is gathered and stored on a server, it can then be formatted and processed in ways that provide valuable business insight.
Getting data out of a smart safe can occur one of many different ways. The most common are through Ethernet ports and through cellular modems. Ethernet port options, while are typically offered at a lower cost, have some challenges of configuring communication through your business firewalls. Cellular connections, on the other hand, avoid these challenges and allow for plug and play setup anywhere in the country that has cell service.
Other networking links are typically available for integration with POS systems or back room management software systems. These links can be in the form of serial ports such as RS232 or USB, or over Ethernet.
For safe installations where no advanced networking and cash tracking features are needed, a thermal printer output is sufficient to provide various transaction summary reports.
When considering a cash management solution for a business that processes substantial quantities of cash, tracking and securing the money at the point of sale is only a part of the solution. Getting the money from your smart safe into your bank account safely is the remaining part. Armored car services are positioned to do just that.
Armored car services have long seen the benefit that smart safes provide their customers. By storing cash in durable, interchangeable cash cassettes already neatly arranged and counted makes pickup and transportation quick and painless. Oftentimes, armored car services will swap out your full cash cassettes with empty ones so they are in and out of your store in minutes without disrupting your operations.
Many armored services offer provisional credit programs coordinated with your bank. With provisional credit, your bank account immediately reflects the value of cash stored inside your smart safe, independent of when the cash is actually delivered to the bank. These programs can reduce the armored car pickup frequency and provide you faster access to your cash. Both these benefits translate into real savings for your business.
Additional added services provided by some of the best armored car companies include smart safe leasing programs, maintenance contracts, and cash management web portals.
Smart safes are sophisticated cash management equipment that operates in traditionally harsh retail environments. Based on their construction, some will require more servicing than others.
The most common maintenance area of a smart safe is the bill validator. The bill validators see hundreds of thousands of bills in their lifetime which puts stress on internal gears, belts, and motors. Many of these notes are dirty and crumpled. Dirt from bills can accumulate on sensor elements inside the validator and cause performance degradation. Crumpled notes can cause bill jams inside the validator head. The best validators today do an excellent job of minimizing bill jams and resisting dirt buildup, but even the best will require the occasional servicing.
Bill jams, being the most common of the validator issues, should be easy for store personnel to clear themselves without involving a third party service company. Annual cleaning and inspection of validators and cash cassettes are a good idea to keep your validators running in optimal condition.
Another area of the safe that is prone to wear and tear is the user interface. Since spills and impacts are common in retail environments, it’s a good idea to choose a smart safe with a user interface that can handle some abuse.
If controller electronics are located near liquid access points, then spills can damage these electronics as well.
It is important to find a smart safe that has a network of nationwide service companies that are on call to perform repairs when you need them. Having a safe that is easy to service is also critical so that when a repair is conducted, it is minimally disruptive to your business. Well-designed smart safes require little to no tools for swapping out malfunctioning or damaged components which help to get the service technician in and out of your store in no time. Finally, bill jams should be easy to clear without having to call a service company.
It is absolutely crucial that security of your cash be maintained during service calls or bill jam clears. Having a separately lockable cash compartment door from the maintenance door ensures your cash stays protected while performing service.
Bringing a smart safe into a store should save you and your staff time and money, not create more work.
Look for safes that have carefully considered all the user experiences and interfaces. Complicated menu structures, deposit procedures, or servicing procedures will all increase your operational costs and may result in mistakes made or shortcuts being taken.
Easy to use web portals, assignable hot keys, and service parts that can be swapped without the use of tools all make for a simple to use smart safe.
Protected storage for boxes of rolled coins, accounting books, important business documents, coupons, and small size expensive inventory items.
Securely bolts to the floor below and the safe above. Risers position the safe at the appropriate height for your countertop. It is also advantageous to lift the safe off the floor to keep the safe protected from various spills.
Thermal printers provide an instant report of cash transactions and never need ink. They are a convenient way to keep records of cash deposits and pickups, especially in the absence of back room systems or web portal systems.
Replace manually operated locks with electronic locks for the ultimate flexibility in access control. Electronic locks can be configured to restrict access of particular doors during only certain times, or after remote authorization is provided.
Rather than physical keys for opening doors, card readers can be used in combination with electronic locks to enable safe access.
Ultra-loud siren that goes off during a detected break in attempt. Some of the siren security accessories have provisions for tying into your local alarm system as well as triggering a store alarm and sending responders.
Battery backup options enable the safe to continue reports and bill validation operations for a window of time after a loss of power.
These features are especially useful when a store has a protocol of emptying cash tills to the safe during a power outage. They are also useful in communicating break in attempts when wall power is removed.
Ideally, battery backups should be entirely internal to the safe so they are secured against attack during robbery.