The Green Sheet Online Edition
December 14, 2009 • Issue 09:12:01
A product from security services firm Garda digitizes cash for retailers in a manner that mimics the back-end of a credit card transaction.
The product, called CashLINK, is a digitized safe for retailers that stores, counts and, by converting it into a digital transmission, transfers cash deposits. It is sold in conjunction with Garda's armored car service, making CashLINK a solution that addresses the entire back-end process of cash counting and transfer.
"CashLINK is an in-store cash control system for retailers that helps them manage their cash from the point of sale all the way to the bank," said Garda Senior Vice President Michael McSpadden. "It helps anybody that takes cash to more effectively, securely manage it inside their store and be able to get information to get credit sooner."
The product simplifies the business of money management in a number of ways. First, it digitally counts all money that's placed inside the safe and includes a fraud detection mechanism that identifies counterfeit bills; then it securely stores the deposited money until the Garda armored car picks it up. In the meantime, access to the money requires a unique password be entered by both a Garda representative and the store's manager.
"It's got the dual access feature to prevent one party from having complete access to the system," McSpadden said.
Additionally, while the cash is generally physically transferred to the bank once or twice a week (depending on the specific arrangement), a retailer's bank account can be credited for funds received at the end of each business day by sending the digital deposit totals to the retailer's banking institution via Garda's online network - a process similar to the back-end transfer of money in a payment card transaction.
Garda, in turn, guarantees the money both while it rests in the safe (if, for example, the physical dollar count does not match the digital counter) and during its transfer by armored car.
McSpadden said CashLINK also accepts checks, but they aren't automatically read and the amounts have to be manually entered on a key pad. Once they are entered, however, they are digitally counted along with a store's cash deposits, all of which can be viewed by a store manager by connecting CashLINK to the store's POS system.
No more bundles of cash
McSpadden added that most of Garda's clients are restaurants and convenience stores, but the product is also used by parking garages and taxi cab companies, among other businesses. In a vertical where money is constantly changing hands, the product can be particularly useful, he said. For example, waiters can deposit their money into CashLINK rather than carry it around.
"There can be a lot of finger pointing," McSpadden said. "The manager opens the safe in his world today and pulls out an envelope that Suzy put in there. She says she put $20 in. Well, he takes that, puts it in his pocket and says she didn't." With CashLINK, by contrast, a deposit is verified by the digital counter, assuring its presence once it's deposited, McSpadden said.
He added that the digital counter frees up time for store managers by relieving them of tedious accounting work; in doing so, it also removes the hazard of human error.
"[Managers] spend an enormous amount of time preparing, counting and taking money to the bank," McSpadden said. "There's a loss of productivity because managers are away from the store, and they aren't able to accomplish their top ... objectives."
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