Advances in technology have altered consumers’ methods of payment transactions at retail stores. In the past, shoppers could choose between cash, checks, or debit/credit cards. Times have certainly changed. Today, there are new and emerging alternative payment methods, such as Apple Pay and Android Pay, where customers can simply wave their mobile devices at the checkout stand to make their purchases. Another recent dynamic pertains to the change to debit and credit cards.  Many of these have been upgraded to contain an embedded security chip in order to make transactions more secure, and reduce the frequency of fraudulent purchases.  While these alternative payment methods may be more convenient to the consumer, they are not free.  Retailers planning to accept such alternative payment methods must invest in the needed infrastructure to support them. This investment isn’t trivial, and, in most cases, the costs can’t be negotiated.

Currently, mobile pay represents a small percentage of total payment methods, however its popularity at the retail level will likely increase. As more customers start to reach for their phones instead of their wallets, retailers must invest in the supporting technology to handle these transactions.[1]  Also, card issuers have demanded EMV compliance. EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to their transactions.[2] Retailers must accept credit and debit cards that are equipped with such technology.  Failing to do so will shift the burden of fraudulent debit and credit card transactions back to the retailer, and away from the card issuer.[3] 

An Alternative to Alternative Payment Methods?

While retailers are contemplating the implementation of these new payment methods, and planning for the costs for doing so, one way to offset these costs is to drive efficiencies with the most traditional, and highest share, of payment method – cash.  Retailers who deal with cash deal with costs – particularly those that deal with cash using traditional methods. However, by leveraging the efficiency of cash management systems, retailers can offset the costs associated with the implementation of alternative payment methods, and reap substantial rewards in the process.

Cash is never going away.  According to the Federal Reserve, 50% of transactions less than $25 are handled with cash.[4] In addition, recent newsworthy credit card data breaches at some of the nation’s top companies make cash an attractive option for some weary consumers. While cash remains relevant, there are expenses associated with managing cash as well. Whether it’s employees counting their tills, managers preparing deposits, making bank runs, or investigating discrepancies, handling cash can be costly, but such costs can be easily addressed with a proven cash management system, one that includes a smart safe. Tidel’s innovative systems automate cash management to help streamline operations and provide unparalleled transparency to all cash transactions, enabling a retailer to save substantially on labor costs associated with the manual handling of cash.

Tidel smart safes automatically record all transactions, keep accurate counts of deposits, and generate a myriad of reports to aid in reconciling cash receipts against POS sales. This type of automation accelerates deposit preparation, and greatly reduces discrepancies, freeing up managers and employees to more productive store activities, such as providing an excellent customer experience.  This liberation of manager and employee time can have a substantial impact on a store’s bottom line.

Digital wallets and the proliferation of EMV technology have forced retailers to invest in systems that accept these alternative payment options.  While such costs may not be negotiable, an easy and proven way to offset these inevitable costs is to invest in a proven cash management system – one that drives immediate efficiencies and transparency to all cash transactions, making the management of cash much easier and less costly.  Tidel’s smart safe solutions have provided this value for numerous organizations that deal with cash.  For more information on our award-winning systems, visit us today at