Cash is King

Cash remains the king for most trading activity in the South African economy despite the rise of cashless transacting mechanisms.

This can be taken from a presentation made by Richard Phillips, Managing Director of cash management services provider Cash Connect who was addressing the AMC International-4th Annual Cash Handling & Security Forum, at the Radison Blu Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Phillips said Cash volumes in South Africa have doubled since 2003, with over 60% of payments for goods and services being paid in cash. “While cash is clearly the preferred payment choice, its anonymity  makes for a major target of crime with figures showing that business robberies remain high year on year. The retail sector is the most heavily affected.”

According to the International ATM Association cash represents 84% of payments across the globe. It is generally accepted that the deployment of ATMs is a reliable indicator of the demand for cash in the economy.

Cash crime, however, is no stranger to South Africans, with daily stories reported and a subsequent impact felt on the economy and business sector. Cash in Transit companies have improved their defences over the past ten years. This has given rise to cash robberies growing within the retail sector which is generally seen as a softer target for criminals.  With the risk of robbery significantly high, the debate in the current SA landscape becomes “when” not “if” a robbery will occur.

Cash protection, therefore, becomes a current and relevant topic. SABS prescribes a minimum requirement for various levels of Safe, from category 1 to category 5. The level of protection only determined by with what tools and how long it will take to breach the safe.  Phillips accurately points out that the higher the level of resistance, the greater the deterrent against the alarming rise of armed robberies currently being experience in SA. Serious consideration must be given to the fact that the overwhelming majority of armed robberies are effected with “inside information”, hence once it becomes known that the business is a hardened target, the risk reduces substantially.

Retail risk assessors are also quick to point out that the only effective way to reduce armed robberies in the South African retail sector is to effectively make cash inaccessible. Automation of the cash management process using technology and systems that conform to tried, tested and proven cash protection and logistics principles offer a cost effective way to remove the cash risk from the retailer.


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