I will be honest, one of my greatest professional challenges is trying to convince customers that tried cash recyclers 10 years ago and possibly had a bad experience, to consider using the technology again.
“We tried those, we could’ve hand counted the money faster”
“It didn’t hold enough money, so we spent more time unloading the thing than anything else”
“The integration never worked right and we got out of balance and turned them off”
“Our board won’t even let us look at those again after our last experience”
These are not uncommon responses to some unsuccessful past experiences. However, if we look at the advances in technology that have come in the industry and other places, I think it might make sense to take another look at recyclers. It would be like saying “The antenna on my StarTac phone used to always break, so I gave up on mobile phones.” Think about how far mobile phones have come since that time. So what has progressed with teller cash recycler technology and functionality? And why should you reconsider deploying cash recyclers or at least make the business case to senior management or the board?
Improvement #1: Capacity
One of the biggest hindrances to the success of cash recyclers was their lack of capacity. Many institutions were “sold” cash recyclers as THE solution to handle commercial deposits. But in the early days of recyclers, typical capacities were 4000-5000 notes and that simply wasn’t enough storage to handle the volume of a busy location that needed automation.
Today, multiple teller cash recyclers have capacities of over 10,000 notes, and some of them have overflow and transit cassette capability and their capacity can exceed those numbers. This allows for busy branches to better handle the peaks and valleys of commercial cash coming in. Also, I would argue that with better training, tellers can better identify the types of transactions that shouldn’t even be fed into the recycler. Finally, the larger capacity allows for better cash management and fewer vault trips creating the potential for a 90%+ efficiency gain. Read more about this in our article How do I get my Head Teller Back. The sheer fact that today’s recyclers have double to almost triple the capacity is reason enough to reconsider the cash recycler.
Improvement #2: Speed
One other common complaint was the slow speed of conducting cash recycler deposits. Many units deposited notes at 3-4 notes per second, required multiple batches, and required that rejected notes be handled at the end of the transaction. Because of that, smaller transactions could more than likely be handled faster by the person than the machine.
Today, there are multiple machines that run 8, 10, even 12 notes per second. Many of them have continuous feed (see our explanation on why continuous feed is a big deal), which means the teller can continuously process cash without stopping and can even deal with rejects as they happen, reducing transaction time. This, combined with larger capacity, allows most branches to fly through larger deposits from both commercial over the counter and night drop bags, which are two of the most time consuming transactions that institutions have to process. Larger transactions that were taking 15, 30, even 45 minutes to process are now completed in 5 minutes or less, dramatically improving efficiency and reducing customer wait time.
Improvement #3: Integration
One of the biggest challenges of teller cash recyclers years ago was the limited options for integration and the reliability of middleware solutions to drive them. This area has seen monumental change, and personally I feel middleware is the best solution for your institution in the majority of cases (Read our reasons why).
There have been many improvements made to middleware over the years to better handle a variety of screen types and font changes. Our typical middleware has up to 7 different ways to integrate to the screen, allowing us to provide the most reliable solution to the end user as possible. “Screen scraping” has a negative connotation with most IT folks who remember the old days of middleware. But today’s technology has improved much beyond how it used to be and we now use terms like “soft integration”, “field mapping”, or “middleware.” The fact that this part of the puzzle has improved so much means there is much less stress on software houses like Jack Henry and Fiserv to write integrations to the wide variety of TCRs currently available. So you, as the institution, are now allowed to pick the best hardware for your situation and know that integration will work with any teller system out there, even the smaller ones.
There are many branch transforming technologies on the market, but I strongly feel cash recyclers are one of THE best investments for your branch this year. Read my argument here. If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, I really believe you should get out there and kick the tires again, because there are some GREAT solutions in the market today driving big efficiency gains for most institutions. If you’d like someone to even talk to and see if it's right for your institution any more, fill out our cash automation survey below today.