Cash may no longer be king, but it’s still cash — and for merchants, that’s a problem. While EMV is beefing up security for credit and debit cards, and Apple Pay’s tokenization is making pay-by-smartphone both more popular and more secure, cash remains easy to steal and impossible to track — and unlike plastic and mobile payments, it has to be physically deposited before it’s available in a merchant’s bank account, and those deposits must be made at ever-shrinking bank branches.
Hoping to help simplify that situation, Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Tuesday (Nov. 4) expanded its range of options to let merchants make deposits that are credited before the cash leaves the store’s premises, according to a B of A press release.
Both the new Safe Connect Plus and Cash 360 Lite offerings are essentially smart safes — store employees feed in cash and coins, and the safe validates the bills, counts the coins and sends the totals electronically to B of A, which provisionally credits the merchant’s account while the cash is still in the safe, usually on a same-day or next-day basis.
But while Safe Connect Plus is just a smart safe, Cash 360 Lite is a cash recycler: It also lets store employees withdraw cash from the safe for to replenish cash drawers. In both cases, cash is actually transported to the bank by armored carrier G4S.
Safe Connect Plus is an extension of B of A’s existing Safe Connect service, which lets the merchants choose its own armored carrier and safe. The new service bundles in the armored-car service, safe and hardware maintenance, with monthly costs starting at $250. (B of A estimates that the unbundled version typically costs $300 to $900 per month plus $60 per safe and 3 cents per $100 handled.)
The service is designed for merchants depositing less than $5,000 in cash per day and the safes can hold up to 4,400 bills.
The cash-recycling Cash 360 Lite, which is designed for cash deposits of up to $10,000 per day and can hold up to 3,000 bills for deposit and another 12,000 bills and 14,400 coins in the recycler, has a monthly fee of $2,000 to $3,000. It also bundles the armored-car service. The recycler can process seven bills and 50 coins per second, and also includes an imaging module to convert paper checks into image cash letters.
The Lite service is a scaled-down version of the Cash 360 service that B of A rolled out in November 2013, which is designed for daily cash deposits of more than $10,000 and has about twice the bill and coin capacity for $800 to $1,000 more per month.