Think of the money in your wallet. The amount of money you hold is finite. When you make payments, you withdraw the money from your wallet. That means that the cash is depleted with every withdrawal. To fill the money into your wallet again, you go to an ATM. However, if for some reason, the ATM has run out of money, you will have to wait for refilling your wallet, and consequently payments get deferred. Similarly, if you have excess money in your wallet, you consider it safe to deposit the cash in the bank. However, if the bank has a holiday or it is after working hours, you have no option but to hold the money till the next day which could be potentially unsafe. Don’t you wish there was a way to have cash handy when you needed and deposit excess cash when not required, without having to wait for banking hours? This role is played by what is known as the Cash Recycling Machine (CRM).
Cash Recycling machine sounds fancy, doesn’t it? But basically, it is an ATM that dispenses cash as well as accepts cash deposits.
How does this help? Well, when one needs to deposit cash in a bank, one has to go to the bank during banking hours and may have to wait in a queue for a long time thus affecting their daily routine. This is especially an inconvenience in places where there is only one bank for miles and a banking transaction could take a lot of time.
A Cash Recycling machine placed at an offsite location such as a shopping complex or a residential area, instead of pure-play cash dispensing ATMs, helps solve this issue. In a Cash Recycling machine, banknotes are put in the cash slot. It then passes through a bill validator to ascertain the validity of the banknotes. Invalid or counterfeit bank notes are kept aside. The correct amount of cash deposited, along with the denominations is captured and almost instantaneously is accounted in the bank account of the depositor or to the transfer account. The amount is credited in real time and customers get an acknowledgment slip confirming the transaction. This cash is then stored in separate cassettes or modules as per the denominations for dispensing in future transactions. So, it meets the exact definition of recycling as the cash that is deposited into a CRM is the same cash dispensed from it.
CRMs also offer efficient interoperability, i.e. you can deposit cash into a Cash Recycling machine operated by another bank. However, a point to note is that banks are now slowly becoming a part of the interoperable cash deposit (ICD) network and soon we could expect to see full interoperability like in the case of cash withdrawals.
Imagine the difference that a Cash Recycling machine will make in a village mandi, a small industrial complex or a local shopping market - the 24 X 7 availability feature is especially helpful for the shopkeeper or small business owner who transacts primarily in cash. They will not only be able to deposit cash without impacting their business after business hours, but also can withdraw cash as per requirement whenever they need it rather than worrying about keeping excess cash in hand in their shops or homes.
A CRM also performs another important role in the larger cash ecosystem. An ATM needs to be replenished in a timely manner or it will run out of cash. While this cash replenishment cycle is between 2 - 4 days depending on the type of location the ATM is situated in, the replenishment cycle for a CRM is longer, as the constant deposit and withdrawal of money means that the chances of a CRM running out of money is relatively less if the deposit and withdrawal requirement of that particular area is more or less similar. This means that the CRM is not only operationally efficient but also cost efficient as it reduces the no. of times that a Cash-In-Transit (CIT) agency needs to visit the CRM for cash replenishments.
One can also use the Cash Recycling machine for cash withdrawal like any other ATM. Additionally, a CRM is capable of doing all other functions that an ATM does such as changing PIN number, checking balance, statement of transactions, cheque book request etc., and is almost a standalone mini-bank in a way.
More and more banks are opting for Cash Recycling machines to substitute their old ATMs, and when deploying new ATMs, for their benefits of convenience, cost and operational efficiency as well as to better utilise time of their employees.
It’s time you tried a Cash Recycling machine. You’re sure to find it convenient, safe and easy to use.The author is MD and CEO of Cash Business, Hitachi Payment Services