The use of cash is on the verge of extinction. In fact, for Germany in particular, it can be said that coins and notes have a future. Almost 60% of transactions at the checkout are paid for in cash. However, to ensure that this trend continues, cash players need to rethink their approach towards modern cash management. With this in mind, CashCon invited participants to examine current challenges, tangible developments, and profitable solutions.
Cash at the cutting edge
How do financial institutions and retailers handle cash processes today and tomorrow? How do you create more efficiency and security? How can costs be reduced? And do new ideas and solutions deliver what they promise? The CashCon conference, hosted by GS1 Germany and the EHI Retail Institute in cooperation with ALVARA | Digital Solutions, provided a platform for participants to explore these questions. The conference took place in Cologne from 23 to 24 January 2024.
Managers and specialists from the banking sector, retail and cash-in-transit companies attended the event to exchange ideas, discuss hurdles and find solutions for the challenging cash logistics – successfully, in our opinion.
ATM Demolitions – Security Potential and Automation
The title of CashCon is also the program and it was only logical to address the topic of ATM blasts. Attacks on ATMs have steadily increased in recent years. Various speakers presented innovative approaches to deter perpetrators. Gerrit Stehle from Elephant & Castle Capital GmbH, for example, presented the so-called digital colour bomb. A security net is created by processing tracking information into serial numbers, which is invisible to attackers and surrounds the cash. This ensures that the cash is protected from theft. Our CIT solutions and ALVARA ICC provide support with automated and integrated interfaces.
Although structural specifications and technical security measures are the main countermeasures against ATMs being blown up, digital approaches are also justified. Software can be used as an efficient tool to protect ATMs. It offers automated alerts and risk classifications based on heat maps.
Cashback in Retail – A Rising Trend
During the presentation by Niko Korakianitis (REWE-Zentralfinanz), the sales representatives were particularly interested in the experiences and challenges of cashback in retail. It was noted that cashback continues to gain importance, leading many retailers to offer this option as an alternative to financial institution ATMs. The high fees on transactions were identified as a critical issue from the customer’s perspective. The topic sparked a lively discussion with the audience.
The concrete implications for retail are still speculative. However, it is likely that this development will also affect cooperation with cash-in-transit providers. On one hand, the amount of money collected may decrease as fewer banknotes will remain in the branch. On the other hand, if cashback continues to grow, it may increase the demand for banknotes, which could lead to a change in supply requirements. For instance, smaller notes may need to be ordered. We are always pleased to gain practical insights at trade fairs and congresses, which help us to adapt and improve our solutions.
We organise our annual BargeldDialog Handel, an expert meeting specifically for representatives of retail companies, to facilitate this. This year’s meeting will take place on 25.04.2024 in Karlsruhe. Find out more here!
Sustainability – Solutions at a Glance
The discussion on sustainability in the cash industry centred around optimising logistics and reducing packaging. Loomis, a cash-in-transit company, is currently working on reducing packaging waste and CO2 emissions by piloting the use of reusable safebags instead of disposable ones.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has been prioritising environmental sustainability for several years. In its study on the ecological impact of euro banknotes, it identified the main factors as electricity consumption of ATMs, transport, consumables, paper production and other factors. Gerrit Stehle used this as a starting point and presented an innovative proposal to reduce Bundesbank’s transport by using banknote serial numbers.
The two-day event covered a range of exciting topics. The presentations and discussions were enjoyable, and it was clear that digitalisation, automation, and sustainability are becoming increasingly important in their respective areas. However, it was noted that the availability of numerous solutions is not always recognised. ALVARA Interactive Cash Control provides modern cash control solutions for cash-in-transit companies, retailers, and banks.
The platform also offers flexible integration with cash recycling processes in both front and back office operations. ALVARA ICC and the ALVARA Smart Monitoring Platform are designed to keep cash management up-to-date with the latest trends.
Cash processes can be made easier with digital software solutions. Let’s discuss your options together.