Cash remains one of South African consumers’ favourite ways to pay because it’s convenient, easy, and offers low transaction costs for customers and retailers alike. That means that every small and medium sized retailer should be preparing itself to manage an influx of cash over the festive season as consumers splash out on treats and gifts.
That’s according to Mark Templemore-Walters, Operations Director at Cash Connect, who says that cash remains the preferred payment option of choice for many South Africans. He says that even with the rise of alternatives such as cards and digital payments, cash has an enduring popularity as a transactional tool. It’s reliable, trusted, easy to use and accepted everywhere.
Cash still reigns supreme
According to BankServAfrica data, commercial banks placed R89 billion in physical cash orders for their respective ATM and branch networks over the festive season in 2021, highlighting the central role of cash during this period. Furthermore, research from BCG shows that 95% of South African consumers withdraw cash from ATMs at least once a month.
Says Templemore-Walters: “Our experience shows that card, digital and cash all have a key role to play for different consumers, different types of transactions and different merchants. For South Africa’s 11 million unbanked and underbanked population, the cost of going cashless is often prohibitive, as BCG notes. Furthermore, the rationale offered for going cashless doesn’t hold up.
“For instance, moving away from cash is often positioned as a strategy to combat crime. Statistics from the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) shows that we are seeing higher levels of digital and card fraud and ID fraud. However, these statistics show that we are seeing significant increases in cybercrimes not because criminals are able to hack into banking platforms, but because they are successful in tricking the human user of these platforms. It is easier for criminals to exploit human vulnerability by manipulating victims into sharing their personal or confidential information which is eventually used to commit fraud.”
Give customers the choice
Consumers, in exercising free choice, will use the mechanism best suited to their needs, considering factors such as speed, convenience, accessibility, security, data confidentiality, potential for ID fraud, anonymity, and avoidance of perpetual and intrusive marketing algorithms. Whichever choice they opt for actually has little to do with financial inclusion.
With that in mind, every retailer should be looking at how shoppers can transact safely and conveniently, no matter which medium they use to pay, Templemore-Walters adds. Furthermore, retailers should consider which strategies will enable them to reduce the costs of accepting payments and securing transactions, whether shoppers choose to pay via an app, a card or with notes.
Managing cash is affordable
Templemore-Walters says that despite the perception that handling and securing bulk cash is costly for retailers, these operational expenses compare favourably with accepting card payments. Automated cash management saves time and money for the merchant by eliminating manual reconciliations and banking, counting and double-count supervision.
An automated cash management solution helps merchants to manage and improve their cash flow. With an Instant Access facility, merchants can access their cash while it’s still in their cash vault. If the retailer needs to make an urgent payment, but the cash is still in their vault and uncollected by the CIT service provider, they can access their cash in real-time with a click of a button on an app.
Put the bank in your store
“Installing an automated cash vault, built to SABS Category 4 standards, is like putting the bank in your retail store”, he adds. “You don’t need to leave your premises to manually bank your cash to get value in your bank account. Once you deposit your cash into the robust cash vault, the funds are guaranteed with an immediate risk transfer to streamline your daily cash handling.”
Cash Connect, a member of the Connect Group and a market leader in automated cash management solutions, also offers alternative payment options as part of a wider portfolio of fintech solutions. These offerings include hassle-free access to millions for business funding in just 24 hours, so that retailers never miss a business opportunity to grow and thrive.
Retailers with a Cash Connect vault can repay the capital injection in small daily instalments, straight from the cash in the vault, so they don’t feel the impact on their cashflow. Says Templemore-Walters, “It’s important to protect and celebrate the vital role that cash plays in our economy. With the right solutions, retailers can optimise their management of cash to reduce costs and ensure security.”