By Stephen Bergeron, Vice President of Global Marketing, APG Cash Drawer, LLC
Even with the introductions of electronic payment options, mobile phones, and mobile wallets, and contrary to popular beliefs, cash remains a very active payment choice. Recently there have been several very public security breaches that have led to an increase in cash usage. Depending upon the vertical and tier within that vertical we see the percent of cash transitions ranging between 59 percent and 85 percent globally[2, 3]. Cash continues to play a key role in consumer spending. In fact, a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco states that cash is the most used retail payment instrument — even where other payment options are available.
The question is no longer do we need a cash drawer, but rather where do we locate the drawer and how do we connect to it. Low-volume transaction counts with a single terminal can continue to use the traditional printer interfaced cash drawer. Moving to a thin client or a static tablet POS terminal, retailers should think about a Bluetooth-enabled cash drawer. As the number of transactions increase, typically so do the number of POS terminals. This store environment may even include mobile integration and have several cashiers walking around the store with tablets and handheld devices. By integrating an Ethernet or IP-based cash drawer (wired or wireless), the drawer can be strategically placed anywhere in the store.
Operational changes also introduce potential security changes. Using a tablet or handheld means a remote opening of the cash drawer; the retailer needs to make sure the drawer only opens when the clerk is in close proximity to the drawer. This is assured through RFID, biometrics, or simple implementation of a barcode on the front of the drawer. The clerk connects to the drawer by “claiming” the drawer using one of these methods and completes the transaction. IP-based POS can also support the sending of alerts on exception transactions to the shift supervisor and store manager allowing them to take the appropriate actions in a timely manner.
Retail POS is changing, and as with any change, new questions emerge. The introduction of tablet/handheld or Mobile POS is giving the consumer the freedom to shop and pay when, where, and how they wish. No longer does the consumer wish to stand in a queue and reach into their wallet for a check, a credit card, or a series of bills. The VAR and Retailer need to rethink their POS environment and implementation. Is Android better than iOS or is a Win8 platform better? Do I need a POS printer or will the receipt be emailed? Do they need a cash drawer? This leads to security questions, PCI, video cameras, proximity to the cash drawer, cash management alerts, and the like. Finally the operational questions on how consumers engage with the POS terminal at the time of tender.
We are headed into a brave new retail world, and instead of moving forward in fear let’s embrace the opportunities as a chance for growth.
 “After Target breach, shoppers use caution -- and cash,” Lowell Sun, H. Sato, 12/23/2013
 McKinsey and Co, ATMIA Report, 2012
 MasterCard Report, MasterCard Study Tracks Global Shift to Cashless Societies, September 27, 2013
 Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Report: Cash Continues to Play a Key Role in Consumer Spending: Evidence from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, April 29, 2014
APG Cash Drawer, LLC
5250 Industrial Blvd. N.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55421