Standing Up for the Little Guys Who Don’t Stand a Chance in a Cashless Society

To remedy concerns connected to the cost of and capacity to manage cash, companies are turning to the cashless philosophy. Going cashless means less time manually counting cash. It also reduces the risk of robbery.

But that’s not all that’s decreased.

For the unbanked, more and more companies going cashless, means less and less access to the marketplace.

A survey conducted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), an entity focused on improving Americans’ access to secure, safe, and affordable banking services, found that 6.5% of American households were unbanked last year. This percentage represents about 8.4 million households.

One translation of law dictates that it is illegal to deny consumers access to goods and services simply based on their unbanked status. It views such denial as a form of discrimination.

It seems, some would say, that the cashless controversy is a face-off of conflicting needs. This case of disparate desires – that of companies to maximize cost savings and efficiencies and that of consumers, particularly the unbanked, to purchase through their preferred method of payment – only begs opposing resolutions.

In other words, there is no way to make the predicament a win-win situation.

But what if we refocused the problem solving tactics? What if we shifted the conversation from cash itself as problematic to the issues with how it is managed?

(After all, intelligent problem solving requires comprehensive consideration. Herein lies the key to transforming the cashless controversy into a mutually beneficial opportunity.)

Companies have managed cash in the same manner for centuries. And, so, perhaps we might consider the archaic processes in place for managing it.

Traditional cash management is plagued with manual processes. These processes include issuing tills, counting down tills/drops, reconciling drops against the POS, and ultimately transporting cash to the bank.

With the emergence of credits cards, Bitcoin, and Apple Pay, digital has brought payment into a new age. Similarly, digital can also be employed to bring the process of managing cash payments into the 21st century.

The key? Automation.

“The power of automation can be leveraged to reinvent cash management,” co-founder of Chicago-based Evention LLC, Mike Baldinger, said. “By implementing robotics and cloud-based automation, cash can essentially be converted into a digitized currency. This digitization dramatically reduces the cost and labor typically required to accept cash.”

By leveraging cash recycling coupled with cloud-based reconciliation to reinvent cash management, Evention is pioneering the digitization of physical cash. This enables retail, hospitality, restaurant, grocery, and other segments to reduce cash management costs and labor and, in turn, easily accept cash from consumers.

“Within the context of the cashless controversy, we are proud to be able to combat payment discrimination by equipping businesses with the ability to manage cash effectively and efficiently,” Baldinger said. “Not only do consumers benefit, but businesses that accept all payment methods ranging from physical cash to contactless credit cards and Apple Pay, will benefit from increased customer loyalty.”

Even proponents of the move to a cashless society add a caveat of caution to their enthusiasm acknowledging that cash has its benefits, among them protection of the unbanked.

This caveat gives even greater validity to the idea of redefining the issue from one concentrated on the money medium to one focused on the system of managing it. Like digital payment methods, not only does automated cash management provide less error and opportunity for theft and more accountability and efficiency, but it also offers that which digital does not – protection of the unbanked.

It is time that we re-evaluate the burdens of managing cash.

Rather than eliminate a payment form that many consumers prefer or require, let’s use technology and automation to provide a solution that mutually benefits both businesses and consumers.