Previously, we looked at Teller Cash Dispensers and the role they can play at financial institutions. One of the things we noted was that many banks and credit unions prefer Teller Cash Recyclers (TCRs) over the cash dispensers for general lobby use. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at TCRs and the benefits they offer.
What is a Teller Cash Recycler (TCR)?
In simplest terms, a TCR is a cash storage unit that acts as an automatic drawer for tellers, helping them to perform some of the most common banking transactions as efficiently as possible. TCRs count and store deposited cash from one customer/member and dispense cash when a withdrawal is made (i.e., they “recycle” the cash).
For deposits, the TCR checks the validity of bills, sorts the currency by denomination (putting them into different cassettes), separates worn bills, and tracks the amount of money added. When a withdrawal is made, the teller initiates a requested amount (and denominations) and the TCR dispenses the exact amount of cash.
TCRs also have the ability to make “vault” transfers between TCR units. This allows tellers that run out of cash to quickly get the dollars they need from neighboring machines without needing to withdraw money directly from the vault.
How TCRs provide value
Despite the seemingly simple features, TCRs can greatly improve teller efficiency. Here’s how:
- Faster customer/member transactions: TCRs are extremely fast and 99.99% accurate. Their ability to validate bills and count them with precision means that deposits and withdrawals can take place without tellers needing to count the amount two or three times to ensure it is correct.
- Automated cash tracking: Almost every cash transaction at a teller desk is done through the TCR. The machine validates each transfer amount and maintains an exact current balance, minimizing the potential for mistakes.
- Internal transfers: Since TCRs securely store much more currency than a cash drawer (and cash can be transferred between units), they reduce the number of teller vault transactions. Vault transfers require dual control and can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. A TCR that eliminates these trips can save personnel hours of lost time each week.
- Less cash exposure: Because TCRs handle most teller transactions and store a wide variety of currency, tellers need to keep much less cash in their drawer (ideally, they’ll only need to occasionally replace a worn bill).
Top Reasons TCR improve customer experience
Although staff efficiency is great, the automation provided by TCRs also help tellers humanize the banking process for customers and members. In the past, a cash transaction required the teller’s complete focus. The teller needed to check the account, count and validate the cash, and sort the currency by its various denominations in the drawer. This limited the opportunity for interactions and any sort of personalized service.
But by eliminating all the teller’s physical processing, TCRs both create faster transactions and allow for the teller to focus on the customer/member. People that come into the lobby are no longer waiting on the teller to count and transact, they are speaking with an engaged member of the team (asking questions or promoting services) while the TCR performs the legwork of the transaction.
An insider’s experience – Kara Guse, CUDE
When I introduced the idea of using TCRs to the credit union where I worked years ago, I had to prove the ROI of the purchase. I evaluated the time spent on vault buys, the number of staff at each location, the amount of time it took each teller to balance at the end of the day (and throughout the day as well), the length of each transaction that involved counting cash, and the number of cash balance inconsistencies at the end of the day.
- Using that information, I was able to prove numerous TCR benefits, including:
- Reduction of staff by 1.5 FTEs at the main location (not including the other branches)
- Increased accounting accuracy
- Increased safety for all staff due to less cash in each teller drawer (we posted signs on our doors letting would-be robbers know tellers had little cash)
- Teller balancing dropped from 15-30 minutes to just 5 minutes per day (or less) for each teller
- Reduced staff time spent trying to help locate a balancing error at the end of the day
- Vault buys were easier to perform and could be done more quickly (staff did not need to interrupt their work to go with someone to get cash from the vault)
In order for our credit union to initially afford TCRs, we purchased used/refurbished units. After using these units for a while, we concluded they were a fantastic investment and purchased new TCRs to maximize their benefit to operations.
Many financial institutions have already had experience with TCRs as part of their teller lines. While different models of TCRs range widely in cost and capability (machines cost between $15,000-$40,000), TCR technology has greatly improved over the past decade. Originally, TCR machines were slower than tellers at dispensing cash, were not capable of separating worn bills, and had limited cash capacity.
Today, TCRs have solved these issues and even run at a capacity where only one device is needed for two adjacent tellers. So, if you have bad memories of using TCRs or are currently disappointed with older TCRs in service at your branches, now may be a good time to reexamine their capabilities. You can do your own research on the devices directly from TCR manufacturers (e.g., Glory Global Solutions) or you can contact Equips to get our insight.
Supporting TCRs with Equips
Equips is ready to help financial institutions determine if TCRs (or other banking equipment) is right for their facilities. Whether it’s a new technology or an upgrade, we can recommend the best equipment for your staff and customers/members.
If you are already using teller cash recyclers, we’re here to help you maintain them using our equipment management program. We can both work with an existing service provider or help you find a new partner from our network of top providers. Contact us today!