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3 Effective Cash Control Tips forConvenience Store Owners

When it comes to cash handling, keeping too much of it at the Point-of-Sale (POS) is one of the riskiest security mistakes convenience store owners can make.

Most armed burglars will come in and demand money from the register, so it doesn’t make sense to keep the register loaded with currency. According to security expert Dr. Rosemary J. Erickson of the Athena Research Corporation, “locations that tend to have a lot of cash on location, like mom-and-pop C-stores, are prime targets for burglars.” However, just because a C-Store might fall under the independently-owned category doesn’t mean it has to practice irresponsible cash control strategies. There are 3 very simple, yet effective, steps that can be taken to improve cash control.

Visible Security Cameras

For example, there should always be a noticeable, professionally-installed security camera in place wherever cash is handled. The optimal location for a security camera is high up on the wall behind the cashier, this allows the camera to record everything and it protects the camera from damage. Not only will visible security cameras provide deterrent value against armed robbery, it also supports secure cash handling by providing that same deterrent to internal shrinkage.

Dr. Marcus Felson, a security author and professor in the Criminal Justice School at Texas State University, is an advocate for security cameras as an effective cash control measure. “The camera should be facing the customer and facing behind the customer,” Dr. Felson said. “An extra camera in the back is effective and definitely worth it. That provides extra security and it may also make customers feel more comfortable at the store.”


It’s also important to take a burglar’s motives into account, according to Sapphire Risk Advisory Group Senior Director Tony Gallo. Gallo is the former director of Loss Prevention and Safety for EZCorp and a graduate of New Jersey City University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Gallo’s cash control strategies have been formed after years of research and experience. “I recommend getting a very simple cash safe device that you would put next to the register. I say you could even use a cigar box for all I care, or a cash drop box, at the register. When the cash register reaches a certain dollar amount, and that depends on what the business is and what kind of volume they do, put the excess money from the register into the cash box,” Gallo advises. The purpose of a cash drop box is to limit the amount of cash that a burglar can steal from the cash register. Most burglars come in and demand the money from the register, and time is of the essence so they typically don’t ask about a cash drop box. With the separate cash holding area, the cashier can safely hand over the money in the register without losing a substantial amount of money as the cash box holds excess bills.

Bill Amount Limitations

Some C-stores have dollar bill amount policies in place, for example a C-store may have a sign up that reads something like “we don’t accept bills over $20.” Industry experts have different opinions on this strategy. Dr. Erickson is strongly in favor of bill amount limitations to deter burglars.