Safe deposits

Although credit cards are steadily replacing checks as the preferred method of payment, most retail businesses still receive a lot of cash, which has to be deposited.

Are you doing all you can to keep your employees and the money they are delivering safe?

“You really should minimize the amount of cash you take in,” says Erich Murray, first vice president, business banking, Bank One, Columbus.

Murray says if you aren’t already accepting credit/debit cards, it is worthwhile to start.

“More business-to-business transactions are done through electronic payments like debit cards,” he says.

There is a cost associated with this form of payment, says Todd Fulton, Key Bank’s senior vice president, business banking, Columbus.

“It runs between 1 and 3 percent of the sales price, but that’s a low price to pay to minimize risk,” Fulton says.

Although convenient, these forms of payment will never entirely eliminate cash handling. There are steps you can take to keep cash deposits and the employees who carry them safe.

“Basically, you don’t want anyone that might be casing your business to see a pattern,” Fulton says.

Vary the deposit routine in every way possible; have different employees make the deposits at different times of the day, taking different routes to the bank or going to different branch locations. And find an inconspicuous way to carry the deposit bag, Fulton says. Keep it hidden.

And if your deposits are $10,000 or more, consider making more than one trip to the bank during the day.

“Don’t keep the same routine,” Murray says.

You might think depositing the money after banking hours is a safer alternative, but there are pros and cons to consider.

“Depositing after hours lends itself to you being alone with no one else around,” Murray says. “Some night depositories are guarded or equipped with cameras, but you’re really better off to make your deposit during normal bank hours.”

On the other hand, says Fulton, some night depositories are accessible from your car, making them safer.

“If you never have to leave your car, your risk is minimized and there is less opportunity for someone getting the money at that point,” he says.

If you handle large amounts of cash daily, consider using an armored car service, which you can usually sign up for through your bank.

“There is an economic break point where it will make sense for the owner to use that kind of service,” Fulton says.

If your daily deposits approach $50,000, an armored car is recommended. However if deposits are $50,000 in a year, it probably doesn’t make sense for your business, and varying your routine and making multiple deposits will work for you.

“There is no minimum dollar amount that someone isn’t willing to take action on,” says Fulton. How to reach: Bank One, (614) 213-8472 or; Key Bank, (614) 460-3492 or