TCRs Improve the Banking Experience

The face of the retail bank branch is undergoing a drastic shift. Brick and mortar banks and credit unions are shrinking from the typical 8-teller operation to 2 tellers. Now, 700-900 square foot neighborhood branches with open floor plans replace the sprawling lobbies and private offices. One thing that hasn’t changed is that bank tellers are still the front line of customer interaction. Instead of simply handling transactions, tellers are now responsible for branding the bank, selling products/services, and educating visitors. Deploying or upgrading their Teller Cash Recyclers (TCRs) improves the staff and customer experience.

What is a Teller Cash Recycler (TCR)?

teller cash recycler, or TCR, acts as both a cash storage vault and an automatic drawer that sits at the teller line. Each TCR typically supports two tellers. Since the introduction of TCRs to the market, the technology has improved and the cost has decreased. Today’s TCRs efficiently handle a range of teller and vault transactions with near 100% accuracy:

  • Accepts cash for tellers
  • Sorts bills by denomination
  • Screens for counterfeits
  • Counts and verifies the total
  • Stores large volumes of notes
  • Dispenses or recycles notes
  • Maintains an exact current balance
  • Runs internal audits

How TCRs Help Bank Branches

Investing in TCRs provides almost immediate benefits for bank branches, employees, and customers. Mark Suacillo, the VP of IT/Security & Facilities at CCFCU, shared his credit union’s experience since installing TCRs. CCFCU is a California-based credit union that serves the employees of the Co-Op Market Chain, Alta Bates hospitals, and the faculty, staff, and students of UC Berkeley. According to Suacillo, the new TCR machines improved the customer and the employee experience.

“Adding the two new CIMA AST7000 TCRs allows our tellers to spend less time manually counting money and more time speaking directly with members – discovering other areas where the credit union can help them with their financial needs,” he says.

In addition to freeing up tellers to engage with customers, the TCRs also helped the bank save money on overtime.

“Instead of an additional hour after closing to balance cash each day, employees are out the door in as little as 15 minutes,” Suacillo explained.

For banks and credit unions, a TCR offers numerous benefits over traditional cash drawers:

  • Saves labor costs by reducing the number of tellers needed
  • Saves time by automating transactions
  • Increases the accuracy of all transactions
  • Improves the customer experience
  • Reduces fraud and shrinkage
  • Secures cash for recycling
  • Decreases number of vault visits

What’s the right TCR for you?

The cost of implementing new TCRs has decreased significantly; additionally, banks can depreciate the investment over time. If your institution is interested in a new installation, then the volume of cash, customer traffic, and branch layout are factors to consider when selecting the right TCR. If your tellers are working with first-generation TCR machines (circa 2014), you are likely facing the end of their technical support and parts availability. Replacing/upgrading these machines will be necessary before they become obsolete or inoperable. Banks operating a fleet of devices across multiple locations should look for solutions that offer remote visibility, analytics, device management, and reporting.


CIMA manufactures a range of TCRs that suit any retail banking environment. For institutions that don’t need “bells and whistles,” CIMA offers an entry-level series that provides a functional and cost-effective bank branch recycling solution. CIMA’s AST7000 is an affordable, fit-for-purpose recycler with eight rolled storage recycling drums. The AST7016 offers flexible recycling functionality with 16 rolled storage recycling drums and a capacity of up to 8,000 notes. The 7000 series features under-counter or behind-the-teller line installation.

CIMA’s feature-rich AST9000 is ideal for large volume and cash-intensive bank environments. The cassette-based recycling and storage technology provides much higher capacity and speed. The AST9000 is designed with a look and feel suited for open-plan branch layouts.

CIMA includes two software solutions in its banking portfolio. CashUp is the on-device teller application providing transaction interaction in a stand-alone environment. C-Link is a remote device management platform designed for larger businesses with multiple TCR machines in different locations.  All CIMA TCRs are also compatible with leading middleware software providers for complete core integration.

About CIMA – America

CIMA serves its U.S. customers and partners by helping businesses reduce the cost of managing cash. CIMA Cash Handling America supplies a broad range of smart safes, back office/front of store recycling systems, and software to businesses across Banking / Financial Institutions, Retail, Hospitality, and Gaming. CIMA Cash Handling America, Inc. is based in Houston, Texas.

5 Shifts Driving Cash Automation

The U.S. economy is struggling to recover after more than two years of upheaval. As the pandemic recedes, the nation faces several social and economic shifts. These changes will steer the direction of commerce and shape our new normal. Hospitality, fast food, gaming, grocery, cannabis, and retail banking outlets must pivot to accommodate new customer and worker behaviors. Here are five shifts driving cash automation:

Labor Shortages

In the latter half of 2021, the “Great Resignation” rippled across many sectors. The phenomenon decimated lower-paying hospitality and retail jobs. By the time the dust settled, over 1 million hospitality workers and nearly 5% of retail workers had quit. Retailers report that it is now almost impossible to hire enough staff to keep up with business.

The cash automation solution:

Retailers can deploy cash automation machines quickly and fill many of these menial jobs. Front-of-house transactions and backroom counting activities are more reliable, accurate, and faster when done by machines. Cash handling devices such as recyclers, smart safes, and kiosks remove the unpredictability of human labor and reduce employment costs. Businesses can offer better wages to a much smaller workforce while improving the bottom line.

Increases in Crime

From coast to coast, criminal activity is increasing at an alarming rate. Businesses are reporting a surge in crimes from armed robbery to cash shrink from employees. Even counterfeit operations are in high gear, churning out near-perfect reproductions of U.S. banknotes.

The cash automation solution:

Cash automation machines act as deterrents to criminal activity in many ways. Armed robbers don’t want to risk the time needed to break into smart safes, cash recyclers, or kiosks. These machines accurately track money flow inside the business, allowing managers to see which employee used the machine, total transactions, and total cash deposited or withdrawn. Shrink from theft or human error is immediately visible. Built-in scanners also detect counterfeit notes and separate them for removal.


Although financial experts proclaimed that inflation would be transitory, it has surged to historic levels with little relief in sight. Everything from materials to labor is more expensive than ever before.

The cash automation solution:

Cash recycling hardware is a fixed investment that will last for many years. A self-service kiosk will not ask for a raise or drive up health insurance premiums. Automating all cash handling activities is a wise investment that will quickly pay for itself.

Increased Tech Acceptance

The pandemic sped up the acceptance of automation, self-service, and technology in retail spaces. Customers and workers are less resistant to using machines to complete transactions. Even older Americans have become accustomed to using technology to make purchases. Retail outlets that do not recognize this shift in consumer attitudes may get left behind.

The cash automation solution:

By now, most consumers are familiar with the process of using a point of sale kiosk. Many people prefer the self-service option. These customer-facing kiosks require fewer tellers to oversee transactions, saving money without diminishing service. Workers can spend more time on high-value activities such as interacting with customers or upselling merchandise.

Touch-Free Transactions

Many nations worldwide are beginning to look at Covid as endemic instead of pandemic and are adjusting their regulations accordingly. However, many of the lessons and habits from the pandemic may take time to recede. Regular cleaning of surfaces, aversion to contact, and a preference for “touch-free” options will likely remain for some time.

The cash automation solution:

Certain customers may continue to avoid excessive touchpoints, particularly during the annual cold and flu season. Customer-facing kiosks and self-service checkout stations give customers and workers a touch-free option to complete their transactions.