Keeping Up with Cash on the Go

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Mobile credit card readers have given businesses the freedom to accept cards on the go using a tablet or smartphone. Even with this freedom, though, some consumers still prefer to pay by cash. Since setting up a full cash register with a drawer might be unreasonable at a conference or flea market, it’s important that businesses have a plan in place to accept cash on the go. Before you attend your next event, here are a few things you can do to make paying by cash easier for customers.

Have a Cash-Friendly Mobile App

Does your mobile credit card app allow you to accept cash payments, as well? Are those payments integrated with your bookkeeping solution? If not, investigate solutions that provide this functionality. You should be able to seamlessly transition between swiping credit cards and processing cash without having to pull out a calculator. In the days leading up to the event, practice using the app as much as possible to avoid appearing unprofessional in front of customers.

Use a Money Box

Anyone who has ever attended a garage sale or Little League game is likely familiar with money boxes. Available in the same type of durable steel you’d use for your in-store cash register, these boxes come equipped with a set of keys to allow you to lock the box when not in use. Businesses have a variety of layout options with these money boxes, with many offering pull-out change drawers to allow cash to be tucked safely beneath. Once you’re back at the office, the money box can also be combined with the mobile credit card reader to create an additional way to accept cash when lines get too long at the cash register.

Have Sufficient Change

Before the big event, someone from your organization should take a trip to the bank and stock up on rolls of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, as well as plenty of one-dollar, five-dollar, ten-dollar, and twenty-dollar bills. The amount you take with you depends heavily on the sales volume you anticipate, but don’t be conservative. Any cash that’s left over after the event can either be re-deposited into your business account or used in your store.

Bring Help

In your store, it may be reasonable to have only one person behind the register, when you’re on the road you will likely be juggling sales with networking and customer relations. If you’re manning the booth at a convention or other event, be sure to bring help with you. You’ll have someone to handle cash while you interact with those who approach your booth. This will also ensure someone’s on hand to keep an eye on things if you need to step out to take a phone call or grab a cup of coffee. Otherwise, you’ll have to lock everything up every time you leave your booth. You’ll also have someone who can leave for more change if you should run out during the course of the day.

Don’t Forget Receipts

Receipt printers are available that can work with your mobile app, but that isn’t your only option. Many mobile card reader apps allow users to email or text receipts to customers for a paperless solution. Make sure your app allows receipts to be created for cash transactions as well as those that are swiped.

Deposit Cash Quickly

If possible, be sure to make deposits on an incremental basis to avoid having too much cash on hand at once. As soon as the event is over, go straight to the bank and deposit all cash to avoid a major loss. It’s always best not to have large sums of money lingering around for long. For safety reasons, it’s usually best to have two people involved in counting, tracking, and depositing cash transactions, both for the safety of those employees and to add accountability to the process.

Invest in Shopping Bags

In the rush to get everything finalized in the days leading up to the big event, you may feel as though shopping bags are a trivial issue. But if you’re selling on the go, customers may consider the inconvenience of carrying your products around all day when deciding to purchase. This is especially true if you sell multiple small items. A box full of plastic shopping bags stored under your table may make your booth the most popular one at the event. If you have shopping bags with your business’s name printed on it, that would be ideal, but even businesses that don’t have ready-made shopping bags can help customers out by saving old grocery bags. If you don’t have any on hand, you can buy them in bulk from a supplier or ask a local grocer if you can purchase some.

Handling Refunds

Ideally, everyone who buys an item for you will be 100 percent happy. But even at a short-term event like a conference, you’ll likely find that some customers request a refund. To be prepared for this inevitability, be sure to keep enough cash on hand to refund your largest cash transaction and make sure your app can handle both processing the receipt and removing the cash transaction from your bookkeeping software. Your app should also be able to handle voided cash transactions in the event you or an associate makes a mistake during the keying process.

Offline Mode

What connection will you be using when you’re taking payments on the move? If you’ve dedicated a tablet to the purpose, will that tablet have a wi-fi or cellular connection for the duration? Are you 100 percent sure? Even an events hall that promises wireless to every attendee may have problem spots and your booth could be located directly in the center of one. To be safe, choose a solution that will allow you to accept credit card and cash transactions in offline mode and practice this process from your home or shop before leaving.

Conduct Inventory

For extra tracking, conduct product inventories on a regular basis. If you’re participating in an event, carefully count and log each item prior to leaving and reconcile that count once you arrive at the location and before you leave. The count should be compared to the number sold to ensure no items have disappeared during the course of the event. This is especially important if you’ll be sending other people to handle the event for you. Even trusted employees should be held accountable to an inventory process to give them an extra incentive to safeguard the items they’re tasked with bringing back safely.

Modern technology has not only eased the process of accepting credit cards, but it has made tracking cash transactions easier, as well. With the right software and hardware, a business can accept payments anywhere, whether those payments are by credit card or cash.

Posted on Friday, May 23rd, 2014