Cash in Transit (CIT) vehicles aren't exactly hard to spot, but putting a finger on what they actually do for the businesses they service is where people often come unstuck.
In short, those large armoured vans assist organisations in the process of achieving an efficient cash management system. This term encompasses a vital area of finance involving the collection, handling and usage of physical currency; helping companies keep an adequate supply of coins and notes within their business premises.
CIT services play an integral part in the running of a wide range of businesses, but for financial institutions, the need for an efficient cash management system is heightened.
Banks, for instance, need a constant flow of cash to enable their customers to withdraw money from their accounts. This requirement is present all year round with significant seasonal changes regards to the frequency of withdrawals, which is why reliability and flexibility is at the forefront of most CIT services.
So, with this in mind, what are some of the key tasks CIT workers undertake for financial institutions?
From the perspective of CIT service providers, being able to deliver cash in a secure manner entails far more than just packing the money into a heavy-duty vehicle.
These companies will assess every square metre of their transportation route, to ensure the efficient and secure delivery of cash.
Banks often require larger sums of money than the average high street retailer, which is why being able to protect the currency from thieves should take pride of place in the CIT provider's core objectives.
Moving cash safely and securely using state-of-the-art vehicles that have been equipped with the latest technology, including vehicle tracking technology, helps CIT operators to do exactly that.
In addition to the routes and methods of transport, members of staff are hand-picked and required to undergo extensive training to equip them with the skills to protect themselves, the public and of course clients' cash. Every area of this process has to be planned in meticulous detail to ensure a safe and secure delivery.
CIT often forms part of a wider cash flow strategy, including the processing of currency. Banks cannot afford to take even the slightest risk of allowing counterfeit notes and coins to pass through their service points and ATMs, which is why CIT processing centres are equipped with systems to allow the cash to be checked for authenticity.
As well as secure handling, this process also includes the counting of cash; allowing CIT services to make each delivery right to the pound.
Research from the Payments Council reveals that more people are turning to cash exclusively to help them monitor the amount they are spending on a daily basis. In 2012, it's understood that 7.2 million adults relied on cash to make all of their day-to-day purchases; an increase of 700,000 from 2011.
Due to this rising trend in people paying for their goods and services with physical currency, it's imperative that banks can deal with the extra strain. Cash withdrawals were made even speedier through the introduction of automated teller machines (ATMs) in the 1970s, but keeping these machines maintained only solves half of the issue. They also need to carry sufficient cash to ensure that each customer request can be fulfilled.
CIT providers also deliver a service that keeps ATMs filled all year round. In a typical plan for a full offering, the first stage of the process will involves risk management, storage and cash preparation and cash forecasting, which predicts how much the bank will need over a specific time window.
Of course, the most important part of the service is in the initial cash load, cash management and replenishment of ATMs, with maintenance of the machines also provided upon request.
During this entire process, the bank can also benefit from helpdesk services, web reporting, balancing and even a 24/7 alarm response unit in case a machine comes under attack; allowing them to keep a constant eye on their cash.
Although its name might suggest otherwise, CIT does not always involve the transportation of coins and notes. A bank could seek a secure delivery for sensitive documents, bullion or other valuable items; a duty which once again falls at the feet of transit drivers.
There's also a chance these items might be needed at a specific time, but not in the immediate future. It's therefore important that the CIT provider has a secure warehousing facility to hold these goods until they're required.
Much like the ATM service, this arrangement is highly-flexible and epitomises the close relationship that CIT providers have with their banking clients. Contracts between the two parties involve so much more than just the delivery of cash, which only covers a small area of the overall providing.
A number of cash management issues have to be ironed out before the money can even be packed into a delivery van and, as the evidence shows, banks need plenty of help from CIT services to ensure that their customers are serviced.