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8 Ways Reducing Cash and Checks Improves Security, Compliance and Operations

9/26/2023 7:00 PM

Handling less cash and checks provides numerous benefits to colleges and universities, on top of meeting the digital-first expectations of today’s students and campus visitors.

Digital payments make administrative processes faster and more accurate, and they carry fewer fraud risks than cash and checks. A unified payment system for accepting digital payments reduces the risks associated with cash while also simplifying compliance with regulatory bodies such as the PCI Council.

A campuswide payments system also provides timely data on digital transactions, allowing you to spot fraudulent transactions quicker and more accurately, and identify trends and insights that lead to improvements in policies and procedures.

Here are eight ways that reducing cash and checks can strengthen your overall payment security and compliance as well as your business processes.

1. Integration unifies campus systems and standardizes processes

To transition away from cash, implement a digital payment solution that unifies transactions for all departments, organizations, and merchants on campus.

The solution should integrate the payment locations, point-of-sale hardware, and merchant software that accept payments, which reduces risk and improves security by ensuring all payments are in the same system. This also ensures all payments follow the same procedures and security standards, which decreases the institution's scope of responsibility for compliance.

2. Increased visibility improves security and compliance

With all transactions centralized through the same system, payment processes are streamlined and administrators gain oversight of them. Visibility into streamlined transactions increases your ability to catch errors and notice signs of fraud, thus reducing risk and improving compliance.

3. Improved physical security

Going cashless greatly reduces the liability of having large amounts of cash on hand and related physical security concerns. Staff no longer have to stress over the safety precautions and time spent carrying cash to deposit locations, or pay for armored services to transport the cash off campus.

4. Faster, more accurate accounting

Digital payments improve account reconciliation as advanced payment solutions automate the process and eliminate the risk of accounting errors. Manually reconciling cash transactions is time consuming and open to human mistakes. Automated reconciliation of digital transactions is faster, has fewer discrepancies, and a clearer accounting trail, which aids your financial planning and tax compliance.

5. Make international payments easier and less risky

Digital payments streamline the often complicated and lengthy processes involved in international payments. With an option to pay online, students, parents and sponsors can make payments anytime from around the world and receive institution’s funds quickly. Sponsorship payments from a student’s home country go through secure and verified processes that ensure legal compliance on foreign currency transactions. By removing the option for international payers to pay with large amounts of cash, a common method for fraudulent transactions and money laundering is eliminated.

6. Less paper, less fraud

Digital payments include refunds and reimbursements that save time and money, while also reducing risk, in comparison to printed payment methods. Check processing costs are higher than electronic refund methods and can take two to six days to receive and deposit funds. Paper checks carry a higher risk of fraud and can get lost, misplaced, stolen, or damaged, resulting in stop payment fees and check replacement costs. Electronic transfers through Automated Clearing House (ACH) are significantly cheaper, faster, more secure, and easier to manage than printed checks.

In fact, it’s been widely reported that check fraud is on the rise.

7. More secure and compliant payment hardware

Shifting to digital payments calls for looking at your payments hardware, too. Updating point-of-sale hardware to NFC-based readers that use tokenization also improves security and compliance. NFC has built-in security advantages over other payment technologies, as it processes payments quickly, securely, and consistently. Implementing secure hardware can also lower your compliance overhead. By adopting up-to-date payment technologies, you can reduce if not eliminate some PCI requirements that come along with an increase in payment card transactions.

8. More useful data and insights

Digital transactions create data that provides insight into activities and processes all over campus. Via dashboards in your campuswide payments solution, you can gauge the effects of policies and procedures on campus activity and develop improvements. Reducing cash on campus provided Eastern Michigan University an opportunity to reevaluate cash flow trends, shift policies and schedules, and create a more consistent revenue flow across all twelve months of the year.

Learn more about the benefits of less cash on campus

There are even more benefits to reducing cash than outlined in this blog. Download our eBook, Using Cash Less, to learn more about how reducing cash and checks can improve security and compliance by reducing risk, modernizing operations, and elevating the student and visitor experience on your campus.