As a check casher, you face financial risk everyday. A big part of your business plan is devoted to detecting and preventing financial fraud to protect your check cashing business. You have a clear check cashing process that you use to vet new customers and monitor potentially suspicious activity. As you record information and file reports, there is another type of risk that deserves the same level of careful preparation.
Your check cashing business is a financial institution, which makes it a potential target for criminals looking to rob a business of cash. Like your financial compliance risk, this threat can be monitored, reduced, and managed. The key to preventing a robbery is to stay alert and follow a safe plan for opening and closing your business each day. Pay attention to your surroundings and vigorously adhere to your procedures – the worst thing you can do is become lax in your routine.
The most important thing to remember when you open your check cashing business each day is to stick to your procedure and stay alert. If a criminal decides to rob your business, they will likely case the building and make note of your general opening and closing routine. If they have watched you, they will know if you are typically alert or if you often seem tired or distracted. By staying alert, you will send the signal that you are on top of your game – and maybe even deter a robbery all together.
When you create your own opening procedure, take into account the risks and obstacles that are unique for your location or specific business. This could include how your business is situated on its lot, visibility issues like hedges or other blind spots, location in a high crime area, or having a large cash vault and high volume business. Your opening and closing procedures should be in writing and you should review them with all new employees. Every employee, new or old, should review the procedures once a quarter.
Here is a basic example of an opening procedure for a check cashing business:
This outline will help give you an idea of the minimum requirements for a safe opening procedure. You should create your own procedure in conjunction with state licensing requirements and your insurance agent to fully understand your risk and the implications of your procedure. If you would like to discuss what this looks like for your business, reach out to NCC’s customer service team directly. All of NCC’s check cashing clients receive bank accounts, compliance systems, business processes, and innovative technology to protect their businesses from risk.
You can prepare both your physical business location and your employees to prevent robbery. The key to setting up your physical location for success is to limit objects or practices that reduce visibility around and inside your business. To do this, you can 1) keep the inside of your business well lit at all times, 2) shine spotlights on entryways, 3) keep windows and doors clear of signs and other obstructions, and 4) put your cash register in view of a window or door, rather than tucked out of sight, so that police can see it during patrols.
In addition to maximizing visibility, you can install cameras and an alarm system. Make sure to set a schedule to periodically check your camera and alarm system and ensure they are working properly. In the event of a robbery, having a detailed description of the suspect(s) is vital to help police catch the criminal(s). To assist in this, you can mark the edge of your main entrances with measuring tape to help you gather accurate height information in event of robbery.
Inside your business, you should also set-up a check cashing process that promotes safety. It is important to never “flash the cash” and to use a drop safe when possible. By keeping cash out of view and minimizing cash on hand, you give robbers less incentive to target your business. When transporting cash for deposits or picking up cash on a cash run, vary the time of day and route you take to the bank. When possible, make cash runs in pairs and hide the cash bag in a plain backpack or grocery bag.
Beyond your regular training and detailed processes, you can take a few more steps set your employees up for success. First, always open and close your business in pairs. Never have an employee open or close alone as this puts them at increased risk. Second, advise your employees to trust their instincts. If something feels “off” it probably is. Finally, encourage your employees to greet each customer with eye contact and conversation. Your employees can make note of the check cashing customer’s appearance, while discouraging hesitant robbers or thieves with their firm and direct approach.
As we mentioned above, if something doesn’t feel right, you should trust your instincts. While a robbery can happen when you least expect it, there are some common red flags you can spot.
Red flags to watch for around your business location(s):
If you see a suspicious person, notify the police immediately and make note of their appearance, associates, car make and model, and license plate if possible. In addition to your opening and closing procedures, every check cashing business should also develop a robbery response procedure. This will detail instructions for employees in the event of a robbery. As a part of your risk management strategy, cultivate a professional environment and make sure your employees know that safety is top of mind – in addition to sales.
Learn more about NCC’s commitment to risk management and compliance.