Cash recyclers are sophisticated cash vaults that are used by tellers at branches as cash drawers, deposit boxes, as well as a regular vault where a large amount of cash is stored for the teller line. Branches with these machines do not have to transfer cash between each other or the main vault during business hours. While these machines are sometimes viewed as infallible, nevertheless, strong internal controls need to be in place to ensure the safeguarding of cash.
While it is true that recyclers can have fewer or less frequent variances than tellers, the machines can jam and cause variances in the totals at the end of day for the branch just like a real teller. These issues arise when dollar bills stick together when dispensed or when the machine becomes jammed.
So what controls should be in place to ensure that the cash in these machines is controlled and properly accounted for? There are some mitigating controls that most the banks we have audited have put in place and have added to security procedures including the following:
- Split combinations to access the recyclers with appropriate security of combinations.
- Daily settlements of the recyclers at the end of the business day. The machines are part of the branch reconciliation at the end of the business day which ties into the general ledger processing system.
- Routine cash counts (weekly or the same as ATMs recommended)
- Periodic surprise audits of the recyclers under dual control.
It should be noted that the machines are not easy to audit depending on the amount of cash that they may contain, as this vary from branch to branch. The machines cannot typically be shut down during business hours for an audit, as they take anywhere from thirty (30) minutes to an hour to count depending on the amount of cash inside and if they are used as second vaults. It also takes away a teller from the teller line to complete such cash counts on the machines. Audits have to be planned and we find that audits can usually be accomplished prior to branch opening with a little planning.