Smart register

It happens more than you might think – sneaky cashiers swapping coupons for cash, in order to earn a little extra income. The store will get reimbursed for the coupons without even having to sell the products, and the cashier gets to keep the money – sounds like a win-win for everyone, and no one will be the wiser!

Except it’s still theft, and many cashiers have been fired, and arrested, for doing it. Like this man. Or this woman. Or this guy.

And yet so many of them get away with it for so long – and so many others who we never hear about, end up getting away with it altogether.

But they may not for much longer. The inventors of a “smart cash register” say their system might be able to help stop these sticky-fingered cashiers in their tracks.

The British-based cash management company Tellermate recently debuted the newest version of a system they call “T-ice”. T-ice is a “smart” checkout drawer that knows exactly how much money is in a cash register – and how much money should be in there.

The idea is to free up retailers from having to manually count their cash. It also alerts a cashier when incorrect change is given, and deters employee theft by alerting the back office if a cashier slips a bill into their pocket.


And that’s a big problem. According to loss prevention specialist Checkpoint Systems’ most recent Global Retail Theft Barometer, employee theft in the U.S. alone accounted for $18 billion in retail losses in 2013.

Coupon fraud, however, can be more difficult to detect than shoplifting or outright theft. Most coupon fraudsters know enough to scan their coupons before they steal any money. That way, their cash drawers will balance out. And that’s how so many manage to get away with it. So is T-ice smart enough to catch them?

Sure, Tellermate says. For those who pay cash, coupons should reduce the amount of money going into a drawer, not cause money to be taken out of a drawer. So regardless of whether a cashier scans a coupon first and then takes the equivalent amount of cash in order to balance their drawer, T-ice can alert management that something may not be quite right.

“The purpose of T-ice is to provide real-time information to enable better cash management, identify compliance/training issues and to provide an additional loss prevention tool to the retailer,” Tellermate’s Vice President of Marketing Jim Stone told Coupons in the News. “That would cover coupon fraud.”

When integrated with a store’s point-of-sale system, T-ice “can immediately flag any variances,” Stone explained. “Depending on the alerting thresholds a store has in place, the store manager or Loss Prevention could be alerted. If there was also video surveillance, you can use the date and time stamp at the end of the transaction to view the video for the same time” and identify the culprit right away.

Of course, not all coupon users pay with cash. But neither do crafty cashiers pay themselves by swiping a debit or credit card, or writing themselves a check, for the value of their fraudulently-submitted coupons.

So T-ice’s cash-counting ability may not solve all of a retailer’s accounting issues. But if it can help keep cashiers out of jail, and illicit coupons out of the system, a “smart” cash register might be just what it takes to thwart a pretty dumb crime.

Image source: Tellermate


  1. i feel confident in stating that pos systems now adays keep track of the dollar amount of coupons entered during transactions. when stores print out the details of the transactions it should state the total dollar amount of all coupons scanned/entered. the person counting the drawer would have to be brain dead not to realize the actual dollar amount of coupons in the cash drawer was substantially higher, not to mention this “coincidence” happening over and over again…i feel so confident in this that i stopped reading the article about a paragraph in…

    • Well, if you made it to the second paragraph, you’d see that cashiers get away with this all the time – and those are just the ones who kept at it long enough to ultimately get caught. Of course they should have gotten caught right away, unless whoever is counting their drawers is “brain dead”, but at least this new system promises to sound the alarm in real time, which could help somewhat.

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