“CashWare breaks new ground in speed and efficiency, complementing the technical prowess of the modern-day financial institution”
Cash is still king. With more U.S. currency in circulation today than ever before and growing at a rate of 5 percent annually, one of the top reasons people are drawn to banks and credit unions is cash. International demand for U.S. currency is also on the rise. According to the Federal Reserve, there are over USD 38 billion notes in circulation valued at over USD 1.7 trillion. Surprisingly, cash is the leading source of payment accounting for 32 percent of retail transaction payments, surpassing debit cards, credit cards, and electronic payment apps. For transactions less than USD 50, cash dominates with a 50 percent share when compared to alternate payment methods. The number of notes in circulation has increased since the 1980s and spiked since 2010. While consumers embrace the convenience of electronic payments, cash still needs to be handled and is not disappearing anytime soon. Benchmark Technology Group has invested over more than two decades in developing its CashWare cash automation software and has been positioned in the market to enhance any application or business embracing cash handling technology.
According to Joey Jackson, VP of Cash Automation at Benchmark, today’s consumers, representing all generations, demand the capabilities of ubiquitous high-tech banking. These new digital channels steer consumers away from branches, leaving financial institutions swimming upstream to attract them back to their brick and mortar locations to develop face-to-face relationships leading to additional high-value products that increase wallet share. “Studies show that people go to branches for three reasons: seeking investment advice, discussing lending options and completing cash transactions,” explains Joey. “Benchmark’s CashWare solutions address branch cash handling. CashWare enables branches to secure cash and provide fast and convenient access to it anywhere in the branch through innovative software which manages cash recycler technology.” Hence, customers no longer need to wait in lengthy teller lines to satisfy their cash needs as Benchmark’s CashWare allows a universal banker with a tablet to initiate cash transactions wirelessly. The “Universal Banker,” who assists with all branch products and services, has the flexibility to select any available cash recycler for dispensing or depositing a customer’s cash.
“CashWare breaks new ground in speed and efficiency, complementing the technical prowess of the modern-day financial institution,” adds Joey.
Benchmark was founded in 1985 selling proprietary banking systems from IBM, Bunker-Ramo, NCR, ISC, and Burroughs. Benchmark provided these and other highly demanded terminal systems new as well as refurbished. Benchmark has an excellent reputation for their quality products and repair services. Proprietary terminal systems were eventually replaced with personal computers and the industry changed radically resulting in Benchmark re-inventing itself in the evolving landscape of financial institutions. Throughout the entire history of Benchmark, the priority has been on providing a positive customer experience.
Benchmark provides products and services to banks and credit unions including some that have been customers for 20 to 30 years and are now among the largest in the country with early roots as community banks. Benchmark assisted these institutions in growing by helping them make informed technology decisions based on their product knowledge, industry experience, and technical acumen. With a reputation as a trusted advisor, Benchmark offers customers candid feedback to help navigate hardware options, validate software compatibility, assist in software integrations and manage technology deployments. Benchmark offers highly personalized “one call does it all” service to provide, deliver and install technology, as well as maintain the recycling of displaced assets.
Whether onsite at Benchmark or via web conferencing, financial institutions learn about the various cash recyclers through workshops, evaluate teller application integration options and develop processes to enhance cash handling and reconciliation. The CashWare staff consists mostly of former bankers with a comprehensive understanding of teller and bank operation systems and procedures. Many of the unique features in CashWare today are a result of customer suggestions and their “perfect world” needs making the product feature rich without being intrusive.
The Complete Solution
While many cash recycler software solutions provide middleware functions, CashWare provides a robust cash management function and the ability to manage cash handling devices from an enterprise executive-style dashboard, CashWare Advisor. Reporting, ease of use, support and compatibility with emerging desktop environments became industry known differentiators.
The latest versionof CashWare, version 4, positions this solution to be the most advanced cash handling solution on the market by interweaving the latest technological advances with new banking practices. Version 4 features a new user experience with onboard intelligence to provide persistent connectivity and smart error recovery. The design pillars of CashWare are threefold: integrity, reliability and performance. CashWare was redesigned to function in an open branch environment where recyclers may be shared in lobby pod branch designs. Universal bankers can select any available recycler in the branch to serve their cash needs, allowing a banker with a tablet, for example, to choose any recycler within their proximity and eliminating the need for a teller line that creates a barrier between bankers and customers. This mobile functionality and efficient approach has potential to “wow” a customer with a favorable impression demonstrating technology leadership. To support this open, flexible concept, CashWare includes “floating teller” support to seamlessly reconcile end-of-day balancing. To bolster reliability and defend against network impairments, CashWare v4 also includes intelligent logic to maintain communications and manage error recovery with recyclers, thus reducing operator decisions and providing easy to read intuitive screens to guide a user through any transaction or machine error. To enhance reporting and managing a cash recycler install base, the CashWare Advisor executive dashboard provides instant device health, transaction volume and cash position for any of the recyclers in the network. Advisor has powerful analytics for drilling-down into the data and creating meaningful graphsand detailed reporting or exports. While initially targeted for the financial industry, CashWare now transcends to other vertical markets where cash handling, controls and reconciliation are crucial.
Regardless of the equipment in a multi-vendor environment, CashWare operates the same for all users, so there is only one system to learn for any of the 20+ devices supported by CashWare; where this market was relatively stable for decades with dominant providers, new vendors are now entering annually to participate in the growth in demand for cash recycler products. Manufacturers endorse CashWare because Benchmark guarantees to provide full functionality of a recycler to ensure the customer expectation is not compromised, delivering the capabilities of the device as promoted by the seller. The specific features of certain devices require extensive knowledge of the devices, error recovery and the impact on balancing the device at the end of the day. CashWare offers sophisticated solutions without compromising the ease of operation — it’s simply elegant.
Complementing Different Frameworks
Core providers adopt CashWare as an extensible solution that complements their teller applications and provides a reliable framework for the different type of workstation environments and emerging desktop architectures. CashWare has advanced Windows Active Directory support that allows the implementation of single sign-on and centralized user administration. CashWare is also highly secure with encrypted transactions and databases, only allowing transactions from authenticated users and workstations to access the recycler. IT staff welcomes the ease of implementation and minimal ongoing support because CashWare does not require any application or host-based software changesand can often be implemented in a day. For direct integrations, developers welcome the depth of the CashWare Connect API which significantly reduces development time and skills required to support any cash handling device with one-time code. IT staff also appreciate the technical expertise and availability of CashWare developers to collaborate on future interfaces, integrations and infrastructure roadmaps. With the ability to run cash recyclers in standalone, clustered or enterprise server environments, authorized branch personnel can have access to any cash recycler at any time allowing the highest possible utilization of cash recycler investments.
In one instance, a large bank contacted Benchmark because they were facing problems with their current cash recycler software solution. They tried to integrate their cash recycler with the host provided solution and experienced daily balancing differences and delays serving their customers. Because of these problems, they were not able to realize the benefits and ROI for their cash recycler investment and tellers became frustrated. After installing CashWare throughout their institution’s footprint, they tested for months and ultimately decided CashWare was the right solution for them. The bank noted the decline in cash balance differences, tellers regained confidence in their recyclers and their expected ROI for was being realized.
International Solution to Cash Handling Problems
The banking landscape is changing as workstation technology is converging with retail systems. Benchmark will be leveraging their success in the banking vertical to retail for products, repair services, and technology migration services. CashWare software is now a viable solution for any cash handling operation. With new multi-lingual and multi-currency capabilities, CashWare is positioned as an international cash recycler software solution, and it is a comprehensive cash management solution for bank branches and any cash room/vault operations.
Other Service Offerings
Cash automation, hardware, and comprehensive technology services encapsulate Benchmark’s offerings. In the technology management services silo, Benchmark offers the management of branch hardware/software migrations where Benchmark warehouses, images, configures, ships and installs all related hardware in support of new technology platform conversions and acquisitions. All service projects utilize real-time status dashboards to provide customers instant access to information about installations using Benchmark’s unique project management software called ProTrac. ProTrac provides project stakeholders with an up-to-the minute dashboard of onsite installations identifying completion of pertinent milestones. Benchmark has provided these services for financial institutions ranging from 25 to 1,500 branches – this service is a fully scalable and reliable process oriented model.
Shortly after the Check 21 Act was passed, Benchmark partnered with the two major check scanner manufacturers and several of the largest banks in the country to develop the first check scanner fulfillment program in the country. Benchmark invested in the development of an online ordering tool, Trax-IT, which is designed to allow bank treasury staff to order check scanners and have them shipped same day to any of their clients in the world in support of their remote deposit capture programs.
Benchmark continues to expand its remote deposit capture services and today offers RDC software conversion services to upgrade client software as a result of a change in software or a conversion attributed to an acquisition. This conversion service is in high demand by bank treasury departments in need of a solution for converting their RDC clients to new software. Benchmark has developed a comprehensive service to fulfill this niche requirement accommodating clients’ schedules and providing detailed tracking and status reporting.
“We offer turnkey project management to migrate RDC clients to the desired software and scanners. Benchmark sells all top tier check scanners and is a factory Authorized Service Provider for all the leading brands,” says Joey. “We plan to continue taking our solutions to new heights providing customers with the most robust products that can ease their daily work.”
Benchmark Technology Group’s expansive product and service offerings offer a unique experience for customers. All branch technology needs can be provided by working with one vendor. Benchmark continues to look to the future of technology and will be one to watch as the financial technology sector continues to evolve.