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Using cash costs businesses 29 days annually

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
17 September 2018 1 minute readShare
cash, credit card, money, Australian dollars

New research has suggested that businesses accepting cash payments are spending an average of 29 days each year processing those payments, with a collective labour cost of $8.7 billion.

Payments company Square commissioned the research to investigate the amount of time SMEs are spending counting and banking cash.

It found the process of having employees balance registers, count monies and deposit cash sums to the bank takes an average of 216 hours each year. That is just under 29 standard business days of 7.5 hours.

According to Square, that works out at a labour cost of some $8.7 billion annually for the country’s SMEs.

“Australia has one of the most advanced payments markets in the world, particularly when it comes to contactless, so being a cash-only business now just doesn’t cut it,” said Square Australian manager Ben Pfisterer.

“Running a business is challenging and requires a lot of effort to attract customers, so it makes no sense to then lose a sale because you don’t allow them to pay the way they want.

“We need to debunk the myth that accepting card payments is more complicated and expensive than cash, because there is actually a very real financial cost to every business that handles and manages cash — and it’s even greater for those that are cash-only.”

On the flip side, however, business leaders have previously noted that there are substantial costs associated with electronic payments too – some of which are passed onto disgruntled customers.

Additionally, electronic payments can be less reliable, as they are vulnerable to poor internet connections/speeds and power failures, as well as technical glitches on the bank’s end, such as that which happened recently to CBA.

These counterclaims about the benefits of cash were highlighted in response to similar claims by the ATO that cash is business unfriendly.

Using cash costs businesses 29 days annually
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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