How to Train Employees Who Handle Cash

April 4, 2013

If you’ve ever watched experienced bank tellers count cash with the fast, steady snap of each bill, you’d think they’ve dealt cards in Las Vegas. But they’re exceptions, along with checkout cashiers who handle cash like experts because they’re dispensing it constantly. Most employees who handle cash have inadequate training—if they’ve had training at all. Yet training is important because it creates three things…

1. Fewer errors that lead to fewer customer satisfaction issues, as well as easier and more frequent cash reconciliations;

2. Greater productivity that cuts customer wait times and gets more employee output;

3. Reduced employee turnover, thanks to less confusion, fewer mistakes and better morale. (After all, no one wants to look “dumb” in front of customers or other employees.)

At Garda, we train armored transport employees extensively and will explain how we do so in a future post. For today, we offer suggestions below about training employees in handling cash quickly and effectively. Our vault tellers are trained using these same methods.

• At the register.  Obviously employees need register training if they’re specifically working as cashiers, but employees who must use registers as part of their job, like restaurant servers, also need training.


Go slow.  For someone who’s never used a cash register before, the interface is unexplored territory, so keep that in mind when showing a new employee how it works. Explain the “lay of the land”—what the different keys do—before walking them through their first transaction.

Keep it simple.  Start with simple transactions, then work toward more complex ones and exceptions like voids.


Show them, repeat.  Walk the new employee through the steps of a transaction slowly. Repeat the steps, again slowly. Ask them if they understand and got it. (Of course, they’ll say yes.)

Show you, repeat.  Next have them show you the proper key sequence for that transaction. Then have them repeat.


Products, promotions.  Employees need to know products, especially similar ones that may have slight price differences, and store promotions, if any, so they can process both without having to call for time-consuming “price checks” or looking up codes.

• With the customer.  Instead of handing a customer a fistful of cash and coin back in change, employees should tell the customer what the amount of their change is—even if the register displays it for them—and then count it aloud back to the customer. Also, keeping the cash note on the register’s sill and not putting it into the drawer until after making change is a good practice to avoid customer disputes over what denomination they gave you.


• At shift’s end.  Teaching new employees how to count cash may seem like common sense and unnecessary, but that’s why so little training occurs—along with errors. Owners and managers who are used to handling cash need to remember that new employees haven’t done so before, so some basic training is necessary:

They should find a relatively quiet, secure place to count their cash and avoid distractions that can cause them to miscount.


They should use a calculator. While some people are gifted with the ability to add columns of figures in their head, most are not; they need calculators to do their sums.

They should count their cash by denominations, then stack their bills by denomination, the smallest on top, with increasingly larger bills following. This makes it easier for anyone having to manually count the bills after them, to do so. If their cash counts exceed 100 notes per denomination, they should have currency bands from the bank (with different colors for different denominations) in which to wrap each count of a 100 notes.

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Ideally these suggestions are part of a documented training program. Then, to enhance it over time, we suggest keeping track of the kinds and frequency of cash-handling errors, which will indicate where you need to strengthen the program with additional focus.

Another way to help your cash-handling employees be more efficient and avoid errors is with Garda’s CashLINK. This closed-loop system controls cash from point-of-sale to bank deposit. Employees deposit bills into “smart safes,” which read the denomination deposited and tracks deposits by user. Garda then collects the data each day and transmits it to the customers’ headquarters for sales auditing and banking reconciliation. Our trained messengers then pick up the cash and take it to the bank for deposit. To learn more, visit