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NGA Study Outlines Payment Mechanisms

ARLINGTON, Va. — To help retailers reduce shrink and inefficiencies and to optimize payment systems, the National Grocers Association here has released a study outlining how retailers process transactions.


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The study was conducted in conjunction with Balance Innovations, Lenexa, Kan., which develops reconciliation and cash-office management solutions.

"There is a lot of uncertainty about the technical future of payment processing," said Peter J. Larkin, president and chief executive officer of NGA. "While consumers have the most say in the success or rejection of future payments innovations, retailers must also keep a watchful eye on their costs. Costs related to employee handling can be an indication of the need to improve payment processes and remove inefficiencies, such as the more streamlined handling of cash and checks."

Shelley Bosler, senior vice president of strategic initiatives for Balance Innovations, said understanding the latest trends can enable retailers to optimize their own internal payment mechanisms.

Findings of the 2013 Grocery Retailing Payments Study included the following:

• Credit and debit account for more than 60% of dollar sales, followed by cash at 23.1%, with check usage falling to single digits.

More news: NGA Leaders Tout Impact of Independents

• Weekly transactions per store average 11,000. While the average transaction size across all forms of payments of $27.65, checks have the highest average transaction value, at $63.21.

• Two-thirds of grocery retailers do not image checks; among those that do, check imaging is more common in the back office than at the checkstand.

• Cashiers are involved in counting tills at 71% of companies surveyed; a second person — usually bookkeepers or front-end managers — is involved with counting the drawers as well at 94% of companies surveyed. The average time to count drawers is 7 minutes.

• While 12% of the companies surveyed never do store cash audits, 20% do them weekly and 28% do them quarterly. Of the total, 38% do surprise store cash audits and 33% conduct both surprise and planned audits, which average three hours.

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