Retail payment options

Cash handling in retail


Cash is most frequently used for low-value purchases. Accepting cash payments is relatively simple and cheap to set up.

It is important to have cash handling procedures in place for security, record-keeping and cashflow management.

Basics of cash handling

To accept cash in your business, you will need to have a till with a 'float'. This is a certain amount of cash that you begin with so you can give customers change. Most businesses also have an electronic system for recording sales throughout the day. You should be able to issue receipts to customers.

At the end of the day or shift, the till should be 'cashed up'. This involves counting the cash from the till and recording it. The amount of money taken should be compared to the sales recorded. Human error can lead to discrepancies (eg wrong change given). 

It's important that your staff are trained in secure, accurate cash handling.

Managing cash securely

There are certain steps you can take to reduce the risk of cash related crime in your business. Consider these best practice steps:

  • keep cash in a secure till or cash box
  • avoid keeping excess cash (particularly high value notes) in the till, move it to a safe
  • check for stained or counterfeit notes
  • avoid counting cash in front of customers
  • remove cash from tills overnight
  • make regular bank deposits and ensure the cash is secure in transit

See business security: cash.

Recording cash sales

It's important to keep a record of cash sales for tax reasons and in order to manage your cashflow.

You are required by law to keep certain financial records, including a cash sales book. This a central record of your business cashflow. For more information, including templates and examples, see cash sales and purchases/expenses books.

It's advisable to keep petty cash separate from money in the till. You should pay staff directly into their bank account rather than from the till.

You should consider using a point-of-sale system to help you record your cash sales. 

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