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Dutch Banks Follow the Money

Rabobank branches save time and cut costs by using RFID to track cash deliveries for their ATMs.
By Jonathan Collins
Oct 17, 2005Time is money, the saying goes, but both were being wasted by the members of Rabobank Rabobank, a cooperative association of independent banks operating under the same name. The problem stemmed from the security requirements of delivering large sums of money to locations across Holland.

According to those requirements, when a member bank requires cash to refill an ATM at one of its facilities, a security company must deliver the requested cash in a specially sealed bag. Once the delivery arrives, an authorized staff member for that branch must then issue a receipt. However, for security reasons, Brink's Security—the company responsible for delivering that cash—cannot tell the bank when the delivery will arrive. Consequently, the bank needs to make sure a member of its staff is available at the branch throughout the working day.

This RFID-enabled drop box safe from CaptureTech and Tagsys makes it easier for Brinks to provide cash deliveries to Radobank branches.
"It was a little bit of a pain for us," says Harrie Vollaard, IT manager at Rabobank. "You know, somewhere, somehow and sometime Brinks will deliver the money, but you don't know exactly when. So that means there has to be an authorized person there all the time to give them a receipt. It's a very expensive way to get the cash."

Adding to the problem, more and more ATMs are being deployed at locations other than traditional bank branches, such as ATM-only facilities. For such branches, without permanent bank personnel or money-handling employees, having a bank employee at the location to receive the delivery becomes all the more inconvenient and costly.

Three years ago, in order to find a better way to secure cash deliveries, Rabobank and its technology and cash-delivery providers started developing an RFID system that could help cut the cost of delivering cash to its branches. "We thought maybe we could optimize the whole operation by putting RFID in the sealed bag. That way, the safe knows what bag it gets. It's actually a very simple application," says Vollaard.

After a year of development and testing, the group came up with a system using cash delivery bags with an embedded RFID tag and new drop box safes fitted with RFID interrogators (readers). Each interrogator, connected to a PC housed inside the new safe, reads and records the time each RFID tagged bag is deposited or removed. A printer, also installed at the drop box, provides the Brinks delivery guard with a receipt for each bag deposited.

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