Circle K installs automated machines to stop staff handling cash

Move ‘end of an era’ for shop tills as machines placed in 74 of company’s locations

Leading forecourt operator Circle K has installed machines at 74 of its service stations to eliminate the need for staff to handle cash from customers.

The move has been described as the “end of an era” for manually operated shop tills, according to Premium Cash Solutions (PCS), the company that supplies automated machines to retailers.

Customers paying in cash insert their notes and coins into the machine, which counts it and automatically returns change, cutting down till work for cashiers.

Circle K has installed the machines at 74 locations on its network of 410 forecourts, which includes 250 independent fuel retailers and 160 owned and operated by Circle K.

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The SafePay system has been rolled out at Circle K by Premium Cash Solutions, with two companies putting a value of €2.5 million on the investment. They say the new cash machines will enhance security at Circle K garages and cut out theft, while also cutting down on back-office administration and cash handling.

“Cashiers no longer need to have responsibility for cash at the till or back-office administration, eliminating cash shrinkage, discrepancies and reconciliations from the daily cash process,” the two companies said. “Closed cash handling establishes a single, secure, controlled routine for the whole store and automates counting and checking, requiring minimal administration.”

Alan Condron, a director of PCS, said "manual tills are reaching the end of an era and are being replaced by automated systems that can better manage the journey of cash from the moment it leaves the customers' hand until it reaches a business' bank".

Paul Dixon, Circle K’s regional director of operations, said the company’s “main objective” with the installation of the new cash machines was to enhance store security.

The Circle K brand is owned by Canadian listed company, Alimentation Couche-Tard, which acquired the network of Topaz forecourts from Denis O’Brien in December 2015.

The network was subsequently rebranded. The company directly employs about 2,300 staff through the forecourts it operates and also at its head office in Dublin, to which Couche-Tard moved several international functions after it acquired Topaz.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column