The cost of cash research study

The client was a major card association company that needed to ascertain the cost of cash vis a vis other payment

instruments with a particular focus on credit cards and debit cards.

The over arching areas that prompted the need for this research were the following;

  • To measure the initial process behind the cost of cash; all related costs such as production, transport, storage security and recycling costs.
  • To measure the cost of issuing cash to the consumer; all the related costs of issuing cash to the consumer through the various channels such as ATMs with the associated costs of switching networks, stocking and note recycling.
  • To measure the cost of cash to the merchant; all the related costs such as internal administration costs, theft, insurance, POS installation and maintenance and non-interest bearing cash on the premises.


The Research Approach

Primary and secondary (qualitative and quantitative), intelligence-driven research was conducted. A two stage research approach was followed which included desk research of existing local and global information relating to the cost of cash and then the primary research. For the primary research, interviews were conducted with key players in this environment, large, medium and small merchants and a representative ‘’voice” from the consumer.

The Outcome of the Research

BMI-T presented the client with a comprehensive and interpretive management report and presentation which honed in on the important outcomes from the research, followed by additional workshops of research findings with strategic recommendations.

The client was happy with the research findings and with the recommendations provided and this led to the client and BMI-T presenting at other interested parties such as the South Africa Reserve Bank, the major banks and BankServ.