Distinctive and irreversible cash degradation in cashboxes

Reducing – or rather minimizing – the number of physical attacks on CIT operations requires an integrated and preventive approach. We firmly believe that removing the expectation of a reward is the most important measure in order to reduce the number of physical attacks on CIT operations. Removing the expectation of a reward is done by degrading the cash inside the cashbox, making it worthless. However, this is only effective if the degradation is distinctive ánd irreversible.

Banknotes immediately lose their value, if you can’t pay with them. Therefor cash degradation is only effective if it’s distinctive and irreversible. In our previous article, we wrote about the two available methods of cash degradation for cashboxes. The most well-known and traditional method is by using ink. An alternative solution is degradation with High Energy. If we’re talking about unambiguous and irreversible degradation, there are quite some differences between these two methods.


With High Energy degradation banknotes inside a cashbox are burned to a certain extent. The physical properties (weight and size) of the banknotes are distinctly changed (visibly and tangibly). This is why they will always be refused at any cash register and by any payment terminal.

An ink staining system sprays colored ink over the banknotes inside the cashbox. Every banknote will be (partly) covered with ink. Although banknotes covered with ink should be easily distinguishable, it still happens quite often that these banknotes are accepted in stores or by payment terminals/kiosks. This is due to the fact ink is merely a cosmetic degradation. The physical properties (size and weight) remain unchanged and the security aspects of the banknote are still intact. Information campaigns and ink detection systems are developed in order to prevent ink stained banknotes from being accepted. But as long as criminals can still spend or clean the ink covered banknotes, cashboxes will remain an attractive target.


Ink staining manufacturers claim their ink is indelible and permanent. That said, there are many examples of banknotes that are cleaned to a certain extent. Not all inks are created equal. Some manufacturers only tested the ink on specimen banknotes and not on ‘real’ banknotes that have been in circulation. When choosing an ink system, it’s important to know what type of ink is used and how it has been tested.

At this moment, there are no examples of burnt banknotes being used successfully as a means of payment. There are no reports of burnt banknotes returning into circulation.

Choosing a cash degradation method and solution

If you want to deploy a form of cash degradation, choosing a method is the first step. Subsequently, you will have to choose between available systems from different suppliers – which is not easy. When choosing your perfect solution, you should at least consider these 5 critical success factors (in random order).

  1. Banknote degradation: distinctive and irriversible
  2. Flexibility in operation
  3. Health & Safety
  4. Certification and local legislation
  5. Price & TCO

Mactwin wrote a whitepaper, extensively covering these 5 considerations. CIT companies can request this whitepaper, free of charge.