If you have questions about direct integration versus middleware for cash recycler deployment, we've got some answers.

Middleware versus Direct Integration: Which Should You Choose?

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If you had to pick only one piece of equipment that your branch or credit union couldn't do without, which one would you select? It's difficult to winnow down the field when a high-performance bank requires so many working parts. But a case might be made for the cash recycler.

Sure, ATMs may have the greatest volume of users, but the multifaceted nature of cash recyclers allows staff to deliver exceptional customer service all while maintaining superior security and accuracy. Cash remains the most common payment method among Americans, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, so cash transaction demand is high and precision is key.

"The software you use should align with your bank's environment, layout and workflow."

Given cash recyclers' indispensability when it comes to daily retail banking functions, it's important that the software you use for deployment be the proper one for your bank's environment, layout and workflow. There are several options to choose from, but the two most common are direct integration and middleware.

Which one is better? There's really no right or wrong answer for either, as each brings with it some pluses and minuses. Here's a basic breakdown of each so you can get the most bang for your recycled buck.

Direct Integration: The Pros and Cons
As its title might suggest, direct integration is a straightforward interface, in that you can pair it with your core software platform without the need for an intermediary application system. Otherwise described as low-level integration, direct is probably the most commonly used among retail banks, largely because it is device supported, meaning that the method is customized by the manufacturer. This reduces double-keying which, as any teller will tell you, can be a tedious process that makes typically short-and-sweet workflows more labor intensive. Redundancies are all but eliminated via direct integration.

While these are the highlights of direct integration, it has certain "lowlights," as well. For instance, while the virtual elimination of double-keying makes workflows more expeditious to a certain extent, development of direct interface can be both costly and time consuming. Furthermore, custom integration is most often unique to the manufacturer. As a result, they may fail to leverage the new features and functionality coming to market, and leave you feeling locked into your current hardware provider. Additionally, since direct integration interfaces are typically proprietary, troubleshooting may depend on the manufacturer's availability and level of customer support.

Middleware: The Pros and Cons
Then there's middleware. Middleware is also rather aptly named because it serves as the middleman, or bridge, between the cash recycler unit and the teller software application system. While some contend that this additional component is an inherent liability, it can actually be a net positive because the deployment process is much more streamlined and doesn't take as much preparation, a common failing of direct integration. And it supports a "virtual" direct interface experience for tellers.

Additionally, because it's non-proprietary, middleware is not beholden to any one application system, which can eliminate a lot of the hassle associated with troubleshooting, and ultimately allows the financial institution to leverage all hardware capabilities for optimal results.

All this being said, middleware does have some drawbacks. While employment supports overall increases in teller efficiency, end-of-day balancing must be performed as a separate transaction to account for the movement of cash during the preceding shift.

"Banks and branches that initially use middleware on an interim basis wind up sticking with it."

Frequently, middleware is considered a temporary solution to cash recycler deployment that remains in place until the software developer introduces a direct interface. However, many banks and branches that initially use middleware on an interim basis wind up sticking with it for the long-term because it's worked well for them, operating under the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" axiom. Additionally, as previously referenced, middleware is a jack of all trades deployment method that gives financial institutions more options should they decide on a new cash recycler somewhere down the line. This is a freedom that's unavailable via direct integration.

So, which one is the better choice? That's up to you. Whichever you choose, BranchServ can set you up with a cash recycler system that delivers results. Find out more by contacting us today and see what makes our LTA-350 your best bet.