Working in a pharmacy means handling cash in lots of different situations, but do you know the safest way to do it?

Pharmacy staff process hundreds of pounds’ worth of cash, cheque and credit or debit card payments every day, so you need to know how to protect yourself from theft or fraud. Here are some top tips:

Giving change

Counting back change into a customer’s hand helps ensure that you give the right amount and reduces the chances of a dishonest customer claiming you short-changed them. Another precaution is to never put a tendered note into the till drawer until after you have given the change. This stops dishonest customers from saying they gave you a £20 note, when they only gave you a £10 note, for example. When accepting paper money, look out for forged banknotes and use whatever devices – special pens or UV scanners – your pharmacy has to detect them.

Till safety

Because the till contains money, there is always the risk that a thief will try to snatch it. By closing the till drawer after every transaction, you reduce the risk of a ‘till snatch’. Another way of keeping the till safe, particularly in busy pharmacies where takings are high, is for the pharmacy manager to do a regular ‘till lift’ to remove excess banknotes and store them in the safe to be banked.

Cashing up

The best time to cash up is during quiet periods or at the end of the working day once the pharmacy is closed and empty of customers. This way, there is no disruption to customer service and it reduces the security risk of openly handling money in a busy store.


Pharmacies with high takings may use a specialised security firm to collect and deposit money for them, but you might be asked to deliver or collect cash from the bank. There is always a security risk wherever money is involved, but your pharmacy can take steps to reduce the risk by:

  • Varying who does the banking and cashing up
  • Changing the time of the banking run each day
  • Sending two people together
  • Putting the money in an ordinary carrier bag so it is not obvious
  • Getting whoever does the banking to walk on the side of the road that faces the oncoming traffic, so no one can drive or cycle up behind them and snatch the bag.

If you have concerns about your pharmacy’s cash handling procedures, your pharmacy manager should be able to answer any questions and put your mind at rest.


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