The future of school payments is cashless

Mobile payments for modern parents
By Toby Lester | 1st May 2020 | 15 min read

Today's consumer is beginning to rely on cash for payments less and less. Convenient online and contactless payments mean we're relying on cash machines less and less - so what does this mean for school payments?

Stop by a cash point today and you’re likely to be confronted with a message informing you, ‘This machine charges for cash withdrawals’. The accompanying price tag can range from a minimum of 95p to an eye-watering £5; today’s high fee to access cash.

Pricey cash withdrawals are on the rise. According to consumer group Which?, nearly 1,700 charge machines were launched between January and March 2019. And, as free cash machines disappear from our high streets, so too do bank branches; the UK has lost nearly two-thirds of its bank and building society branches over the past 30 years. However, in light of closures and a decline in free cash, consumers and businesses aren’t grinding to a halt. Instead, we’re welcoming a new cashless era with open arms, smartphones in hand.

The online bank

Today, 22 million people across the UK are using mobile banking apps to manage their accounts. By 2023, this number is expected to rise to 35 million – a huge 60% of all current account holders.

With the likes of contemporary online-only banks such as Monzo entering the market, banks are placing greater emphasis on user-friendly, reliable apps and convenient mobile banking experiences. In fact, even online banking trends are changing to reflect our preference to smartphone tech; this year, mobile banking is expected to surpass internet banking as the most popular digital channel.

The bank of mum and dad

Most tech-savvy millennial parents keep a close eye on the digital purse-strings. Stopping by cash points and finding loose change for dinner money isn’t on the to-do list during busy school mornings.

Mobile apps provide a new level of convenience for mums and dads, enabling them to easily check finances while out and about. When it comes to security, too, mobile banking promises enhanced security features, privacy settings and fingerprint logins. The dangers of ATM fraud are well known; even inputting our pin in public can prove risky.

Today, we don’t think twice before paying for every day and extravagant items via mobile apps – holidays, travel fares, clothing and the weekly shop, most payments can be sorted in moments on our mobile phones. As a result, parents are fast coming to expect the same level of ease and reliability from school payments, too.

The cashless solution for schools

A lack of convenience, reliability, security – these same cash-related issues spread as far as the school office. Every year, secondary schools process thousands of pounds for dinners, uniform, clubs, trips and more. Busy teams spend hours chasing, processing and banking money and the security risks associated with keeping cash on-site are high. Dinner money debt, too, is a regular hot topic in the media, with schools shouldering the burden of over-due dinner payments.

Fortunately, online payments are bridging the gap between home and school on the matter of school finance. +Pay utilises a user-friendly platform and free mobile app to meet the needs of both schools and parents with innovative, convenient, cashless technology.

With the recent development of Advance Booking functionality, parents can now make menu selections, book club spaces and pay in one smooth, seamless process, enabling schools to efficiently manage suppliers, reduce waste and manage resources. Multiple registers allow schools to collect payments for dinner, afterschool clubs and various school shop items, with money landing straight in the appropriate bank account.

With our free app, low-balance reminders and push notifications alert parents to payments due, allowing them to log-on and pay in seconds with their preferred payment method, including PayPal, debit/credit card and PayPoint.

+Pay delivers informative payment reports and integrates seamlessly with your school's MIS system. Flexible online shop functionality enables you to collect payments for far more than lunches and trips; books, uniform and equipment are items which support student learning and strengthen your school brand. With +Pay, parents can browse these items and place orders online, enabling you to seel more and do less.

Whether you’re introducing online payments for the first time or switching providers, launching +Pay is easy with a convenient onlineautomated process meaning no printed letters and codes.

We’ve designed +Pay with schools in mind; no stress, complicated implementation process or unhappy parents. The era of cash payments is quickly coming to a close, and for schools, the benefits are huge. Get in touch to start your journey to cashless success or download our free online payments guide to find out more about the benefits of online school payments.