Top tips for introducing reliable online payments

Paying for it - An introduction to a stress-free cashless culture
By Toby Lester | 1st March 2020 | 9 min read

Efficiency, security, reliability - just a few of the wonderful things online payments promise to deliver. However, many schools are being short-changed by their provider. Whether you’re switching suppliers or considering online payments for the first time, start out on the right foot with our top ten tips to guarantee a stress-free cashless culture.

1. Reliability

A system which leaves you high and dry during the busiest periods will only lead to frustrated parents and more work for your team. Challenge new suppliers to provide evidence of system accessibility for schools. It’s also worth carrying out some research on social media, too, to investigate parent experiences with payment providers.

2. Payment methods

Check which payment methods a system offers for parents; for example, can parents pay with PayPal, credit, debit card or PayPoint? Your system needs to be socially inclusive to support all parents, as well as able to cater for cash payments when necessary.

3. Flexible reporting

Ask your chosen supplier about reporting tools. Is it easy to look up accounts, balances and payments so you can keep arrears in check? Are reports flexible and easy to access? Your system should offer a helpful insight to support school teams; for example, data on popular dinner choices could help to reduce waste and manage suppliers.

4. Mobile

Most parents are rarely far from their smartphones, so ensuring your payment system is mobile friendly is essential. A convenient, reliable and secure school payment app is guaranteed to support speedy payments.

5. Cashless catering

Choose a payment system that integrates with your cashless catering system, ensuring it offers low balance reminders and payment-due alerts to keep parents up to date on payments due. Extra benefits such as the ability to view their child’s dinner choices or the option to pay for particular items in advance are also sure to impress parents and improve uptake.

6. Payment options

Support parents to budget for more expensive items, such as trips or events, with payment instalments, providing information in advance so both your school team and parents can plan ahead.

7. Segments

Investigate the system functionality for setting up year groups, classes and other pupil groups. This way, you will be well placed to communicate with groups about specific payments, making it easier for parents to see what they need to buy.

8. Options

Increase order accuracy by choosing a system which offers multiple options against payment items (for example, sizes of PE kit or school uniform items).

9. Integration

For administrative purposes, ensure the system integrates with your school's management software (MIS). This will enable you to easily upload new pupils onto the system at the start of the school year.

10. Switching

And last, but by no means least, ensure your new solution can be easily migrated from old systems with ease, allowing you to transfer balances and re-create ongoing payment items.

Our free Online Payments Guide explores in detail the potential issues and vital considerations for schools adopting a stress-free cashless culture. We share first-hand experiences and best-practice advice from schools utilising online payments providers today.

To find out more about +Pay, get in touch or book a free demo.