Why online payments are the new priority for schools in the next normal

Copy 3 of Untitled design Max Quality | Why online payments are the new priority for schools in the next normal
By Toby Lester | 28th August 2020 | 9 min read

Walk down any high street in the UK today and you are likely to see signs requesting contactless payments. While shops have reopened across the country, many businesses are seeking to avoid cash exchanging hands and, in most instances, consumers are keen to follow suit, with many of us choosing to pay online, wherever possible.

Cash payments have been on the decline for years. In 2019, less than one in four payments were made with cash and more than half were made by card. For the millennial generation (aged 16-34), one in four now choose to live a largely cashless life; consumers no longer rely on cash and the same can be said for school payments, too. Earlier this year, prior to closures, we conducted a survey of over 27,000 parents and found that nearly 90% would use a mobile app to pay for school items. Now, in the 'next normal', COVID-19 is thought to escalate the shift to online payments

Is your school serving as a blocker for digital-minded parents? 

We recently surveyed over 400 educational organisations to investigate the impact of COVID-19. While 12% of respondents were already using a cashless platform, 20% of respondents expressed their intent to introduce an online payment system as a direct result of the pandemic; over 80% of respondents agreed that reducing cash on school grounds was a priority for ensuring the health and safety of staff and students.  

Why going cashless is a priority this year 

UK government guidance provides school leaders with the discretion to require masks if they believe it to be ‘right in their particular circumstances’; staff and students under local lockdown will be required to wear face coverings in communal areas and when moving around buildings. 

Taking precautions is essential. We recognised the issues relating to cash and contamination long before COVID-19; in a 2018 controlled study at London Met University, 19 different bacteria were found on a variety of UK notes and coins.  

Schools need to reduce the risk of infection through contact with contaminated surfaces and online payments support them to do exactly that. Online payments eliminate the need for germ-ridden cash to exchange hands in the canteen and when paying for other school essentials (think books, uniform and equipment etc).  

Beyond hygiene 

Apart from the obvious hygiene benefits, digital payments also provide the same seamless payments process for every student, reducing stigma around free school meals. Online payments support busy parents with a quick and convenient way to choose menu options, top up dinner money and pay for school items. With families seeking to eliminate cash at home, it only makes sense, this year, to eradicate cash from school settings, too. 

A more flexible approach to operations sees many organisations offering employees the choice to continue working way from the office. With more than 230 respondents to our survey agreeing that the ability to manage processes remotely will be key when schools reopen, it appears the education sector are catching up to a more contemporary approach to school operations.  

Online payment systems make managing school finance far easier for remote workers. With inbuilt functionality to manage all payments types (from lunches and clubs to shop items and more), managing parent payments has never been easier. 

For hundreds of schools across the country, +Pay is taking the stress out of everyday payments and empowering teams to implement positive change for their communities.  

Find out more about +Pay; book a free demo or talk to us about your payment needs.