Finding the best way to pay: online school payment vs. traditional
From lunches and school trips to new uniforms and clubs, there are plenty of occasions where schools need to take payments from parents. But what’s the best way for you to do this? It’s vital that this method is safe, secure and convenient to make sure you always receive the funds you need – so an online school payment system could be a better solution than more traditional formats. Read on to learn more about the different approaches and explore what the best option is for your school.
Traditional payment methods: what are the challenges?
When we talk about traditional payment methods, we’re usually referring to physical transactions made with cash or sometimes cheques. Schools are likely to have relied heavily on these methods in the past, particularly for smaller value scenarios such as school meals payments. There are some benefits – predominantly that there are no processing or transaction fees, and lower-income families could be more likely to have access to cash than cheques or credit and debit cards. However, there are a number of issues with these two forms that make them a difficult payment option:
- Security: extra measures are needed if you’re keeping large amounts of cash on school premises.
- Admin Time: there’s a significant amount of stress and admin time involved in counting and processing coins and banknotes.
- Unpopular form: cheques especially are highly inefficient and rapidly declining in popularity.
- Risk of loss: both cheques and cash are sent to school with the child, so could be lost or spent somewhere along the way.
Going digital: online school fees payment
Given the cons outlined above, it’s no surprise schools are following current economic trends and going cashless. Everything you need to know about making your school cashless (UK Finance predicts that notes and coins will account for only 6% of all payments by 2031.) The first alternative to cash and cheques is most likely to be credit or debit card and bank transfer, both of which are regularly used by schools and are far more secure, reliable and convenient for staff and parents. However, it’s important to remember that bank transfers can be time consuming, and there’s always a fee involved with card payments – both of which aren’t really feasible for the regular micro payments parents often find themselves making.
Rather than relying on parents to make bank transfers or call up to complete card payments over the phone (both of which are highly time consuming), a school online payment system can be a far more efficient and convenient option. At Reach More Parents by Weduc, we’ve partnered with leading payment provider Squid to create a dedicated online school payment system within the platform. Designed with school life in mind, it’s equally beneficial for staff members and parents alike. Your admin teams can process all payment methods in one place (including cash and cheques); chase late payments with targeted reminders and gain valuable reporting insights on student debts or balances. And parents can choose their preferred method, top up funds for online school lunch payment and keep track of all their transactions for school trips, merchandise, clubs and more. For even more details on all the benefits of the platform, just click here.
Making the switch: what do you need from an online school payment system?
If your school is considering an online overhaul, you’ll need to know that it’ll meet your requirements – and this checklist is a helpful way to get to the bottom of this.
- Payment options: will the platform allow you to process or manage payments in a number of different formats? (Most schools are likely to have at least some parents who’ll continue to use cash.)
- Safety and security: does the online school payment system offer a 100% secure way for parents to pay – and minimise the risk of handling large amounts of cash in school?
- Administration: will the platform speed up or enhance the process for staff? Features that can help with this include automated weekly settlement, discrete free school meal management or easy auditing.
- Insights: will you be able to access useful reports on features such as sales figures, dinner money debt and student balances as part of the online school payment system?
- Integration: will the software combine with any existing platforms, providers or cashless catering systems?
If you can answer yes to all of the elements above, you’re looking at a valuable way to improve payment processing in your school.
Ready to find out more?
Our team is here to tell you more about all the ways Reach More Parents by Weduc ticks off the checklist with online school payment included as standard. Book your discovery call to learn more about all the benefits for staff, parents and pupils.