There are many providers on the market, and more than likely, you will have had your system in place for several years. Therefore, you may be hesitant go through the hassle of switching school payment providers. But, are you certain that you are using the best system for your school?
You could liken school payment providers with banks. How often do people switch who they bank with? Not very often! But interest rates do vary and there is probably a better deal available if you look around. The same can be said for school online payment providers.
You have a system in place, and it’s OK… So, why bother with the upheaval of switching?
I have a system that works, why would I switch?
Switching providers for any service will come with its own pains. You may fear that you’ll be met with resistance from your team, worried about having to learn a new system. Additionally, asking parents to change their habits can also present a challenge.
But, the fundamental question is: will the new system be better in the long run? Take a good look at your current system, and ask:
- How much does it cost to run this system? This will include any licensing or monthly charges and the transaction charges.
- What support do you have when things go wrong? Can you easily talk to someone to help you resolve the issue quickly?
- What level of training is available? If you take on a new staff member, who trains them? Or if you want to use the system for something new, how will you truly understand how to implement it successfully?
- Is it easy for parents to use? Is there a free app, as well as access via a web browser? The easier it is for parents to access the system, the more likely they will be to use it.
Conduct a full review to consider how switching school payment providers will impact your school. This should take in both your staff’s and families’ perspectives; the best system for your school will make life easier for administrators and parents.
Evaluate everything you want your system to do now, such as: payments for school dinners, wraparound care, trips, clubs, selling uniforms, etc. But also future-proof your administration set-up, by considering what you plan to do in the future, such as letting out school facilities to generate extra income, e.g. hiring out football pitches and so on. Knowing what you want to take payments for will help you to plan for both the short and long-term.
Calculate the costs and savings of switching school payment providers
After the initial outlay of purchasing software, there will also be ongoing charges. Compare additional fees, especially the transaction charges, which can vary quite significantly. Make sure you fully understand the fee structures of your existing system against others on the market, and calculate how this impacts your school finances.
Can you offer multiple payment options?
Parent debt is a mounting concern. Sometimes it simply comes down to the task slipping the mind of a busy parent, however, increasingly, affordability is contributing to this issue. Giving parents the flexibility to use their preferred payment method helps them stay on top of their payments. Consequently, this should help you to receive monies faster – be that via credit and debit cards, or other payment options such as Apply Pay and Google Pay.
Ensure financial security
When processing school payments online, it’s crucial to use software that is approved by the financial Conduct Authority.
For authorisation and approval by the FCA, a financial service must adhere to strict rules and regulations to ensure the protection of consumers, businesses, and the financial industry itself. Crucially for schools, an FCA regulated online payment system provides protection for parents.
Will switching school payment providers help reduce debt?
It’s all too common that parents forget to log in and pay for school dinners, clubs, trips or other costs. A school would never refuse to provide a child with a meal, or participate in a club if their parent has forgotten to pay, but debt can quickly mount up. This means the school admin team must calculate debts and then contact parents to remind them to pay.
Our SCO system includes a wealth of features to help schools tackle the rising issue of parent debt. These range from encouraging pre-payment by preventing online meal or club bookings without pre-payment, to comprehensive financial reporting and integrated communications, which will massively reduces the credit control workload for school admin teams.