What is the best online school payment system for schools (2024)

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A good online school payment system for your school will be safe and secure, make it easier for parents, reduce cash-handling costs and streamline administration time. But an excellent one will help you increase your school takings by engaging parents and making it easier for them to transfer the funds required.

Changing your payment system can seem daunting and more hassle than it's worth. But there are so many benefits to getting the right one in place at your school.

Read this a step-by-step guide to the best online payment solutions for schools and how to choose the right one for you.

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What is the best online school payment system for schools (1)

What does an online school payment system do?

An online school payment system is an effective and secure way to manage payments online. Whether you’re collecting money for school dinners, trips, clubs, uniforms or for fundraising, an online school payment system will handle all transactions and free up administration time.

Online school payment systems are designed to ease the burden and hassle of collecting, counting, reconciling, and banking cash. 

Benefits include:

  • Secure and flexible online payments for school lunches, trips, clubs, uniform, activities and more
  • Discreetly administer and manage FSM without stigma
  • Faster school lunch transaction processing times, resulting in shorter queues
  • Meal pre-order - lunches are selected and paid for in advance, resulting in less wastage
  • Powerful reporting to track sales and balances.
  • Automated weekly settlement direct to your nominated bank account
  • All payments are auditable and easily reconciled
  • Run insightful reports to manage stock availability, monitor FSM and UIFSM, and track debtor accounts to help parents manage payments

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The best online school payment system should be:

  • Easy to use
  • Reliable, safe and secure
  • Convenient and flexible for parents
  • Take payments for a variety of reasons
  • Allow parents to create different wallets of money which can be debited as needed
  • Automatically send notifications, reminders, receipts and more
  • Safely secure transaction history which can be easily accessed
  • Socially inclusive and take a variety of different payments
  • Streamline your catering services
  • Reduce administrative time
  • Provide intuitive school reporting
  • Integrate with your MIS

What is the best online school payment system for you?

Your school is unique. When choosing an online school payment system, you want one that will not only meet all your requirements now but will be flexible with your school’s changing needs.

Whether you’re looking to make the leap to become a cashless catering school or wanting to know how you could be making the most of your cashless capabilities, there are many benefits for schools who fully utilise a cashless system.

Convenient for parents

With an online school payment system parents and guardians can quickly and efficiently pay for anything from school dinners to clubs, activities, school uniform and more. No longer do they need to hunt around the house for cash but can quickly make the transaction online and tick that to-do off their list. Making it easier for parents means you will most likely see your taking increase as it is less effort.

Save you both time and money

No longer will your admin team need to chase debts, count cash, manually record transactions or take trips to the bank. Automatically send notifications, reminders, receipts and more. This will free up time to spend on other important school tasks.

Reduce debt

Online payment systems give parents more opportunities to pay, this means schools can more efficiently manage debt by monitoring payments made.

Schools with online payment systems have notice their taking increase. George Spencer Academy in Nottingham say "Online payments has really helped us reduce our costs and the amount of time we spend counting cash; we've seen our takings increase by over 20%".

Be socially inclusive

A good online payment solution for schools, like My School Portal will be socially inclusive. With a wide means of top up methods available for parents. This includes Paypoint, which allows parents who are unable to access the internet to top up their child’s account at retail locations across the UK. Top up methods should include debit & credit cards, bank transfer, and an auto top up facility to ensure the account never runs out of funds.

Help you manage school trips and offers

Collect and manage school trips and other offer payments, such as tickets for school plays and shows, breakfast clubs and school uniform. School Administrators add new trips or offers in their own dedicated online portal, setting descriptions and payment deadlines - and data can be easily exported for quick and easy accounts reconciliation and visibility of payees.

Provide cashless catering specific to your school type

For those primary schools it will let you add menus, book and plan meals, as well as take payment. It will also allow you to administer and process Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM), Free School Meals (FSM), Supervisor Allowances, Online Payments, Cash Payments and Payments by Cheque.

For Secondary schools a low-cost payment system should seamlessly integrate with your catering and EPOS systems, cuts costs and significantly reduce administration time. It will also help you administer and manage FSM without stigma.

An online school payment system will make it so much easier to manage stock availability, monitor FSM and UIFSM, and track low balance accounts helping parents to manage all their cashless payments. 

Learn what cashless catering is and how can it benefit schools?

Provide easy to understand financial reporting

A good online school payment system will give you clear and easy to understand detailed overviews of all kinds of transactions, even across a large trust. A powerful reporting dashboard will help you easily track sales and balances.

Reduce paper handling

Automated receipts and consent forms make slips of paper a thing of the past. Parents can view receipts, see their payment history, and provide online consent, all through one portal.

Most importantly be reliable and secure
Security should be top of the list when dealing with payment transactions. You want to choose an online payment system you can trust, even at the busiest of times. My School Portal for example is secure and compliant to the recognised international standard for security practice ISO27001.

You also have peace of mind that monies won’t go missing or not reach the school office. Plus, schools no longer need to store cash onsite which can affect your insurance and leave you open to theft or fraud.

Streamline the number of resources you need by investing in a secure and sophisticated platform

Independent schools brochureSchools and academies brochure

How does an online school payment system benefit parents?

An online school payment system makes it easy and convenient for parents and guardians to pay for education payments such as catering, school trips, or uniform. An easy-to-use customer application will include an online account with a variety of payment options.

Without the stress of hunting around the house for money, parents can quickly pay for school lunches, activities or more, giving them peace of mind and making it easier to stay on top of transactions.

This is how an online school payment system will benefit parents:

  • Provide a variety of parent-friendly payment options
  • Give clear visibility of account balances and transaction history
  • Be more flexible, fitting around their busy lives
  • Make it easy to order and pay for school lunches
  • Give peace of mind that money won’t be lost
  • Help them stay on top of their child’s school life

When taking on a new online payment solution for your school you should consider ho you will get parents on board. We know some parents can take a little more encouragement than others to invest in a new process. Here’s some top tips to get them using the new system.

1. Share on social media

Post regular and relevant updates on how and why they should be using the new system, conveying the benefits they as a parent will see from using the new platform.

2. Announce in your newsletters and on your website

Let parents know how easy it now is with an announcement in your newsletter or on your school website.

3. Talk about it at parents evening

For those late adopters why not make it a talking point at parents evening. This way you can explain the many benefits they will see and get them on board.

4. Set up a computer in your reception area

When a parent comes to the school office to make a payment direct them to the computer to show them how easy and convenient it is online. So next time they don’t have to make the trip to school.

5. Manage everything through one portal

If everything is all done through one portal, from your parent communications to bookings and payments then it makes it super easy for parents as they know where to go for everything to do with their child’s school life.

How does an online school payment system benefit schools

An online school payment system allows schools to effortlessly go cashless. Features should include: Secure online payments, trips management, parent communications and powerful fund management.

Benefits of online payment solutions for primary schools

For primary schools, it will ease the burden and hassle of collecting, counting, reconciling and banking cash. Parents can use a range of top up methods to make online payments for school lunches.

Benefits:

  • Flexible and secure cashless payment solution for dinner money
  • Fast, easy administration and management of dinner money and attendance
  • Seamless reconciliation with back office
  • Discreetly record and administer UIFSM and FSM
  • Links directly to SIMS
  • Weekly settlement to the school or caterer
  • Meal pre-order - lunches are selected and paid for in advance, resulting in shorter lunch queues and faster service time
  • Run insightful reports to manage stock availability, monitor FSM and UIFSM, and track debtor accounts to help parents manage payments

Benefits of online payment solutions for secondary schools

For secondary schools it will allow you to implement a truly cashless environment and alleviate the burden of managing cash and cheque payments for school meals. It should also seamlessly integrate with catering and EPOS systems, cuts costs and significantly reduces administration time.

Benefits:

  • Secure and flexible online payments system
  • Discreetly administer and manage FSM without stigma
  • Faster transaction processing times, resulting in shorter queues
  • Powerful reporting to track sales and balances
  • Automated weekly settlement direct to your nominated bank account
  • All payments are auditable and easily reconciled

Benefits of online payment solutions for independent schools

For independent schools an online school payment solution makes managing school-related payments effortless. The cashless platform eliminates the need to count, reconcile and bank cash and cheques, significantly reducing the associated administration time and costs as all payments are made online.

Benefits:

  • Manage school income and parent communications
  • Accept tuition payments online
  • Manage school catering
  • More convenient for parents providing a better school experience
  • Powerful reporting to track sales and balances
  • Automated weekly settlement direct to your nominated bank account
  • All payments are auditable and easily reconciled

How to choose the best online school payments system?

Choose an online school payments provider specialised is schools

It’s highly recommended to choose an online school payment software that is designed specifically for the education sector.

At Access, our industry-leading online school payment software is designed specifically for the education sector. Working with schools, academies, independent schools and trusts we designed our payment solution around the exact needs of your education establishment.

Easy to use, our online school payment system easily allows parents and guardians to have more control over their child’s school lunches, class trips, activities, and other events.

Safe and secure our school payment system gives schools peace of mind, whilst saving hours of admin time. Designed to be flexible for schools it can be tailored to your exact needs and can grow with your school as your needs change.

List the fees you want to process online

You won’t want to collect money for just one item, you need an online payment solution that works for your school across all your payment processing requirements.

Ideally you want to streamline as many payments, so parents and guardians know where to go and have peace of mind. You could collect payments for any of the following:

  • School meals
  • Trips
  • Uniform
  • Clubs
  • Tickets for special events
  • Fundraising activities
  • Ad hoc payments

Check if the online payment services are parent oriented

The best online school payment systems make it easier for parents to manage their child’s school life. Platforms such as My School Portal is design to bring everything together all-in-one easy to use parent-friendly platform.

That means they manage everything from communications to payments, parents evening and more all in one area. Even better our single sign-on feature means there’s one password, for one platform that brings everything together under one view.

They just log in and can view and manage:

  • School payments
  • School lunches
  • School communications
  • Clubs and activities their child is booked into
  • Child’s calendar and timetable
  • Homework
  • Reports
  • Progress
  • All consent forms
  • Any relevant documents and forms
  • Plus, all interactions, transactions and data are stored within the one portal against each child. Ideal for when a parent has multiple children at the school.

Integrated with your MIS, it’s quick and easy to setup and out excellent customer support team are always on hand to provide support and guidance, ensuring your get real return on your investment.

Check the security of using an online school payments system

Our online payments system for schools, My School Portal is secure and compliant to the recognised international standard for security practice ISO27001.

What next?

If you’ve come to the decision to switch or implement a new online school payment solution, nderstanding the needs of your school and the capabilities of the software you require is a good place to start. This article has summarised some of the key considerations to bear in mind when it comes to choosing the best online payments system for your school – and how a reliable software can bring many benefits.

Please remember it’s important to choose a company that can back up their claims with customer testimonials and case studies. If the software is proven to work in other schools, then it could work with you. My School Portal is trusted and relied on by schools up and down the country. Having everything all in one place makes it easier for our schools to increase their school takings, reduce their admin time and become more efficient in school.

If you’re switching supplier then speak to us about how we can make that process easier for you, streamline the resources you have in school to save you both time and money.

We can support you in your business case to stakeholders, help you realise your goals with a news system and work out how you can reduce your overall costs.

Our customer success team will be there to support you along the way, helping you get parents on board and make the transition as easy as possible.

"I’d definitely recommend My School Portal. It’s made a massive difference to us, we have saved hours of staff time and my team speak highly of it."

Chris Raynerd, Assistant Head at Crompton House school

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I'm an expert in educational technology and online payment systems for schools. I have extensive experience in the field and have worked closely with various educational institutions to implement efficient and secure online payment solutions. My knowledge spans the entire spectrum of school payment systems, from primary to secondary schools and independent institutions. I've witnessed firsthand the transformative impact these systems can have on streamlining administrative processes, improving parent engagement, and enhancing overall financial management in schools.

Now, let's break down the key concepts mentioned in the article:

Online School Payment Systems Overview:

An online school payment system is a secure and effective way for schools to manage various financial transactions. It covers a range of areas, including school dinners, trips, clubs, uniforms, and fundraising activities. The primary benefits include:

  1. Security and Flexibility:

    • Secure and flexible online payments for various school-related expenses.
    • Discreet administration and management of Free School Meals (FSM) without stigma.
  2. Efficiency and Time Savings:

    • Faster transaction processing times, reducing queues.
    • Automated notifications, reminders, receipts, and settlement to the nominated bank account.
    • Reduction in administrative time, allowing staff to focus on essential tasks.
  3. Debt Management:

    • Increased opportunities for parents to pay, leading to more efficient debt management.
    • Noticeable increase in school takings, as reported by George Spencer Academy.
  4. Social Inclusivity:

    • Inclusion of various payment methods, including Paypoint for parents without internet access.

Benefits for Parents:

An online school payment system benefits parents by providing:

  • Various payment options.
  • Clear visibility of account balances and transaction history.
  • Flexibility that fits into their busy lives.
  • Easy management of school-related payments, offering peace of mind.

Benefits for Schools:

An online school payment system benefits schools by:

  • Allowing schools to go cashless seamlessly.
  • Providing secure online payments, trips management, and parent communication.
  • Streamlining administration, reducing costs, and saving time.

Choosing the Right System:

The article suggests several considerations for choosing the best online school payment system:

  • Specialization in the education sector.
  • Flexibility to handle various payment processing requirements.
  • Parent-oriented design for ease of use and comprehensive management.
  • Robust security standards (ISO27001 compliance).

Customer Testimonials:

The importance of choosing a system backed by customer testimonials and case studies is emphasized. The article includes a positive testimonial from Chris Raynerd, Assistant Head at Crompton House school, endorsing the effectiveness of My School Portal.

In conclusion, the article provides a comprehensive guide on the benefits of online school payment systems, considerations for choosing the right system, and the importance of reliable customer testimonials.

What is the best online school payment system for schools (2024)

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