Payments for schools, academies, colleges and universities

Payment solutions for the educational sector

Gone are the days of paying for dinner money with a fiver in a reused envelope! The educational sector is now catching up with the ongoing trend of paying for tuition, trips, fundraising and dinner money online and ultimately will end up being cashless businesses.

Well-known companies such as Payment 4 schools, Paypal and Parent Pay offer online payment systems for schools, colleges and universities to accept payments from parents with ease and very little administration time their end. The advantages of having a cashless business include the following:

Saving time – Online payment solutions for schools mean that for many establishments the time spent on counting takings, trips to the banks and administrative tasks is a small fraction of what it would be when taking cash.
No room for human error – well thought out school payment systems leave little room for human error, reporting can be linked to internal database and accounts.
Ease for parent – educational payments made online don’t just save the school time but also the parents, making it easy for everyone involved.
Live prompts – cashless payment systems for schools have the ability to prompt for payments, with text or emails.

ParentPay costs

The business hours saved with taking school and college payments online massively outweighs the costs, see below the costs of processing credit and debit cards as of February 2016, issued on ParentPay’s website;

Credit Cards
No fixed amount fee
No minimum fee
No minimum payment amount
Debit Cards
No fixed amount fee
No minimum fee
No minimum payment amount
No fixed amount
No minimum fee
Minimum payment amount of £1.00

Alternative options

ParentPay and similar alternatives offer their own merchant account provider – however it could prove to be much cheaper to do it yourself, saving up to 40% on the prices quoted above. So, let’s look at what’s needed to process card payments within school, colleges and universities.

The majority of payments taken within the educational sector are processed online. Processing online payments requires two elements, a payment gateway and a merchant account.

Finding the correct payment gateway for your school is relatively straight forward. The purpose of the payment gateway is to protect the parents or students card details, when processing the payments. The gateway, encrypts the customer details to ensure that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. The charges for the payment gateways is a small amount per month, roughly £30.00.

Processing both face to face and online payments for schools requires a merchant account. The merchant account authorizes the funds in the customer, student or parents personal account before the sale is processed, ending in completing the sale by transferring the funds to the business account (normally a few days later.) Merchant account providers normally charge a percentage of the transaction amount, this can be as little as 0.40% if you shop around!

Schools, colleges and universities have the ability to take control of their payment systems and processing at a fraction of the cost of mainstream brands. For example; college payment invoices can be emailed to the students directly, they are then paid with a click of a button. With the help of independent broker, arranging payment processing for schools can be a straightforward process. Our expert advisors will guide you through from start to finish for free, remaining your main point of contact when your new payment system goes live.


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