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Schools and the cashless society

Discussion in 'Personal' started by blazer, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Having retired 3 years ago this was only just really becoming an issue. My school could accept payments for things like school lunches and trips by credit card. However, these day there are so many other ways of paying through things like mobile phones. The tech to do this is quite easily available but does come with a cost in terms of rental of the equipment and fees per transaction. Given how every school now needs every penny how is this working out?
  2. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    We are completely cashless (although staff can still buy lunch from our excellent canteen with real money.)

    Seems to work fine.
    nomad likes this.
  3. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Most schools seem to think that the costs of cashless transactions are more than offset by the reduction in the costs of financial administration by office staff.
    mathsmutt and needabreak like this.
  4. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    I suspect that depends on the volume of transactions. There's some pros and cons of going cashless here, which will be just as relevant to schools as they are restaurants:


    One important question it raises is what happens when the system goes down?

    I was in the supermarket when Visa transactions went down. It caused absolute chaos, not helped by my walking out after I'd loaded my shopping onto the conveyor and was told they could only accept cash, which I rarely carry these days.

    OK, it wasn't the supermarkets fault, but it wasn't going to be my problem having to sort things out. Had the supermarket announced what was going on in good time, it wouldn't have been their problem either.
  5. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    When my last school went 'cashless', we all had to have our fingerprints scanned, so that we could use the payment software. For some of thus, this did not work very well. The chap who did the scanning admitted that it did not work reliably for older people.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    A lot of parents like it. Some don't (and not just the grandparents!) including a neighbour of mine, a young mum of about 25. I suppose school would be the only time most people use cheques. Wouldn't lots of people hate giving their fingerprints though?
  7. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I understand about the cashless canteen but I was more thinking about parents paying for trips or uniform or putting credit on the kids lunch account. If they turn up with some swish mobile phone and insist on using it to pay (apple pay etc) then can schools cope with that.
  8. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    Where I worked they used "ParentPay" as a cashless system. It worked very well in all the time I was there - no problem. We used a fingerprint to pay at the canteen, access the main gate, etc.

    It used to irritate me slightly when organising school trips as my oversight of payments was one step removed from my control compared to the days the kids used to bring me cheques. Plus I didn't like the fact there was a fee charged by ParentPay for the service.
  9. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    All payments with the system I mentioned were made through an online account held by each user.
  10. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    From what I recall, the fingerprint was used to create an algorithm relevant to each individual and the print then destroyed.
    FrankWolley likes this.
  11. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    That's what we were told in one school I worked in...o_O(You could also opt out and have a card instead, and the finger print didn't work perhaps 20% of the time...:mad:)
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    It uses an algorithm to create a 'unique' numerical code. This is based on the distances between certain minutiae
    They are storing an image, though usually not an exact copy of your fingerprint.
  13. aypi

    aypi Established commenter

    From the stored data it is possible to go backwards and produce a finger print. Least it was when my school introduced the system.
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    When the school punched small holes (one side of a paperpunch) into our dinner tickets because we were on free school meals it was for administrative reasons. But it seemed a strange way of operating.

    I suppose they'll now be telling the kids not to bring any money to school. "Just bring your credit cards and write down your PIN".
  15. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Why would they "turn up"? or expect the school to accept Applepay, which is very limited?

    All schools I have been associated with in the last decade have only taken internet payments for anything.
  16. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    except non school uniform days, actually. And charity collections such as remembrance poppies
  17. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    It happened in the cafe when we went to the zoo at half-term, and I had no cash on me. They handled it quite well - they jotted down the amount and sent us to eat our food while it was still hot, asking us to come back and pay afterwards (hoping things would be working again). By that point, someone had appeared with an old-fashioned duplicate book of little forms to fill in the card number, etc.

    Probably harder in a supermarket (few people will have that much cash, there's nothing to occupy them while they wait, and it's far more likely someone would take advantage if they let them get things past the till).

    I think daughter's school has had to "go manual" some lunchtimes - she said the lunch staff even learned how to spell her surname.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    Certainly not, the systems aren't designed for that type of transaction. All done on an internet parent account set up with the school.

    One of the pros being the lack of cash to lose or spend in the sweet shop on the way to school!
  19. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    We were told it wasn't (back in 2011...)
  20. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    When Parentpay started it was an absolute shambles. If you were lucky enough to have a child at an early adopter school you will remember the days and weeks when the system crashed over and over again, and their appalling helpline. So I wouldn't believe a word they say about the fingerprints. When everything used to go wrong they would say anything just to get you off the phone.

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