How to pick the right school payment solution - woman at computer

How to pick the right school payment solution

Sunday, December 07, 2014

In today’s technologically-advanced world, practically every institution from universities to K-12 schools need a seamless way to collect payments for a variety of scenarios, be it school fees, field trips, lunch programs, fundraising events, or anything in-between. A school payment solution is the answer; however, choosing the right school payment solution can be challenging.

In order to help you make an informed decision, we'll walk you through the features of a school payment system. But first, let’s look at what a school payment solution is.

What is a school payment solution?

A school point of sale (POS) payment solution is an online tool that processes payments for all the financial transactions of an educational institution. Payment solutions for schools are designed to handle and process transactions electronically, while maintaining confidentiality and ensuring that card information is carefully encrypted. Some systems accept payments via debit card and credit card, while others process payments through third-party accounts like GooglePay or PayPal. 

Here's how a typical school POS system works:

Utilizing data stored in the student information system, the POS system sets up independent accounts that are tied to each student. Through those accounts, parents can securely add money via a debit card, credit card, or other payment method of their choice for school purchases such as meals and yearbooks, as well as other expenses like field trips, club activities, and other fees. 

When a transaction is initiated, the money is immediately deducted from the bank or credit card account and deposited into the school's account. 

Do you need a POS for your school?

The right POS system can seamlessly move money throughout every part of your school, with faster transactions, safer and more secure payment processes, significantly reduced invoicing errors, and so much more. 

Here are some features in a school payment solution to help you pick the right one for your school.

Lunch accounts

Lunch accounts are arguably the biggest case for having a school payment system. If you want to deliver a seamless lunch experience, an independent, customizable, fully-fledged payment solution should be at the top of your acquisition list. In other words, you need a POS system for school.

Before we move on to other great features of a school payment solution, let’s look deeper into the many perks that a school payment solution provides during the all-important lunchtime hour.

1. Seamless fund management by parents

With the right POS system, parents won't have to send their children to school with cash. Instead, they can access and add money to their child's account securely and from any location. The best part? The account can only be used for in-school purposes, so there's no risk of the funds being used elsewhere.

2. Low balance alerts

Your students don't have to skip lunch or call home simply because their accounts are a few dollars short. POS systems like Heartland POS are designed with convenience in mind by sending prompt alerts to parents whose children's accounts are running low. 

3. Menu integration

With the option to create, edit, and scale menus on the go, the right POS system for school gives parents and school staff the flexibility to plan for meals ahead of time.

4. Quick checkouts

Why should your students spend precious learning minutes in the queue when they can secure their food in mere seconds? The right POS system allows you to leverage quick checkout mode to get more students through the line in less time.

5. Easily track popular items

Not every item on your menu will be the students’ favorite, and you as the school administrator deserve to know what truly adds to your financial bottom line. With powerful inventory management and reporting capabilities, POS systems allow you to track popular items so you know what to add or remove from the menu.

6. Integrates easily with free and reduced lunch plans

The right school payment solution makes it easy to manage student eligibility for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The NSLP is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day.

A school payment system will quickly and accurately gather applications, print reports, and complete verification requirements. Never again will your cafeteria team have to spend unnecessary time with clunky paper lists.

Additional uses of POS systems at schools

Most school payment solutions are feature-rich and versatile, meaning they can be used anywhere in the school. Let’s look at some examples:

School stores: Track your store inventory, product sales, create student accounts, and seamlessly sell items in your student store.

School fees: Students can submit school fees from anywhere in just a few seconds.

School tuition: Keep track of tuition payments with only a few clicks of a mouse.

Fundraising: Keep the business side of your nonprofit growing with fundraising and donations with a POS system for school.

Athletic fees: Get a clear picture of how athletic fees are streaming in, as well as who's contributing so you can follow up with a thank you note and remind them later of other financial giving opportunities.

Club fees: Stay on top of all club membership fees so you can focus on what really matters—providing student members with impeccable service.

Now that you’ve seen the different areas within a school that a POS system can be used, let’s look at a few intangible benefits:

Benefits of a POS system for your school

Below are some additional benefits of school payment solutions:

1. Efficient student payment tracking and reporting

Perhaps the most obvious and useful benefit of school POS systems is the ability to track payments and generate robust reports on the fly. 

Fortunately, with the right school payment solution, you’ll no longer have to dig through countless files every time you want to verify a transaction. It'll be smooth, fast, and accurate.

Best of all, you can get quick and concise insight into financial and student-related reports, thanks to the system's robust reporting capabilities. 

2. Secure payment processing

With the right POS system, your staff no longer needs to directly handle debit or credit card payments. The PIN to complete transactions remains with the owner of the account who can type it directly through a mobile app and card reader. This significantly reduces security risks and mitigates the danger of fraud for your donors, partners, and school in general.

3. Ease of admin duties for student payments

Admin staff who are manually tracking student fees and payments the old-fashioned way open themselves up for a greater chance for error and a more arduous process. With a POS system for school, admin duties become less stressful, and more streamlined and accurate. You’ll effortlessly manage and track all fees as the situation demands. And since there's nothing to tire your mind or take up more of your time than necessary, you'll find it easier to provide excellent customer support.

Ready to see a school payment solution in action?

The best way to see how a school payment solution can work for and benefit your school is to see it in full flight. Contact the team at Heartland to learn more about our industry-leading cloud-based school payment solution that makes it easy to manage all school fees and purchases in an all-in-one, easy-to-use payment portal. With it, your staff and parents will enjoy a seamless payment experience, school year after school year. To learn more about our vast array of powerful products, visit