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The age of cash payments in schools has started to become obsolete in the last few years, with 73% of consumers turning to card payments. The significant rise in the use of digital payment systems in schools across the UK has transformed transactions in many areas. From paying for school lunches and uniforms to purchasing tickets for school events, many schools are adopting digital payment systems to make transactions faster, easier, and more secure.

How have digital payments transformed schools?

The education technology sector is forever changing, with cashless catering introduced in the mid-90s to early 00s. Education technology innovations began allowing students to purchase school meals through sophisticated cashless catering systems, using a PIN or card to confirm purchases. From there, technology further advanced, allowing the ed-tech sector to align with modern-day technology, like pre-order and online payment apps for students and their parents to pre-order and pay for school meals.

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At CRB Cunninghams, we are proud to lead the forefront of innovation and recognise that digital payments have become increasingly popular with consumers. In 2022 we launched chip & pin payments to enable secondary schools to accept major payment methods, including credit/debit cards and Google and Apple Pay, fully integrated with our Fusion cashless catering system. Chip & pin technology enables UK schools to reduce staff time on administrative tasks and offer socially inclusive payment methods for all school users.

Reducing Human Error

As digital payments in schools are rising, there are considerable benefits for staff members. Research has shown that digital payment technology can reduce human errors and simplify transactions. Before the introduction of digital payments in schools, schools relied on cash and paper forms, which were processed by admin staff, increasing the risk of student payments being misplaced or lost. This system added extra work and stress for school staff. Digital payments, on the other hand, have streamlined the payment process to allow a shorter chain, reducing simple errors like this.

Using digital payment methods like debit and credit cards means that school staff no longer need to manually input information. Details are sent digitally to the PED for consumers to pay with their credit/debit card or Google/Apple pay.

Less time spent on admin tasks

A digitalised payment system can save school administrators time and resources while offering improved management and visibility over payments. New payment technology has allowed school staff to slowly reduce tedious tasks like stock counting and manual sales reports. The advancement of cashless catering systems has enabled school staff to get live, real-time information on sales of school items and meals.

"Dealing with cash takes up so much time. It keeps us from focusing on more important things."
- School administrator.

CRB Cunningham's Chip & Pin software is integrated into the Fusion cashless catering system, meaning reports are automatically consolidated, eliminating the need for staff to count manual transactions at the end of the day.

Card payments are increasing in popularity

As of May 2022, there are 95 million active debit cards and 59 million credit cards in the UK. In contrast, the UK's population is only 68 million people, with debit/credit cards outnumbering people, highlighting just how popular card payments have become. UK consumers now have a more straightforward way of paying for items, services and bills, thanks to digital payments. In the UK, around 90% of retail spending and 82% of transactions used debit or credit cards in 2021, highlighting how credit/debit card payments are crucial within the UK market.

Digital payment methods have been popular since 2017, indicating that consumers are familiar with card, contactless and digital wallet payments. This trend is reflected in schools, with popular payment methods available to pupils, parents, visitors and staff through chip & pin and cashless/online payments across school canteens, shops and more!


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Faster Payments

The birth of digital payments allowed transactions to become faster and easier over time. Consumers no longer need to write out cheques or fill in bank details. Payment speed over the year has become faster than ever, taking only a few seconds for consumers to enter their pin or pay via contactless and Google/Apple pay. Payment processing for merchants can now take between 1-3 days thanks to faster payment methods.

Offering chip & pin software in schools means faster payment and processing time. School users do not have to make payments with cash or by inserting their PIN. They can turn to the increasingly popular contactless payment by tapping their card on the PED or digital wallet payments with Apple and Google Pay. Providing faster payments increases uptake by offering flexibility with all major forms of payment accepted.

COVID-19 effect on school payments

From the knock-on effect of COVID-19, schools began to turn away from paper and cash payments as they sought a touch-free payment method. Schools utilised digital payments and cashless catering like our Fusion system and chip & pin to ensure that transactions were touch-free and safe. Innovative and fast-thinking technological advancements in our sector made digital payment methods more recognised and popular.

Digital payments are ideal for schools

The adoption of digital payment methods in schools in the UK is a positive development that offers numerous benefits for students, parents, and school staff. By providing convenient and secure payment options, schools can improve their financial transaction efficiency and increase the uptake of these methods. As the use of digital payments continues to grow, schools should evaluate options and consider how the potential advantages can help them align with more modern and popular payments.

Do you want to learn more about how your school can utilise Chip & Pin transactions?
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