Schools are like cities. There are many different avenues that can accept payments through several different channels: fees, donations, athletics, lunch, field trips, yearbooks, dances, etc. If you’re like most schools, each department independently seeks out its own payment solution and vendor, which results in myriad solutions, pricing, and fees.
Let’s face it, a lot of schools have multiple vendors for point-of-sale transactions, online student/parent facing systems, an online payment gateway, and merchant processing for credit card acceptance, creating a disorganized mess. It’s common, but it’s not a best practice for school operations.
A school-wide payment acceptance policy creates a common solution across all departments. It creates a value of uniformity and consistency and increases interdepartmental efficiencies, communication, and relationships. Having a payment acceptance policy saves your school valuable time and money and leverages its volume and creates efficiencies for parents and administrators. Follow the steps below to create a payment acceptance policy.
Review Your Vendors
Review each of your current vendor relationships and determine if there are changes you can make that will increase your operational efficiency. Is there a way you can consolidate vendors, decrease costs, and increase interdepartmental efficiencies? When it comes to payment processing vendors, it’s important to find a full-suite solution that reduces costs and increases efficiency.
Many schools do not realize they can potentially consolidate down to one vendor for all back-end processing, including integration with their consumer-facing providers. Consolidating vendors helps gain better pricing and centralizes the administration of the all schools payments across all departments.
We’d recommend you start by contacting the vendor of the software you use to run your school to see if they have an integration solution for processing. For example, SunGard K-12 Education has an integration with FrontStream, a payment processor, which offers many of these solutions.
When you are ready to evaluate potential vendors, consider the following:
It’s important to determine what measures are in place to protect your school and cardholder data. You’ll want to review the following when selecting a vendor: PCI compliance, data protection including encryption and tokenization, and breach protection package.
Start by figuring out how much you process annually across all departments. Also, know what services you are looking for—do you need an online portal for your students/parents to make payments? Do you need a payment gateway? What about mobile payments? Knowing how much you process annually and what services you may be interested in will help you negotiate the best pricing possible.
What type of customer and technical support is available? Is it available at your convenience?
It’s important to consider all of these factors when evaluating and selecting a new vendor to create a school-wide payment acceptance policy. Make sure the vendor is the right fit for your school and offers a solution that grows as you grow.
FrontStream and SunGard K-12 eSchoolPLUS™
FrontStream has partnered with SunGard K-12 Education to provide a seamless, integrated payment solution that combines the power of SunGard K-12’s eSchoolPLUS™ student information management system and FrontStream’s revolutionary fasttransact™ Payment Platform. This partnership enables school districts to take advantage of an online credit card and electronic check payment solution that has been built into their existing software. FrontStream also provides an online portal for parents/students, mobile payments, PCI compliance and breach protection. For more details visit THIS LINK.