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How to choose a cashless system

Questions to ask before committing to a cashless solution for your school.

Across South Africa, hundreds of leading schools have realised the importance of offering a secure cashless environment. As the initiative grows, an array of new service providers have stepped forward, eagerly declaring themselves a cashless provider. All providers not being equal, schools need to arm themselves with an understanding of the important considerations that could be the difference between a much touted successful cashless conversion or a costly and embarrassing failure.

This article attempts to assist schools by highlighting some key considerations in the selection of cashless providers:

1. How much does your terminal cost? Can we put one in every class?

A school is a complex community, often featuring a number of different pay-points, vendors and payees. For your school to be fully cashless, it is imperative that your payment provider is able to offer you the flexibility to roll-out pay-points for every occasion. Purchasing a dedicated device might suffice for the tuck-shop, but what happens if children need to pay for something in class, or children want to buy from a Chips-Sticks vendor on a sports day, or if you host a cake sale?

2. How long does it take to add new terminals?

The line is building up at the gate at your school fundraiser and temperatures are too. Does your provider enable you to add a new payment tool on the fly? Or will you need to wait until a new one is ordered, installed and activated? Things don't often work out as planned and your provider should empower you to react with a flexible solution that can scale up and down as the need arises.

3. Can my pupils use the same cashless account when visiting my neighbouring school?

Schools do not operate in a vacuum, and adding all your pupils and parents onto a cashless system serves no purpose if every week neighbouring schools visit and their cashless system cannot work on your premises. This is also very important for parents with children in different schools; will they need to maintain a separate account for each child in each school, or does your provider enable them to manage it all from one location?

4. What are the monthly costs for the school and parents?

Schools are not normal businesses. In normal business practice, paying a monthly fee is understandable as your business operates more or less across the entire 12-month cycle. In schools, your cashless system will remain dormant for around three months out of every year. Charging a monthly fee during these times is simply nonsensical. A premium cashless provider should be able to offer a solution with no monthly costs for parents or school.

5. What forms of payment does your system offer?

A lot of payment options are available to schools and learners, from wristbands, payments from a mobile phone, integrated school ID cards, dual-purpose access control and payment cards and personalised cards displaying the school's colours and logo. Your cashless provider should be able to offer them all, since cashless isn't a one-stop-fits-all solution. Wristband payments work great for smaller children, but your staff might prefer paying on their phone. Carrying separate cards to use as ID cards, access cards and cashless payments also increase the cost and complexity of your solution.

If your provider is not able to answer these questions in a sufficient manner and you are struggling to find the right solution, please feel free to send a mail to: [email protected] and our sales team will happily show you how our integrated cashless solution in our d6 Connect App can meet and exceed your expectations.