Paying for school

We have been asked many times if we can arrange to accept payments within apps.
Previously we have set schools up with links within their apps to Parentpay or the Local Authority.
However when pressed by a school for a different solution we started to inventigate the expensive world of schools arranging payment.
All sorts of charges accrue on schools when setting up merchant accounts and we spoke to Barclaycard and Streamline (formally RBS). Understanding the costs were not only labyrinthine but also asked schools to esxtimate the amount of transactions they expect to process.
The school that originally asked us to find a solution, believed that there were something like £60,000 of transactions per year going through the school office. These included, small ad hoc payments for uniforms, dinner monies adn school trips.
Aside from determining how many transactions would go through we also discussed how many parents would be willing to use the school app to make payment, sepcifically if making the payment incurred an additional transaction fee of between 35p all the way to £1.
The big card companies and companies parent pay charged set up fees which as well transaction fees (a few percentage (point of each transaction) and a card fee as well.
The whole thing was muddy and complicated.
We finally found that paypal, who are extremely experienced in this process and who have clearer transaction fees (if a little heavy) for schools, did have a useful service.
Instead of 20p plus 3.4% of the transaction, Paypal would let schools apply for charity non profitable status...where the charges were 20p plus 1.9% for transactions. This made their tranaction fees more transparent and relatively competitive against the banks.
In order to use paypal within your school app, you need to apply for a non profit account with Paypal.
We then set up a payment facility within the app where the schools can set up a new product, trip or dinner money, when it comes to taking payment the parent is sent off to Paypal to make the payment (the parents don't need a Paypal account). The school app is able to provide the schools with accounting infomration to show which parents paid for which service and when payment was successful.
For more details contact Peter Sadler on 01625 572922 or peter@ideafarm.co.uk

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