23 October 2019

By Jason SOUTHERN – AURES UK Sales Manager

For many school pupils and their parents, the days of scrambling around for spare change for dinner money every morning are a half-forgotten memory. Over the past decade, a steady stream of schools and academies have updated their canteen EPOS systems to go cashless, using pre-loaded accounts and ID-based verification to let pupils purchase school meals without carrying money around with them.

There are several benefits to operating cashless catering in schools, which we have covered in this previous blog. From a safety and security point of view, it is much better to avoid children carrying cash around with them – no risk of pupils missing out on a meal because they have lost their money, no temptation for anyone to take something that isn’t theirs.

Cashless EPOS systems also reduce queue times in the canteen, as it is much easier and quicker to serve meals when payment is automated. There is evidence that cashless catering increases uptake of school meals, too, both because parents find the systems easy and convenient to use, and also because it creates a level playing field between pupils who do and don’t pay for meals, removing some of the stigma around free provisions.

Canteens are just the start of where cashless point of sale can benefit school life. Meals are just one of many things that the modern school needs reliable payment systems for. School trips, uniforms, IT equipment and clubs all generate regular income. But they also create an additional administrative burden, with many schools facing a constant battle to keep on top of payments and avoid debt from parents falling behind.

Keeping on top of payments

So-called ‘dinner-money debt’ has become a serious concern for school, with one council in Wales reporting a £130,000 shortfall over five years. When you add all the other sources of income that schools have to manage from parental payments, the risk of debt becomes an even more significant problem.

Integrated cashless EPOS systems make it easier both for schools to keep on top of payments and for parents to make them. No more sending cheques or cash in with pupils to be handed over to the teacher, which then have to be passed to the main office, filed and logged. Everything is streamlined and instant, as soon as a payment is paid digitally, records and accounts are automatically updated.

One of the key advantages of integrated cashless systems is that they link online to in-person payments. AURES partners with some of the UK’s leading providers of cashless EPOS software for schools, running their platforms on our cutting-edge touchscreen kiosks.

Kiosks make a great addition to school canteens, allowing pupils to purchase a meal in a matter of seconds simply by selecting their account on screen and verifying who they are in some way, often using a swipe card or fob. They can also be set up in reception areas to allow parents to make payments or check accounts in their own time when they come to collect their children. Digital accounts can also be accessed online, giving parents complete flexibility as to how and when they make payments, as well as access to their account details any time they want it.

AURES will be attending the Schools and Academies Show in Birmingham on 13th – 14th November 2019. We will be joined by some of our key partners, so for the very latest in cashless EPOS solutions for schools, come and find us to say hello.