100 schools to participate in a pilot for online and electronic payments
The Department of Education and Skills today announced the rollout of an electronic payments pilot project in primary and post primary schools. A range of payment options, including internet, mobile phone app and chip and pin will be available from today in the pilot schools to allow parents to make payments to the schools online and electronically.
Schools are responsible for handling a range of payments, such as school trips and book rental schemes from parents. Cash and cheques have in the past been the dominant way incoming payments in particular are made, though there are an increasing number of schools, particularly larger schools, where an electronic option is in place.
In terms of the majority of schools where cash/cheque is the predominant method of payment, teachers and administrative staff face a number of issues with organising these payments including administrative workload, cash security risk, reconciliation of payments and maintaining an audit trail.
The National Payments Plan set out to increase the availability of electronic and online forms of payment across Ireland and this project progresses that intention. Electronic and online payments options can provide considerable benefits for both schools and parents by:
- Improving security by minimising cash handled
- Significantly reducing administration, and enhancing reporting & auditing processes for schools
- Improving communication capabilities through the system
- Providing multiple and streamlined payment options, i.e. card, credit card, cash, cheque etc
- Providing convenience for parents
- Reducing the cost of cash handling, banking, and insurance fees for schools
Parents will still be able to make payments in cash or cheque to the schools involved in the pilot if they wish to do so.
Schools not included in the pilot can also avail of the services, and more information will be available on the following websites:
A number of market providers have been identified to provide payments solutions through a procurement process and the solutions will be available to schools in the coming weeks. An implementation team, with representatives from the Department and school management bodies will be working with both the pilot schools and the service providers to oversee the rollout of the pilot.
Notes to editors
The options being made available for parents and schools to use include by terminal using debit/credit card; and by chip & pin (proximity payments). Payment activities such as by direct debit or standing order; by electronic fund transfer; online by PC; by smart app (apple and android) on phone/tablet, which do not require a physical presence, and which can be performed remotely.
Three suppliers, Payzone, Three Ireland and MIT have each been offered a contract under the Framework Agreement.
The Framework Agreement will be closely monitored for a 6 month period initially from the date of contract signature and performance indicators monitored.