The world began its journey towards becoming a cashless society almost a decade ago and the UK persists third in line – behind Canada and Sweden.
In the UK, although a number of sectors – like retail – have managed to embrace card-based and digital forms of transactions, most schools and other educational institutions are still very much dependent on traditional cash transactions.
It wasn’t until 2018 that schools began to think about going cashless. And the ones who have managed to make the shift are enjoying the following benefits:
● Minimised security concerns, when compared to that of storing cash on-site
● Reduced administration time and direct cost savings
● Fewer worries about students losing money (cash/cheques provided by their parents for specific purposes) or spending it on other expenses
If you are considering a cashless future for your school, here are five steps to help you begin:
1. Analyse your stakeholder needs
Change is often for the better but will, more often than not, be faced with some resistance. That is why, when you think of going cashless, you need to consider alternatives that will not only be convenient for you but also for your stakeholders. Only then can you convince them of the benefits of the change, even before you introduce it. Consider the needs of all the different groups of stakeholders, from students and parents to all service providers on and off-campus.
Although you may plan a phased and gradual shift to cashless transactions, it is important that you also ensure that your solution is agile, flexible and scalable in the long-term.
2. Weigh out your costs and benefits
Don’t take someone else’s word for it! We suggest that you conduct a thorough analysis and build a Cost vs. Benefit table. Focus on benefits like immediate access to payment/deposit reports and increased revenue with online top-ups. Study trends from other schools and arrive at statistical data that will help you make a stronger case when you present your findings to the school board.
At the same time, study the costs involved and make the decision only if you are convinced that the benefits outweigh the costs in the long run.
3. Make the right investment
The move to cashless requires that you find a trusted supplier and make the right investment. Compare the different types and options available, looking into their features and costs, offered by different suppliers.
Ask yourself these questions before you choose:
● Which identification method do you plan to use – card, biometrics or photo selection?
● What types of hardware (such as tills and printers) will be practical for your use?
● Is the application user-friendly and easily operable by students?
● What is its scope of use?
4. Design a strategy and set targets
Before you design your strategy, talk to suppliers and discuss the process of implementations and all transactional deliverables. Set measurable, realistic and achievable targets, taking into account factors such as the number of students who would select the cashless system, how it would reduce counter queues and improve overall services.
A detailed strategy and specific targets will ensure better effectiveness and achievement of desirable outcomes.
5. Communicate and implement
Once your strategy is in place, you must design and implement a communication campaign for your stakeholders – before you implement the actual cashless system. Communicate to them through emails, newsletters, SMS – whatever works in your school setting. You may even consider inviting parents of students over and explaining the changes they should expect once you implement the cashless system.
Keep in touch with stakeholders on the subject by sending them occasional reminders about the change, during the transitional phase – which may span roughly 12 months. Be open and available to help and handhold stakeholders during this phase.
With over 25 years of experience in developing, supplying and installing computerised systems for the education sector, Synel UK is a total solutions provider trusted by more than 2000 companies and educational institutions in the UK. We are proud to serve the prestigious City of London School, Royal Academy of Music, Bryanston School, Northampton College, Southgate College, London School of Business and Finance, and The Lady Eleanor Holles School, to name a few.
We offer a wide range of hardware and software solutions for data collection, biometric identification, electronic registration and access control. To avail any of these solutions/related services for your school, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 020 89009991.