Education software platforms provide an incredibly valuable service to both schools and parents, and integrating a payment solution to enable online school payments makes that service offering even more robust and attractive.
Most parents with school-age children are juggling quite a bit. Remembering to mail in a check on time or sending one to school with their child only to have the check wind up buried under a pile of homework and art projects can be challenging. Parents want to pay school fees the same way they pay for many other items: electronically and friction-free. By integrating payments for things like school fees, field trips and after-school programs directly into the platform parents and schools already use, providers can add significant value for their clients. The right partner can also help you monetize your platform with a thoughtful payments integration.
How Integrated Online School Payments Can Improve Your Platform
While accepting online school payments through your educational software platform is convenient for parents, it also benefits schools and you, the software provider.
- Create Efficiencies for Your Clients and Theirs: Integrated payments reduce tedious and repetitive work. Instead of manually collecting payments and depositing checks and cash, the entire process can become automatic and paperless. Integrated payments also create a rich source of data for schools, including who has and hasn’t paid their school fees, how long it’s been since a family was invoiced, and the date and amount of past payments.
- A Source of Revenue and Value for Your Platform: Integrating payments into your education platform adds tremendous value for your clients, rounding out your value proposition with a crucial service that distinguishes you from other providers. Then, you also benefit from the additional revenue stream. By partnering with a payments solution rather than becoming a payment facilitator allows education software providers to get all the benefits of offering payments without the risk.
6 Keys to Choosing the Right Partner for Online School Payments
While integrated payments provide many upsides, they can be challenging if you don’t choose the right provider. You need to ensure you’re partnering with a company that can make the process work for you and your clients. As you evaluate payment partners, be sure to consider the following.
1. Quick, Simple Onboarding
Adoption and onboarding can be difficult for schools, teachers, administrators and parents, even when they want to make online school payments. It’s critical to have a payments partner with a simple, streamlined onboarding process and that is willing to work with schools to help them get up and running. For example, BlueSnap will build a custom application for integrated payments partners that only requests pertinent data. This creates a better experience as schools onboard and helps to expedite the process. Schools around the world are unique, and the payments processor you choose needs experience with all types of schools and can get them onboarded quickly.
2. Education Expertise
You also want to find a processor that truly has payments expertise in the education vertical and is willing to work with your customers to ensure success. The last thing you want to do is provide a service that frustrates your clients or proves to be unsuccessful. Look for a partner that is invested in your customers’ success as much as you are and has the knowhow to solve for the friction points in education payments. A payment processing company that can’t, or won’t, provide the same level of expertise and customer service to your clients as you do will not be a good partner.
3. Flexibility that Works for You
Remember that integrating payments into your platform is an extension of your business. Choose a partner that has the flexibility to implement payments in the way that’s right for your business. For example, you might want to white-label the entire payments experience, owning the look, feel and branding — identify a payments partner that will give you that control.
4. Global Capabilities
You need to be sure your payments processor can support all of your customers, not just schools in certain countries or that are structured in one specific way. Schools in the UK operate differently than schools in the US, which operate differently than schools in China. All of these countries use different currencies, and some countries have unique electronic payment types as the norm. It’s critical to choose a provider that can support all of your customers through the onboarding process and get them over any hurdles they encounter down the road. The right payments provider makes it easy to accept payments in any of the countries you work in and localizes those payments, so schools and parents aren’t stuck paying extra fees.
5. Support for Different Payments Structures
Don’t forget to consider things like recurring school fees and one-time payments. The provider you choose should have a robust, customizable subscription engine, the ability to set up payment plans, and high dollar transaction capabilities for things like large tuition payments. If a payments processor can only handle one type of transaction or if certain payments still require parents to write out a check because your provider doesn’t support that type of payment, integrated payments will be less effective and less valuable for schools.
6. Fraud and Compliance Management
Finally, your payments partner must have built-in fraud management customized for schools. It should help your clients with the compliance requirements for accepting card payments. Schools that have only ever accepted cash or check typically do not have the time or resources to handle compliance and fraud detection and management. Any payments provider that doesn’t have these capabilities built-in may create more problems than they solve.
BlueSnap can help you with an integrated payments solution that makes payments simple, efficient and secure for parents and schools. Our experience with the education software industry gives us insight into the unique needs of schools around the world. Our ability to process transactions in 100+ currencies means we can provide a global solution for your business now and as you grow in the future.
Want to learn more about how BlueSnap can help you integrate payment functionality into your education software? Let’s talk.