Every school wants to be able to answer the question “Where is the money going?” confidently and without hesitation. However, the complexity of collecting funds within a school district can make it difficult to answer this question. This is caused by the variety of different fees and the multiple school sites they are collected. Also, schools may collect multiple payment types such as cash or checks which can further complicate payment tracking and security. So, how can districts increase payment security?

Using an online payment solution to process your district’s funds can be one of the easiest ways. Your district can assign each fee category an account code, so when a parent or student makes a payment online, two things happen. First, the payment is automatically deposited into the correct bank account. Second, a record of the payment is created. This allows you to seamlessly track the funds as soon as the payment is made. With the use of the reporting tools your payment processor provides, you can confidently answer the question “Where is the money going?”

When looking for a payment processor for your district, you want to make sure the processor is PCI certified. PCI DSS stands for “Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards.” These standards are put in place by the payment card industry to ensure companies that handle card holder data maintain a secure environment. Companies that are PCI certified receive certification based on their security practices and are audited every year to ensure they continue to meet those standards.

Online payments also reduce the amount of errors that can occur when tracking cash and checks. When processing cash and checks, payments can get misplaced, lost, or processed into the wrong account. When teachers are collecting funds for an activity, they may not deliver the funds to the bookkeepers within a timely manner, allowing inaccurate records to be created in the process. Every time a parent writes a check or gives their child cash to bring to school, they feel some anxiety. Parents worry whether their second grader turned in the twenty-dollar check for lunch money, or if their student lost it, or if it is crumpled and forgotten in the bottom of their backpack.

How will your district improve its payment security? Or, will you begin researching k-12 online payment processors that fit your district’s needs?

Think about how your district can improve security. It may be a good time to start researching online payments. Even if you have online payments, make sure you are using the best solution for your district.