Direct Debit in Education: What Services Can We Provide?

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If you’re running a busy nursery, school, college, academy or university and you’re looking for a way to streamline the collection of regular payments as well as simplify your payroll function, then FastPay is for you.

FastPay provides two services: Direct Debit and Direct Credit. These easy-to-set-up services will make the management of your school finance operation more time effective, reduce administrative paperwork and improve your cashflow.

Here we look at the uses of Direct Credit and Direct Debit in education.

FastPay Direct Debit Service

FastPay is a Bacs-approved provider of Direct Debit services. Direct Debit is a fast, secure and efficient way to automatically collect regular payments. More than 80% of British people pay at least one bill by Direct Debit and it’s a well-known and well-trusted method of making payments.

Uses for Direct Debit in Education

direct debit for education

Direct Debit can be used to collect any kind of regular payment. Below we detail six ideas as to how it will benefit your nursery, school, college, academy or university.

1. Collecting fees for after school clubs

If your school offers either breakfast clubs, homework clubs, sports clubs and/or after school clubs to help parents manage work and family life, then you’ll know how important these clubs are. They provide children with study support, and with opportunities to keep active as well as dedicated time to engage in individual interests. However, they are also expensive to run.

Collecting fees from parents and carers for these before and after school clubs can easily be managed by regular Direct Debit payments. This avoids parents forgetting their cheque or cash, or promising payments which you then have to spend time chasing.

2. Receiving regular voluntary donations from parents

A recent survey by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) found that one in five parents in the UK has been asked by their children’s school to make voluntary contributions to help ease budget shortages and improve their child’s school finance issues.

If your school has requested donations from parents, then these payments can be set up and paid via Direct Debit. You might ask for an annual lump sum payment, or for regular donations spread out across the school year, for example: a contribution of between £1 – £5 per month to help with everyday school running costs.

3. Paying school tuition or boarding fees

Are you one of the 2,500 independent, or ‘private’, schools in the UK that collect regular tuition or boarding fees from parents? Then by far the simplest procedure to collect these regular fee payments is via an automated Direct Debit.

4. Paying university tuition fees

Many universities now use Direct Debit to divide the cost of university tuition fees across the year, for example in three or four instalments.

This helps students to better manage their outgoings and enables more people to attend university as the upfront fee isn’t as prohibitive if it can be paid in more manageable portions.

Does your university already offer Direct Debit instalments? If not, then now is the time to consider updating your fee collection methods to attract and retain more students.

5. Taking collections for apprenticeship training courses

If you’re an education course provider that offers apprenticeship training to businesses then you could benefit from offering a Direct Debit payment option. This can help to distribute the price of the course over a set timeframe and is more appealing for businesses concerned about covering the expense of apprenticeship training in one outgoing.

6. Paying for hourly outside-of-school-hours tuition

Do you organise specialist subject tutors to teach children outside of school hours? Then you can use Direct Debit to take payments from parents and carers.

FastPay Direct Credit Service

As well as offering Direct Debit, Bacs also provides Direct Credit as a payment method. Direct Credit, when managed by an approved bureau such as FastPay, enables your education establishment to make payments via electronic transfer directly into a bank or building society account. This money is then instantly available to the payee.

If you have a Service User Number (SUN) from your bank, then you can use the FastPay Bureau Service to facilitate Direct Credit payments for you.

Direct Credit is predominantly used for payroll, paying staff salaries and wages at a recurring set time each week or month. Approximately 90% of the UK’s workforce is paid this way.

Uses for Direct Credit in Education

Direct Credit can be used to make any payment. Here we explore three ways that you can use FastPay Direct Credit.

1. Paying salaries

Workforce salaries and wages make up the bulk of a finance budget. Staff expect to be paid the correct amount on time, every time.

Payroll mistakes damage trust between employer and employee and risk resignations. With the current teaching staff shortage, retaining your excellent teachers needs to be a priority.

Read more here about how Direct Credit helps to make payroll seamless.

2. Paying other disbursements

As well as crediting staff salaries and wages using Direct Credit, you can also use it to quickly pay pensions, employee work expenses, insurance settlements, dividends and refunds.

3. Paying regular bills

Once set up, you can use Direct Credit to pay supplier invoices and make regular payments.

Direct Credit and Direct Debit Benefits

Direct Debit and Direct Credit services from FastPay offer many benefits for any entity in the education sector. These include:

  • Improved cashflow

With Direct Debit you know exactly when you’ll be paid and the exact amount, and with Direct Credit you’ll know precise outgoings, helping with the management of your school’s finances.

  • Increased parent/staff loyalty

Direct Debit is a hassle-free, set-it-and-forget-it method to make regular payments. For many time-poor parents and carers, this is preferable to remembering to write cheques or withdraw cash to cover fees.

And staff will be happy to receive their money by the regular, safe and reliable Bacs system.

  • Decreased financial administration time

Setting up the collection of regular payments by Direct Debit eliminates the need to process cheques or cash, as well as lessening the time spent on credit control and chasing incorrect, late or missed payments.

Managing payroll using Direct Credit also reduces the time to administer cheques or organise cash into wage packets.

  • Reduced costs

Direct Debits and Direct Credits are processed online so there’s no need for the stationery necessary to send out invoices or salary cheques, or the need to chase monies by telephone, avoiding expensive phone bills.

Smooth Running of Your School Finance

Utilising Direct Credit and Direct Debit in education establishments will save you money and time.

Outsourcing to FastPay is cost-effective and efficient. You’ll no longer need to worry about when payments will be made or if there are mistakes in your payroll. Making use of Direct Debit and Direct Credit services will allow you to focus your attention on what you do best – providing outstanding education for your pupils.

Choose FastPay if your business is looking to take advantage of Direct Debit.

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