Cashless Payments in our Refectory
Our Refectory uses a cashless payment system based on fingerprint recognition (or thumb print in this case). We have used this system for a number of years now with great success. It is highly secure and means students may purchase food without carrying cash (so there is nothing for them to lose or forget).
Money can be added to your account through the Schools Gateway app. It is a simple, safe and effective system.
How does it work?
The system scans a thumbprint/fingerprint at the till and debits your account. Parents pay money in to their account for their child to spend. There must be money on the account before purchases can be made (although see notes below). There are three different ways in which you may add money to the account:
- online payments using our School Gateway internet/app payment scheme
- cash payments at a Top-Up machine in school
- cheque payments to the Accounts Office
This means that no cash is accepted at the till outlets and students’ accounts will need to be credited to enable purchases. Details showing how to sign up to ‘School Gateway’ are shown below.
We would encourage online payments wherever possible as the most secure option.
New legislation recently introduced requires parents to ‘opt in’ to this arrangement and we therefore require the consent of at least one parent/carer to enable us to process the Biometric data of your child. The information remains in the school and is held as a string of encrypted numbers. A thumb print image is not actually taken or retained.
We have found that the new system offers greater security and speed of service. It also offers parents greater information about their child’s purchases.
What if I don’t want my child’s fingerprint/thumbprint scanned but they want to buy food in school?
If you choose not to have your child registered on the system then a MiFare (payment) card will be issued which can be scanned at all tills. These cards will still need to be topped up by one of the methods above because there will be no cash accepted at any catering outlet area.
We plan to complete the biometric registration process during the three taster days in July.
We require the consent of at least one parent/carer in order to process the Biometric data of your child and will not scan anyone’s fingerprint/thumbprint without parental consent.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, fingerprint images are not stored on the system. Specific points of the scanned finger image are converted into a unique numeric algorithm and then stored in the student’s account record. Data is also only held on the school premises and pupils, parents and staff can therefore be assured that images cannot be used by any other source for identification purposes.
No, images are not stored on the system and from the unique number it is impossible to engineer an image.
The account details can be retrieved by searching on a student’s forename or surname. A photo image is displayed as confirmation that the correct account has been accessed.
Simply place you finger/thumb on the scanner. Your biometric pattern is scanned and then converted to your unique account number which is then debited.
The name and photo of the student appears on the terminal screen to confirm the identity to the operator. The account numbers are unique.
The balance is displayed on a customer screen at each pay point. Account balances are also available on the School Gateway payment site, on the app or at the top-up machine.
The system works in exactly the same way for all students whether they pay or obtain a school meal entitlement. The allowance is electronically placed onto the student’s account each day. Additional cash can also be added to enable a greater daily spend.
Yes, we can set a maximum spend per day. In addition parents can also request individual daily spend limits, simply contact the Accounts Office. The default limit is £5 per day.
Yes, all accounts have an overdraft of up to £2.20 as we do not want anyone to go hungry. This must be cleared in full by the following day. Contact the Accounts Office if the overdraft is not required.
School Gateway (online and app payment system)
Online payments can be made via the School Gateway smartphone app or website. You will also be able to view school meal balances, monitor your child’s spending and top them up at any time.
School Gateway makes it easier for parents to pay any time 24-7 and reduces the amount of cash being carried by students on school premises.
It is anticipated that the School Gateway will be available for new year 7 student accounts from around mid-July. From that date, individual accounts can be credited via an on line payment with funds ready for use at the beginning of the autumn term.
How do I activate my School Gateway account?
It’s quick and easy to do. All you need are the email address and mobile phone number which the school holds on record for you. You can then either:
- Download the app: If you have a smartphone, please download School gateway from your app store (Android and iPhone). The app shows exactly the same information as the website.
- Visit the website: schoolgateway.com and click on ‘New User’. You will receive a text message with a PIN number. Use this PIN to log into School Gateway.
If you are having trouble logging in, it may be because we don’t have your current email and/or mobile phone number on record. Please contact school and we’ll be able to update the details on our system.
We hope that you find School Gateway to be a fast and easy way to pay for school items.
Is this payment system just for topping up my child’s “thumb”?
No, it isn’t. You can pay for school trips and other expenses/activities via this system.
Please contact our Accounts team via the form below or by phoning 01884 256655 ext. 279