Over the years, Direct Debits have become a trusted and well accepted way for us to pay all sorts of bills, and are an extremely efficient way for businesses to collect monies.

In 2021, there were 4.6 billion Direct Debit transactions in the UK of which a huge 1.7 billion were for household and utility costs alone.

As well as improving the cash flow for your Independent School, Direct Debit offers convenience and boosts productivity. You’ll no longer need to spend inordinate amounts of time chasing up late payments, or moving around money to cover your outgoings as you wait for funds to come in.

So for Independent Schools still collecting fees by submitting a termly fee bill and then waiting for payment by cash, cheque, bank transfer or credit card, maybe it’s time to consider the benefits of making the change. And for those who have Direct Debit with another provider, you could well find the following information useful.

Why should I look at setting up Direct Debit function in PASS for my Independent School?

This feature has been available and used by schools in PASS for years, yet many English and Welsh schools don’t collect fees by Direct Debit.

PASS has a wide range of options for collecting Direct Debits, all that’s needed is for you to make clear to payers what is being offered.

Options include:

  • Collecting fees on first day of term
  • Spreading fees over 10 months
  • Split bill over 3 payments in a term

7 key advantages of using Direct Debit in your Independent School

  1. No more late payments as bills won’t be missed or forgotten by parents.
  2. Admin time is significantly reduced, and with it, your costs.
  3. It lets you set and forget.
  4. Direct Debit is more cost effective than card payments.
  5. It reduces payment failures compared with using credit cards that have an expired date or have been cancelled.
  6. It improves cashflow, especially with Direct Debit Projection reports easily showing the expected income.
  7. Direct Debit is flexible and great for recurring, variable and one off payments, a must for schools wanting to bill for fees and other charges.

How does it work with PASS?

In terms of set up, first consider the payment profile options that you will offer parents (done in payment table- billing options)

  • Yearly/ fixed (you know what they are going to be)
  • Termly/ variable

Getting bank details from parents can be time consuming, but just think of how this is quite simply done with other companies and tailor an online or emailed form to suit your school’s needs. Set up is done directly in billing accounts, under billing account maintenance, and files are submitted by PTX.

You produce a Direct Debit batch and this monthly task is effectively doing your cash posting for you. This makes it easier to process the payments as they are posted automatically into PASS in a single action rather than individually.

The integrity check makes sure that the amount due matches the amount in payment tables so you’ll know where there is a mismatch that may need manually amending.

Once set up, still there is flexibility with the option to de-select anyone from the batch list. This can happen if a parent contacts you, for instance, to say they want to pay cash for the due payment.

Benefits for parents

By offering payment plans you suit parents’ finances, giving them the choice to spread the cost of school fees rather than paying a lump sum, as each term’s invoice can be split into manageable instalments.

More digital schools now in the cloud!

In 2022 we moved more of you to our cloud platform PASS-hosted. This solution is our much-loved comprehensive finance solution passFINANCE, but in the cloud!

If you would like to talk about moving to the cloud in 2023 contact your Customer Account Manager.

You can collect each school fee due date amount on the agreed date from each account whether parents, guardians, employers, etc., with the agreed frequency (monthly, quarterly, etc.). This undoubtedly helps many of your families to manage budgets and spread out their expenses – and by offering Direct Debit in difficult times may even be an attractive incentive to help retain students and attract new ones.

You can get more information and book training with your Customer Account Manager.