Secondary School Cashless Card Catering Systems
HC3S has cashless catering systems in a number of secondary schools.
These computer systems replace the need for students to carry cash around each day to pay for their meals and snacks. The systems also provide anonymity for students entitled to free meals - no more registers identifying students as 'different' in order to get their lunch.
How do the systems work? - Cards
Accounts are set up on the catering system for each student and swipe cards issued out to everyone.
Parents/carers then need to send in cheques (cash is accepted at some schools) and the amounts are credited to the appropriate account. Some schools have also introduced the ability to credit their child’s account through secure internet payments.
Students will then be able to use the catering facilities as normal - select the items they wish to purchase and take them to the till. The cost of the items are registered on the till and the swipe card handed over for payment. As the card is swiped through the till, the amount due for the purchases is debited from the student's account.
Students can check the amount of money remaining on their account and daily spend limits can be set by parents to ensure that not all the money credited to the account is used in a few days.
The money is held on the system and not on the card, so if a student loses their card, they do not lose their money. If a card is lost, the student must report this to the school office as soon as possible so a replacement can be arranged. There may be a small charge for this.
For students who are entitled to free meals, this system allows them to purchase a meal in exactly the same way as every other student. The standard meal cost will be added to a free meal student’s account each day to ensure they are able to spend that amount at lunch time.
These students can also top up the money available on their account by paying in cheques or cash for purchase of items at break times for example.
How do the systems work? – Biometric
Exactly the same system as the Card Accounts detailed above, but instead of a card the system used a biometric scan of each pupil's finger. Often wrongly though of as a “fingerprint” the scan converts the image of the finger into a biometric logarithm and then deletes the image. ~At each till point, and any cash revaluers with scanners attached, the pupil simply places the correct finger on the scanner to bring up their account.
From 2013 Parental Consent is required before biometric registration can be taken. If consent is not given then a card is issued which works in exactly the same way.
What are the benefits?
Parental control of spend (daily limits can be set)
Confirmation that students are eating in school and not buying sweets etc from local shops
Payment up front means not having to find cash every day
Possibility of crediting accounts through secure internet payments (not available in all schools)
Free meal student anonymity
Information available regarding son/daughter's purchases (on request)
Free meal student anonymity
No need to carry cash around
Ability to add money to account if required