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Cashless Catering

Biometric Cashless System and ParentPay

What is a Cashless System?

A cashless system is used for the payment of meals, where no cash is taken at the point of sale. Each student and member of staff using the system will be allocated an account, much like a bank account. This information is held on a secure server and stores details of individual cash balances, records cash spent and cash received, records where money has been spent, on what food and the exact date and time the money was spent.  The cashless system can be accessed in several ways: through ParentPay, revaluation machines (for meals only) and Point Point locations in the area.

How are students and staff recognised by the Biometric system?

Prior to the system going live all individuals intending to use the system will have their finger scanned. This finger scan will be converted into a number and stored on the system against that individual. Once the finger scan has been taken it is automatically converted to numeric form. No register of fingerprints is kept and it is impossible to reconstitute a fingerprint from the numeric reference. (See the section Biometric Registration for further details)

How is the Biometric Recognition System used to obtain a meal?

At the till point is a dermal scanner, when the student wishes to pay for the meal they simply places their thumb/finger on the scanner; and this will bring up that individual’s account. A display will show the terminal operator the cardholder’s photo, name, and current cash balance held within the system. The selected food items will be entered into the system from the touch screen terminal while the product values and the total balance will show on the display. For individuals using a PIN, they simply give the terminal operator their number, and the account will be brought up.

How is money entered into the system?

(a)           ParentPay online with a credit/debit card to pay for meals

(b)          ParentPay  PayPoint. A selection of local PayPoints, alternatively you can check the location of outlets convenient to you at http://www.paypoint.co.uk/locator.aspx

(c)            Revaluation Machines – Revaluation Units will be located in the school which can be used to top up student accounts for MEALS.  These will be located in B Block corridor and in Take 5, and will accept £20, £10 and £5 notes and £2, £1, 50p, 20p and 10p coins (1p, 2p, 5p coins cannot be used).

ParentPay Online

Making secure payments online using your credit or debit card

ParentPay offers you the freedom to make payments whenever and wherever you like, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – safe in the knowledge that the technology used is of the highest internet security available. You will have a secure online account, activated using a unique username and password which is forwarded to parents; who will be prompted to change these, and to keep them safe and secure.  If you have more than one child at our school, you can merge their accounts to create one login for all your children.  Making a payment is straightforward and ParentPay holds a payment history for you to view at a later date; no card details are stored in any part of the system. Once you’ve activated your account you can make online payments straight away.

ParentPay PayPoint

Parents wishing to pay cash may do so using the PayPoint network at local convenience stores. .PayPoint payments are recorded by ParentPay and can be seen by logging into your ParentPay account and viewing your payment history online. The nearest PayPoint stores to you can be found by visiting http://www.paypoint.co.uk/locator.aspx

You can request a barcode letter from school which will have your individual account details to take into a PayPoint store.

Revaluation Unit

Revaluation machines are used to top up accounts by putting the thumb/finger on the scanner mounted on the Revaluation Unit. The system will then identify the individual and display their name and current cash balance held within the system. For individuals using PIN numbers they simply enter their PIN on the PIN pad and press enter, and the system will identify the individual and display their name and current cash balance held within the system.  Coins/notes are inserted into the slot.  Each incremental cash balance will show on the display, simply press the green lit button to complete the transaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will Parent Pay be used for?

Parent Pay is our cashless payment provider.  It is the most popular of the such provider to schools in the country. It is used for payment for school meals in main school. The system will also be used as our preferred method of payment for some school trips and events in the main school and for some sixth form trips and events.

How can you check your current balance held on the system?

You can check your balance online or by using the Revaluation Unit.  Simply access your account by placing your thumb/finger on the scanner or by entering your PIN; there is no need to deposit any money. Your details will show on screen and then press the green button when finished.

What if the student does not hold a sufficient cash balance one day to pay for a school dinner?

No student is refused a school dinner because they have forgotten to bring their dinner money to school with them. The school will allow for the student to loan money for one day.  The student would be expected to then either top up their account online that evening or at the revaluation machine the following day.

How does the system deal with students entitled to Free School Meals?

The system works exactly the same for all students whether they pay or have a free school meal entitlement. The amount allocated for the free school meal will be entered into the system by the software daily and will only be accessible at lunch time. The system will then allow on a daily basis the required cash amount for each individual student to be allotted to their current cash balance. However, any under spend or missed lunch will be identified by the system and will not be added to the next day’s balance.  The student can also add extra cash on to their balance in the system by using the Revaluation Unit, to enable a greater daily spend on the school dinner than allocated by their free meal allowance. As the allowance can only be spent on a school dinner, extra cash added into the system can also be used for breakfast or break time snacks.  

If we pay for a set number of school meals, can it be spent in one day?

No, a daily spend limit of £5.00 will be set for all students and no food above that limit can be bought.  On written request to school, an individual student limit of your choice could also be set, to include a school dinner and break time snacks.

 What is Biometric Registration?

Each individual’s finger and thumb prints are unique. The Biometric cashless system will store only a section of the print as a unique number and not as a fingerprint. Each student will have that unique number stored on a central server. This is done by scanning the finger or thumb with a non-evasive electronic scanner, which passes light over the finger or thumb. The same scanner will be installed in the Revaluation Units where the students deposit coins/notes and at the tills where they get their food.

 A print will be stored numerically, as a set of numeric reference points, unique to the individual’s print. Each reference point comprises of three numbers which are the X and Y co-ordinates and an angle of curve. The system does not store the image of the finger scanned. The stored co-ordinates are only of use in matching part of the individual’s print and cannot be used for any other purposes.

 Certain data will be held on the system to enable accurate operation. This will include your son/daughter’s name, form, photo, account balance and meal entitlement. This data will be handled under the guidelines of the Data Protection Act and only used by parties directly associated with the Academy. Access to this information is controlled strictly by the Academy only.