Choosing the best suite of higher ed payment solutions should be a consumer-centric endeavor. The expectations around how payments are made at colleges and universities has changed drastically over the past several years. Students, parents, and alumni expect to be able to pay anywhere and at any time – and they expect the transaction to be seamless.
Checks and credit cards have given way to mobile-first, instant, digital payments. For universities operating on a tightly woven web of legacy payment solutions, upgrading can be a challenge. Think about how you can meet the needs of students, parents, and others and provide a secure, convenient payment experience. To help, we’ve put together 7 attributes that your payment solutions should have.
Students, in particular, crave the ability to make payments however they want, wherever they want, instantly. Providing mobile-first digital payment options via a self-service portal can meet these needs and more. Consider options that can further streamline the experience, like the ability to schedule payments, view account activity, and save payment methods.
Colleges and universities continue to wear a bullseye on their backs when it comes to university cybercrime. Fraud and data breaches are on the rise, too. All higher ed payments solutions should meet PCI compliance and other regulatory requirements. In addition to guarding against bad actors, offering secure payments instills trust in students, parents, staff, faculty, and alumni and protects your school from the reputational damage that comes from a security incident.
3. Accuracy & Transparency
Higher ed payment solutions should facilitate seamless payments, but they should also provide transparent financial information. Be sure your solution gives people the ability to see account balances, bill and invoice details, payment history, and financial aid information.
Providing key account details is imperative, but the information must also be accurate. Be sure that systems are integrated properly so that students can access accurate, up-to-date payment data. Systems should be available around the clock, every day of the year. This alleviates student and parent stress around account status.
Consider whether systems offer the ability for students to add authorized users to their accounts. This can be helpful for those that would like a parent or guardian to be able to view account status or make payments.
Most people expect the ability to automate payments today – and higher education is no different. Automatic bill payment is a key feature and should enable students to set up recurring tuition payments. Not only can this help students avoid late fees or account holds that may prevent class registration, but it saves time and can also simplify accounting.
5. Payment Flexibility
Students pay for higher education in a variety of ways, and your higher ed payments solutions should cater to all of them. Some students rely heavily on financial aid and scholarships, while others use student loans.
Consider how each of these options factors into your payment systems. Consider adding payment plan options for students who may want to avoid loans. Not only does this provide an exceptional user experience, but it can help students learn how to budget effectively.
Your payment solution may offer alerts for when payments are due and confirmation when a payment is made. Enable users to customize their notification options for a tailored experience.
If you’re retooling your higher ed payments solutions and looking for guidance on the right mix of systems and technology, reach out for a free consultation. Arrow Payments is well-versed in all aspects of higher education payments and can help you find the best fit for your unique needs.