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Future-proofing university payments is not an option. Today’s college students are a different generation – a generation that has the highest expectations when it comes to payment experiences. Not only does mobile rule the roost but all payment interactions are expected to be seamless and secure. Whether students are paying for books, tuition, meal plans, or a ticket to a basketball game, they want to pay how they are most comfortable. 

Technology has enabled universities to meet these young consumers – and their parents – where they are. That said, sprawling campuses with numerous departments and merchants with their own set of legacy systems, software, and hardware make it difficult to deliver the sophisticated experiences students want. It’s complex, time-consuming, and expensive to manage payment channels, processors, vendors, reporting, and compliance across so many units. We’ll look at some ways that colleges and universities can facilitate better experiences across campus without breaking the bank. 

Future-Proofing University Payments with Flexibility 

Flexible payments are a must. Many tuition payment plans are stuck in the past, pigeonholing students and parents into cadences and payment methods that don’t suit their needs. In the best case, this adds frustration to the lives of those enrolled at the university. In the worst case, it leads to lower enrollment numbers. 

Universities should look toward self-service payment tools that students can use to pay on their terms and their schedules. Payment terms and parameters can be set by the school, but self-service ultimately provides much-needed flexibility for students with varying needs. This type of technology can also provide greater transparency in the cost of education. Real-time account balances and payments mean students can see exactly how much is owed – an amount that could be instantly updated if a student drops a class, makes a payment, or applies funds from a scholarship. 

Communication is also essential and can be automated to let students know when it’s time to pay or if there is a change in the balance due.  

Reduce Compliance Scope and Enhance Security

As entities that accept credit and debit card payments, universities must comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards, which include completing regular Self-Assessment Questionnaires (SAQs). Unfortunately, these can be complicated and expensive – but not as expensive as not adhering to standards.  

Working with experienced payment service providers can simplify compliance for colleges and universities – especially those managing many disparate merchants, departments, and campuses. Finding ways to reduce scope can save money while enhancing security for students, staff, and faculty. 

Automation for Better Experiences and Reporting

With the right technology and payments partners, schools can centralize their payments operations and automate many error-prone manual tasks and processes. Not only does this streamline operations and improve efficiencies, but it can produce more accurate reporting and enhance payments experiences across campus. With the ability to automate tasks, reporting, and reconciliation across various sources, schools can free up resources to focus on the student experience. 

Conclusion

Things are changing at a rapid pace as student preferences change, emerging payment methods rise in popularity, and fraud becomes more sophisticated. Arrow Payments is committed to helping universities future-proof even as the payments landscape and technology evolve. Contact us today for a free consultation about how we can help you prepare for today and tomorrow.

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