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Today’s payment technology is moving at the speed of light. The rapid growth of electronic payments has left higher ed institutions with a mishmash of payment providers and transaction management systems. These systems—each spread out across departments and merchants—equate to data silos that muddy business administrative processes and add unnecessary work.

The number of services that require payments systems across a campus are vast; student tuition, alumni relations, housing, athletics, meal services and bookstores hardly scratch the surface. Each of these represents a potential payments data silo that makes transaction management a nightmare.

$100,000 Can Go a Long Way–.Or Nowhere

Let’s look at a concrete example in the lifecycle of a fundraising transaction.

An alumni writes a $100,000 check at a fundraising event to support the athletic department. The check may come in through alumni relations but must channel through several different departments to be received by the athletic department. Along the way, each department that check touches must manually update and reconcile the funds through various payment systems. Just one wrong keyboard tap could create a reconciliation headache that takes months to resolve.

This doesn’t even account for the management of disparate payment systems. Separate maintenance of software and systems means extra work for IT staff. Each time department staff changes, new users must be added or removed. Those new users must also be trained on each system, and each system must be audited and compliant with PCI DSS standards.

A Bird’s Eye View

A big-picture perspective is important when considering payments systems in higher ed. From tuition and fees to bookstores, housing, and food services, campus payments are complicated. Patchwork payment systems have added to complications with redundancies, inefficiencies and the introduction of errors from time-consuming manual processes. These errors can have significant cost and security ramifications.

The answer to these complications lies in a consolidated, integrated payment system that eliminates data silos and unifies the flow of information across the entire campus. By integrating payments into the ERP system, institutions can get rid of time-intensive processes while improving security and user experience for students—and the back office.

Considerations in Choosing a Payment System

So what are the most important things to consider? Higher ed institutions should take the following into account:

Payments Integration with ERP – This can streamline payments and data flow across all campus systems, simplify business processes, and drastically reduce the cost of IT upkeep. It also enables a single point of access for users.

Increased Visibility – More than anything, institutions need to be able to see real-time insights on campus-wide transaction that only a unified, fully-integrated system can provide.

Compliance, Simplified – Compliance is a high-priority issue for all merchants, but especially for higher ed. Ensuring the security of transactions across departments is a daunting task, but a necessary one.

Cost-Efficient Payments – payment processing fees are a big consideration when choosing payments services and providers. Institutions may want to work with providers that have expertise across various transaction types (credit, debit, ACH, mobile) as well as emerging technologies to help keep payments frictionless and secure without breaking the bank.

Seamless Payment Experience – While cost, security, and insights are important behind-the-scenes considerations, institutions also need to consider the user experience for students and parents. Making payments should be easy, whether through payment scheduling, omnichannel payment options, or real-time account access.

The Best Defense

Arrow Payments is your best defense against payment silos. Our team uses its deep knowledge of the higher ed space to create a roadmap and recommendations that fit your institution’s unique needs.

We provide guidance on the right payment systems to implement and assist in integrating those systems with your ERP, while streamlining business processes for staff across campus.

Our job isn’t done there. After we ensure all third-party software is integrated seamlessly, we continue to provide award-winning support.

Let us help you make the news for the right reasons. Contact us today.

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