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Why universities (and their students) need better payments

You’ve heard that small businesses need advanced payment technologies… but what about colleges and universities? What is unique about their issues that warrants specialized attention?

Well let’s just say, a lot. The evolution of payment processing methods (in-person, mail-in, phone, online, mobile, etc.) has ushered in an “era of convenience”, but has also brought along security vulnerabilities, added complexities, and higher expectations with it. As reconciliation, compliance, fraud mitigation and student satisfaction become more intricate and expensive across diverse department requirements on a single campus, the need for better payments at universities has never been greater.

Join us as we outline how better university payment management systems translate into more efficiency, security, satisfaction and bottom-line financial stability.

Double the work, half the pay

Due to the introduction of electronic payment systems, many organizations have been forced to react to fires across multiple departments. For universities, this means a patchwork of payment silos to accommodate campus services, which can range from admissions, cafeterias, ticketing, housing, bookstores and even alumni relations. When these payment systems aren’t integrated, Treasury and IT staff must bear the burden. This includes manually reconciling transactions, continuously updating software and undergoing hundreds of separate PCI compliance tests; processes that are not only time-consuming and expensive, but also prone to human error. To make matters worse, isolated operations result in a lack of real-time synchronization that breeds time gaps, inaccuracies and decreasing financial oversight.

The perfect crime

Universities are a low hanging fruit in the eyes of hackers because of their various access points and data-rich environments that span across valuable student identities, employee records, academic research and more. Statistics confirm the narrative, with the 4-year average per capita cost for a single compromised record in education being second to only healthcare at $260 (see graph below). How many customer records does your university have? A credit card data breach of 100,000 records would cost $26M+ which doesn’t include the negative reputational and trust impacts.


Two birds with one stone

But we’re not just here to spell out gloom and doom. We’re here to help. So, here’s your best bet: implement PCI-validated P2PE solutions, allowing you to remove sensitive payment data from your networks while also saving exponentially on costs associated with compliance. Just last week we discussed how the unique nature of P2PE brings transaction management outside of a campus, or “out of scope”, simplifying recurring audits and penetration tests that require significant manpower and money. If you choose to partner with us, Arrow Payments will handle the intricate details while you focus on managing your university. Now that’s icing on the cake!

The customer is always right

Experience is everything in today’s economy, especially to a university’s primary consumer: the tech-savvy (and sometimes impatient) student. These customers demand online payments, real-time reporting and universal payment acceptance. Although the education industry has historically faced the least amount of “churn”, one can argue that antiquated payment technologies can reduce your ability to tap into young alumni for donations. In order to maintain satisfaction and funding, universities are tasked with building a unified student experience. (Pop quiz: How? Through integrated payment systems that unify the flow and security of all transactions regardless of the payment channel.)

Show me the proof!

Still not convinced that universities need better payment management systems? See what Northwestern University’s Director of Treasury, Rich Emrich, has to say about working with the team:

“I have been very impressed with, and thankful for, the commitment and speed with which Arrow Payments has worked to move all of our campus merchants toward compliance with PCI DSS v3.1 while reducing administrative burden in each area. They have done it all ” from discovery, identification of key issues, recommended courses of action; to onboarding a new processor and preferred QSA, and providing long-range customer service. The Arrow team has proven to be an invaluable partner, augmentation to staff, and source of real expertise in this space.”

Thought Leadership

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