New features and updates for November/December
Here's what we've got to share with you regarding November/December platform news...
How do you take school payments in EdSmart? This webinar will ensure you're whip-smart and in-the-know, so let's get cracking!
This instructional webinar – held on Tuesday 7th September 2021 – takes you inside the EdSmart platform where you’ll find out about the benefits and practical steps for elevating your school administration to the next level of efficiency and automation: EdSmart Payments.*
Powered by School EasyPay, EdSmart Payments is available at no extra charge to all EdSmart customers (no transactional fees if you pass on the minimal charge to payers), and requires little more to get started than providing us with your bank details.
Your school payment requests and permission slips are issued simultaneously as the one automated workflow, which removes even more steps from administering school events, excursions, fundraising and anything else that could combine consent with payments.
Hosted by EdSmart’s Nick Ward and Kai Vedanayagam
Plus Special Guest Interview with The Hutchins School’s Katie Richardson
*We apologise to New Zealand and other schools outside Australia who are currently unable to access EdSmart Payments.
Nick Ward (EdSmart): So, welcome to our webinar on how to get cracking with EdSmart Payments. I'm Nick Ward, EdSmart's sales manager, and I'm joined by Kai Vedanayagam, EdSmart's customer success manager. Good morning, Kai.
Kai Vedanayagam (EdSmart): Hi, Nick. How's it going? Hey, everyone. I'm Kai. I'm EdSmart's customer success manager. For those of you who don't know me, I mainly focus on making sure our customers are happy and taking through new customers on their onboarding journey and just making sure that they get the success that they want out of EdSmart. So if you have any questions regarding how you can achieve and get more out of EdSmart, please do email me. But today we're focusing on EdSmart Payments. So back to you, Nick.
Nick: Thanks, Kai. All right, so let's start moving through. So across the next 45 minutes, we'll be explaining the benefits of EdSmart Payments and how the functionality can be used for better workflows at your school, as well as walking you through using EdSmart Payments within the EdSmart platform. We're also going to be joined by Katie Richardson from The Hutchins School, who'll be able to give you an insight into EdSmart Payments from the firsthand perspective of a prolific school user.
Nick: In the last five to 10 minutes of the webinar, you're welcome to ask us questions about EdSmart Payments. Feel free to enter those in the chat function and we'll pick them up from there. And you can add that at any time throughout the webinar as you think of them. That's fine. Finally, this session is going to be recorded. So don't feel like you need to furiously scribble notes and take screenshots. So every one of you will be forwarded this recording within the next 24 to 48 hours, which you're welcome to share with any friends or colleagues that you feel could value from the webinar content. This is an instructional session, so we expect you will need to repeatedly reference it. So it'll be quite useful to have it recorded.
Nick: So, let's get cracking. So, what is EdSmart Payments? So EdSmart Payments is the payment facility that sits within the EdSmart platform. So, by using EdSmart Payments, schools can request and take payments at the same time as sending communications, permissions, or consents and other forms to parents. So, it's available to all schools on all EdSmart package tiers, and there's no additional cost for EdSmart Payments. It's just a matter of signing the forms, providing bank details to set it all up. And it doesn't matter which bank you use. Unfortunately, EdSmart Payments is not currently available in New Zealand or schools outside Australia but watch this space and something will come soon. Now, you can use it for a whole range of implementations and use cases, I guess. We've got excursions, incursions and events are a fairly obvious area you can use payments for. Uniform, shop, canteen, enrollment fees, bookshop, photo days, and many, many other uses as well.
Nick: The benefits of EdSmart Payments fall into four main areas. The first one is around increased efficiency. So there's less time organising payments, chasing them and reconciling payments when you're using payments within the platform. There's a lot less stress. Transparency into payment status is pretty much complete and immediate. You have clear reporting and hassle-free funds transfer all happens in the background. You have peace of mind. So School EasyPay has PCI DSS Level 1 compliance, and that removes all card numbers from the school systems and from use or viewability from anyone within your system there at all, which is great. Finally, there's no cost. So there are no implementation or ongoing fees. There is a minimum transaction or minimal transaction fee, but that can be configured to add to the total paid by the parent, which is expected in a lot of these kind of platforms now anyway. All right. Now I'm going to pass over to Kai.”
Kai: Hey, everyone. So I'm going to be talking about how EdSmart Payments actually works and also going to be taking a demo later on in our EdSmart platform just to show you guys the experience end-to-end on how the payment system works. Yeah. To get it set up, it's actually fairly easy. All you need to really do is complete an activation form, which we'll actually send along with the webinar recording later, a communication with the activation form link, as well as you can access the activation form link in our Knowledge Base. If you just type in EdSmart Payments, you should see that populated. Once you complete the form online, within a couple of days, we should have the integration set up on our end and configured and ready to go. So then you should be able to add to all parent forms that you send out. If you want to add a payment system to that, you can add that in when required.
Kai: So now we'll look at how it works from end-to-end. So, the EdSmart payment system is embedded within the slip process. So what happens is the school sends the form with the payment option. So you actually select how you want to configure the slip and request the payment in the way that you want it. The slip gets sent out to the parent and they receive it in their email address. They click on a link and that allows them to fill in the slip. Also, they're prompted to pay and to make the payment for the event.
Kai: Parents then pay by their credit card or debit card. Once they make the payment, you can actually review the report, as a user of EdSmart, within the system to see who's paid, who hasn't paid, and you can actually follow-up within EdSmart as well to make sure that they are paying. The school receives the funds by EFTPOS and the reconciliation file within three days. Just to bring to attention, although there are no fees with the EdSmart payment system, there are the credit card fees that are incurred that can be passed on to the parents or incurred by the school if they wish to do so. So, that's pretty much how it works. Later on, I'm going to go through the demo on the EdSmart side of things. So for now I'll pass to Nick and him and Katie will have a chat.
Nick: Yeah. Thanks, Kai. And it is really a very simple system to set up and use, which is the beauty of it. Okay. So now, one of the questions we get quite a bit is, "Can you actually install my bank into the system so that we can actually use that?" Well, you don't need to, because the way the system works is that EdSmart Payments, which you'll see on the left in this diagram, it actually communicates to what we call an acquiring bank, which then goes and communicates to the parent's issuing bank for the parent's card. The approval from that parent's issuing bank then comes back through to the acquiring bank and it gets notified through EdSmart Payments to the parent that that's all gone through and then also gets notified through to School EasyPay. That then comes through to the school's bank. Who the school's bank is, or the parent's issuing bank, for that matter, doesn't matter at all. It works with any bank and any system that you're set up with all in the background.
Okay. Now I'm going to have a little bit of a chat with Katie Richardson. Katie is at The Hutchins School and she's the activities and records manager. And she is a very, very prolific user of EdSmart Payments. So hello, Katie. How are you this morning?
Katie Richardson (The Hutchins School): I'm well. How are you, Nick?
Nick: I'm very, very well for a Tuesday morning. Now, Katie, thank you for joining us this morning. Look, I know you do a lot of work in EdSmart Payments. So there's probably not many people that I could talk to about this in the level of detail that I am with you. So let's start off with a bit of a view backwards. So before using EdSmart Payments, what were the main pain points the team at Hutchins were struggling with?
Katie: So, what we were doing was sending out EdSmart notices, which put our bank details in that notice for parents to transfer into. We were also sending miscellaneous or sundry accounts out, which meant that I had to communicate regularly with our accounts team to let them know what was happening. What EdSmart Payments did for us was take all of that away. So as soon as they give permission, they're paid. So the accounts can see it on their end, I can see it on my end, and really, that entire step of having to go through, manage invoices, manage reconciliations was completely gone.
Nick: Fantastic. No, that sounds great. What type of scenarios are you currently using EdSmart Payments for within the school, Katie?
Katie: We use EdSmart Payments for pretty much everything that isn't tuition fees or boarding fee for us. So what we do is, it could be as low as a fundraiser that the boys are doing, which might be a winter jumping into the Derwent River and they have to pay $5. We will request that as the parent gives permission or, not in COVID times but in previous years, we would be requesting the money for school trips, such as to Italy, which could be upward of $6,500.
Nick Ward: Wow.
Katie: It's a whole spectrum, reason for everything.
Nick: Oh, absolutely. No, fantastic. Look, so it's pretty broad. Essentially, you could use it anywhere.
Katie: Yes. You can use it anywhere. We're quite strict on how we do it. We don't offer parents the ability to edit the amount, but you can do that. And we only do that because that's just how we work as a school. If we're asking for a payment, we would like the whole payment. However, with the trips particularly, because of the EdSmart functionality, what we do is we can set up the instalments within EdSmart to be sent automatically to those groups, which means that the payments just keep coming in, the reminders keep being sent. And that pretty much puts my role as just the moderator to make sure that everyone's paying and if they've skipped a payment, we can write to them separately.
Nick: So once it's set up, it just works in the background?
Katie: It just works in the background. That's exactly it. So sometimes we can have upwards of 10 instalments if it's a really big trip. So 10 instalments of $650, once a month. And they're all set up, 10 instalments are set up and they shoot out on the first of the month, every month. And then I just follow that two weeks later. So once a month, I just go in and check that that payment was made and write to the family, if not.
Nick: Fantastic. Awesome. What are the main benefits you have been seeing with EdSmart payments Katie?
Katie: It eliminates completely, or nearly completely, the need to chase the payment. So people can't give their permission without paying. So what we didn't have ... 20 people want to go on the ski tour but only 10 have paid. So then we don't know what to book. If we're sending it out, we give them a deadline, 20 people have to pay. And if they don't, we put little disclaimers in our EdSmart notices that say things like, 'Please note your son is not considered part of this tour until this payment is made'.
Nick: And the reconciliation part was quite difficult beforehand. How are you finding that with EdSmart payments?
Katie: Well, the good thing about EdSmart payments and School EasyPay, who facilitate it, is you can see in both the EdSmart and EasyPay view, but to be honest you don't need that, in the EdSmart view, whether they've paid immediately, it comes up as successful. So there's not that waiting period of ... if someone's running a bit late, we don't have to wait three days to make sure they paid. We can see that they've paid, even though we might not have the money in our bank.
Katie: So we can proceed well in advance of what we could before. Everything can happen ... it's instant, everything can happen.
Nick: Oh, sensational. And the system accepts Visa, MasterCard and Amex, and also international cards, I believe.
Katie: Yes. So that's one of the benefits we've had with our international families. Where before, mum and dad might've been transferring money to the student's bank accounts, the student was then having to go into our reception and pay. But now what can happen is that those parents are just able to pay straight away. And they feel a little bit more involved, which has been quite nice. I've had positive feedback from the international families, especially at the moment, when we've had students that haven't been able to return home for 18 months.
Nick Ward: It lowers all of those barriers we're feeling throughout COVID.
Katie: It does, it brings them closer, which is really nice, to the school, not just to their son.
Nick: Yeah. No, that's fantastic. So setting up the payments in forms, who's doing that now and was it hard to get going? Is it difficult are you finding?
Katie: No, in fact it's really very simple. So there's a tab in EdSmart, which just says, I think it might say "EasyPay payments", or "payments". And when you are doing your notice, you select that tab and there's probably four to five questions, which is, do you want to payment? Yes. I think Kai, yourself, Nick, you're going to run through a display of that?
Nick: Yeah Kai will do that.
Katie: But you can enter the amount. And I think it would take me less than a minute to add a payment gateway basically to the EdSmart notice. A minute's probably generous.
Nick: Right, right, right. Okay. And look, finally, Katie, are there any tips you would give to a school that's moving to take on EdSmart payments about how to get the most out of the system and make it work best for them?
Katie: Yes. It's probably the question that I get asked the most actually, is how do we have such a high success rate? And we're all school people so I'm sure you'll understand. We don't give any other options. This is our option. You have to pay this way. So we sent an EdSmart notice out before we implemented it to say, this is the new official Hutchins payment platform. There will be no miscellaneous accounts, sundry accounts. You can't pay at reception. Don't call us over the phone unless something has happened. And as soon as they got the hang of that, it's nearly a hundred percent success rate. It's very rare that someone has an issue and we catch the students, we actually catch all of our parents before they begin. And we do that through enrollment fees, application fees, and any type of other payments they have to make, they have to pay that way. If you want to come to our school, you have to use EdSmart and you have to use the EasyPay.
Nick Ward: Before they're even in the school, they're using EdSmart Payments.
Katie: Before they're in, that's it.
Nick: Perfect. Catch them early.
Katie: It does, yeah.
Nick: Katie, thank you very much for your time today and for sharing those insights and that experience. That's incredibly valuable so really appreciate that.
Katie: Thank you.
Nick: We're now, as Katie says, we're about to go onto a bit of a demo. So what I'm going to do is pass on to Kai and we'll go through a bit of a demonstration of how the system works. Kai, do you want to take over from me?
Kai: Yeah, no, that'll be good. As you guys can see, I wanted to run through, before actually jumping into the platform and showing you how it works for the staff members at the school, and also the parent experience, I thought I'd just quickly go over the activation form that needs to be filled out before we can activate the integration between EdSmart and EdSmart Payments. EdSmart Payments is powered by School EasyPay, right? So there's some details that need to be sent through to them. For example, ABN details, school details, and the financial contact details as well. And then there's some bank details that need to be entered in.
Kai: Now, we had a question earlier about how the payment processing fees are passed on? You can actually select in the activation form, whether the school wants to absorb it or this is to be passed onto the parent over here, as well.
Kai: Okay. And you just have to accept it and send the activation form. So this activation link will actually be sent to you guys after the webinar. Also, you can access it from our knowledge base too.
Kai: Okay. Now I'll jump into EdSmart and show you guys how the integration works within the EdSmart platform. This is my dashboard in EdSmart. I'm going to quickly start a slip by using one of my dashboard widgets. I'm going to click on start a new slip, and we're going to select the excursion trip template. The templates are preset forms that are created in the form template section. So that's where I'm pulling my template from for the slip. Now, for the purpose of this demo, we're going to go on a trip to Sydney Zoo, and we're going to use Nick's daughter, Charlotte, as a use case example for this trip.
Kai: So although I'm selecting Charlotte as a student, an email communication when I send off the slip is going to be sent to Nick for his approval. He can actually also select student lists, entire lists of parents and students that you can send the slip off to. Now, before we send it off, we actually need to enter the day that the slip is required a response from. So, we want the responses to be submitted. In this example, I'm just going to say the 10th on the Friday. Okay. And I want to send this off immediately. So I'm going to set today's date and I'm just going to select a preset time, but you can change the time to whenever you want to schedule for it.
Kai: Now, you'll see that there's a tab that says EdSmart payments. Now this is how we're going to configure how we want to use the EdSmart payments feature. To enable it to begin with, you've got to select, yes, we want to enable the payment for the slip. And what that's going to do is going to unlock a series of fields which allow you to add more settings. Okay. So first is the amount. So what is the amount for this trip going to be? Let's say it's going to be around $15 for this trip to the Sydney Zoo.”
Kai: Now, Katie was referring to how her school doesn't allow parents to edit the amount, but you do have the option for parents to edit the amount before they submit the payment. Okay. But I'm just going to leave it as No. Now, you also have the option for making the payment a required field.
Kai: So, when they submit the slip, you can make it required based on three conditions. So you can say, "No, we don't want to make it required." So people can submit the slip without submitting a payment. Or "Yes always." Every time they do submit the slip, they are required to make the payment. Or for only positive responses. So those parents that select that they want to send their kids on the trip, the payment is only required for them.
Kai: Okay, I'm going to leave it as positive responses only. So the payment's only required for that. Now you can put in a reference code for your own reconciliation purposes. So I might just say, Sydney. Before I submit the slip, I just want to give some brief details about the trip. So this is just a trip to Sydney Zoo. And the bottom part is for the parent to complete.
Kai: I'm just going to click on add new slip. And you can actually set up approvals in this. So this can get looked at by other parties before it's sent off, to make sure that all the information in here is correct. But you get a preview and I'm just going to cue the slip to send, so we get an email communication getting sent out to Nick's email account, who is Charlotte's father. Okay.
Kai: So within a couple of minutes, this slip should get sent out and we should be able to see an email communication send through. Okay. So I'm just going to switch to a Gmail account and select the email communication when it gets sent across. Okay. So just going to bear with it for a second as it does take just a minute or two for it to come across.
Kai: As you can see, it's actually a fairly straightforward process. All I had to do was set up the date that the slip was due by, and also just set up the configuration on the payments. There was three or four questions I had to answer, and it's ready to be sent off. As Katie mentioned before as well, she said herself, that you can do the entire payment of the slip set-up within a couple of minutes.
Nick: So Kai, you mentioned that you can put in a code that will then come through. Does that come through in the .CSV? Because I believe there's a .CSV. Katie's just mentioned here that there's a reconciliation file and a .CSV form that can be imported into your student management system directly. Does that that code come through in that .CSV file that goes into your student management system?
Kai: Yeah, definitely. When you send out your slips, once the status of the slip gets changed to sent, you can actually look at responses that have been received. And you can see which parent has made the payment. And actually filter out those that haven't made the payment and send off a reminder if need be.
Nick: Fantastic. Awesome.
Kai: Yeah can also extract a report of all the responses in a .CSV format, so you can check to see who's made the payment in a spreadsheet.
Kai: Okay. As you can see, we've just got a new email for the trip to Sydney Zoo come through. And so this is what the parent would see. They would see an email come through. And it would just talk about when the slip is due by, and what they need to do to respond. So they are provided with the slip response link.
Kai: You can click on the link and they get taken to the form submission page. Okay. So this is a pretty straightforward slip. All they need to do is they need to give consent for Charlotte to attend. So I'm just going to select accept here. And you can see that the payment can be made just below here, where it says paid via EdSmart payments. Okay.
Kai: I can't edit the amount, but if the amount was editable, you can click on it and change the amount. You can just select pay via EdSmart payments. And it allows the parent to enter the credit card details. So I'm just going to put some demo card number details. It's not actually going to allow you to make payments anywhere else.
Kai: And I'm just going to put in the expiry date. I'm going to click proceed. And I'm going to show you how quick it is and easy it is for the parent. It does take a minute or so to validate the credit card and for the payment to go through. And then, once the verification goes through, you can actually select "pay" to confirm the payment.
Kai: Cool. Then a little nice message comes up for the parent, letting them know that the payment has gone and that it is confirmed. Okay. Now going back to EdSmart itself, if we go back to the slip, we can actually see responses come through, but I've been logged out of the payment platform. Just give me one sec while I switch across to that. Sorry.
Kai: Actually Nick, I've talked through the export functionality and the way to filter out responses already. So I might just pass it back to you because it does require a bit of logging in before I can show you.
Nick: No, absolutely. And look, that's fine, Kai. I know Katie's also come through. That the reconciliation file also has student IDs in there as well. The ID numbers come through too. So that can then match off within the student management system in an automated fashion, in the background as well.
Nick: It all seems quite slick from a back-end, behind the scenes kind of perspective. And it looks really, really simple to set up and then send out and for the parents to use at the front-end. Kai, thank you very much for that. That's wonderful to go and have a look at.
Kai: I've actually got it set up now if you want to take a quick look.
Nick: Yeah, absolutely.
Kai: So let me just bring it back. I'm logged into the platform now. Again, and then I'm just going to go to the slip that we sent. So, trip to Sydney Zoo. Select view, and now that you've changed the status to send, you can actually click on the responses tab, where you can view the EdSmart payments that have been made.
Kai: You can filter out using the filter function, those that have made the payment and those that haven't. If you haven't received the payment, it'll list up all the students that haven't made the payment yet, and you can send out a broadcast or communication to this particular list to just follow-up and make sure that they do send the payment through on time.
Kai: And you're also able to export out a list of all the responses and in a .CSV format, so you can see who's made the payment in a spreadsheet form. Okay. So that's pretty much the gist of the demo from end to end, from the admin experience to the parent experience in the end. Okay.
Nick: That's fantastic. Thank you, Kai. That's really, really interesting. There's a lot there. And if there are questions on any of that, then we can obviously go through some of those now. Obviously also, we can go through with some specific assistance when you get up and running with EdSmart payments and you have any questions along the way on how things work or how to get the most out of things as well.
Nick: But look, I think we're now across to going and actually having questions. If you pop your questions into the chat, what we'll do is run through those and start answering some questions. One question that's come through here from Emma was, 'Does the parent have to do anything if we take on EdSmart payments or does it just happen at their end?'
Nick: Obviously, it's very easy from the school's end. When the parent is going and making their payment, Kai, in your demo, it looked all very simple. And that from the parent's perspective, it's just like using any other online payment platform. Are there any tricks to it that we need to know about from a parent's perspective?
Kai: No, it's very simple actually, for a parent. All they need to do is submit the slip response and then click on pay via EdSmart Payments, enter their credit card details. It takes a minute to confirm and off they go. The slip is submitted.
Nick: Fantastic. Wonderful. So I've got a question here actually for Katie. Katie, when the reconciliation comes through to your accounts department. So it comes through on a .CSV that the accounts department can then go and cross-check against the students and the participants from within the student management system. What does that actually look like? What do you get in that system? And do accounts find that there's anything there that is kind of missing that they need to be able to do a seamless reconciliation?
Katie: No. So we were one of the first schools and we worked directly with EasyPay and EdSmart to make it work for us. So the IDs, we match a student ID. You can also match a parent ID, I think, with whoever's paid because they export from EdSmart. So basically, you just get a .CSV file of whenever you want to reconcile, whenever your accounts, department reconciles payments. And then they can import that in our case Synergetic. And it will match with their back-end, basically the financial part of Synergetic. Apparently, it's an easier system than other payment gateways. So our accounts department were pretty clear. They came back with lots of different things that they needed and every single one of those was met. So I don't know of the financial logistics of it, but I do know that ever since it's been implemented, I've never had a query.
Nick: Fantastic. No, that's wonderful. Thank you. And we have a question from Catherine. We'd like to offer parents two payment options, both the charge my school account, and also pay by credit card in the same slip. Is this possible? Kai, what's your thoughts on this? I can think of a way you could do it, but you probably know the system better than I do. How would you handle that?
Kai: So you can actually set up a specific option list in the template to give parents the option of whether they want to charge my school account or pay by credit card. So you get that information to you, and you can use that once that information comes back in the slip.
Nick: Yeah, sorry Katie?
Katie: That needs to be the contact response.
Nick: Right. So you would then edit the contact response to say, 'yes, attend and pay by account or 'yes attend and pay by credit card'.
Katie: Yeah. So, the contact response was what launches the payment.
Katie: So, it can't be further down. So it can't be, "yes I want to attend", and then "yes I'd like to pay". Because it'll pick up that contact as the one. That's only if there's more than one question
Nick: Katie, I'm really glad you're here. It's good to know how people have implemented in real life. Now that's great. Thank you.
Nick: Jude has asked, 'Hi team. This is looking great. Do you have any idea when it will make its way to New Zealand?'
Nick: That's a really good question. My understanding is we don't at this point in time, but Jude, we have your details here. What we'll do is touch base with you after the seminar to give any specific updates on the roadmap there. I know there's a lot on the payments roadmap that we've got coming. We are looking at an alumni module and donations module within EdSmart, which will also utilise EdSmart payments. And there are some other areas, there's a shopping cart functionality that we're expanding on as part of the development roadmap for EdSmart. So there is a fair bit coming. But Jude, we can come back to you on that so that you have a bit more of an idea about what that looks like, but thank you for that question.
Nick: Do we have some more questions? [pause] That was very simple wasn't it?
Kai: It was. It really was.
Nick: Are there any other comments or anything that anyone else has to share before we call it a closed webinar? And as I say, what we will do is make this available to everybody as a recording in the next 24 to 48 hours. As I say, it is absolutely free for you to go and share that with other people who weren't able to make the webinar. It is also something that you can go back to and look at for some guidance on how to do different bits and pieces, because the demo part that Ky's done will guide you through not only how to get EdSmart payment set up, but also how to actually put a payment into a slip as you use it.
Nick: All right, look, thank you everyone. Catherine has just asked something. Is there a help document instead of the webinar? So there is within the knowledge bank, isn't there Kai?
Kai: Yeah, that's right. So we'll send you a link of the knowledge base as well in the follow-up email that we send through.
Nick: And there it is on the screen, in actual fact. So we won't ask you to go and write down 3-T-K-C-M-G-K. We'll be able to go and give you a link to there, but you can also go and search within the knowledge bank to be able to find the payments process within there as well.
Nick: Are there any other…? No worries, Catherine. Thank you. So Katie says, I did a case study as well as the knowledge bank, if they wanted more info from a school perspective. So that's fantastic. Thank you, Katie. That's brilliant. Wonderful.
Nick: All right, well look, thank you everyone for attending today. I hope you've found that informative and that it may provide a few more ideas on how you can streamline the processes that make your school tick, and make them as efficient and safe and secure when it comes to payments as possible. So thank you for your time and we'll look forward to talking to you in the next webinar.”