Higher Education organizations have many needs when it comes to collecting and issuing payments. According to a PYMNTS study, “Improving The Campus Payments Experience” colleges on average spend 2.7% of their annual budgets on payment operations. In the same study, over 72% of college payment professionals believe their systems are not as efficient as they could be, many stating fraud losses and poor user experience as leading challenges. At many institutions payment collection is disseminated, making it difficult to ensure data security and privacy, leverage buying power to drive down rates, and lost opportunities to create operational efficiencies.
Fueled by COVID and in line with payment trends, many organizations are considering cashless campuses moving primarily to touchless payments systems and apps accepted across campus. These trends can include electronic payments, contactless payments, mobile wallets, payment P2P (person to person) apps (i.e., Venmo, Zelle, PayPal), payment APIs (payments embedded within websites and apps) or even Crypto.
When considering the payment network, higher education organizations must consider not just tuition payments but also campus wide retailers, such as dining facilities, bookstores, sports complexes, theaters, and other locations where students, faculty, and campus guests could make purchases. It should be simple for customers to make payments through school IDs, credit cards, mobile wallets, apps, and websites. Payments should be integrated into financial systems on the backend, in order to minimize back-office efforts to reconcile and settle with their payments provider. With an intentional transition from payment with a check to ACH, combined with the implementation of an Expense Management Tool to aid the automation of how invoices and payment requests are initiated can result in both operational efficiencies and realized cost savings. Additionally, this seamless integration leveraging technological advancements will result in a better user experience and efficiencies within the budget office.
Empowering staff with payment options
Higher education organizations also make many payments to vendors, suppliers, and service providers to the organization. Eliminating paper checks should be a primary focus moving payments to ACH or other electronic means. Furthermore, many invoices can be paid using corporate credit solutions, which can return cash back to the organization for simply making the payments they’re already making by changing the way in which they issue payments. Payment cards can be an effective way to empower faculty and staff to make corporate payments, which enhances the reimbursement process and also allows the organization to earn cashback on these payments. By utilizing this strategy, institutions could create grant funds to support students who face temporary hardships, supplement students’ participation in professional organizations or any other strategic initiatives identified by institutional leadership.
Financial security compliance for higher education
No matter how an organization makes and receives payments, security and compliance should be top of mind. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council is enhancing its Data Security Standards (DSS) in the newest release 4.0, which governs credit card processing compliance. PCI DSS 4.0 will remain optional through March 31, 2024, at which point they become mandatory. Every organization must review their credit card processing programs to address these changes and ensure compliance.
Contact the experts at Hartman for a technology strategy
While technology offers many benefits to institutions and students, it requires thoughtful strategy, planning and change management in order to ensure successful adoption and outcomes. Reach out to the experts at Hartman Executive Advisors to help your organization align technology with your business goals and identify opportunities for improving your top and bottom line.