Inbuilt online payments - Click here for Youtube demonstration
The inbuilt online payments system uses a parents ability to make payments directly from their bank account using Internet banking. All banks now offer internet banking, either through a computer or mobile device. A parent will therefore need to be registered for internet banking to use this option.
As schools do not pay bank charges for internet banking receipts, this means the payments received have NO TRANSACTION FEES attached.
You can use this option for just one type of payment, eg regular school fund donations or for multiple payment types - trips, revision guides, uniform, shop etc.
When a payment is made through internet banking, a reference field is required that is generally up to 18 characters. The parent will need to enter a code that is UNIQUE to their child and the trip/account they are paying for. This code is 12 character code - the first 3 characters being the trip/account ID and the next 9 being the student ID. You can generate automatic letters and/or emails that tell the parent what this code is, and we also recommend having a page on your school website that shows the 3 character trip/account IDs so that parents can easily pay for other items. PFM provides reports, lists, letters and email to show these codes.
When parents pay using this ID in the reference field, the ID will appear on your bank statement. PFM can then automatically read in the bank statement, identifying payments from parents based on the unique code, and ignoring anything that does not have an ID.
You will be presented with a list of entries, and will then need to confirm they are correct (or check out and either accept or reject any that are not instantly identified - for example if a parent enters the wrong code). Once confirmed, the entries will be posted to the correct trip, the correct pupil and the correct bank account.
There is no tricky reconciliation, because the items are coming straight from your bank statement so will appear on PFM exactly as on your bank statement.
1. Setting up PFM for internet Banking
a. First of all, make sure you are on version 7.00.00 of PFM as prior version do not offer this functionality.
b. Link the appropriate bank account set up in PFM with the sort code and account number that you will be importing from. If you have more than one bank account, link each to the correct sort code and account number.
Go to SETUP - ADD NEW BANK ACCOUNT
Select your existing bank account by code, and enter the details. Click on SAVE
c. Every short code is automatically assigned a 3 character online payment code used for Online banking. To see the list of these go to ACCOUNTS MAINTENANCE - Click on Current short codes at the bottom. This list could be posted onto your school website to ensure parents know which code to use for any payment.
d. Every pupil also has a unique identification code that is needed, together with the short code payment code whenever a parent makes the online payment. You can get a list of the pupil codes, but can also write a letter to parents telling them what their code is.
To get a list go to Screen Enquiries - Pupil Reports By Account - select trip and click on STUDENTS INTERNET PAYMENT CODES
The code for Alton Towers 2014 is therefore WWP.
The code for Cooper Ben is 28w u2p g@8 for any payments he makes.
2. Telling parents what their code is
You can write an automatic email or letter to all parents saying what the code is for both the trip and their pupil. If you prefer to email parents, check that you do have email addresses for all your parents, by going to Screen Enquiries - select your trip - click on STUDENTS without an email address. If you do not have email addresses showing for you parents, email Istek for the latest Sims export report.
To generate emails or letters for your parent so go to Screen Enquiries - Pupil reports by Account. Choose the trip. Click on EMAILS AND LETTERS
This works very much like a mailmerge letter - you type the words you require, then click the relevant button where you want some information to be inserted. For a printed letter it might look something like this -
NOTE that the field #Direct Payment Code# has been inserted in the message so they know exactly what to use as a payment reference. THIS IS A CRUCIAL STEP IN THE PROCESS.
The fields offered (of which you can choose any or all or none) are -
#Parent Name# - Mrs & Mrs Smith - primary parental contact from Sims
#Address# - home address
#Student Forename# - Sam
#Student Surname# - Smith
#Year# - 10 - year they are in&#Class# - 10JH - class they are in
#He She# - puts the appropriate word in the message in capitals
#he she# - puts the appropriate word in the message in lower case
#Contribution# - the total cost for this trip/account - £750
#Paid to Date#- total paid so for this trip/account - £500
#Amount Outstanding# - amount left to pay - £250
#Direct Payment Code# - the 12 character code for the trip and individual student
To send an email, first check that all the parents have emails (these will have been imported from Sims) by clicking on Screen Enquiries & Reports - Pupil Reports by Account - choose trip - Students Without an Email Address. Add any that are missing if you can through SETUP - STUDENTS - View/Amend/Add Students.
To send an email, select trip and click on EMAILS/LETTERS. The screen may look something like this -
Click on CREATE and the emails will appear in your email system window.
This emails/letters option can also be used later to chase up permission slips etc.,
and to chase up people who have not paid instalments / not up to date
or to communicate in any way, eg tell parents for a trip that the times have changed or the pupils will be late back.
To send a letter to each student instead, the screen would look like this -
Click on CREATE and the letters will be created and copied to your clipboard. Open Word - open a letterhead if you want the letters printed with a letterhead (or blank to use pre printed paper)
Right click and choose PASTE and all the letters will appear, with a page break between each.
You might need to move letters down on the page, so please check through before printing.
As mentioned before, as well as sending letters / emails, you might want to have a page on your school website that states the 3 character code for each of the trips/accounts. Parents can then combine it with their childs 9 character code for all subsequent payments.
3. Receiving online payments.
As soon as a payment appears on your bank statement (which will generally be within 2 hours of the parent paying) you will be able to import the information automatically into PFM. Go to your online banking system and log in. Choose the option to EXPORT the data. In each case choose the EXCEL format for your download.
On Barclays this shows as EXPORT MY DATA
On Lloyds this shows as EXPORT DATA
On Santander this shows as DOWNLOAD TRANSACTIONS
A spreadsheet will be downloaded - SAVE that spreadsheet into the UNPROCESSED BANK STATEMENTS folder, within the PFM folder.
Now, go into PFM- TRANSACTION ENTRY - RECEIPTS - DIRECT RECEIPTS. Click on READ BANK STATEMENT FILE. It will do so, and a message something like the following will appear -
Saving the internet payments
When you are happy that the payments showing on the Direct Receipts screen match your bank statement for parent payments, click on the BANK IT screen. This will save the entries to the correct areas.
Anything marked as Rejected will stay on the rejected screen in case you want to investigate and accept any of them.
However if they are genuinely not meant to be imported as a parent payment into PFM, then it is probably best to Delete them from the Rejected area do that only newly rejected items show.
Click on READ BANK STATEMENT FILE
Click on REJECTED. Click on first item on list then click on the DELETE button, bottom right. Keep clicking DELETE to all those to remove.
4. Reconciling internet payments
Reconciling should be quite straightforward as the items that appear on Bank Rec have already been confirmed as correct.
They each appear individually on your bank reconciliation showing payer name and the student name.
To tick all online banking imports up to a given date, click on the last one in the date range and press the F1 function key - all are ticked. (F5 unticks them all)