How payment innovation made cash extinct at this Melbourne school


Since Deborah Patterson, the principal of Mill Park Heights Primary school, started at the school eight years ago, she has been instrumental in changing the nature of the school community.

Technology, parent engagement and resourcing for school facilities have been top-of-mind for Deborah and her experienced business manager, Julie Findley. Together the pair has seen the reputation of Mill Park Heights improve to be one of the leading schools in education within Victoria.

Streamlining school payments

The school is one of the larger primary schools in the Melbourne area, with around 1,000 enrolled students. With such a large enrolment, Julie, the teachers and administration staff have unique challenges when it comes to behind-the-scenes administration such as collecting school payments. The complexity involved in processing and handling manual payments for fees, excursions and school activities has given the staff their fair share of headaches.

“When I heard there was a payment app that would streamline payments, I knew we had to participate,” Julie says.

“We knew we had to keep up with the technology that society uses. We knew we had to be a part of the pilot,” Deborah explains.

Qkr!® By MasterCard® is a mobile payment app specifically designed for Australian schools that allows parents to register their child, receive notification of the payments required and, make payments via a linked credit card or scheme debit card.

“Our parents love it,” Deborah says. “We now take payments via Qkr!® for school fees, book lists, excursions, incursions and school activities.”

Gone are the days of children bringing sums of cash to school in envelopes. Nor do the business administration team have to count it all, as parents can make all payments via the app.

Reducing manual administration

On the business administration side, the team can see the payments that have been made for each child, and reports can be extracted and provided to the teachers. This way, a teacher knows which child is attending activities and excursions.

Previously, teachers had to manually reconcile which child had brought in a payment and then transfer the cash, in envelopes, to the office for processing.

All up, it’s saving each teacher around one hour of administration time every week.

“It’s changed how things work for the school,” Julie says. “It’s easier for parents, teachers and the business administration team.”

Canteen management made easier

The app also allows parents to pre-order lunches from the school canteen. This has not only reduced the need for the canteen manager to handle cash, it has changed how the canteen itself is managed.

The canteen manager can focus on running the catering side of things rather than counting cash, then taking it to the bank to deposit. In addition, pre-ordering allows the manager to plan ahead, resulting in a significant reduction in food waste.

“Meeting the needs of our students for the challenges of the 21st century is our main focus,” Deborah says.

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