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Replacing flawed paper systems for school meals, with easy to use cards

There is huge pressure on schools to find reliable ways to enforce social distancing and infection control measures, and one of the most debated ‘hot spots’ will be around the serving of meals.

Cashless payment is now common in canteens, but in some instances still relies on paper – such as free school meal vouchers – or some handling of coins and notes. Both of which we will address in the article.

Existing systems to pay for food in school canteens – and recently in the wider community – have already caused education managers and headteachers countless headaches.

Recent press headlines show that users of free school meal vouchers have run up against system failures that left them embarrassed – and potentially hungry!

This shows that investment in the latest cashless payment systems is necessary for a number of different but equally important reasons, particularly to iron out issues with free school meals.

The free school meal fiasco

The technology exists to enable the Government to provide help for low-income families within schools, discreetly and reliably. Also, in B4B Payments, the Department of Education, local authorities, and schools have a supplier who can provide secure and hygienic payment cards within days.

Yet, the way meal vouchers have been distributed during the pandemic crisis has largely revolved around printed slips. In many cases, already challenged and stressed school staff have been tasked with printing off free school meal vouchers.

As the national media coverage has highlighted, this has left some parents with paper vouchers that don’t work when they try to redeem them in shops. A cause of massive confusion and upset.

Some schools have even resorted to creating their own systems to help low-income families, necessitating large payouts and deals with local food retailers and supermarket chains.

Is this really necessary, when a system exists to connect, streamline and simplify free school meal provision using prepaid cards from B4B Payments? Cards that can be used in shops, or within school canteens, with the minimum of admin and hassle!

Curious about the tends in cash vs card?

How clean is cash?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and other authoritative bodies are urging everyone to wash their hands well after handling coins and notes – especially in situations where you are eating and drinking. There has also been a widespread surge in moving towards payments via a smart device, credit or debit card, or prepaid card.

In a school, moving wholesale to prepaid cards limits contact between the children and cashier. It also means less likelihood of infection transmission on alternative payment tools or money. Another reason why the Department of Education and local authorities must take secure, easy-to-clean and convenient prepaid cards seriously.

Perhaps, this is one time when the ‘pester power of parents’ needs to come into play. They can persuade the Government to use the simplest and best technology to make school meal payment systems problem-free, with cards from B4B Payments that can be delivered in days.