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case studies Education insights Payroll & Payouts Uncategorised

Next Steps South West provides support with prepaid Higher Education Travel Cards

Next Steps South West (NSSW) is an organisation, part of the Uni Connect programme, funded by the Office for Students.  Their aim is to increase progression into higher education by inspiring young people, working with teachers and parents to overcome barriers.

NSSW use personalised, prepaid cards for their Higher Education Travel Card scheme to enable students to attend university and college open days.

B4B Payments provides forward-thinking payment processing solutions, enabling any size organisation to manage its expenses, simplify its payroll and offer rewards and incentives using prepaid cards. With over 1,000 customers and growing all of the time, B4B Payments was voted the Best Prepaid Product of the Year in 2019.

Taylor, a student at Eggbuckland Community College in Plymouth, was the subject of multiple interventions from NSSW, who offered one-to-one support, motivational talks and workshops to help him become the first member of his family to attend university.

With the help of B4B Payment’s prepaid cards, NSSW was able to cover the cost to help Taylor travel to attend a UCAS exhibition and open days at the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth. Following the support of NSSW, Taylor was able to earn multiple university offers to become an undergraduate student in September 2020.

With B4B Payment’s online portal, customers can easily load their cards with funds in a matter of minutes, track their expenditure and monitor access to their funds, giving organisations like NSSW, complete control over their finances. Annie Winsland, Central Team Leader at NSSW expressed her gratitude for B4B Payment’s prepaid cards: “The whole process has been simple and straightforward. Nothing is too much trouble for B4B staff and their swift response to any matter that may arise and the ability to tailor cards to suit our needs is a definite win for us.”

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case studies Education insights Payroll & Payouts

UWL use B4B Payments cards to tackle student hardship

The University of West London is known as The Careers University. The University has several campus’ including sites in Ealing, Brentford and Reading.

The University offers a wide variety of courses, ranging from business to nursing. 98% of UWL graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating. UWL has the highest satisfaction rating of all London universities according to the National Student Survey (NSS).

UWL takes its duty of care for its students very seriously. B4B Payments cards are used as a convenient way to support students who are facing financial hardship whilst pursuing their studies. After qualifying for a hardship payment, students are issued with a B4B card which is instantaneously loaded with the requisite money.

“We find the B4B system really easy to use,” says Helen Prince, Senior Finance Officer. “We often have to make payments quickly or out of hours. B4B Payments allows us to meet students’ needs as they arise, whenever that may be.”

“I’m pleased we could partner with The University of West London to support their students,” says B4B Director of Accounts, Tim Robson. “B4B works with many higher education institutions in the UK to assist them with their expenses, research payments, bursaries or open-day travel payments.”

To find out how B4B can help with payments for your educational establishment, please contact us here.

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Universities reduce the need for cash on and off campus

Cash causes so many problems for universities and other educational establishments. It’s a headache to distribute and account for with huge opportunity for fraud. It’s also a turn-off for many young people who view cash as an outdated inconvenience. In fact, increasing numbers of young people prefer not to use cash at all. Research shows that today’s teenagers are four-times less likely to use cash than the general public and use cash for just 6% of their payments, according to debit-card company Current.

With around 2.32 million students in UK higher education last year [1], it’s a big problem for which universities are increasingly determined to find an innovative solution. The goal is to reduce the inefficiencies of cash for themselves while increasing their appeal to prospective students.

The alternative to cash

Some progressive educational establishments in the UK are turning their backs on cash-based expense management systems in favour of issuing prepaid cards.

Many of the most interesting innovations in financial services in recent years have been made with prepaid cards. The Oyster card for travel around London’s rail network was an early example followed by new challenger banks such as Monzo which targeted millennials with services initially based on prepaid cards.

One of the main reasons for this growth is that prepaid cards have emerged as a convenient way to overcome many challenges from simplifying expenditure management to breaking down barriers to financial inclusion.

Here are a few examples of how prepaid cards are delivering benefits to universities and students.

Travel Bursaries

Course and open days are huge opportunities for universities to attract new students in person. These are important days, with most universities opening 2-3 times a year. In Bristol alone, a total of 30,000 visitors booked to visit over the university’s open weekend last year. [2]

Many educational establishments offer travel bursaries as a way to incentivise and help students to attend these events. A prepaid card can help remove the hassle and admin involved with distributing cash for travel purposes to visitors before the open day.

Research Programmes

Research programmes are one of the most important services universities can offer to a variety of industries. They often involve some form of reward in exchange for student participation. Dealing with the administration and distribution of funds after the research is often a time-consuming task with huge scope for fraud.

Alternatively, prepaid cards offer an easy way to upload funds in a way that is far less open to fraud. Cards can be retained by regular participants so funds can be uploaded remotely after each research programme is complete and rewards have been earned, removing the need for postage and associated administration.

Supporting Student Financial Hardship

University can be a financially challenging time for many students with a reported 40% worrying about how they will finance their studies and daily life. Financial Hardship programmes can, therefore, be an important factor when students are choosing their university.

Managing such a programme can however be challenging for universities as a robust, reliable and ongoing financial process is required with regular payments being made. Delivering funds to students using a prepaid card can be automated with recurring payments. Prepaid cards enable universities to monitor spending and take far better control of where funds can be spent with the ability to prevent spending on activities such as gambling. Moreover, certain goods and services can be excluded to ensure funds are used appropriately.

And there’s more

Prepaid cards can replace the use of petty cash throughout the university, from any one-off payments to expense cards for employees and contractors. Combined with powerful receipt management tools, prepaid cards can deliver a solution that keeps you in full control of your expenditure.

How to choose a prepaid card solution

An important factor in the success of a prepaid card programme to meet the needs of both the University and its students is its ability to be used in many locations. The prepaid solution from B4B Payments offers a Mastercard prepaid card that can be used in the millions of locations globally that accepts payment by Mastercard. Funds can be spent in-store or online.

The B4B solution is currently used by further education bodies, companies and government departments in the UK to replace inefficient cash-based systems. It was named winner of the Best Prepaid Card Programme category of the Card & Payments Awards 2019.

To find out more about how we work with universities and how we can help you, call us on 020 3137 3420 or email us at sales@b4bpayments.com.