Bank Transfer and Auto top-up

Bank Transfer

What is it?

Bank Transfer enables parents to pay for any school item directly from their bank account and it is guaranteed by the Direct Debit service. There is no need to add or store debit or credit card details in ParentPay but it does require a Direct Debit mandate to be authorised by your bank before payments can be collected (up to 3 working days normally or 10 working days for initial setup).  This allows customers who do not have credit facilities to make online payments and enables new automated payment processes (e.g. auto top-up).


Please note: Bank Transfers require a Direct Debit mandate to be set up in order for it to be used.  The mandate authorises the bank or building society to pay ParentPay the amount for the items purchased from the school or club.  This will not configure a periodic payment unless Auto top-up is also configured by the payer.


How does it work?

When a payment is made using Bank Transfer, the payment is added to a batching process that runs daily.  This means that any subsequent payments made within the batch period can be aggregated and will show on the payer’s bank statement as a single entry for the combined amount. The batched payments are presented for processing each evening.  Payments made after the cut-off will be processed over to the following day.

The clearing process carried out by the banks can take up to 3 working days to complete. Payments will be processed instantly in ParentPay and will act the same as any other payment method. However, if a payment fails, the affected payment items will be reversed and the payer as well as the school informed of the payment failure. 


Where is it configured?

Once logged into ParentPay as a payer, the following three locations provide access to the setup process:

  • The Bank Transfer option on the Parent Account tab
  • The Payment Item Overview page
  • The Basket (when making a payment)

The website provides guidance on completing the setup.  Additional information is provided in the next section (at the bottom of the page).


What if it a payment fails?

Should a payment attempt fail, for instance, due to lack of funds in the bank account, the payer is informed via email as well as by notification message the next time they attempt to log in to the ParentPay.  School managers will also see any failed payments in the notification tab on the home page of your Manager Account login.  By selecting this notification tab you will be navigated directly to the Failed payment report.

Failed payments can also be viewed by school managers from:

  • Pupil statements
  • Payment reports
  • The Failed payment report

It is not possible to display the reason for why the payment has failed and the payer will be directed to speak to their bank to discover the cause. 

In all cases, payers should resolve the issue with the bank and retry the bank transfer or make alternative payment arrangements ( card, PayPoint, etc.)


Please note: To protect schools, payment via Bank Transfer will be disabled for a payer if they have one payment rejected.


Please note: If the funds from the Bank Transfer attempt have already been settled to the school's bank account and it subsequently fails, they will be reclaimed during the next settlement process.


When is the money taken from the payer’s bank account?

Funds cannot be taken from a payer’s bank account until their Bank Transfer Direct Debit Mandate has been successfully set up and authorised by the bank.  If the payer believes there is an issue with this or suspects that they have set the mandate up incorrectly or in error, they must contact their bank in order to resolve the issue.  Please note that for a new mandate it can take up to 10 days in total for the payment to complete.


How does a payer change bank account?

If the Switching Service (provided by most UK banks and building societies) is used, no further action is required as the service will migrate the Bank Transfer Direct Debit mandate as part of the process. 

If the payer wishes to manually change the bank account used, they will need to remove the existing mandate and then add a new one using the details of the new account.  They can do this from their Parent Account > Bank Transfer menu in the Payer Application.


Can more than one parent be set up with Bank Transfer?

Each primary or secondary parent account can be configured with a single Bank Transfer Direct Debit mandate.  This means that a child with more than one parent account associated with is can have more than one Bank Transfer configured


Can a payer disable Bank Transfer?

Bank Transfer can be disabled at any time (except during the period where a new Bank Transfer Direct Debit mandate is being authorised by the payer’s bank and payment has been made against it).  While bank transfer will be available to payers that have configured it, all other payment methods remain available.


Can bank transfer be switched off for all payer’s?

It is not possible to disable the bank transfer option at a school level.  Payers can choose not to use the facility.


Auto top-up

What is it?

As part of the Bank Transfer facility, Auto top-up assists parents and carers in ensuring their child’s school meal balance is always in credit. It does so by allowing a payer to set a minimum balance threshold which, when breached, automatically credits the meal balance by a fixed amount (payer configurable) using a Balance Transfer payment.

In order to use Auto top-up, payers are required to set up and submit a Bank Transfer Direct Debit mandate. Once complete the payer will have the option to use the auto top-up feature.


How does it work?

Each account that has been configured by the payer for Auto top-up is checked once per day at approximately 1900 BST, to determine if the top-up threshold has been breached.  If the balance is below the threshold, payment is issued via the payer’s Bank Transfer Direct Debit mandate for a fixed amount (set by the payer).  This payment will be added to any other Bank Transfer payments made since the last daily batch and will be aggregated into a single payment.


What can it be used for?

Auto top-up is only available to payers that have a school meal payment item configured as a ‘Repeatable variable’ type that is assigned to a ‘Lunch’ meal event and a valid meal period (excludes classic till solutions and meal bookings).


Please note: Auto Top-Up does not operate during holiday periods as determined by the school or organisation term dates.

Please note: Low balance alerts will be disabled if the payer has set up Auto Top-Up.


Can it be paused or disabled?

Payers can cancel their Auto top-up schedule at any time.


Can other payers be configured for Auto top-up for the same pupil?

Only one Auto top-up facility can be configured per pupil.  Once the first has been configured other related accounts will have the feature disabled against associated payment items.