Last editedJul 20233 min read
In today's digital age, accepting online payments has become increasingly crucial for childcare and nursery businesses. From streamlining transactions to enhancing convenience and security, a childcare payment service can vastly improve the way childcare businesses manage their finances and create a better customer experience for parents.
Choosing the right online payment solution
Childcare and nursery businesses typically have a small group of customers. These customers will generally pay most, sometimes all, of their fees on a recurring basis. They may, however, also need to pay ad-hoc fees at least occasionally. It’s likely to be most convenient for everyone if these fees are paid online.
Evaluating available online payment options
For childcare and nursery businesses, as with most businesses, the default payment options tend to be payment cards (debit and credit cards) and bank debits. These are the payment methods that parents are practically guaranteed to have.
Some childcare and nursery businesses may also want to support digital wallets. This may be worth doing if it can be done with minimal inconvenience. It is, however, worth noting that digital wallets need to be backed by another payment method. This means that customers who have them will also have a bank account with a debit card. They may also have a credit card.
It’s also worth pointing out that digital wallets started out as an accessible option for people who couldn’t accept payment cards or bank debits. Now, however, it’s much easier for even small businesses to accept both cards and bank debits. This means that there’s less value in accepting digital wallets.
Online payment options and international payments
Some childcare and nursery businesses may need to take payments from parents who have their permanent homes outside the UK.
Any business that can accept UK-issued payment cards can also accept internationally-issued payment cards.
Businesses with bank debit acceptance will be able to access any international bank debit scheme supported by their provider. For example, GoCardless supports the UK, the SEPA area, Denmark, Sweden, the USA/Canada and Australia/New Zealand.
Implementing a childcare payment service
If you want to accept payment cards online, you will need an online checkout. If you want to accept bank debits, then you may just need a single link. You can use this link to capture the payer’s bank details. Then you create the relevant payments (and the parent is notified of them).
For small businesses, it generally makes sense to use a solution that handles all the key aspects of security. There will, however, usually be at least some aspects of it you will need to handle yourself. Generally, these will be to do with managing access to sensitive data and ensuring that staff who do have access to it have the right training.
The major choice most businesses have to make is how to manage the childcare payment service they choose. For most smaller businesses, this will be a choice between using a dashboard and using a partner integration such as invoicing software. Larger businesses, however, may prefer to use an API directly. Similarly, businesses that are aiming for growth may want to keep open the possibility of using an API in the future.
Promoting online payment options
Once you have your child care payment service in place, you’ll need to promote it to your parents. In short, they will only use it if they actually know it’s there.
You also need to ensure that the system is easy for them to use. Again, if you use the right provider, most of this will be taken care of for you. You will, however, still need to do some work yourself.
For example, if you use GoCardless, GoCardless will take care of ensuring that the sign-up form is easy for your parents to follow. You, however, will still need to ensure that parents can find the sign-up link on your website in the first place.
Remember that most parents are very busy people so you may find it helpful to offer an incentive for them to sign up promptly. For example, you could offer to run a prize draw for people who sign up before a certain time. This approach can be both more tactful and less frustrating than chasing parents to sign up.
Leveraging your new solution
Whatever solution you choose, make sure to familiarise yourself with it thoroughly so you understand all its features. Then see how you can use these features to improve your business. Your payment data can be one of your most valuable sources of business intelligence if you take the time to analyse it.
We can help
GoCardless is a global payments solution (with award-winning customer support) that helps you automate payment collection. It cuts down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with and helps improve your bottom line. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.