The South African school year has finally kicked off and soon universities will be re-opening too. For parents around the country, this means paying fees for their children’s education. “While this might be a seemingly straightforward process for some parents, for those who are unbanked or digitally disadvantaged, it can be fraught with difficulty,” says Hennie Blignaut, Account Executive at Pay@ – a leading payment aggregator and provider of secure payment solutions.
He explains: “For example, when making payments, parents typically have to physically travel to and then stand in lengthy lines at schools or tertiary institutions which can lose them a day or more’s wages. Some never even make it this far, as they all too often become victims of theft if travelling with cash. Now, with the coronavirus, they could be putting themselves and others at risk when queuing to pay.”
To address these and other issues – while also enabling financial inclusion – Pay@ has extended its bill payment offering to include school and tertiary education fees, empowering parents to make payments safely and securely via a growing variety of methods. “One of our more popular payment solutions is our in-store facility. This enables parents to pay their children’s fees at a local retailer like PEP, Shoprite or Pick n Pay using their unique Pay@ number. This immediately reflects on their account with the educational institution, which in turn makes the academic registration process easier.”
Pay@’s services are also benefitting the institutions themselves. “Instead of being inundated with long queues and having to cope with lagging legacy systems, the school or tertiary education provider is linked to a whole spectrum of payment points via a single integration which enables the reconciliation of bulk payments. This means far less administrative load for the institution. It also improves their servicing capabilities, as 99,96% of payments do not generate a query, which also translates into reduced process costs and enhanced efficiencies. The Pay@ offering could also potentially open up educational institutions to a new market share as the broader the choice of payment options, the more people are able to take advantage of them,” says Blignaut.
Sanet Nel, Marketing Manager at private distance learning college, Oxbridge Academy shares: “Over the past six years, Pay@ has been a tremendous asset to our business, and we will continue to rely on their excellent service and offerings to make life easier for our students. As a distance learning college that serves students across the country, our students are widespread and need to find easy and accessible ways to make their monthly account payments. With the help of Pay@, which provides the ideal platform for convenient payments, we give our students more options to settle their accounts. The number of stores that give students this option is vast, and the fact that even in the most rural areas there are stores nearby, is what makes this platform so tremendous. Pay@ is helping us to bring education to the nation!”
“As every educational institution services a wide spectrum of the population, surely more parents should be considered and catered for,” concludes Blignaut.