“There’s a broader community opportunity for schools and parents to explore alternative ways to turn more school activities into cash free zones and the benefits that come from that choice.”
-Carlos Cornejo, Mastercard
ClassWallet had the opportunity to sit down with Carlos Cornejo, senior vice president, New Consumers and Public Sector Solutions at Mastercard to chat about financial technology and share insights for school business managers. Read on to learn about new advances and see what can be applied to your school.
To begin, what is Mastercard doing in the K-12 education space?
Mastercard is piloting some new projects in other countries to bring financial management into schools. Imagine equipping kids with a wristband or a card that allows them to do things like check in and check out of school, pay for meals, and pay extracurricular costs, while at the same time, enabling parents to know the whereabouts of their children. By having kids pay for meals electronically, parents and teachers can keep tabs on what their kids are eating and how much they are spending.
Mastercard is providing solutions for needs like these and more as part of a pilot we’re carrying out in Russia together with a local bank. The project has been widely recognized by school administrators as a significant service improvement. School officials are benefiting. Families are benefiting. The government is benefiting as well by realizing savings in the area of budget appropriations – savings that can be used then for other priorities. The longer term pay off for the students is experience with their first financial instruments and their initiation into responsible financial education and management.
Turning to our ClassWallet audience, what issues should a principal or school business manager consider as they weigh parents’ continued reliance on cash on the one hand and the possibility of making a transition to electronic and digital ways to pay for things?
How often is money sent to the school? How much administrative and/or teacher time is spent counting and recounting it? How much time does it take to deposit cash or checks at the bank? Is theft an issue and if so, how often is money lost or stolen. What about the use of cash versus electronic forms of payments when it comes to things like bookkeeping and documenting expenses? Having clear, indisputable electronic or digital documentation can help with government compliance but also with finding budget efficiencies at a time when school budgets are being stretched.
As a principal or school business manager, what information should they give to a parent, especially in a neighborhood where parents may be wary of electronic forms of payment?
Electronic or digital forms of payment can help parents and their children on multiple fronts. Besides the convenience of not needing to not having to have enough cash, electronic payments provide parents not only greater oversight but also an opportunity for their kids to learn the financial basics. How to budget. What things cost.
There’s a wider community opportunity for parents to talk about exploring ways to turn more school activities into cash free zones and the benefits that come from that designation. On an institutional level, schools can consider a solution like Mastercard QkR for payments in the cafeteria. Parents can pre-order meals that best fit their children’s food choices. Data can be used to improve planning and forecasting – both of which can help increase efficiencies and lower costs over time.
Here at ClassWallet, as a company that focuses on data for school reporting we appreciate the need for indisputable digital documentation. What do you think? Would you like to see cash payment options removed from your school?
Let us know in the comments below or follow the conversation on Social Media with #FinTech4Ed and #SchoolBusiness for the hashtags.