What is a Customer Account Type?
Customer Account Types enable you to group payments together by type, and pay them out to one bank account. Arbor helps you manage payments received for Clubs, Trips, and Meals by automatically creating a separate account type for each.
- Meals accounts are top-up accounts, where you can add money to a balance to be deducted through invoices generated from the Meals section of Arbor (if you use this section).
- Club and Trip Customer Account Types cannot be topped up, as there is not running balance. Instead, the amount owed for each Club or Trip can be seen within the Activities section of Arbor.
Parents can make card payments to top up their child's meal account, or make payments for clubs or trips if you enable this for the Customer Account Types. Take a look at our articles about how parents can make a payment for Meals, make a payment for clubs or make a payment for trips to see what this will look like from their perspective.
Should we set up another Customer Account Type?
You should only set up another customer account type if you are sure you require it, as removing it requires you to contact us. If payments have been made into the account, it will not be possible to remove. Here are some important questions to ask before setting up a new account type:
Will you use the new account to take payments for trips?
We do not advise setting up a new customer account type for this. As user-created customer account types can only be topped up, this will not automatically link to the Activities > Trips section of Arbor, so you won't be able to manage trip payments.
Instead, we advise to use the default Trips account and reconcile payments by defining a separate accounting code for each trip.
Will you use the new account to take payments for staff meals?
We do not advise setting up a new customer account type for this. We've found some schools have added another account for Staff meals. There is no need to do this, as staff meal accounts are automatically created as part of the default Meals account type. If you set up another staff account, it will not automatically link to the meals area of Arbor.
Will you use the new account to keep a running total balance?
Additional customer account types are always top-up accounts which means they include a balance that can be added to or deducted from. Please note that to deduct from a user-created customer account type, you will need to manually generate invoices for this account.
Will you use the new account for School Shop?
Make sure you select School Shop as the Category when setting this up - or you won't be able to select the right account type during setup, and parents and guardians won't be able to make purchases.
Setting up another Customer Account Type
If you do want to set up another account to help reconcile payments, or payout to a different bank account, you can easily set up another Customer Account Type.
This means parents can top up the balance on this account (by a minimum of £2 each time) if you've enabled this to show on the Parent Portal or App, similar to Meals. You can also choose to just display this on the Parent Portal, but not allow payments.
You can only set up additional Customer Account Types that accept card payments by setting up Payments in Arbor. Read our Card Payments guide for more information.
Before creating accounts
If you left a staff or student box unticked when you clicked to add the account type, and then return to the slide over and tick it, this will not cause accounts to be created for existing students or staff. Ticking the box later will only create accounts for new students or staff moving forward.
Ticking the box will create an account for every student or staff member, not just a specific group e.g if you've created an account type for nursery student fees, accounts will be set up for all students not just nursery.
Make sure you know which accounts you want to use when setting the account type up. If you're not sure who to create accounts for, we recommend ticking both of them.
The example below shows how to set up a Customer Account Type for Tuck Shop.
Go to School > Payments > Setup > Customer Account Types.
Click +Add to add a new Customer Account Type and fill in the required information. In the example below, my tuck shop is available for students to use, so I would tick just the first box. If you're not sure who to create accounts for, we recommend ticking both of them.
I also want the account type to display on the Parent Portal, so I tick that box. See the section below for more information.
Click the Add customer account type button.
You can then top up these accounts in bulk by going to School > Payments > Accounts or top up an individual student or staff account by going to the Payments section of their profile.
Because card payments have not been set up in Arbor in this example, payments can only be logged here that they have been made in cash, or cheque on the individuals profile.
The example below shows how to set up a Customer Account Type for my Tuck Shop which I am naming Candy shop. Go to School > Payments > Setup > Customer Account Types.
Click Add to add a new Customer Account Type and fill in the required information.
In the example below, my candy shop is available for staff and students to use, so I would tick both boxes.
- Check Accept card payments. This will enable card payments for all Customer Accounts with this type, so card payments can be used to top up all Candy shop accounts.
- Select a bank account for payouts. These bank account details will be used when performing payouts of card payments for all Customer Accounts of this type. Be sure to add a bank account that accepts BACS or direct debit payments.
Click Add Customer Account Type. Until the account is verified, you will not be able to make card payments for this account type.
Click the account to see who can verify the account.
The chosen bank account for payouts requires verification from another staff member that has the Finance: Administer permission. Arbor does not send any kind of notifications to inform staff that they need to verify a Customer Account Type, so we recommend you contact them directly.
The staff member will need to verify the account by going to School > Payments > Setup > Customer Account Types. Here you can see all Customer Account Types that have unverified bank accounts for payouts.
Click on the chosen customer account type that needs verification and check the bank account for payouts provided. It will not be possible to change or delete a bank account for payouts after it is verified, so check carefully that the information is correct. You can click the Edit button if you need to change anything.
Click Mark as verified to confirm the verification. The account types will now be verified.
Toggling which Customer Account Types appear on the Parent Portal
You can choose whether to display each Customer Account Type set up on the parent portal - useful if some accounts are for school use only.
- Go to School > Payments > Setup > Customer Account Types page, click the Customer Account Type you would like to display or not display.
- You can also complete the action below from the Students > Parents & Guardians > Parent Portal Settings page. Click here to find out how.
Please note: N/A will show for club and trip customer account types as these cannot be set to show in the parent portal under the accounts section. They will show in the Activities section. To select whether they appear in Parent Portal, use the Parent Portal Settings page.
Click the orange Edit button in the slide over.
Untick the box next to the words 'Show in parent portal', then click the green Save Changes button.