Build - Setting up the Payments area to enable paid School Shop, Clubs, Trips and Meals

Begin, Build, Boost

You're at Build, the second step in your school's journey to getting the most out of payments in Arbor!



We'll now look at getting your site ready to take card payments or go completely cashless.

How long will it take?

  • Set up card payments - 30 minutes
  • Add and verify your customer account types - 15 minutes (dependant on the number of accounts to set up)
  • Set up Clubs, Trips or School Shop items - 20 minutes per setup
  • Set up meals - 30 minutes


Setting up card payments

To enable you to take card payments via card, you need to set this up in Arbor. Top Tip: If you aren't going to be taking card payments, you can skip this section.

There are a few steps to setting up card payments which we can't fit here, so jump to these links:

  1. First download and print your checklist to collect all the documentation you'll need to complete the setup: Arbor Card Payments Setup Checklist
  2. Then set up card payments on your school site to enable taking payments via card: Setting up Card Payments in Arbor


Getting your accounts ready


You get 3 accounts as standard in Arbor, so you won't need to set up new accounts for them:

  1. Clubs - This is not a top-up type account, so payments are made at the point of purchase.
  2. Trips - This is not a top-up type account, so payments are made at the point of purchase.
  3. Meals - This is a top-up type account, so payments are deducted from the balance.

You can see your accounts from  School > Payments > Setup > Customer Account Types. Here you can see an example, where I still need to verify the trip account and enable card payments for these three accounts. Make sure you've done this: Verifying Customer Account Types

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You can also create additional top-up type accounts where needed, such as for Wraparound Care. Follow these instructions to consider what type of account is needed - it'll go through exactly what you need to set up (whether you use card payments or not): Setting up a new payment Customer Account Type

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Top Tip: You can set up Accounting Codes to separate payments for easy reconciliation.

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Setting up Clubs, Trips, Meals and School Shop

First, we recommend taking a look at this best practise resource to figure out the best way of managing what you want to do in Arbor: Should I set this up as a Trip, Club, School Shop, Meal or Account for payments?

Then follow our setup articles:

Student meals

For meals, your setup will look a bit different depending on whether you use card payments or not. The video below shows setting up meals to use with card payments. You can see links to our guidance here:


Staff meals

You can also see specific guidance for managing meals for staff here: Setting up and managing staff meals

Top Tip: Once you're ready to go, you don't have to manually manage staff payments in your office. Staff can top up their own meal accounts - just share these instructions with them: How staff can top up their own meal account

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Making and managing payments and sign ups

Initial balances

If you're transferring your accounts over to Arbor from a previous system (such as ParentPay), these won't migrate. You'll need to set the initial account balances:

  • For Trips and Clubs, manually sign any students up that have already paid (using the payment method of cash, cheque or bank transfer alongside a note that the balance is transferred).
  • For wraparound care, meals and other top-up account types, follow these instructions to set your starting account balances: Creating Initial Account Balances

Payments, bookings and sign ups

Now it's time to make payments and get parents and guardians to sign up. Payments can be made manually, or if you have card payments set up, through the Arbor App and Parent Portal.

Here's our guidance for manual payments:


You can find all our resources for parents and guardians to use (that you can share with them) in this area of the Help Centre: Parent Portal and Arbor App - Payments, School Shop, Meals, Clubs and Trips.

Top Tip: Parents and Guardians can also jump to this guidance by clicking the Help Centre button when they're logged in!

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How does refunding work?

Depending on what has been paid for, refunding can work slightly differently, so please check our guidance here:


When a card refund transaction is issued, Arbor automatically creates a refund on the corresponding Customer Account for the student or staff member.

  • For a student, go to Student Profile > Payments > selected Customer Account > Refunds.
  • You can also see the list of all card refunds in School > Payments > Reconciliations > Card Payments > Card Refunds.

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Having trouble?

Take a look at the troubleshooting resources below for help with refunds:

Guardians can't pay or sign up? Follow these instructions:


What's next?

So you've set up payments and have got to grips with using clubs, trips, meals and school shop and you're wondering what else you can do with them? Jump to the next part of your journey to Boost your school to the next level where you'll see how to: 

  • Move money or send top-up reminders
  • Have parents and guardians choose their own meals
  • Manage alternative payment methods such as vouchers, Apple Pay or Google Pay

Boost - Make the most out of Payments

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