During the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools are having to cancel and refund clubs, trips and other top-ups. Due to the high value of refunds currently being made, many of our schools do not have sufficient funds in their Arbor card payments account to issue these refunds. As such, we've put together this article which details:
- When you'll need to top up your account and how to check your available balance
- How to top up your account for refunding
When might we need to top up our account?
During a normal school week, top-ups and payments are made to your card payments account in Arbor, and any refunds are paid out from this amount. The final amount at the end of the week is then paid out to your school’s bank account.
Currently, as schools are not receiving many payments, the amount being refunded could exceed the amount available for refunding.
If you have a negative balance in your card payments account, refunds are temporarily unavailable in Arbor. You also cannot issue a refund if issuing this refund would cause your balance to become negative.
If you have the Finance: Administer permission, got to School > Payments > Reconciliation > Card Payments > Stripe Payouts. You'll see how much you have available to refund in the banner, including how much is pending from top-ups made within the last 24 hours.
If you don't have enough money to make the refunds you want to make, you can complete the process to top-up your account shown in the section below.
Don't see a banner on this page?
If you don't see a banner on this page, this means you have no pending payments, refunds or payouts. As your current balance in Arbor is 0, you'll need to complete the process shown in the section below to top-up your account and make refunds.
How can we top up our account to make refunds?
We've worked with our payment provider to come up with a solution that does not negatively impact you financially for a situation beyond your control. You can top up your account between Monday and Wednesday.
Please top up your card payments account as few times as possible
Our payment provider charges us for each top-up made. As an act of goodwill, we won't charge you this fee to top-up your card payments account. Instead, we ask that you please be mindful when using this feature and try to top up as few times as possible.
Navigating to the page
To top up your account, you'll need to navigate to our hidden page. You can access this page if you have the Finance: Administer permission. If you don't have this permission, you'll get an error message if you try to go to this page.
Double-click into the URL at the top of your page to edit it.
Delete everything after /?/.
Add stripe-account-ui/top-up-connected-account then press your enter key.
You'll be taken to your Account Top Up page.
If you already have a negative balance (go to School > Payments > Reconciliation > Card Payments > Stripe Payouts to check ), you'll need to top-up your balance by the amount you are in debt for, plus the amount for any additional refunds you will make this week.
If you only have one bank account for payouts with a negative balance, you'll just need to specify the amount you want to top up, then click Pay by card. You'll then see a pop-up where you can enter your school bank account details.
If you have more than one bank account for payouts with a negative balance (shown in the banner on your Stripe payouts page) you'll need to top-up each individual balance so none of them is negative. You can select each individual account to top up.
If you don't have a negative balance, but don't have enough money in your account to make refund, you'll need to top-up your balance by the total amount you want to refund this week.
If you only have one bank account for payouts, you'll just need to specify the amount you want to top up, then click Pay by card. You'll then see a pop-up where you can enter your school bank account details.
If you have several bank accounts for payouts, you'll need to top-up each individual balance to cover refunds made from each account. You can select each individual account to top up.
The green button to top up our account is missing?
The Pay by card button is only available to use between Monday and Wednesday each week, so you won't be able to top up your account on other days.
It is the right day but the Pay by Card button is still missing?
If you are a MAT MIS staff member who has logged into the school site, you won't be able to see this button. Please ask someone who has a profile on the school site to log in and make the top-up.
How will the top-up display in our bank account?
As you are making a payment from your bank account via card into your Arbor payments account, this will show on your bank statement like any other payment.
Are the refunds made directly from our bank account(s)?
We do not make refunds from your school's bank account(s). You make a payment into your Arbor card payments account, and then make refunds from this amount. Any remaining balance is then paid back into your bank account with the next scheduled payout. Even if you have sufficient balance in your school bank account, you must have sufficient amount in your account in Arbor to be able to make refunds.
How often can we top up?
You can top up as much as you need to. However, please try to top-up as few times as possible, as our payment provider charges us for each transaction. As a gesture of goodwill, we won't be charging your school the transaction fee to top-up your balance.
When will the money topped up be available to make refunds from?
Money from a top-up will be available 24 hours from when you topped up. Therefore, if you want to make your refunds on Wednesday, you should make your top-up on Monday or Tuesday. You can see any pending amounts in the banner on the School > Payments > Reconciliation > Card Payments > Stripe Payouts page.
Who is the top-up linked to?
The top-up is not linked with any staff member, invoice or student.
Will the money we topped up remain in our account forever?
No, the remaining balance is paid back into your bank account with the next scheduled payout as usual. Please top up your account once and make all the refunds you need to make at once (if possible).
After topping up, make the refunds the same week as any remaining balance is paid back into your school’s bank account each Monday. We recommend topping up your account with the total sum to refund in one transaction then making all your refunds as soon as you can.
Is it possible to top up school accounts to enable refunds via MAT MIS?
No, only school-level users are able to see the top-up page.
Can we see a record of how much we have topped up by in the past?
Once the balance has been deducted for refunds and anything remaining has been paid out, we don't have a specialised area for viewing how much was topped up.
However, you can use the payout section (School > Payments > Reconciliation > Stripe Payouts) and search for a top-up in that table.
Top-ups made to enable refunds will have an empty description, something like this.