Begin - Introduction to Payments in Arbor

Begin, Build, Boost

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




  • 00:00 - Key information on fees and our payment provider
  • 02:30 - Information you need to set up payments
  • 05:00 - Setting up card payments
  • 08:00 - Customer Account Types
  • 10:40 - Managing payments on the student profile
  • 16:30 - Clubs
  • 22:00 - Trips
  • 27:30 - Payments on the Parent Portal
  • 34:30 - Reporting on payments
  • 37:00 - Reminders to top up
  • 38:00 - Reporting on all payments


What features are included in my package?

We have loads of different features that you can use to manage payments as part of your MIS. Take a look at the table to see the main features that are included in each basic package.

Top Tip: You may have heard of Payments Plus. This is the name for these products packaged together:

  • School Shop
  • Rotating Meal Menus and Parent Portal/App Meal Choices
  • Pay via Apple Pay or Google Pay

To find out how to upgrade your package, get in touch with your Account Manager.





Other requirements

Organise Clubs and Trips


Parents can sign up for and pay for clubs and trips


Parent Portal and App must me switched on.

Organise Meals


Our newest Comms package only


Student and Staff Payments for Meals


Our newest Comms package only


Cashless catering


Our newest Comms package only

Integration must be set up

Log payments via cash, cheque or bank transfer


Our newest Comms package only


Process refunds and log invoices


Our newest Comms package only


Parents can make card payments for meals and other top up accounts and you can log payments and refunds


Our newest Comms package only

You must have set up Card Payments in your site

Rotating Meal Menus and Parent Portal/App Meal Choices



Our newest Perform package only

You must have set up Rotating meal Menus in your site, Parent Portal and App must me switched on.

School Shop



Our newest Perform package only

You must have set up Card Payments in your site

Pay via Apple Pay or Google Pay


Our newest Perform package only

You must have set up Card Payments in your site



How do payments work in Arbor?

Set up, make and manage payments, reports and invoices within the Arbor MIS, saving time otherwise used on maintaining and using more than one system.

First, choose whether to:

  • Set up card payments - This enables parents to pay through the Parent App and Parent Portal. You can also manage payments manually using cash, cheque or bank transfer.
  • Not use card payments - Using this method, you can only manually log payments made using cash, cheque or bank transfer.

Please note that Arbor’s card payments functionality is available only for schools:

  • located in the UK, excluding the Isle of Man
  • that have a bank account that accepts BACS or direct debit payments
  • that are on any of our Perform packages or our newest Comms package. All other Arbor packages won’t have this feature by default. Want to upgrade or find out what package you’re on? Just get in contact with your Account Manager.

Not using Card Payments

Because Arbor's card payments functionality is the cheapest and easiest option, we do recommend schools explore this as an option.

If you're sure you do not want to use Arbor to manage card payments, nothing will change in your setup.

You can jump to the next step in your journey: Build - Setting up the Payments area to enable paid School Shop, Clubs, Trips and Meals. Just skip the section on setting up card payments and jump right in to the Setting up Clubs, Trips and Meals section.

Using Card Payments

Having card payments set up enables you to pay out to multiple bank accounts and see a detailed breakdown of each payout, all with a reduced transaction fee of 1.275% + VAT (cheaper than most providers).

Once you set up payments, you can then set up your:

  • Trips - One off events where the students are of-site
  • Standard Clubs - Recurring activities for students
  • Wraparound Care - Breakfast or After School Clubs that can include a meal
  • Meals - Guardians top up the meals account, which can be automatically invoiced with the cost of the student's meal each day
  • School Shop - Uniform or Tuck Shop items

We'll show you how to set up card payments, then how to set up what card payments will be used for in the next step: Build - Setting up the Payments area to enable paid School Shop, Clubs, Trips and Meals


How are payments made?

By school staff

Within your MIS, you can log cash or cheque payments for Clubs, Trips and Meals. You can also log payments for Customer Accounts of individual students or staff members by going to the Payments section on their profile.

You can also take card payments for Meals and other Customer Accounts (that have card payments enabled) wherever you can see a Pay by card/Top up by card button. It is not possible to make card payments for Clubs and Trips through the MIS as an admin - you would need to Log in as a guardian.

By parents and guardians

When you have Card Payments set up, parents and guardians can also pay within the Parent Portal and Parent App. Click the links below to see some examples of how this looks to guardians once set up.

You can add additional options for payments by setting up additional Customer Account Types. This is a prepayment account, meaning school staff or parents and guardians can top-up a balance on this account for students and/or staff - similar to Meals.


Are payments in Arbor safe?

Arbor is compliant with requirements for authenticating online payments called Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), introduced to improve security. When you make an online payment, SCA requires you to verify that you are who you say you are. In Arbor, this means users or parents will need to complete an extra step to verify the transaction when making a payment through the Arbor MIS, Parent Portal or Parent App.

When you make a payment and input card details (Arbor only accepts payments by Visa and MasterCard cards), you then may need to perform Card Payment Authentication.



Our payment provider

We use Stripe for performing card payments, but from within Arbor. Setting up card payments in Arbor creates a Stripe Connected Account for your school.

Stripe takes privacy and security very seriously. Read Stripe’s Privacy Policy on their website for an explanation of how and for what purposes they collect, use, retain, disclose, and safeguard any personal data provided by Arbor.

Stripe’s safety features include:

  • PCI Service Provider Level 1 - the highest grade of payment processing security.
  • All transactions made via Stripe are SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protected. All information is securely transmitted during processing of payments.
  • All credit card numbers are encrypted which ensures security.


Payouts and refunds

Top Tip: Payouts only happen if you have set up and are taking Card Payments - otherwise cash handling would be done outside of Arbor.

Payments made into Arbor are not immediately paid into the back account.

Arbor pays out funds received from card payments to bank accounts on a weekly basis on Mondays (Sunday on the previous week to Saturday inclusive). For example, if these four payments were received:

  • Sunday 1st March - paid out to bank accounts on Monday 9th March
  • Wednesday 4th of March - paid out to bank accounts on Monday 9th March
  • Saturday 7th March - paid out to bank accounts on Monday 9th March
  • Sunday 8th March - not paid out until the following Monday

In rare cases, money received from some card transactions might not be available for the scheduled payout. If this happens, these card transactions will be rescheduled for paying out the following Monday. We also cannot guarantee money arrival to the bank accounts on the same day. This can take up to three business days. This is because the system relies on Stripe to process card payments.

Every refund impacts the sum which will be paid out to the bank accounts in the next scheduled payout. The payout amount is calculated as the sum of all received card transactions minus the sum of all refunds issued during the payout coverage interval.


How do we get started?

To get set up with payments, click the button below to jump to the next step in your journey.

Build - Setting up the Payments

Do you offer training?

Our Customer Education specialists can offer in-depth support on how to use the areas covered in Begin Build Boost, and beyond for other areas of Arbor. Depending on the area, there are Foundation sessions, more in-depth consultations or a bespoke session.

To discuss what would best suit your school's needs, please contact your Account Manager.

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