This article will show you how to set up our two-way integration between Arbor and Civica (a cashless catering system for student and staff meal payments). The integration enables you to ensure payment information for meals is up-to-date in both systems with no need for double entry, and you can top up and reconcile accounts in both Arbor and Civica.
For parents, the Parent Portal and Arbor app can become their single point of access for making top ups and checking balances, without needing to jump into a different system.
- Save time - no need to update and log in and out of multiple systems.
- Easy reconciliation - balances are automatically copied between systems in almost real time.
- Automate account balance updates - when a child pays for their meal, the price is automatically deducted from their account balance in Arbor.
Setting up the integration
You'll first to contact Civica to let them know you'd like them to integrate with your Arbor site, so they can send the request.
Tell them which Customer Account Type you will be using for the synchronisation - we recommend your Meals account. Only payments for this Customer Account Type will be synced.
They may ask for your Arbor URL - this can be found by going to your Arbor homepage and copying the web address shown in the address bar at the top of your browser - the text should look like this: https://schoolname.uk.arbor.sc/?/home-ui/index.
When Civica are setting up the integration, you will need to ensure that there are no payments being made. We recommend temporarily disabling access to top up the Meal accounts by going to School > Payments > Setup > Customer Account Types. Click into the Meal account, click Edit then untick Show in parent portal.
Depending on whether starting balances in Arbor and Civica are zero, you may need to send Civica additional data.
- If both Arbor and Civica balances are zero, no action is needed.
- If both Arbor and Civica have different balances, you will need to manually adjust these using credit notes or invoices in Arbor, or manually adjust in Civica so that they match.
- If only Arbor balances are zero, once the integration is set up Civica will send an initial transaction to increase or decrease the account starting balance in Arbor.
- If only Civica balances are zero, you'll need to send Civica a CSV export of your starting staff and student account balances which Civica will import for you. This will increase or decrease the account starting balance in Civica.
Click the links at the bottom of this article to download the report templates. Do not open the template. You can then import it into your site by following these instructions, the click the Download button to download it as a CSV and send it to Civica.
Go to System > Partner Apps (API Users) and approve any Pending Requests for Wonde and Civica Cashless, following the usual steps outlined here.
Once API access has been approved, go to School > Data > Integrations Administration and click the Set up cashless catering integration button.
In the slide over, select Civica cashless catering as the provider and click Proceed with setup.
On the next page, you must confirm that student and staff data is already synchronised between Arbor and Civica. Civica needs to already have student and staff data from the Integration through Wonde to be able to match the payment data with the student and staff accounts.
If you haven't set up the Civica integration through Wonde, you can see how to do this following the usual steps outlined here.
You also need to select the Customer Account Type that you wish to use for the synchronisation - we recommend your Meals account. Only payments for this Customer Account Type will be synced.
- If you select Yes but don't have student and staff data in your Civica system via Wonde, there will be no students or staff records showing in Civica - please contact Civica to set this up for you.
- If you select No, you'll receive this error message and you'll need to set this up before you proceed.
Once you have completed the process correctly, it will appear as Enabled on the Integrations Administration page.
Once you've approved the API connection, Civica will remote into your school’s Civica Cashless Catering system remotely and enable the integration with Arbor.
Once Civica confirm with you that they have completed the installation, you can reenable the account to show for parents by going to School > Payments > Setup > Customer Account Types. Click into the Meal account, click Edit and tick Show in parent portal.
Using the integration in Arbor
Initial balance update
Depending on whether starting balances in Arbor and Civica are zero, Civica will have either:
- sent initial transactions to increase or decrease the account starting balance in Arbor.
- imported student and staff balances (which you should have provided in Step 3 of the setup above).
All payments for the specified Customer Account Type will then be synchronised moving forwards.
How payments will show in Arbor
All incoming transactions will have the Payment Method and Narrative set to Cashless Catering System so you can easily identify where the transactions have come from.
Any payment invoices that have been generated by Civica will appear on the Payments > Account Overview page on Student and Staff profiles.
Clicking on a purchase will show you a list of the items purchased.
You can also see more examples for each type of transaction below.
When a sale is made via the Cashless Catering System, an invoice will be generated in Arbor covering the amount that the student or staff member has been charged for their purchase.
In the Civica Cashless Catering system, each item is usually recorded as a separate sale and will therefore appear as a separate invoice in Arbor.
Account top-ups made via the Cashless Catering system (e.g. via on-site top-up machines) appear alongside account top-ups made in Arbor.
If a purchase is refunded in the Civica Cashless Catering System, it will appear in Arbor as a Credit Note, with the amount added back onto the account balance.
Manual positive adjustments made in Civica will also appear as a Credit Note in Arbor, alongside any credit notes created in Arbor.
If a top-up within Civica is refunded, it will appear in Arbor as a Refund, alongside any refunds made in Arbor.
How payments will show on the Parent Portal
When logging into the Parent Portal, guardians will see their Cashless Catering account balance on the main dashboard. Clicking on this account will take them to the Payments summary screen for their account, which will look the same as you don't use our integration: Payment accounts and topping up the meal account on the Parent Portal or Arbor App
The Invoices page will show all invoices generated for the account, with the total invoice amount and items purchased.
The Top-Ups page includes card payments made by parents through the Parent Portal and Arbor App, by the school through Arbor, and via the Cashless Catering System (for example via on-site top-up machines).
The Credit Notes page will show any credit adjustments made to the account, either via Arbor or via the Cashless Catering System.
- If a credit note has been linked to a previous invoice item, the item is listed.
- For general credit notes, the Items field is blank.
No, Civica Cashless Catering can only be integrated with one payment system at a time, so you cannot do a phased roll out. If previously integrated with another payment system (e.g. ParentPay), this must be disabled before integration with Arbor can be enabled.
Only one Customer Account Type (typically the Meals account) can be configured to synchronise with Civica Cashless Catering.
No, once integration has been enabled you are unable to change the Customer Account Type. This is to ensure that all transactions are kept in sync and there is no loss of information.
The synchronisation frequency is controlled by Civica, who have set it to start at 7am and end at midnight each day. At 7am the sync will send transactions to Civica, then at 7:15 it will send transactions to Arbor, then at 7:30 it will send transactions to Civica, etc. This means transactions usually show in the other system within a maximum of 30 minutes.