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To Think ParentPay is Crap?

36 replies

absoluteidiot · 29/01/2014 10:40

My kids' secondary school went over to Parentpay, this year.

I'm not an old fart. I do everything online - have for years. I had Paypal before anyone I know, etc etc.

Am I right in thinking Parentpay is shite? It's clunky, badly laid out, and barely thought out at all. You have to pay in a minimum of £10. I have 2 kids at school (but it was 5 at one point). So that is a minimum of £20 per week. Payday is Tuesdays. If the kids have run out, we can't just put a couple of quid on, on a Monday. It's like they assume everyone is middle class and has a big float of money kicking around - you can't just pay for one day's.

I can see the advantages of it for the school - less admin, etc.

But the interface is like summat from 1862, and the assumption is you are loaded. There is no flexibility in it. Being poor we get a discount on school trips. That is arranged over the phone, but then the 'shopping cart' still will only accept the full amount of the trip so you have to get round it by making lengthy phone calls ahead of time, and paying for something else entirely.

Also, I swear a few times the figures haven't added up at all - it claims my kids are spending more than they are.

And whilst I'm at it - if one of my sons runs out of money but his brother still has some, the dinner ladies now won't let son A buy lunch for Son B. When this happened recently, Son A had to sneak extra food out of the dinner hall and all he could get under the eagle eye of the dinner ladies was a sausage roll, which he had to fake eating as they quizzed him who it was for.

Anyone else think Parentpay is awful? Or is it just me?

I think the concept is fine. But find another company please, schools, who can design a website so it doesn't look and act like it is from the ark.

OP posts:
Dontletthemgetyoudown · 29/01/2014 10:45

I find parentpay ok for school trips but hate it for school lunches, luckily ds2 can still pay by cash for lunch. After ds1 lost £120 cash for a trip, being able to pay ds2's by debit card online is preferable.

They do make it difficult and make you feel like a bit of a beggar for asking to pay in smaller and more frequent instalments for trips etc. I work full time and have an xh that pays above and beyond what he 'has' to but still doesn't mean that there aren't periods where money is a bit tight, especially at term beginning and ends when so many trips and clubs to be paid for and uniforms and shoes.

Luckily dd's school doesn't use parentpay, we just get invoices termly and I pay by bacs.

lljkk · 29/01/2014 10:45

lol, we have it but I haven't even tried it.

Dontletthemgetyoudown · 29/01/2014 10:46

meant to say- I can understand them not letting friends buy each other lunch as how can hey tell if it is genuine/reciprocated or the person with money on the card being forced to buy the other child lunch? But in the case of siblings, surely it'd be easy enough to do a quick name check and let them go ahead and buy their sibling some food.

offblackeggshell · 29/01/2014 10:47

YANBU, at all.

DaddyPigsMistress · 29/01/2014 10:49

Oue minimum is £2.25 for parentpay at our school.

We are in a poor area and eveyone kicked off so they lowered it.

It seems to lose payments frequently though. I often get snotty emails asking me to pay and not once has it been my fault

morethanyoubargainfor · 29/01/2014 10:50

It sounds like your school hasn't purchased anything by the basic programme. I can put a min of £2 on at a time with ours. My ds had been at two schools with parent pay, the first had purchased the top programme and I liked it, I would be able to see the exact items he had brought. The new school has a lower package and it's not as good, I can't see the items purchased and it's not always clear what I have to pay although can pay a min of £5.00

SpottyDottie · 29/01/2014 10:51

I think the school sets the minimum (but I have to check that) which really pisses me off. My friend can pay £5 I have to pay £20!!

absoluteidiot · 29/01/2014 10:52

It's a very small secondary school in a village so the staff will know the boys are siblings. Every member of staff literally knows every child's name. I used to be a teacher and have worked in larger primary schools!

Another thing is I have to rush to put money on of a Tuesday morning cos my sons have to pre-order lunch in the morning when they get to school. Quite often I will put it on at 8:30, before the school bus has even pulled away, and yet when the kids try to pre-order they are told they have no credit. If it is coomputerised (and not run by messenger pigeons or hamsters powering cogs and wheels or summat) then how come it takes HOURS for the credit to show up? Not an issue for people who can afford to run it with £ in reserve, but I'm not one of those people.

OP posts:
hootloop · 29/01/2014 10:52

I love it, I can put any amount on even if it is just that days dinner money, a million tines better than scrabbling around for coins.
I don't have a problem with the website either, a bit awkward on my phone but dead simple on the laptop, I do wish it saved card details though as I use a different card for school related expenses that I don't keep in my purse.

AngelsWithSilverWings · 29/01/2014 10:53

We have parentmail2 - I'm not sure if it's the same system as your one but it is ridiculously frustrating.

It tells you your log in and password are wrong when you know 100% that it is correct.( because I've written it down) You save your credit card details and then next time you try to pay it refuses your card. Every time I try to pay for something it goes wrong.

When I go I to the school office to pay by cheque I get told to try again on the school computer because they just assume it's me being unable to use technology. So patronising!

I manage my on line shopping, holiday bookings and my DS's wise pay account with no problems at all.

KateSpade · 29/01/2014 10:56

Not exactly the same thing, but Sodexo childcare voucher website is also crap!

Dahlen · 29/01/2014 11:03

I don't like it either.

I find the minimum payment amounts frustrating. It's not that they're unreasonably high, but there is no recognition of the fact that if you have two children then that reasonable amount must be doubled and suddenly doesn't feel so insignificant. And I wish you could switch money between accounts.

My other bugbear is that it is often incredibly slow and/or will tell me that there's been a problem with my payment, please try later. I'll log on later, see I still have a £0 balance so pay up, only to find when I check my bank statement that the amount has been taken twice!

I can absorb all this but I do find it frustrating.

derektheladyhamster · 29/01/2014 11:06

very rarely use it, but our minimum is £2.20, I pay in the morning, and have never had a problem.

Agree that the website is not the most user friendly!

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi · 29/01/2014 11:08

We use parentpay and find it ok

I'm surprised by what you said about the trips discount, I think that might be down to your school rather than parent pay because here you just send a letter in requesting the discount and then when you next log into parentpay the updated info is there and you can just pay what you owe (or part of it) there's no faffing about or phoncecalls needed

SomethingkindaOod · 29/01/2014 11:09

DS's school have just moved from Parentmail to Wisepay because of all the complaints. DD's school have just started ParentPay, I'm not confident that it will take off tbh!

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi · 29/01/2014 11:09

From reading the other replies and going by what I said about the discount for school trips it definitely sounds like the problem is with your school rather than parentpay

LeapingOverTheWall · 29/01/2014 11:16

I struggled with ParentPay2 trying to pay for school dinners for more than one week at a time - I had to select one week and click through to Pay Now, then back to add another week. Took me quite a while ot work out why it wasn't working.
Senior school uses Scopay which is much easier (although we just top up a canteen card, rather than paying a fixed sum for dinners).

Asheth · 29/01/2014 11:48

I've just checked parent pay and it says the minimum amount I can pay is 10p! The day trips are usually full amount, but he has a residential in France and I've never been made to feel like a beggar for paying for that slowly in small amounts. I like parent pay - much better than DS forgetting to hand in cheques!

absoluteidiot · 29/01/2014 11:51

It sounds like I need to ring the school up and ask them to drop their minimum!

Even if they did, the site's interface only lacks the animated GIFs of sparkly unicorns to look like something from 1990.

OP posts:
kvardek · 14/10/2016 14:35

Parentpay. My daughter has just changed schools and was in credit for nearly twenty pounds on her dinner money account. I had trouble starting Parentpay at her new school so one of the people on the help page merged the accounts for me. During this process the twenty pounds was lost. It has been a month now and I e-mail every day to ask where the money has gone and every day the reply is the accounts were merged. I have spoken to several people whose money was 'lost'. I am shocked that a company like this cannot be held accountable. Has anyone ever found a telephone number for them?

KatsutheClockworkOctopus · 14/10/2016 14:41

YANBU. Like you I think I'm fairly IT literate, but cannot get on with it at all. I find it impossible to check what clubs I've booked etc for Reception DS. I am quite red faced now though, as I work in a secondary in Support and always thought the parents who had trouble with it were being silly Blush.

onemouseplace · 14/10/2016 14:44

This could well be the school as much as ParentPay, but between them they have completely failed to refund me for a term's after school club that was paid for, but then there turned out to be a timetabling cock up by the school, my kids couldn't do the alternative day and there were no spaces left in any of the other clubs.

5 weeks later and I've had neither a refund onto my card, or into my ParentPay account.

Aderyn2016 · 14/10/2016 14:44

I think it is shit too. Although tbf, it might be because the school has set the min payment at £5.
DS longer wants school meals but had gone overdrawn on his account by about 20p. Had to put a fiver on the account to clear it. They bombard you with emails if your child overspends but imo shouldn't allow them to go overdrawn without your consent in the first place.

onemouseplace · 14/10/2016 14:47

Oh, actually I've just checked my account and there is now a credit there. But I wanted it refunded to my bloody card (and asked for it to be) - neither of mine have school dinners so it is going to take forever to use it up as most of our school trips end up being on public transport, so cost very little.

MrsPigling · 14/10/2016 14:50

We have to pay cash for meals at 2 schools. I find that really tricky as 3 dc paying cash means lots of £ coins. I don't trust them with notes.....!

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