Educational institutions for over 16 year olds

Our students need a payments card which they can use to pay at the refectory, for photocopying etc. and which they and their parents can top up, they can see their balance easily. At the moment the college has acquiring devices for a proprietary card which does not have a mobile app. Do you think that Monzo could be the answer. I like the idea that it would also help with financial education.

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Monzo is a bank account, rather than a spending card. If they are over 18 and have a UK address, they can apply for one.


There’s this…

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You don’t need Monzo or any kind of prepaid MasterCard; you need a closed system with a stored-value card (protected by good crypto obviously). Using a Monzo (or any other debit card) would be a huge waste as the acquiring terminals are expensive, come with transaction fees, and the cards have unnecessary complexity, fees and liabilities.

Your “proprietary” card system seems good, any reason you can’t hire developers to extend it?

Thank you for the feedback. I just thought that since asking for additional functionality and being tied in to a proprietary system is always so expensive, there might be something with a better fit. I’ll look at Henry. After all many of them already have bank accounts.

Maybe something like this too? Your systems provider may do something like this…

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The problem with Henry is that it’s still a MasterCard so you’ll need proper card terminals & merchant accounts with acquirer banks at every place that needs to accept the cards, plus transaction fees.

That is true but nothing is for nothing and I don’t think that we would need more than 3 acquiring devices, maybe 2. I’ll have to run the numbers to compare with what we are paying now. I thought that you could get an account once you were over 16.

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With Monzo? Not currently but I think @simonb has said before it’s very much something they’d like to do in the future!

A closed system can be as cheap as you like… get some decent RFID cards for a few pennies each, program them with account codes, and get a couple of readers off ebay and a couple of raspberry pis and you have a working system for next to nothing . Bit shoestring… but it’s a functional system.

Adding better security, printing on the cards, maybe hire a programmer* for a week to code up a nicer looking system, those drive the cost up. But it’s still peanuts compared to proper mastercard terminals + the overheads of PCI compliance.

  • Or a smart student that isn’t smart enough to realize how much their skills are worth yet…
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program them with account codes

Just make sure you use proper crypto to make it hard/impossible to abuse - most contactless cards (Mifare, etc) have built-in support for keys and permissions. I know I would’ve had a lot of fun if such a system was in use at my high school back then; never underestimate what bored kids are capable of. :smiling_imp:

But yeah, a closed system is very easy to implement by any developer worth their salt.