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Cashless Campus – Benefits of Switching to Contactless Payments

Universities are going cashless! In fact, a whopping 96% of payments are now made by card, according to our latest EPOS data (between September 2020 - July 2021). With universities processing £11m in debit or credit card payments, compared to just £400k in cash payments!

Contactless payments have been increasing in popularity ever since being first introduced in 2007. However, the pandemic has really accelerated the shift towards becoming a cashless society, as contactless is recognised as a convenient and Covid-19 safe payment option.

To better understand this shift amongst universities and their students, we take a look at the key benefits of going cashless and providing a contactless environment.

Benefits for Students

Fast service

Contactless is an efficient, fast payment method, which fits in well with student’s busy schedules, making it easier to grab a quick bite between lectures, seminars and studying.

Improved customer experience

Without the need to process and handle cash, transactions are completed at a faster rate, resulting in reduced wait times at checkouts and a better customer experience.


Going contactless means there are no payment issues if you don’t remember your PIN or have the right change. A quick tap of your card is all that is required. The contactless payment limit increased to £100 in October 2021, making it even more convenient for customers.

Covid-19 safe

Contactless payments have helped to reduce the risk of cross contamination and spread of Covid-19, as no cash is handled, students can pay without touching hard surfaces or PIN pads.

Benefits for Universities

Increased number of transactions

Contactless increases the speed of transactions, as staff don’t need to count change, or deal with any discrepancies, so more sales can go through the till in less time.

Increased spending

A recent poll by YouGov found 24% of 18-24 year olds think their spending has gone up as a result of owning a contactless card, as spending is made so easy. This increase in spending will result in additional revenue for sales outlets across campus.

Covid-19 safe

Not only is contactless a Covid secure payment method, but it makes it easier to implement other Covid measures and protect both staff and students. Having a fast effective payment solution, reduces queues and improves the flow of traffic, making it easier to implement social distancing measures and ensure there are no overcrowded areas.

Meet student’s expectations

Contactless payment is the preferred payment option for most students, in fact Worldpay has found that 1 in 4 consumers avoid cash only businesses. Universities risk alienating students and losing trade if they don’t have a reliable contactless payment system in place.

Saves employees’ time

Going cashless saves staff time, as they don’t need to count cash income, make regular trips to the bank to deposit cash, or stock up on petty cash. This is ideal, as banking cash is becoming increasingly difficult, with more banks closing branches and cash points, so staff have to travel further to do it. Deposit charges have also been increased to compensate for the expense of running cash machines and deposit drop offs.

Avoids loss of earnings

Despite best efforts, it’s not always possible to have the till fully stocked with the exact change you require when a customer pays in cash. This can either result in making up any short falls and overpaying a customer in change, or closing the till temporarily to get more change, leaving it understaffed until you return. This will impact your daily earnings and security.

Reduced risk

Reports have shown that thefts and robberies have decreased since the rise of digital payments. By removing cash from the premises, universities will remove the incentive for theft, greatly reducing the threat to staff and the risk of losing money to break-ins.

Contactless also limits loss of money through human error, miscounting change during busy periods, or in some cases trickery, where customers claim to have given you more cash than they did.

Protects against counterfeits

Despite the new polymer notes being harder to forge, there are still counterfeit notes in circulation. Mistakenly accepting counterfeit money results in a loss of takings. Contactless payments helps to avoid this and will also immediately register if there are any issues with the card payment, preventing the transaction from taking place until a suitable alternative payment card is used.

How Universities Can Make Going Cashless Easier

Younger generations, in particular, have come to expect fast, convenient payment options, so we’ve put together some ways you can make sure your university delivers:

  • Use mobile POS in addition to stationary terminals, to allow your employees to take payment from anywhere and increase the level of service to your customers.

  • Increase the number of handheld devices available to keep up with demand.

  • Launch a cashless app for students.

  • Provide more self-service checkouts to increase speed of transactions and reduce waiting time.

  • Ensure the software fully supports your needs.

For help or advice on going cashless, or to book a free demo of our payment solutions, contact us on 0116 299 7000 or email


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