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University of Reading

MCR Systems developed and implemented a single, unified cashless solution that now provides the  students with a single purse balance for on-campus catering and photocopying/printing resources. 

For nearly a century, the University of Reading has been at the forefront of UK higher education. Over the decades, it has developed innovators and pioneers, pushing academic boundaries and leading social change. In 2016, the institution celebrated the 90th anniversary of its granting of the Royal Charter by King George V.


As a leading higher education establishment, MCR Systems were honoured to be approached by the executive team concerning the need for a holistic cashless campus solution. Using our industry-leading SymPAY application, we delivered a single, unified cashless solution that now provides students with a single purse balance for on-campus catering and photocopying/printing resources. 


So, how did MCR Systems create and implement this solution and what were the outcomes for the University of Reading? 




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Initial Contact: University of Reading Approaches MCR Systems Regarding Cashless Solution

In late 2015, the University of Reading approached MCR Systems to request a solution to provide a single, unified, cashless solution that would integrate with the EMOS currently providing a cashless print and photocopying solution. The requirement would see a single purse used for cashless catering and printing and photocopying resources.


After evaluation of the requirements and consultation with EMOS, the proposed solution required the University to migrate from the incumbent cashless catering solution to the MCR hosted SymPAY solution, using the current EMOS cashless printing payment gateway to add funds to SymPAY hosted purses, as well as having EMOS being able to draw down on SymPAY funds for onsite printing and photocopying.

Development and Implementation: MCR Systems Develops and Implements Bespoke Unified Cashless Solution for the University of Reading using API Technology 

MCR Systems had previously built an API to allow funds to be added and removed from MCR SymPAY hosted purses from 3rd party sources such as EMOS, so that wasn’t too much of an implementation stumbling block. However, while EMOS already had the payment gateway and a facility to provide print and photocopying purses, this was separate from the catering purses. Thus, there needed to be a workaround to create a unified solution.


The answer came in the form of using the API within SymPAY to allow the EMOS payment gateway to add funds to a single purse, which could then be used for both catering payments as well as being requested by EMOS for spend on print and photocopying facilities. Before launch, EMOS were provided with the API documentation and quickly created the service calls to the SymPAY web services. 


Following intensive testing of purse revaluations and fund consumption from the EMOS side, we then ran extensive tests on the EPOS side of the solution. After completing all testing, the migration of funds from the incumbent solution was key to the final implementation. 


This saw the incumbent cashless catering facility halted for three days whilst purse balances were all reconciled against current accounts on the incumbent system by the University of Reading due to having card-hosted and online balances. The funds were then loaded onto the SymPAY accounts within minutes of confirming balances, and we made the system live.

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Solution Benefits and Outcomes: MCR SymPAY Solution Delivers Long-Lasting Benefits to the University of Reading

With the ingenuity and experience of the MCR team, the University of Reading was able to enjoy a single, unified cashless solution that uses a single purse balance for both catering spending as well as campus print and photocopying facilities, resulting in a much easier system for the students and staff to use.


Today, there is a single cashless purse balance that students and faculty staff can use on all cashless features on campus. 


Since its implementation in 2016, the solution has gone from strength to strength, with additional features such as Offline Purse Availability now included. Lastly, the SymPAY solution has now been rolled out as a single cashless solution for the Residential Meal Plan facilities; such was the effectiveness after the initial implementation. 


Nathan Harvey of the University of Reading has remarked:


I am pleased that we chose to work with MCR and EMOS on implementing the cashless solution for our Students. The solution of having a singular purse for cashless top-ups has made life easier for our students and staff as now they don’t have to track multiple balances. Our Finance department were also pleased as it made reconciliation easier only having to balance against one purse. Ultimately the biggest bonus for the University was this work was the catalysts for us to go fully Cashless on our Campus for University owned outlets.

Contact MCR Systems Today Regarding Your Cashless Solution Requirements 

At MCR Systems, we create bespoke and unique, unified cashless systems for higher educational establishments across the UK and beyond. Our track record of implementing innovative payment solutions spans decades, and we continue to facilitate millions of transactions for universities each year via our innovative SymPAY and other supporting payment software solutions. 

To learn more about how we can deliver meaningful and beneficial outcomes to your higher education establishment through cutting-edge payment technology solutions, call us on 0116 299 7000 or send us some details via our online contact form to find out how we can help your university today.



Arrange your demo

Call us on 0116 299 7000 or send us some details to book your demo and find out how we can help your university.

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