What is Cash Discount?

Right after our mobile app services, our cash discount program is one of our favorite topics. But what, exactly, is a cash discount? The short answer is that it’s a better way to accept credit card payments—but let’s take a deeper look at what, exactly, sets a cash discount program apart.

Two Camps

If your business or organization is like most, you fall into one of two camps: Camp Arm-and-a-Leg, or Camp Already Burnt.

Joe is in Camp Arm-and-a-Leg. His pizza parlor accepts credit card payments, and it’s costing, well, an arm and a leg. He’s paying monthly and transaction fees, equipment leasing, and early termination fees. The customers like the arrangement, but Joe wonders when he’ll have to raise their prices just to make a decent profit again. Credit cards are costing him over $1,500/month—that’s $18,000/year.

Camp Already Burnt is the home of Jill. Her non-profit used to accept credit card payments, but she got a surprise fee of $30/month for a terminal worth $200 brand new. (Sound familiar to anyone?) When she tried to cancel services, she was charged a $1,300 termination fee that she’s still paying off. No credit card payments here, thank you very much!

The good news is that there’s a new camp in town: Camp Cash Discount.

At Swoop, we’ve partnered with SignaPay® to offer the Paylo Cash Discount Program. It’s based on a simple concept: let your customers know what your fees are, while cutting up to 90% of your costs.

The Paylo Cash Discount program works as follows:

A small service fee is added to all transactions. When a client pays using Visa, MasterCard or Discover, they pay the service fee as well. The business owner incurs no transaction fee. When a client pays via check or cash, the fee is removed—hence, the “cash discount.” The business is charged a flat monthly rate of between $50 and $100.

Per year, that’s a total cost of about $1,200.

How does that compare to your current rate?

The only time the business sees another fee is if a customer pays with American Express. For every $1,000 in Amex revenue, the fee is about $1.50. If you want, you can also lease equipment from us, but we don’t recommend it, since we can usually provide a new terminal, or an online payment option, at no cost. More expensive options, like a Clover, are also available, but we suggest buying them outright—if you lease, you’ll pay for them three times over, and they’re usually $500 or less.

Incredible Savings

Let’s pretend Joe tries our cash discount program for his pizza parlor. He pays a flat monthly fee of $89.99, and a one-time payment of $200 for a new terminal. Most of his customers keep using their cards, and one person pays with American Express. Joe’s first monthly statement looks like this:

Joe's Pizza Parlor Cash Discount Statement.GIF

Joe’s estimated costs are now just under $1,300/year. Compare that to the $18,000/year he was spending before, and you’ll understand why Joe’s doing the happy dance behind the counter.*

Who’s Using Cash Discount?

The Paylo program is perfect for businesses with an average transaction between $5 and $50, like clothing boutiques or corner marts. It’s also great for businesses with a loyal customer base, such as salons, local restaurants, or that hobby store that’s been in the family for generations. Non-profits, such as schools, can also benefit by using a cash discount program, since it keeps costs low while still allowing easy payment and donation options.

So, let’s just look at the Paylo Cash Discount program in summary:

  • Your customers pay a minimal service fee, but only if they choose to use a credit card.

  • The monthly fee is a set rate for your business—no surprises.

  • You receive a basic terminal or online payment option for free.

  • Your only other cost is a negligible fee on American Express cards.

  • Total yearly costs: usually around $1,200.

Total savings: you tell us, but they’re usually fantastic!

The cash discount program can sound confusing at first, but when implemented, it’s surprisingly simple. It’s available for in-store, online and in-app transactions. If you think the Paylo Cash Discount program could work for your organization, please, reach out—we look forward to helping you. In future articles, we’ll cover topics like customer reactions, how to implement cash discounts, and why it’s legal in all 50 states.

*Joe’s Pizza Parlor is a fictional example. Any resemblance to one or many real pizza parlors is purely coincidental—but if there is a real Joe’s Pizza Parlor, we’re sure they make a great pizza, and that they should be using a cash discount program.

Getting Results With Push Notifications

One of our favorite mobile app features is the use of Push Notifications. If you use a smartphone, iPad or tablet, then you’ve seen them: the little messages from your apps, notifying you of events, updates, or reminders. They’re great for communicating with large groups quickly—but getting the best results out of their use can take practice. Let’s discuss some ways to get the most out of this feature.

Event Reminders

Perhaps the most obvious use for push notifications is for event reminders. Not only is this an easy way to notify people quickly, they’re more likely to be read than a tweet, email or even a text message. Schools can quickly remind students of upcoming games (or of finals week!). Small businesses, you can remind customers of events you’ll be attending, or of your organization’s anniversary! One of our Pennsylvania clients, a pizza shop, reminded their customers to order before a big football game that night. Go, Eagles!

Schedules

What’s better than push notifications? Scheduled push notifications. Schedule your school app to remind students to complete their summer reading, sign up for classes, or buy their cap and gown. Does your business have BOGO 50% off on Tuesdays? Why not schedule a notification for each week this year? Again, you’ll reach more people more quickly with scheduled push notifications, so take a look at your calendar and start planning!

Fundraising

Whether you’re sponsoring a non-profit or are a non-profit, fundraising is hard. Push notifications, however, can make reaching people easy. Send a message when your fundraiser starts, and update app users on how close you are to your goal. Congratulate them when fundraising goals are reached. If you have a Donations tab in your app, you can even have the notification point users directly to it. Sounds easier than selling candy bars door to door, doesn’t it?

Promotions and Sales

This may be obvious, but we’ll state it anyway: if you’re mailing coupon flyers or sending emails with discount codes, try using your app. Push notifications can point directly to in-app promotions, and they’re harder to miss than yet another email. (They also cost a lot less than printed materials.) If your school store is trying to get rid of last year’s spirit wear, try notifying parents and students that it’s now 20% off. Do customers wearing green get a free ice cream cone on St. Patrick’s Day? Send them a notification so they don’t forget.

Holiday Hours

Every organization has that one person who can’t remember what holidays you’re closed. Schedule reminders before each holiday, and now they can’t miss it. Closing early on Christmas Eve? Notify your clients so they’re not caught unawares. This is especially helpful if you have any unusual holiday hours—President’s Day, for example.

Custom Groups

Notify your teachers that their meeting’s been moved to four-thirty. Remind parents of the PTA meeting this weekend. Let your “gold” customers know of deals just for them. Custom groups make it easy to notify select people of what they need to know. A college, for example, could remind graduating students to check with Career Services if they haven’t found work yet. The possibilities here are amazing!

Emergency Preparedness

Increasingly for schools, being prepared for emergencies, whether natural or man-made, is crucial. Push notifications make it easy to notify parents of school closings; warn students and teachers if there’s a problem; and remind everyone of what to do in an emergency. Combined with other features like Report Bullying, a mobile app can help your students and parent feel safer in and out of school. Of course, emergencies don’t just happen at schools—any organization can use push notifications to keep their customers, and employees, safe.

 

Push notifications are limited only by your imagination. You can see why we like them so much! If you have questions about their use, or any of our app features, reach out. Think we missed a major category? Let us know, and we’ll update our list!

5 Questions to Ask Before You Use Our App Services

Nearly all your teachers, students and parents are using mobile devices. Apps like Kindle, YouTube, BlackBoard and WhatsApp are improving their lives outside of school. Why, then, aren’t you using your own custom app to improve their lives in school?

It’s a great question, and one that we have an answer for—but before you jump on the mobile app bandwagon, it’s important to know just why a mobile app is so important. The following five questions can help you decide if an app is right for your organization, define important features, and understand just how powerful a tool an app can be.

 Who is the app for?

“It’s for our school, duh!” Yes, but who will the app serve? If you represent a daycare, kindergarten or middle school, your biggest user base will probably be parents, followed by teachers. An app for a high school, on the other hand, is going to be used by everyone—students, teachers, parents, bus drivers, even the school board. Colleges and vocational schools may use it to keep in touch with current students and alumni. Understanding your user base will help us customize the app to meet your needs.

 What processes will it improve?

What are your school’s “pain points?” Parent/teacher communication? Notifying students of grades? Ensuring the safety of your students? Your app can solve many problems, including the following:

               Reducing miscommunication between parents, teachers and staff

               Improving emergency awareness before, during and after emergencies

               Reminding users of upcoming events or due dates

               Digitizing registration forms, permission slips and other documents

               Streamlining absence requests and reporting

               Discouraging bullying, harassment and threats with easy in-app reporting

As we discuss your app, tell us about the problems that keep you up at night—chances are, one of our app features can help.            

 Do I want to sell anything through an app?

Your app can include multiple payment features. Tuition payments can be made in-app. Parents and alumni can easily donate at preset or custom amounts. Fundraisers can sell items through the app, and sports teams can sell or lease school merchandise or sports gear (go, sports team!). We use low-cost payment processing solutions, so you can accept payments through all 4 major credit cards.

 Am I willing to talk about my app?

This is an important, but easily solved, question. Your app will serve best when all users—parents, teachers and students—are aware of its use. Notify them via email, put up posters, or simply ask, “have you seen our new school app?” Staff training is included in our services at no extra cost, and we’re happy to help get the word out.

 What Content do I want?

Many existing online services can be linked through a mobile app (social media pages, for example), and by combining these with other app features, much of your school’s content and processes can be digitally improved. Live video feeds can be integrated into the app for quick access. School news can be posted, either as a shareable link or PDF. Important documents can be shared with all users. Colors, images and logos can all be customized to your school. School calendars can be viewed in-app for everything from band practice to alumni events. We’re excited to show just how much your app could do, so please don’t hesitate to ask.

A Mobile App can Change Your School

 If you’re not asking these five questions yet, you will be soon. We live in a time when mobile apps are becoming more and more important, perhaps, vital, for educational institutions. Thankfully, they’re also becoming easier to implement, more affordable, and more feature-rich than ever. They allow schools to reach their students and parents on technology they already own, without investing in hardware that will be obsolete (or broken) in a year. They can help ensure students feel safe at school, reduce the strain on teachers and staff, and ensure parents are quickly notified of their child’s well-being. What’s not to love?

3 advantages of school in-app payment options

If your school is like most, you’re always selling something. A few possibilities include registration dues, trip fees, yearbook sales, tuition payments at private schools, branded school gear (go, sports team!), sports equipment sales or rentals, and of course fundraisers! One of the challenges of any school is making it easy for people to pay, buy or donate.

What if you could accept payments through a mobile school app? Let’s discuss three advantages to in-app payments, and why more and more schools are using this solution.

Robust Mobile Store

Our school app services include school stores, that can sell everything from sports gear to cafeteria lunches. (Really, you can sell anything in-app!) If you’re short on space, using a mobile store could even remove the need for a physical store: all purchases could be made in-app. Rent out equipment, collect tuition payments, it’s up to you.

Painless Notifications

Notifying students or parents of upcoming costs is a breeze with a school app: just send a friendly push notification. Use scheduled notifications to remind parents to buy tickets for the school play. Message students when your school hoodies are 20% off. If you’re fundraising, why not let people know when you’re close to meeting your goal?

Increased Security

If you’re currently accepting credit card payments via telephone calls (or worse, paper forms), it’s time to upgrade. By using in-app payments, both you and your app users are using an encrypted connection to share sensitive data. Our services include PCI compliance, so you’ll be using the same protection organizations like Blackboard, Amazon and McDonald’s use.

Reaching People Where They Are For good or ill, mobile devices are here to stay. Over 90% of your students or parents own smartphones, and check them frequently (heck, there’s a good chance you’re reading this article on your smartphone). By accepting mobile payments, you reach your users where they already are. What's not to love?