The New Child Care Package will be rolled out across Australia on 2 July 2018, introducing the Child Care Subsidy and the Child Care IT system. It’s expected to give a major boost to the early childhood education and care sector – providing support to more families, and making the rebate system simpler and more efficient for everyone.

The majority of third-party child care management systems (CCMS) have now completed their transition to the new package. Child care centres have a wide choice of systems to use, however you’re still facing the same management decision as before – do you want to automate your payment collection, or can your staff continue to handle this manually? And if you’ve already automated your payments, has this enhanced or weakened your customer relationships and the centre’s reputation? Is it time to re-consider your options?

From 2 July, subsidies will be paid by the government directly to child care centres, and they will then pass this on to families. This is a major change in the process, and the need for automated payment services has never been greater. The pressure will be on child care centres to process payments quickly and efficiently.

Manual payment collection is a time-consuming and expensive process. Centre staff can spend a lot of time and money collecting and administering payments from families. And then there’s further time spent chasing late payers. Those awkward conversations about late payments could be impacting your relationships with families who are actually happy and loyal customers, they’re just struggling to juggle all the demands of modern life.

Ironically, it’s the manual payments that often cause a family to be late. Parents and carers are busier and more distracted than ever, so if payment options aren’t quick, easy and convenient the bill will often get pushed down the to-do list.

IntegraPay partners with CCMS providers, integrating our secure payment technology into their systems. We enable child care centres to automate their payment collection and administration, accepting all the major payment methods – credit card, debit card, and direct debit.

Child care centres are increasingly turning to automated payment systems to increase efficiency and reduce their administration costs. Today, fewer families are paying in-person with cash, cheques or EFTPOS – instead they’re increasingly paying online. Advances in online payment security, and an increase in mobile and home devices means that most families are very comfortable paying their bills online. Many families are even making their choice of centre based on the ease and convenience of payments.

Automating payments doesn’t mean you’ll lose the human touch. A good payment solution is one that enhances your customer relationships. When considering the various payment services available, a centre must think carefully about both its customer relationships and reputation.

Some payment providers offer a debt collectors service – this is a very sensitive issue, what works in other sectors isn’t always appropriate in the child care sector. Relationships and reputation can be ruined by an over-zealous debt chaser.
IntegraPay avoids going down this route, instead offering technology and processes that reduces the number of payment rejections. And any payments that are rejected can be followed up by an automatic email or SMS reminder.

Using technology comes with another benefit – detail of a late payment is automatically updated in a centre’s CCMS, which gives centre staff all the information they need to discuss options with the family themselves. Technology is putting the centre in control of the customer relationship, with positive outcomes for everyone.

Reduced rejections, email and SMS reminders, and keeping customer service in-house helps to maintain and build a centre’s relationships and reputation.

Direct debit is the obvious solution for a child care centre that needs to take recurring payments. Centres get paid on time, it improves cash flow, reduces payment errors and increases efficiency. And families enjoy the ease, convenience and peace of mind. Automated payments are efficient, save everyone time, and let us all focus on what really matters — the education and care of the children, rather than arguments about late payments.

All of this is possible with a reliable payment processor such as IntegraPay.

The arrival of the New Child Care Package will streamline the rebate system, making it simpler and more accessible for everyone. With families increasingly connected and automating many aspects of their lives, now is the time to consider whether or not your payment system is ready for them.