Case studies

Open banking in the community – Parentkind and BOPP

20 July 2022

Open banking payments platform, BOPP, launched in 2021 with the aim of simplifying digital payments, and cutting transaction fees.

BOPP works with a range of organisations, including SMEs and sole traders (from scaffolders to solicitors), the education sector, charities, and community groups such as Parentkind offering bank-to-bank transfers with near instant settlement via open banking. This helps these organisations to save money on card processing, payment platforms and chargebacks. Customers simply send a payment request (Paylink) via SMS, WhatsApp, email or QR code.

Parentkind is a national charity and membership organisation which supports the largest network of PTAs across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, counting more than 12,500 member PTAs.

These member PTAs raise around £120m in revenue from school fundraising efforts every year and, as they’re not-for-profit organisations, every penny they make counts. Many of Parentkind’s PTAs were concerned about the decline in physical cash, and the high costs of card processing and platform fees associated with fundraising efforts, and wanted to:

  • cut the cost of collecting funds
  • make the collection process simpler for the parents and donors who support them
  • maintain or increase their annual revenue
  • reduce the administration involved in handling physical cash.

They also hoped to extend the opportunities for fundraising in the wider community through the use of QR codes, as well as offer contactless payments during the pandemic.

In a classic case of good timing, BOPP connected with Parentkind and spoke with its Commercial Development Officer, Charli Janeway, to explore how a partnership could help address some of these challenges.

Charli and the Parentkind team immediately saw the benefits that open banking payments could offer its members and signed an initial three-year deal with BOPP to provide payment services, offering an exclusive discounted service to its members.

Secure direct payments plus QR codes

As many of the PTAs are time-poor, BOPP and Parentkind wanted to make sure the sign-up process was straightforward.

The PTA representative (usually the Treasurer) clicks the sign-up button on the Parentkind website, chooses their package, then is taken to a pre-filled form with their organisation’s data. Once they’ve completed this, BOPP sends a confirmation email with an activation code. All they need to do is download the BOPP app on their phone and activate that link.

Quick set-up time

Ian Gass, Chief Executive Officer at Agitate (the company behind BOPP), estimates that it can take as little as 20 minutes to set up an account and receive a payment.

Most PTAs opt for the Value Bundle, a pay-as-you-go service with transaction fees of 0.5%, with a 5p minimum fee and a maximum price cap of 50p per transaction.

As well as cost-effective payments, BOPP allows PTAs to display a QR code on a school notice board or add a secure Paylink to any text or social media post. When it’s scanned or clicked, it enables payment direct from the security of the donor’s bank account direct to the PTA’s account.

Paula Melville, Chair of Parents at Wheatfields School (PAWS), says: “We decided to give BOPP a try and it’s one of the best things we’ve done for our fundraising efforts.

“One of our first events using it was a dress-down day. We used the Paylink in our emails to families and on our social media, and we put printed QR codes at each drop-off point. The event brought in five times what it usually does with many parents saying how easy it was to pay either in advance using the Paylink or at the classroom door using the QR code on their phone.”

Using the QR codes makes it easy to track the success of marketing comms, for example, using different codes on two different posters to see which events and promotions performed best.

Dashboard for payment reconciliations

There’s a handy dashboard which allows the PTA to see all the payments it’s received, which means it’s easy to reconcile events, and see who paid how much and for what event.

BOPP also developed custom features for the PTAs, including a personalised marketing email, customised pay requests and thank you notes, plus a Friends of BOPP referral scheme, which can help PTAs raise additional funds.

The results

Ten months on from its launch, and the results speak for themselves. PTAS have collected several thousand payments, with some having collected several hundred BOPP payments this year alone, while one PTA has collected over £4000 via the platform.

PTAs receive an average of 20 BOPP payments each month, for an average transaction of £7.48.

Kathryn Shepherd, Treasurer of Friends of Stoughton Infants, says: “We love how the money literally just goes straight into our bank account which is really important now our bank has added transaction fees to cash deposits – we need to make sure we don’t lose any funds that should be going straight to our school. Other payment methods such as PayPal incur much higher fees per transaction. We went for the pay monthly fee which means we don’t get charged on individual transactions and which works out much cheaper.”

Parentkind’s Charli Janeway adds that while most of the PTAs pay their membership fees by Direct Debit, some still prefer to pay by cheque, which isn’t efficient or cost-effective. There is also a lower retention rate compared with those PTAS that pay by Direct Debit.

Later this year Parentkind plans to include BOPP on its own invoices as a payment option, making it easier to renew memberships. He says, “That way, we reduce our processing fees, provide an additional payment method, and hopefully increase retention rates.”

He concludes, “When we roll this out, we’ll have the additional benefit of seeing payments instantly through the BOPP dashboard, so this will benefit us as a charity and our members too.”

Notes to editors

The Open Banking Implementation Entity does not endorse any of the products or companies mentioned here.

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