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Pay for school dinners online and boost jobs.

Byline: By DAVID JONES

A CASHLESS school dinner scheme being rolled out across the UK is set to create new jobs at a North Wales online payment service provider.

Bangor-based securetrading has been selected alongside Warwickshire-based ParentPay as the on-line payment processing partner for a central dinner money collection service for schools and other educational establishments.

The project goes 'live' this week in Luton with securetrading and ParentPay providing a single place on the internet where parents can make payments securely and quickly using a credit or debit card. All money is credited directly into the school's or LEA's own bank account.

It is part of the National e-Pay Project funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and developed by local authority partners.

David Abbott, securetrading chief executive, said: 'As ParentPay's preferred payment provider we are delighted to be working on this project. It is satisfying to know that we enable parents to have peace of mind when it comes to where their children's dinner money has been spent.

'If it is as successful as we believe it will be, it will create extra employment at our European operations centre at Parc Menai, Bangor, which currently employs 33 staff. If we were to enrol half the 37,000 schools in the UK, it would create jobs for about 10 support staff here and another four or five technical posts.'

He added: 'When you compare this system with the cost of handling cash and cheques you find it is very efficient. It takes the burden of collecting and accounting for school dinner money away from teachers and allows them to concentrate on teaching.'

Founded in 1997, securetrading is the UK's leading independent payment service provider, enabling internet and e-commerce transactions by processing credit and debit cards through UK acquiring banks. Its parent company UC Group has offices in Bromley, London.

Once a school has signed up to ParentPay, parents log onto their own secure account pages where they see an up-to-date list of items, school trips, and other options available to their child, together with details of costs and dates. They can then choose which items to pay for electronically with the transaction being conducted through a highly secure payment server

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Technical support manager Ian Hughes and staff at securetrading chosen to launch the new scheme
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 18, 2005
Words:389
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