As far as innovative solutions to age-old problems go, this partnership between the Commonwealth Bank and MasterCard – QkR – could transform the way parents pay for their kids’ scholastic extras.
Yesterday a press event was held at Mentone Primary School to celebrate the launch of the Commonwealth Bank‘s (CBA) new app, QkR, which appears set to revolutionise the way parents pay for all the little extras associated with their kids’ schooling.
Launched in partnership with MasterCard, QkR (pronounced ‘quicker’) enables schools a platform on which to accept mobile payments. This is the first time such a product has been tested in any global market, with the choice of Australia made based on the local adoption of innovative technologies.
The pilot, which began in eight schools in Victoria as of July 8, 2013, has now swelled to 17 campuses and with yesterday’s official launch, QkR is now available to any school that wishes to join. As the leader of one of the first school’s to join the pilot, Mentone Primary’s Principal Marcelle Van Maanen couldn’t speak more highly of the system.
“QkR is one of those things that, once you’ve tried it, you realise you just can’t live without it,” she says. “The customisation and reporting features are easy to use, but it’s also meant that parents aren’t coming into school to pay for things all the time – we’ve actually got our foyer back.”
Not only is QkR designed to allow schools to upload and sell uniforms and the like, it also handles things like canteen lunches, excursions and all the fundraising activities that occur all the time. By allowing parents to pay for these things remotely and potentially well in advance, kids are no longer having to carry significant sums of money to and from school – a growing headache for parents everywhere.
“CommBank is delighted to launch this global first technology with schools across Australia. Throughout the pilot, we’ve seen QkR reduce financial admin and improve the management and planning of volunteer hours,” says Nick Aronson, Managing Director, Transaction Banking Solutions, Institutional Banking & Markets, Commonwealth Bank.
Commemorating the launch, the Victorian Minister for Education, Hon. Martin Dixon MP says the technology marks an important step forward for schools everywhere and that the project should act as a template for the kind of mutually-beneficial partnerships that schools can make with private enterprises.
“Schools don’t exist in isolation, in fact they are a significant part of the broader community,” Dixon says. “Projects like these are a fantastic example of the work that can be achieved to the benefit of not only schoolchildren, but also their parents, the teachers and administration staff, as well as the businesses involved.”
The QkR app is designed to take all card types and is currently available for free download.
It’s refreshing to see a community-centric app produced by financial institutions. The cynical will quickly point out that MasterCard and CBA will no doubt be seeing a benefit through both marketing and also in moving cash transactions into card transactions, but the fact remains that, in doing so, they’ve implemented a system that creates efficiency, reduces risk and provides obvious value for all involved.