CBA, MasterCard and Schools Partner on QkR App

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.

QkR
CBA’s new app for schools, QkR gets put through its paces.

“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.

Schoolchildren with Martin Dixon
The Hon. Martin Dixon, Minister for Eduction, Victoria, and schoolchildren from Mentone Primary School celebrate the launch of QkR.

7 thoughts on “CBA, MasterCard and Schools Partner on QkR App

    • jeff
    • 30th April

    apart from being a mobile app and not a web service, how is this different from flexischools which has processed over 8m payments for aussie schools / parents and has been operating for 8 years.. ?

    Reply
    1. Hi Jeff,

      In terms of functionality, it doesn’t appear to have many significant differences. However, after having a look at flexischools, the system appears to have some additional charges for ‘topping up’ with the various payment methods. With QkR, there’s no need to pre-pay and there’s no additional card charges for the service. As a bank-card provider partnership, the app is able to drive revenue without the extra fees.

      Thanks for drawing my attention to flexischools – always good to see there’s more than one option for people to consider.

      Reply
    • Jill
    • 26th May

    Jeff – other options include schools24.com.au, http://www.munchmonitor.com. http://www.ouronlinecanteen.com.au and flexischools.

    Reply
    • Lucas
    • 26th May

    Campbell – Another that has popped up and is getting a bit of attention in my area of Melton is http://ultimateschools.com.au/ my kids go to wedge park primary and i am enjoying not looking for change for friday lunch orders haha

    Reply
    • JohnG
    • 31st March

    It seems to me there are a few problems with this. My children’s own school is trying to tell us that this will be the only way to pay for things in future.

    Firstly, security. We’re assured that MasterCard have taken all precautions, and I’m sure they’re better than most. But what if my phone gets compromised. If you’re like my wife and I we don’t own smartphones, so we’ll be forced to use it from our desktop computer. They never have problems, right?

    Secondly, tracking. All companies do some kind of tracking or analytics on their customers, or in this case my children. I don’t see why I need to consent to that. We don’t let children sign up for websites that can track them. This isn’t Facebook or Google, but why should schools expect us to sign up to a US based company that will track spending related to our children.

    Thirdly, the link the school sent me was to a MasterCard page that was marked as Australia specific. It did not have a link to any privacy policy. If MasterCard isn’t getting that basic of Australian Privacy right, what else are they missing? When I questioned this at the school was I treated like a troublemaker instead of just being able to politely opt out.

    Lastly, my biggest concern is that we are being told by the School (in NSW) that this will be mandatory. I think it needs a legal opinion, but wouldn’t that be illegal third line forcing under the Competition and Consumer Act?

    I think Schools need to think this through before they just force people to start using it.

    Reply
      • Peter, from Adelaide
      • 21st March

      I agree with Johng, I also don’t like to be told how I make my school payments (with no option to pay by VISA or any other method through the school directly).
      My boys school is now using the Schoolbag App. so now I am constantly being bombarded with all sorts of information I don’t need to know. My wife & I both have a mobile phone (which we use for emergency calls) it seems people have forgotten what a phone is really for.
      I certainly would not trust making payments by phone & risking having all my personal information & credit card details on my phone – with possibility of it being lost or stolen. Less payment choices – a backward step.

      Reply
      • K
      • 7th May

      I agree with Johng too. It’s unacceptable to be told this is the only way to pay for certain things. Parents need to be allowed to make personal choices about what form of payments (and tracking) they are comfortable with

      Reply

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