Cashless Catering

Welcome to your guide to the Biometric Cashless system that we use to manage school meals much better. This system will mean that students and staff will no longer need to pay for school meals with cash. Instead they will be able to purchase their meals and snacks simply by presenting their fingerprint at the tills!

1. An introduction to the biometric cashless system

So what does this biometric’ system actually mean? The system is an innovative online cashless approach to using the schools catering service with the very latest technology. It allows the school to provide a faster, more efficient and appealing catering service for our students and staff. Hundreds of schools across the UK are already benefiting from the system, with proven success.

We think that students will really embrace the biometric element of the system, where they will be able to pay for their food and snacks simply by scanning their fingerprint at the tills and vending machines! However, it won’t be for everyone, so for those who prefer not to use this facility, they can be provided with a PIN number. The fingerprint recognition will be linked to individual student accounts.

You will be able to conveniently manage and make payments into the account online or via one of the 144 ‘Pay Point’ facilities available across Cardiff. To find out where the nearest are visit: or ask us at the reception desk at your school.

2. The Benefits

There are an overwhelming number of benefits the system will bring including:

  • If your child is entitled to free school meals, other students will not be aware that they are on the scheme, as each student will be treated the same.
  • Several convenient payment options available including online at
  • No need for students to carry cash with them at school – reducing incidents of loss/theft and bullying.
  • Student fingerprints can be recognised in all secondary schools in Cardiff (once the system is installed), so if they are offsite they can still purchase meals.
  • You can ensure that dinner money is only spent in the school catering facility which means healthy and high quality food is guaranteed.
  • The speed of the new system will reduce the time students have to spend queuing, so will have more time to actually eat their food.
  • Catering staff will be able to better plan the meals, reducing the amount of food wasted every day.
  • You can keep up to date with spending habits via the online accounts.
  • You can put a ‘total limit’ on how much your child(ren) can spend every day.


3. Security Guaranteed

We will be holding registration sessions at school. During these sessions students and staff will be allocated a time slot to attend a registration session. At this session they will be asked to place their finger/thumb onto the biometric sensor three times to achieve a matching record. This process is painless and will take a few moments to complete.

Will data be protected?

Absolutely. We take data protection very seriously and the new system aims to improve how we manage students data; taking care of that data is given the highest priority. We hold a lot of the information already via our Management Information System (MIS). This information will be securely transferred over to the new cashless system and kept up to date with regular secure automatic transfers. Fingerprint images will NOT be stored.

The school will remain responsible for the information and will be in control of accessing, managing and updating students’ data on the system. Information will not be sold, distributed or leased to third parties. The information will be used solely for the cashless payment system. Please note that when your child leaves the school, or if an opt out is chosen, their data will be deleted.

4. Managing a Students Account

How do I top up and monitor a students account?

You can manage accounts online via, making payments and keeping up to date with purchases. Alternatively, you can receive a PayPoint card, on request. This can be used to top up accounts at your local PayPoint stores, visit: for locations of these stores.

What are the daily spend limits?

A default daily spend limit of £7 for Years 7 to 10 and £15 for Years 12 and 13 will automatically apply to all accounts. However, you can set your own limit by contacting the school in writing. It will be your responsibility to ensure that each students account has sufficient funds to pay for their school meals, so please check the balance regularly. Or alternatively, why not sign up for automated alerts and/or automated top ups, this can be arranged via

5. Free School Meals

If a student is entitled to free school meals, they will be included as part of the new system. The good thing about the new system is that all students will be treated the same when purchasing their meals and snacks at school. The new finger/thumb print recognition will mean that students will no longer be identified who are on free schools meals, which we know from experience will be welcomed by both students and parents/carers. Each student entitled to free school meals will be provided with an account, which you will be able to manage. The account will be credited to £3.05 per day as part of the free school meals scheme.

6. Your Options, Your Decision

The new system has an ‘opt in’ policy for the biometric element. So this means that we need a parent/carers permission to set students up on the system. If you are happy for your child(ren) to be included, then please sign the given section in the application form.

What can I do if I don’t want my child (ren) to be on the scheme?

If would prefer your child not to be included in the biometric part of the system i.e the fingerprint recognition, then please ensure you let us know in writing. This means that your child(ren) will be provided with a PIN number to purchase their meals/snacks instead. The PIN number will have to be remembered and kept secret by the student.

Can students bring in their own packed lunch?

Yes, although we recommend that students still register with the new system so that they can use the biometric vending machines and buy a healthy drink or snack from the school catering service.