A New Way of PTA Banking?

PTAs Payments
08 February 2023
Caroline Hayward
Caroline Hayward is a Parentkind Membership Adviser and PTFA Chair. 
In this every increasingly cashless society, PTA committees are being expected to pay for items using personal cards and funds. When you add in the current cost of living crisis this puts many PTAs in a difficult situation. So, what is the answer?

One solution that we use in my association is Pre-Paid cards. We introduced them 3 years ago when our bank would not provide us a debit card for the PTA account. We use Equals Money (although there are others on the market such as Revolut, Cashplus and Suits Me) and everyone on the committee has their own card.

Our Treasurer loads’ the card via electronic transfer from our bank account. The amount is agreed in advance with the rest of the committee – for example £420 for eggs for our upcoming Easter Egg Hunt. The card is then used in the same way as a debit card, it does contactless, Chip & PIN and online payment just like any card. The receipt is saved and passed to the Treasurer for the accounts.

As the card isn’t connected to our bank account the owner can only spend what is loaded onto the card by the Treasurer, who also has the ability to take those funds back after the purchase has been made. Additional funds can be requested through the app, but are not automatically approved. 

It has revolutionised the way we work; in previous years all of the spending fell to the Chair, which was a financial obligation that I wasn’t in a position to make, but this allows all of the committee to be able to shop for items and share the workload.

I’ll give you an example of the changes we’ve seen. Say you need to restock the tea & coffee for a nativity performance — in previous years I would have to go and find time to buy the refreshments and drop them into school even if I wasn’t helping at the event. I’d then submit my receipt and wait for the Treasurer to reimburse me (usually not until after Christmas!). But now, whoever is supporting the event can pick up what they need, pay using their card, and I don’t need to get involved. 

It gives the other committee members ownership of their roles and lessens my mental load — a win-win all round!