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Cashless Catering, A Smarter Way to Pay

Cashless CateringPembroke School operates a cashless catering system. The cashless catering system allows students to pay for school meals without carrying cash. Instead, children use their own smartcards.

The Smartcard Revolution!

All new entrants to the school will be issued with a smartcard, with a passport type picture on the front. The card can then be used in the school canteen and at vending machines around the school.

Using smartcards mean you won’t have to worry about making sure your child has cash every day to pay for their meal. Instead, you can top up you child’s card in advance and be sure that the money is spent on school meals.

With less need for children to carry cash, there’s less chance that it will be lost or stolen. It’s faster too. Staff no longer handle cash at the tills, so the service is quicker and queues shorter.

Students entitled to free meals will use the same type of card as everyone else. A daily allowance will automatically be credited to their cards.

The scheme ran as a pilot during the 2005/6 school year. An evaluation of the scheme, undertaken in June 2005, highlighted a positive response.


  • Make sure you child’s card is in credit at all times
  • Keep a note of you child’s account number: you’ll need it to top up their account
  • Ensure you child takes their card to school every day

Topping up your child’s smartcard

The great thing about the smartcard is that you can choose how often, how much (subject to a minimum transaction value of £10) and when you want to top up your child’s account. Make sure you have your child’s account number to hand.

Evaluation of the scheme highlighted that the easiest ways to pay were: - make payments at a time convenient to you with your credit or debit card. Choose Make a Payment

Use the automatic telephone system to pay by credit or debit card. The system operates 24hrs a day. Call 01437 775164 to make a payment.

Call our customer contact centre on 01437 764551 anytime between 8am and 6pm to pay with a credit or debit card.

Other ways to pay are:

Pay in person with cash, cheque or credit/debit card at the Council’s Pembroke Dock Customer Service Centre on Argyll Street (or any of our customer service centres).

There’s also a ‘coin loading’ machine in the school, which will take 50p, £1.00 and £2.00 coins.

Your child can also bring a cheque or bank notes to the school in an envelope with their name and account number written on it.

Please note payments made over the web or phone will be credited to your child’s account the following day.

Questions and Answers

Are other schools operating schemes like this?
Pembroke School is the first school in Pembrokeshire to use smartcards. However, there are over 400 schools in the UK which already benefit from cashless catering systems.

What happens if my child loses their card?
One of the great benefits of a cashless system is that even if your child loses their card the money you have paid into the account will still be quite safe. Your child should tell the catering staff as soon as they can that they have lost their card. The card will be suspended and the balance, which will be held on a central computer, will be transferred to a new card. There will, however, be a small charge to £2.00 for issuing a replacement card. As an added security device your child’s card will also carry their photo.

If my child forgets their card how will they pay for lunch?
If you child forgets their card they will be issued with a replacement card. The value of the child’s account will be held on a central computer and this will be transferred to the new card. A small charge of £2.00 for issuing the replacement card will apply. But, for everyone’s benefit, make sure your child remembers their card every day.

What about vending machines?
All the vending machines in school have been converted to the cashless system so your child will need a smartcard to buy snacks and drinks from them.

My child has free school meals - will they be included in the scheme?
Yes, children eligible for free school meals will be issued with the same type of smartcard, which will automatically be credited with their free school meal allowance of £1.95 each day. Any remaining credit will not be carried over to the next day; the balance will be reset to zero before the next day’s allowance is added.

The free meals allowance can only be spent on healthy, balanced lunch-time meals. However, you can add to the free school meal allowance through any of the usual payment methods. Any value added to the card over the free school meal allowance can be spent freely, subject to the daily spending limit, and, of course, will be carried over if not used.

How do I know my child won’t spend all their lunch money in one go?
A daily spending limit of £4.00 on the card means you can be sure your child won’t spend all their credit at once.

How will I know how much credit there is on my child’s account?
You child can check their credit at any of the cash loading machines, vending machines or tills in the school.


ID: 8179 Revised: 8/4/2015