Online Payments

How do I turn Payments on?

If you have already paid for online payments, but cannot see it in your account, it may be that you do not have the right permission settings switched on. The main administrator can check this by logging in to their ParentMail account, finding your staff account and then going to Actions > Permissions and switching them on. For this to take affect you will need to press F5 to refresh your page.

If you are the main administrator and you cannot see Payments in your menu, we can switch this on for you.

If you wish to use the online payments package but haven’t bought it yet, please contact our Sales team on who will be in touch in regards to providing a demonstration.


How do I create a new item?

To create a new item, go to the payments option in your left hand menu, and select ‘Create New Item’. You will then be asked if you would like to create a new item, or to use an existing product as a template. Once you have created a new item, you will be able to reuse it for future items which will help speed up the process.

Create a new item 1

To create from new, you will first need to select a category. This will assist you with locating and reporting on specific item types like school trips or school uniform for example. If the category you would like to use is not there, you can ‘Suggest A Category’ which will be sent to ParentMail for consideration.

Create a new item 2

Once you have selected your category, you will need to input the item details, the item will need name, price and description. The payment description has a character limit of 255 so be aware of this when you are creating your item, if you do need to set a lot of information regarding the item then it would be better to email the parents once the item is finished.

Next you will need to select a bank account from the drop down list, this will chose the location the parents funds are sent to, please note there is no default option for this so it must be selected when creating each item. You can also select a web address to add here should you wish to.

If you wish to add a new bank account you will need to contact ParentMail and we will be able to help you with this. If you wish to enable a different bank account that is already on your ParentMail account, you will need to go to Payments and Payment Settings.

You will then have the option to customise the Item settings to make your bespoke item. Descriptions for what each option will do can be found by hovering over each of the settings or in our ‘Settings Description’ below.

Settings - Basic

Settings Description

Alert Users on Creation 
Select this option if you would like to notify users that this item is now available to purchase. We would not advise selecting this if you are adding several items as parents will receive a notification each time.

Parental Consent Required
Select this option if you would like parents to give consent. This will be useful if you are setting up a school trip, for example. To view whether consent has been given on a report, go to Actions > View Orders > tick the names of the students > click Export.  Please note, if this is enabled, parents are required to give consent before it allows them to pay.

Allow Pre Order
Select this option if you would like to allow parents to pre order. This will allow you to know how much stock you will need to order in advance.

Requires Fulfilment
Select this option if you want the system to remind you that you need to hand this item to parents or students. In Payment Settings, you can add an email address so that up to 5 members of staff will be notified when an item is purchased.

Allow Waiting list
Select this option if you would like to allow staff and/or students to join a waiting list once the item is full/has run out. If you receive any cancellations, you will be able to view the waiting list on a first come/first served basis.

Create Ticket Numbers
Select this option to add ticket numbers to your item. Your ticket numbers will appear on a report that you can download within Reports and Payments, called “Download A List Of Ticket Numbers For A Product”. This is helpful if you are putting on a production and making physical tickets in the school.

Allow Donation
This will allow your parents to make a donation over the price of the item. Please note, if the item can be paid in instalments or can be part paid, parents will not be able to make a donation until the item has been paid in full.

Allow Part Pay
This allows the parent to pay any amount that they like up to the total amount.

Fast Moving
If you select this, parents will be able to put the item in their basket but it will only stay there for a maximum of 20 minutes before being automatically removed, this is to give all parents an equal chance to pay for the item.

Gift Aid
Select this option if you would like to allow parents to select to make a donation to a registered charity under the Gift Aid scheme.

Settings (Detailed)

All of these settings will open an extra entry field at the bottom of the window which will need to be completed.

Settings - Detailed

Select Specific Users
Select this option if you would like specific users only to be able to view this item. After you select this option, you will need to scroll down and click on the ‘select users’ field. This will open up the contact book and will allow you to choose who you want the item to be available for. If you do not select this option, it will be made available to all of your users. Please note, you can only tick students or staff, not parents.


Select this option if you would like to request payment in specific instalments. You can select different amounts for each instalment or auto-calculate each amount. If you have instalments on your item then the due dates of the instalments will expire the item instead of a purchase window. Instalments cannot be changed once the item has been created.


Limit Quantity Per Child
Select this option if you would like to limit the amount each child can purchase. For example, 2 tickets per student for the school play. If the parent will only need 1 of the item, select this option and enter 1.


Stock Quantity
Select this option if there are a limited amount of items available or a limited amount of spaces on a trip, for example.

DS4Purchase Window
Select this option if you would like to set a specific date and time for parents to be able to purchase this item. You can use this setting to expire items if previously set without a purchase window.

DS5Accounting Codes
Select this option if you would like to add accounting codes to this item for school purposes.

DS6Event Date
Select this option if the item you are creating has an event date – this will not expire the item and is just for the parent’s information only.

Select this option if there is a selection of options with this item such as ‘Size’ or ‘Colour’. Please note, there can only be one set of options and options cannot be changed once the item has been created. If you use Options, one will need to be selected as the default option for when parents open the item.

Select this option to show the VAT Rate.

DS9Due Date
Select this option if there is a due date for this item to be paid by. If you have a due date on the item this will expire the item unless you have a Purchase Window. Please note, once an item is expired it stops new orders from being made, but any that have been part paid can continue until their order is complete.



How do I view my payment items?

Once you have created your item, you will be able to view it in ‘Payment Items’. Your parents will also now be able to view this in the shop and will be able to purchase it – unless you have created a purchase window or only selected specific users to see it.

You can edit this item by clicking on it in ‘Payment Items’ and clicking ‘Actions’.

Editing an item

Once you have selected ‘Edit’, you will be able to change various settings for the item should you need to. Please note: You will not be able to change the price, instalments or options once the item is active.


How do I archive a payment item?

Locate the item in Payments > Payment Items, then click Actions > Archive.

To archive an item, you will need to have marked all of the payments on that item as Complete or Cancelled, you can do this by clicking on Actions> View Orders> Tick All and then click either Mark Complete or Mark Cancelled, then click OK on the next screen.

Please be aware that when you go to Payments and then Payment Items you will not see Archived under all statuses, you will need to click on the filter and change it to Archived to see these items.

If you click on the filter and change it to Archived, you can then click on an item, click on Actions and then Unarchive if it was archived by accident or if you need to bring it back for any reason.


How do I process a manual order?

To process a manual order with a card, go to ‘Payments’ in the left hand side menu and select ‘Manual Order’. This will open the Contact Book – search for the student by using the search box, or search by ‘User’ or ‘Group’ type. Once you have selected the student – click ‘Next’. You will then have the ability to view and select any payment items available for the child. To select an item press the basket option, next to the item.

Manual Order 1

You will then be able to select quantity or size if this option is available.

Once you are ready press the “Add to cart” option in the bottom right corner. If your item has instalments or “Allow Part Pay” you can change the price you want to pay here, before adding it to the cart.

Manual Order 2

You will then need to select ‘View Cart’, review the order and then select ‘Checkout Now’ on the right hand side. You will then be required to record who you are making the payment on behalf of.

Manual Order 3

The drop down box under “Select Payee Name” will list all the users who are connected to the student you originally selected from the Contact Book. You can select one of these users OR if the person who has come in or called in to pay for the item is not listed as a user on ParentMail, you can manually input their details. Please note, this will add them on to the system as a not connected user and it will link them to the child the order was made for.

Once you have done this you will need to select the payment method from the drop down menu. The Payment Method you select will then determine the next page you see. If you select a card you will need to input the card details, for example.

To check that the payment has gone through, go to ‘Order History’ in the Payments Menu and the order you have just processed will be at the top of the list. Click on this to see the details of the payment. The person whose email address appears in ‘email new orders’ within your Payment Settings will also receive an email receipt that you have made a manual payment on behalf of the parent, and this will appear on the ‘Manual Payments for a selected date range’ report. You can use this email as a receipt, print it or email it to the parent. Please note, the parent will be emailed the receipt automatically if they are selected as the payee when processing the manual payment.


How do I process a bulk order?

If, for example, a teacher has collected payments or if you have a number of people who have paid for an item at the school office on the same day that you want to process through ParentMail, you can do this by selecting ‘Payment Items’ and then selecting the item that the payment is for, for example, “Easter Performance Evening”.

Once you have selected the item, select ‘Actions’ in the top right corner and then select ‘View Orders’. You will then see a list of all the recipients who are able to buy this item. Go through and select the names of all the people you would like to make a bulk payment for.

Bulk Order

Once you have selected all the recipients, select ‘Make Payment’ on the far right. You will then be asked the payment method you want to use to make these payments. Please note, if you have a mixture of cash and cheque payments, you will need to process them separately.

Payments - Bulk Order

If you select cheque, this will bring up a screen with the names of each of the recipients you have selected (see above). Simply enter the cheque number into the box. If you have added a recipient by mistake, simply select ignore to remove them from the list. Once you have input all the details, click ‘Next’.

If they have paid by cash, simply select this option and then input the amount each recipient has paid. Click ‘Next’, and the payments will be processed. This will add paper receipts to your documents to print folder so that you can confirm with the parent that the payment has been made.


How do I process a refund?

You can refund an item in full, or part refund. To do this, click on Order History under Online Payments and find the order that you want to refund.


Processing a refund

Once you have found the order which you would like to refund, click on it, then click actions in the top right hand corner. Then, click refund.

Item - Refund

Select the item to refund, choose a refund amount and then click refund selected. You can choose to refund the full amount, or part refund. Please note, you cannot refund more than the cost of the item and the refund will always return the money the same way it was paid e.g. the card will always go back to the same card.

Please note, PayPal transactions will not be refunded if older than 6 months and therefore will need to be refunded by cash or cheque and mark the order as cancelled.

Refund selected


If you ticked an instalment as non-refundable, the deposit for example, you need to click Refund Deposits at the top and this will allow you to then refund the payment.

Next you will receive a summary of the refund. Check that the information is correct. If so, click next.

You will then receive a confirmation message once the refund has processed. Card payments will take around 3-5 working days to return to the original account.


How do I fulfil an item?

If you have items that need to be fulfilled either by User or by Item there will be a notification next to either label in the menu.


If you search by user you can filter your results to see items that are pending fulfilment or items that have been fulfilled for each user. You also have the option to filter it further by month and year

If you search by item you will have similar filtering options but you can also search by category.

Once you have found the item that you want to fulfil you can click on it and then click the green fulfil button.

Item to be fulfilled

You can then choose how the item was delivered and you can add a new kind of delivery method if there isn’t one that already matches what you need. A note can also be added here to remind you of any special circumstances.

Mark as fulfiled

If an item is returned after you have fulfilled it, you can simply find the item again and click the red Return button. You can then choose whether you want to add the item back to your stock and can add a reason for the return in to the notes section.


Your item has now been fulfilled.


Can my parents pay through PayPal and PayPoint?

You can decide which Payment Options are available to your parents within Payments > Settings and can enable or disable the options available from here. Please note, if you enable a payment option this will make it available as an option to all your users.

The options available are PayPoint (Barcodes), PayPal, Card and PayCash. To understand the differences between these payment options, please click here.

Please note, barcodes can only be used for items above £5 and under £149.99.


How do I set up a trip?

When logged into ParentMail, click on ‘Payments’ from the menu and then select ‘Create new item’.

You will then have three options to pick from:

  • Cancel – Go back to the previous page.
  • Create New – To create a payment item from scratch.
  • Use Previous Item – If you have previously set up the payment item and need to adjust with different dates/prices, users etc.

If you create a new item, you will be taken to a form with blank fields for you to complete.

If you create the item using a previous item, the same form will appear but the field will include information from the previous item you have selected.

Fill in all the details you need such as the item name, the price and the bank account the money for this item should go to.

Below this, you can hover over any of the settings to find out what they mean. Selecting them will set them to “On” or will open a further drop down box for you to select options.

Our recommendations 

If you are setting up a trip, you may want to use some different settings than you would for a smaller item. If the price of the trip is, for example, £500 then it would be good to use instalments for this. You could then put the deposit in the top instalment option and make it non-refundable and breakdown the further payments monthly. Please be aware that parents can choose to pay all the instalments at one time but this will be useful for those parents that may not wish to.

You could use Stock Quantity to limit the number of places on the trip, for example, everyone in Year 9 might have the chance to go on the trip but there might only be 30 places, so you could put 30 in the stock quantity.

You could then also use the Allow Waiting List function for parents to register their interest just in case someone else on the trip can no longer go.


How do I enter accounting codes into my payment item?

From within the payment item, scroll down to Settings (Detailed) and look for Accounting Codes. Tick the box next to this setting, and this will open a further drop down box. Here you can enter the accounting costs, then click ‘Save.’


Why do I receive an error when trying to add users to a payment item?

If, when selecting specific users to a payment item, you receive the following error message:

User Kellie Adams has an incorrect user type and cannot purchase this product. They must have either the staff or student user types.

Error message

It is likely that you have added a student as a “parent” user type. When you add the correct user type to the student, it is important that you remover the incorrect user type, as this will confuse the system if they are recorded as both a parent and a student.

Below is an example of how it should look:

Correct acccount

Below is an example of an incorrect student account (both user types are displayed beneath the name) :

Incorrect account

When you click onto the student’s account, simply click ‘Show’ next to user types and click the bin icon against the ‘Parent’ user type, then click Confirm.

You can then return to the Payment Item and save the item, and the error message will not appear.


What is bulk invoicing?

Our new bulk invoicing tool has been created to allow you to invoice your parents in bulk, which will be particularly useful if you are invoicing different amounts to each parent.

For example, if you have a breakfast or after school club and need to invoice different amounts due to students attending different sessions, the bulk invoicing tool will be perfect.

Please note, invoices are always a ‘compulsory item’ so will always be found in the ‘To Pay’ section of the parent feed. They are also set to ‘Limit quantity per child’ as ‘1’, so if you need to invoice the same student again you will need to set up a new invoice.

For help on creating your invoice, please see below.


How do I create an invoice?

To create your invoice, go to Payments > Bulk Invoicing.

BI 9


This will open a new screen which will allow you to input the details of your invoice. First, select a name for your invoice. This is how it will appear to parents and in your reports.

Next, select the bank account that you wish invoice payments to go into.

Then enter a description for your invoice to help inform parents of what they are paying the invoice for.

BI 10


Next, you will need to select your Settings:

Allow Part Pay – If this is on, parents will be able to pay smaller amounts of the total up until the full amount is paid.

Billing Period – This is the dates from and to in which you are billing the parent for.

Due Date – This is the date in which the payment is due – please note, this must be in the future.

Accounting Codes – Select this if you wish to add Accounting Codes to the invoice.

VAT Rate – Select this if you wish to show the VAT Rate on the invoice.

BI 3

Once you have added your Settings, you will be ready to add your Users to the invoice. Please note, you can only add Students and Staff user types to the invoice.  You can add as many users to your invoice as required by selecting them from the Contact Book.

BI 8

Once you have added your users, you can enter the amount they are to be charged. If you make a mistake you can change the amount or delete the user from the invoice, however once the user has paid (or part paid) the amount cannot be changed and the user cannot be deleted.

You can add additional users to the invoice by finding the invoice in Payments > Payment Items and changing the categories to Invoice. This will show you a list of all your active invoices. Once in the invoice, simply select Edit and update the details. Once someone has paid, you will be asked if you would like to notify them of the changes made to the invoice.

The invoice will appear in parent’s feeds in the “To Pay” section and will work as all other Payment Items, in that they can pay using the various payment options you have switched on in your Payment Settings.


How do I generate barcodes for an invoice?

Please note, barcodes will only be generated if ‘PayPoint (Barcodes)’ is enabled in Settings, if the item is above £5 and below £149.99.

Barcodes will be generated when the invoice is created, however if you add any new users to the invoice, the system will not generate the new users a barcode.  This is the case for all payment items. 


How can I remove selected users in bulk from a payment item?

When trying to remove specific users from a payment item, you are unable to deselect the already selected users in bulk. A workaround for this is to deselect the specific users tick box within the payment item before pressing save. Next, you should immediately go back in to the edit window and tick the ‘select specific users’ box once again, add the users to the item who SHOULD be able to purchase and then press save. This will result in the item being available only to those users who it should be available to, saving you some time in the process.


  • Did you find this helpful?
  • Yes   No