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Cashless Catering Information

Online Payments and Cashless Catering


We are pleased to advise that the School operates an online payments and monitoring system called ParentPay.

ParentPay is a free service that provides you with many benefits:

  • you can pay by credit card, debit card or Pay Point for school meals, trips, visits and educational resources purchased from the School (there are no transaction fees) – register with ParentPay to access the following benefits:
    • it links directly to our cashless catering system to provide you with the opportunity to monitor your child’s meal purchases;
    • you can check balances for school trips or catering.

You will be provided with a username and password to access ParentPay (see more

Cashless Catering

Our cashless till system, provided by market leader CRB Cunninghams, incorporates the latest technology, encryption and security features and eliminates the need for students to carry cash throughout the day, so they won’t forget or lose their dinner money, or spend it on other things.  Those students on free school meals will be automatically credited by the School.

The money spent on food and drink will be deducted on a daily basis and the system is programmed to limit the daily spend to £3.50, but this can be increased or decreased by parents/carers for any student by making a written or telephone request to the School.

Once the money is in their account, students will pay for their purchases using either a 4-digit PIN or by swiping their finger on a payment scanner; our preferred method uses biometric finger image data where the system will recognise an electronic pattern generated by the unique features on a person’s thumb or finger each time they use the payment scanner - it does not record or store the actual fingerprint.  All information obtained for cashless payments remains within the School and is subject to data protection legislation and will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

We operate an ‘opt in’ policy for the biometric finger image option and therefore kindly ask that you complete and return the attached form.  If you choose not to have your child registered for the biometric option, a 4-digit PIN code will be allocated to access the till system; it will be your child’s responsibility to remember the code and to keep it secure at all times.

The key features of the cashless catering system are explained in the enclosed ‘frequently asked questions’ booklet, but should you require anything further, then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Cashless Catering System - Frequently Asked Questions - Helpful Information

Q - Why has the School moved to a biometric cashless payments system?

A - Biometrically authorised transactions are the quickest means of paying for food and drink, helping students spend much less time queuing and more time eating, socialising or attending homework and other lunchtime clubs.  Additionally, students on free school meals can undertake the same transactions as all other students when they pay for their purchases. Furthermore, parents and carers will be empowered by the ability to analyse their child’s food and drink purchases.

Q - What is a cashless catering system?

A - The Trust-e cashless solution provided by CRB Cunninghams is a purpose-designed system that removes cash at the point of sale to provide students with a faster, more efficient and more appealing school meal service.

Q - What is biometric?

A - Biometric is simply a method of identifying an individual person from their unique, natural features.

Q - How does the biometric system work?

A - An algorithm is generated from the image created by a finger or thumb scan, selecting between 50 and 130 points to form a unique pattern for that person.  The system does not use fingerprints and therefore does not store any fingerprints.  The pattern it creates is of use only in our cashless system.

Q - How is biometric data stored and used?

A - The information of a person who has been biometrically registered is stored on a secure Biometric Controller within the School, which only our provider, CRB Cunninghams, can access.  Once an account is credited, the person places their finger/thumb on the payment terminal scanner, which looks up their account details and allows them to purchase items using this unique method of identification.

Q - How does my child register on the biometric system?

A - Registration will take place at the School, on the day of joining.  Your child will attend a registration terminal where they will be required to place their finger/thumb on a biometric sensor twice to obtain a matching template, which only takes a few seconds.

Q - What if I do not opt in to the biometric system?

A - If you have chosen not to opt in to biometrics, your child will still be registered for cashless payments, but will be presented with a 4-digit PIN code instead of using finger image recognition.  This takes a bit longer for each transaction and the PIN must be kept secure by your child.

Q - What methods of payment can be used to credit a cashless account?

A - Any amount can be credited to an account as frequently as you wish by way of the following method.  Once an account has been credited, the monies cannot be withdrawn and must be spent on school meal services:

Online payments

Online payments are made via ParentPay, the industry leader.  A temporary username and password will be issued to create your account.  You can pay 24/7 by debit or credit card, with no transaction fees.

Q - How can I check the credit on an account?

A - Students - This can be done at the paying-in machine by the account holder placing their finger/thumb on the sensor or by entering their 4-digit PIN Code.  The current balance will then be displayed.  

Parents/Carers - This can be accessed online via a ParentPay account.  You can have a ParentPay account to view purchases and balances, even if you do not wish to make online payments.

Q - Can I change the daily spending limit?

A - Yes. The daily spending limit has a default of £3.50, but this may be changed by written or telephone request to the School by parents/carers; we do not adjust the limit at the request of students.

Q - What happens if my child’s account is not in credit?

A - You can set up an automated system message on ParentPay when the account balance gets low to help to keep the account in credit.  You can add funds online at any time.  Our finance team will notify parents weekly when they are in debit and ask that accounts are placed into credit. 

Q - How do free school meal entitlements work?

A - All free school meal entitlements will be entered on to the system following confirmation of entitlement.  The system will, on a daily basis, automatically allocate the appropriate accounts with the free school meal allowance of £2.75.  Entitled students remain anonymous at all times as all student transactions are processed in the exact same manner at the tills.  Any monies not spent from the daily free school meal allocation will not be carried over to the next day.

Q - Can anyone else use my child’s account?

A - This is extremely unlikely. Due to the extensive security of biometric templates, nobody will be able to access your child’s account using their finger or thumb.  As a secondary precaution, a photo image is allocated to each pupil’s account.  If your child is using a 4-digit PIN code, which someone obtains and attempts to use, the photograph shown on the payment terminal at the time of the transaction will not match and should alert the operator to a suspected fraudulent sale taking place.

Q - My child has an allergy. How will this be monitored?

A - All allergy records registered with the School will be automatically entered on to the cashless database.  When students attempt to purchase an item that has ingredients that they are allergic to, the system will alert the operator and prevent them from selling the chosen item.  Please make sure the School is kept up to date on allergies and other conditions.

Q - Can I request a printed report of my child’s meal intake?

A - Yes. In addition to looking online via ParentPay, the cashless catering system provides for advanced reporting facilities, which includes dietary habits.  These may be requested by contacting the School in writing.

Q - What are the technical specifications of the biometric information?

A - The individual templates are encrypted using a 256-bit AES key that is built into the scanner’s hardware.  Also, the persisted file is encrypted using a different 256-bit AES key built into the matching algorithm supplied by Secugen and generated by a unique license purchased for each site.  This is more secure than the ANSII and ISO standards that government departments use as the Secugen Template is encrypted and the ANSII and ISO standards are not.


Outside of the cashless system the template data is useless and cannot be interpreted back into a usable fingerprint image. If this was not the case, then there would be no world standards and performance measures for such technologies. The data is stored in an array in the RAM of the Biometric Controller and is also permanently stored on the hard drive of the Biometric Controller to be restored in the event of a reboot. Below is an example of a template code for an individual finger.


The solution is secure because the matching can only be done with the individual’s consent as the finger has to be presented to the device for matching. We do not hold images of fingerprints in our system. The technology provided for this method of identification meets with BECTA guidelines and also allows students the option to opt out of the scheme and use a PIN instead.

Also, under data protection legislation, the School or caterer (the originator of the data) cannot allow access to this data by anyone for any other means than for the purpose the data was collected and that is to identify an individual within the solution we supply. Any biometric data that belongs to an individual that leaves the School is purged, which also is in line with the BECTA guidelines.

Q - Can we have information on data protection from CRB Cunninghams?

A - CRB Cunninghams is accredited with ISO 27001 - Information Security Management System - and is committed to ensuring that privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified, you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

CRB Cunninghams is registered as a data processor under data protection legislation and operate at all times under the data protection legislation guidelines.

The School’s data will remain their responsibility, and they remain fully in control of accessing, managing and updating all student data within the system. The school operates as Data Controller under data protection legislation. All CRB Cunninghams staff that may have administrator access to School data for support purposes are Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked.

Information collected to implement a cashless catering system is outlined below:

Essential information collected

Optional information that may be requested

Admissions Number


Unique Pupil Number


Date of Birth





Tutor Group

FSM Allowance


Current photograph




CRB Cunninghams does not sell, distribute, or lease your personal information to third parties.

CRB Cunninghams removes all data from servers one week after the cashless system has gone live within the School.

Under data protection legislation, you may request details on personal information that we hold about you. If you believe that any information we are holding about you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible, at the address below.

CRB Cunninghams

Headley Technology Park

Middle Lane



B38 0DS

0333 0143064