Our rating:★★★★☆ 4/5
As a parent, when I first heard of MyPaymentsPlus, I wasn’t sure if it was scam or legit; if it was reliable or not. Here is my review of my experiences over the past two years using MyPaymentsPlus to pay for my child’s school cafeteria lunches.
It’s not totally glitch-free, but it does have significant advantages over paying checks manually to the school. Read on to find out the pros and cons.
What is MyPaymentsPlus?
MyPaymentsPlus is a school payment system for public and private schools. It’s a company which handles electronic payments from parents to their child’s school. Depending on how the school has set things up, you can pay for your child’s cafeteria lunches, field trips, school fees, and so on through the system. If your school uses MyPaymentsPlus, you’ve probably first heard of it through a flyer or information sheet from the school. On the flyer there should be instructions for how to create a parental account and how to add in each of your children to your account.
Is MyPaymentsPlus legit?
Yes, MyPaymentsPlus is a legitimate company who does what they say they do: they handle your payments to your child’s school account.
How does it work?
It’s pretty intuitive. You simply follow the instructions that your school gave you for signing up. As a parent you have just one account, in which you can at-a-glance track and make payments to the balances for each of your children separately.
There is a small program fee added to each payment that you make, for the fact of using this service. It itemizes it clearly for you before you submit your payment. The fee was 4.75% for me on my previous payment, which I felt was reasonable considering the added convenience I experienced of having the service. In our first academic year, before using MyPaymentsPlus I spent a year making check payments direct to the school (for which there was afterward no easy way for me to see balances).
- You can look at balances and make payments at any time you want, 24 hours a day.
- Site is intuitive and easy to navigate.
- Makes for better accountability for the school – you as a parent can see what the charges are to your child’s account. Depending on what level of detail your school has used when setting things set up, this can be incredibly helpful to you. I can actually see exactly what food items each of my children selected at the cafeteria!
- Reliable payments; does what it says – I’ve never had a payment go missing.
- Low balance alert feature: you can set it to send you an email notification any time your child’s balance dips below a specified dollar amount that you pick. This lets you know when to top up funds, and saves you the embarrassment of receiving a letter from the school cafeteria saying your child’s balance is negative.
- Good range of payment methods – all major credit cards accepted, or you can pay via ACH bank transfer.
- Poor customer service in the event you do run into problems. When I called up with a technical problem I had (mentioned later), there was a wait time on the phone, and the staff wasn’t that knowledgeable or helpful.
- Security issue – by default, the system will save your credit card details to your account for ease of future payments. The good news is that you can override this by un-checking a box, but the kicker is you’ll have to do it every time you pay. If you’re very concerned about the security of your financial information, you’ll find this very frustrating. Ideally they should have set the defaults the other way around.
- Site looks very old-style. Although you can navigate to what you want easily and intuitively, the site’s appearance is clunky and old-style – a little like what you’d expect from your utility company, for example.
- The basics work well, but the added features aren’t always reliable. For example, one time the low balance notification failed for me. Normally it should notify you and also keep notifying you every day or every few days until you top up, but on this occasion none of it worked and I wound up with a negative balance letter from the school cafeteria. I checked all my email including spam and trash, and the notification wasn’t there. Customer service was not helpful in trying to troubleshoot why it happened (mentioned above). Still, this only ever happened to me once in the two years I’ve been using MyPaymentsPlus. Likewise, other features like the phone apps for MyPaymentsPlus have mixed reviews, so I’ve just been using the desktop version. Another feature which appears to be glitchy is auto-pay; you can set up your child’s account to top up automatically when it gets low using a saved credit card, but announcements on the MyPaymentsPlus site suggest that there are occasionally glitches with this feature.
MyPaymentsPlus isn’t perfect, but it’s legit and the basics work well.
You can check balances at a glance, or if you want more detail you can look at itemized transactions in each of your children’s purchase history, like the example for one of my kids shown below:
The drawbacks of MyPaymentsPlus are not major, but were enough for me not to be able to give them the full 5 stars. To sum up, compared with the year that I was making manual check payments to the school, I found MyPaymentsPlus to be much more helpful and convenient, especially with two or more children. Whether it is worth the 5% -ish program fee is something that each parent will have to decide for themselves.