Cashless Catering

Cashless Catering was introduced to DGS in 2015 and we have received excellent feedback from students and parents about this service.

Biometric registration takes place on an individual basis. Please go to Frids Bistro where one of the catering staff will register you on the system. Good times to do this are before the start of school or at the end of break and lunch.

PIN numbers will be issued to any student who has not completed biometric registration.

ParentPay is the online account system where you can add funds using a debit or credit card, check your balance or see what has been purchased at school. Letters with usernames and passwords will be sent home with pupils. Simple instructions for activating your account will be included but a fuller user guide is also available.

Benefits of the Cashless Catering System

We see a number of potential benefits to having adopted a cashless catering system:

  • Increased speed of service reducing queuing times
  • Increased uptake on Free School Meals
  • Anonymity for students in receipt of Free School Meals
  • Facility to pay On-Line
  • No need to carry cash preventing loss/theft
  • Automatic alerts to stop pupils purchasing allergy trigger items
  • Students learn about important lifestyle control by monitoring their own accounts
  • Reporting facilities help decrease wastage and improve the overall efficiency of the meal service
  • Less food waste due to smarter purchasing as a result of improved reporting on meal uptake and purchasing patterns

Frequently Asked Questions

Q         What is a Cashless System?

A         With a cashless system, no cash is used when paying for meals at school. Money is preloaded into an account and the correct amount is automatically removed when the student takes their meal.

Q         What is Biometric?

A         Biometric is simply a method of identifying an individual person using a feature of their body, in this case their finger. At a one-off registration, the student's fingerprint is scanned by the computer and the pattern is turned into a number. The number is stored and when the student next arrives to buy food, their fingerprint is rescanned, turned into a number and compared to the stored number. No image of the fingerprint itself is stored by the system.

Q         How does a Biometric System work?

A          The information of a pupil or staff member, who has been biometrically registered, is stored on a secure Biometric Controller within the school, which only our provider, Nationwide Retail Systems Ltd, can access.  Once an account is credited the pupil or staff member places their finger/thumb on the EPOS Terminal, which looks up their account details and allows them to purchase items using only this method of identification.

Q         How does my child register on the Biometric System?

A             Registration days will take place leading up to the ‘Live’ day of the Cashless System.  At this time registration terminals will be placed in the school.  Your child will attend at a requested time and 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.  If you have chosen to ‘Opt Out’ of this procedure, your child will be presented with a 4 digit PIN Code.

Q         What methods of payment can be used to credit an account?

A          Any amount can be credited to an account by way of any of the following methods.  Once an account has been credited the monies cannot be withdrawn and must be spent on the school meal/break services. We are hoping to use the same account to pay for school trips and may extend this to other services in the future.

Cash at the Revaluation Units

Revaluation units will be sited at different locations within the school.  These can be used to top up accounts by the pupil/member of staff placing their finger/thumb on the sensor or by entering their 4 digit PIN Code followed by inserting the accepted tender below:

  • £20, £10, £5 notes
  • £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p coins

(Please note – copper coins are not accepted)


Cheque payments can be accepted via the Cashless Catering System.  Cheques should be made out to Didcot Girls' School and have written on the back of the cheque Pupil Name & Form Name.  All cheques must be handed to Pupil Services and must be received by 9.00 am prior to that day’s commencement of service.  Cheques received after this time will not be credited to the relevant account until the following day.

On-Line Payments

We have introduced On-Line Payments in partnership with the Cashless Catering System.  To make a payment on line please go to to make an electronic payment. 

PayPoint through ParentPay – On request, you will be issued with a PayPoint card, which can be used to top up your child’s account at your local PayPoint stores.  Payments via PayPoint will take up to 48 hours to be credited to the appropriate account.  You can find your local stores by visiting the website below.

Q         How can I check the credit on an account?

A          This can be done by the account holder placing their finger/thumb on to the revaluation machine or by entering a 4 digit PIN Code.  The current balance will then be displayed.   Alternatively, this can be accessed via the Parent Pay website.

Q         Can I change the daily ‘Spend Limit’?

A          Yes – The daily ‘Spend Limit’ has a default of £5 but this may be changed by written request to the Catering Manager.

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

Students with no credit on their account will not be able to purchase food.

Q         How do ‘free meal’ entitlements work?

A          All free meal entitlements will be entered on to the system prior to the ‘Live’ day.  The Cashless Catering System will, on a daily basis, automatically allocate the appropriate accounts with the free meal amounts.  Pupils with Free Meal Entitlements remain anonymous at all times as all account types are accessed in the exact same manner regardless as to whether paid for or not.  NB.  Any monies not spent from the daily free meal allocation will not be carried over to the next day.

Q         Can anyone else use my child’s account?

A          No – Due to the extensive security on Biometric templates no-one will be able to access your child’s account.  As a secondary precaution a photo image is allocated to each pupil.  If your child is using a 4 digit PIN Code, which someone obtains and attempts to use, the photograph shown on the EPOS Terminal will alert the operator and a 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 entered on to the Cashless System.  When pupils attempt to purchase an item, which has ingredients that they are allergic to, the system will alert the operator and prevent them from selling the chosen item.

Q         Can I dictate my child’s dietary requirements?

A          The system will allow you to register any items that your child is not allowed due to dietary needs or religious beliefs.  Any such items must be confirmed in writing by the parent/guardian to the Catering Manager.

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

A          Yes – The Cashless Catering System allows numerous reporting facilities, which includes Dietary Habits.  These may be requested by contacting the Catering Manager.


Page Downloads Date  
Cashless Catering Letter 2024 01st Feb 2024 Download
Back to Top