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4 minute read

5 Innovative Ways to Use OCTs for Disbursements

6/28/2022 9:00:00 AM

Time is money, as the old saying goes. Receiving disbursements from your college or university is no different. We all know the difference a day can make for anyone but especially for college students when paying rent and bills and buying supplies, which is why Original Credit Transactions (OCT) are increasing in popularity over other disbursement methods.

The new direct to debit OCT method enables institutions to push payments directly to debit cardholders within minutes. Direct to debit OCT is one of the fastest and most secure payment options available for refunds, payouts, and disbursements. Recipients provide their existing debit card information and the college or university pushes funds directly to the recipient's account for a nearly immediate deposit.

Need a quick, convenient, secure payment method for your disbursements? Here’s five innovative ways to take advantage of direct to debit OCTs on your campus:

1. Athlete Reimbursements

Many institutions cover the costs associated with their sports teams when traveling, including transportation, hotel rooms, and meals. Colleges and universities may have athletes pay and submit invoices for reimbursement, requiring a significant wait time for checks to be cut and mailed. There is also considerable expense to the institution for paper check processing, printing and mailing. Another option is to provide cash up front, which means coaches and athletes are handling large sums of money. Handling cash and estimating expenses often ends up with either over or under payment once the actual costs are known.

2. Research Stipends

From humanities to the sciences, academic research is a staple at many universities and colleges. It can help elevate your institution’s reputation and provide students the opportunity to develop their skills, test new ideas, and innovate. In fact, graduate and undergraduate students often rely on research stipend payments as their sole or primary source of salary. However, managing and reconciling the costs associated with research can be complicated for the institution and students.

3. Work-Study

According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 3,400 colleges and universities offer a Federal Work-Study program. Using OCT as a way to pay these students meets their expectations for timely payment, while also saving your institution money by eliminating the high cost of processing paper checks. Even with Automated Clearing House (ACH) direct deposit, some students aren’t familiar with their checking account and routing numbers. Often students enter debit card information by mistake causing the ACH transaction to fail and the payment to be delayed.

4. Emergency Loans

An unexpected personal issue or crisis may throw a student off course quickly. Some institutions provide resources to help students who have encountered unexpected financial obstacles, such as a death or illness, natural disaster, or homelessness. If your institution provides emergency loans or grants that students can apply for to receive assistance that helps them avoid dropping out of school during a sudden life disruption.

5. Campus ID Card Balances

Declining balances through your campus ID card is a quick and easy way for students to purchase meals and pay for other campus services. If you offer a declining balance as part of your campus ID and there are funds left at the end of the school year, you may have a policy to reimburse the student the remaining balance.

Improved Disbursement Process

Direct to debit via OCT may be the perfect payment method for each of these disbursement needs. It offers a payment experience students already know from using payment apps like Venmo or PayPal. The OCT option works for students in almost any scenario because they know their debit card number and their funds are available almost immediately. OCT is a simple and expedited way to meet student expectations.

For institutions, direct to debit OCT offers a fast, convenient, secure payment method that simplifies reconciliation. Funds may be sent directly to a student's existing debit card ahead of time to cover costs or as a reimbursement, saving everyone time and money. OCT is a timely payment method that delivers better reporting and insights for administrators.

Refund Options On-demand Webinar

To learn more about how TouchNet’s refund options can help make your process more efficient, cost effective, and convenient for students and staff, attend our webinar, Refunds: Options for All Use Cases, on demand.