Payments Overview

[For Admins] Learn more about online and offline payments and other related details, such as what happens with a failed online payment.

Sabrina avatar
Written by Sabrina
Updated over a week ago

Brightwheel allows admins to track payments against specific invoices and student account balances easily.

Payments can be made online (paid through brightwheel using a bank transfer or debit/credit card) or offline (entered by the admin for payments made outside brightwheel, such as checks or cash).

Deposit Timing

All payments made by payers will be deposited into your deposit account as early as the next business day. Payments that are made by the early afternoon will be deposited directly into your program's deposit account by the next business day. If parents are set up with autopay, then payments made today will always be available tomorrow.

Please be aware that it can take up to 5 business days for a bank payment to fully process depending on the payers bank. Additionally, payments aren't processed on weekends or holidays, so keep this in mind when setting due dates!

It's important to also note that brightwheel does not control when deposits are triggered from brightwheel to your program's bank account. We've worked hard to shorten this deposit time for our schools, so you can get the funds quickly from your families. Brightwheel fronts these payments/funds to you so that you receive them as soon as the next business day but please note that payments may still be processing between our payment processor and the parent's bank for several days.

Online Payments

Online Payments are automatically tracked when a payer uses the brightwheel billing platform to send funds directly to the provider to pay down an account balance. Depending on each program's billing settings, this can be done through a credit/debit card or a bank transfer (ACH). Both options carry a processing fee specific to each program's brightwheel account.

Parents and payers are able to add a payment method to their account at any time, even if the program has the Accept online payments setting toggled off. This allows parents and payers to be prepared and ready to make payments through brightwheel as soon as their program is as well! They will not be able to actually make payments until the program has toggled this setting on.

🚩 Parents and payers will need to add their payment method to their brightwheel account, administrators cannot add a payment method on behalf of a payer.

Managing Payment Methods as a Payer

It's important to note that only brightwheel payers can add, manage, and remove their own payment methods. Program admins cannot assist with this. If a payer encounters an issue with their payment method (such as an issue removing it from their brightwheel account), we recommend they reach out to brightwheel Support to see what assistance can be provided.

💡Payers can learn more in the Payment Methods and Settings resource.

Card Payments

Payers can add as many payment methods as they would like to their accounts. They can pay specific invoices, all open invoices, or any other dollar amount against the student account balance (not tied to an invoice). When payers use a card to pay down their invoice or account balance, the following events occur:

  • Paying the Current balance settles all open invoices at once, automatically applying the payment.

  • Paying an Individual invoice(s) links the payment to specific invoices and allows payment for invoices assigned to other payers.

  • Choosing Other amount auto-applies payment to the oldest invoices; if none exist, it appears as available credit/payment in the Current Activity tab.

  • Card payments process within moments, showing "succeeded" or "failed" status; HSA/FSA card payments may have longer processing times.

  • Failed payments are recorded in the All Transactions tab with a $0 amount.

Bank Transfers (ACH)

Just like with debit and credit cards, payers can add an unlimited amount of checking accounts to their profiles to make payments. When payers use a bank account to pay down their invoice or account balance, the following events occur:

  • Paying the Current balance settles all open invoices at once, automatically applying the payment.

  • Paying Individual invoice(s) links the payment to those invoices and allows payments for other payers' invoices on the account.

  • Other amount payments auto-apply to the oldest invoices or appear as available credit/payment if no invoices exist, visible in the Current Activity tab.

  • Payments begin processing moments after clicking Pay now

Failed Online Payments

Failed Online payments made with a credit or debit card should show a Failed Payment Status immediately, with the exception of FSA/HSA card payments.

ACH payments, however, may show as failed at a later date due to longer processing times (up to 5 business days). If an ACH payment fails, that payment will show up as failed, and the previously fronted funds will be removed from the program's deposit account to cover the amount of the failed payment. Details regarding these transactions, including the deposited and removed funds, are available in the Deposits Report.

How Autopay Works

  • Autopay is triggered on the day an invoice sends and should be turned on prior to the invoice sending for it to work

  • If Autopay is turned off after an invoice sends, autopay will not be triggered for that invoice

  • In order for Autopay to go into effect for an invoice all of the following need to be true:

    • Payer has turned on autopay prior to the invoice sending

    • Autopay is on when the invoice is due

    • On the due date of the invoice, a balance is owed on the student’s account and then that entire amount owed (up until today’s date) will be charged to the payer

Learn more about Configuring Autopay Settings.

Removing a payer's payment method

Administrators cannot remove a payment method on behalf of a payer; only the payer can manage the payment methods on their brightwheel account. If a program requires autopay, payers need to contact brightwheel directly for assistance with removing their payment method.

ℹ️ If a program requires autopay and a payer asks brightwheel to remove their payment method, the payer cannot make another online payment via brightwheel until they add a new payment method and enroll the payment method in autopay.

💡Payers can learn more about managing their payment methods by reviewing the Payment Methods and Settings resource.

Offline Payments

Many programs offer more flexibility around accepting payments and may choose to let payers pay in cash, check, or through a 3rd party credit card processing system like Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle. Any of these external payments can be logged in brightwheel to keep an up-to-date record of a student’s account balance.

Once an offline payment is logged, it will immediately post to the student’s account and will display as a negative amount in the transaction history, indicating that it has reduced the total amount owed. If needed, you can always choose to Void an Offline Payment as well.

Please be aware that logging an offline payment is strictly for tracking purposes. Any checks or cash payments will still need to be deposited at the program's financial institution. Because brightwheel does not deposit offline funds into the program's account, these payments will not be reflected in the Deposit Report.


How can I confirm that a payment was recorded on a student's billing account?

Administrators can view all payments that were recorded by heading to the student's billing account and clicking All transactions> Credits & payments.

You can also view payments recorded by filtering the Payments & Credits Report for the specific student.

Can payers make a partial payment?

Payers can make a partial payment by selecting the student's billing account and clicking Make a payment> Other amount. Detailed instructions for making a partial payment can be found in the Make a Payment article for payers.

Can payers make an overpayment or make a payment when there aren't any open invoices?

Payers can submit an overpayment toward their account at any time. For more information about how to make an overpayment, please review the Make a Payment resource for parents and payers.

There aren't any payers listed when logging an offline payment.

If there aren't any payers listed in the drop-down list in the Paid-by field when you log an offline payment, this means that the payers have not been added to the student's billing account yet. You can learn more about adding payers to a student's billing account by reviewing our Managing Payers Overview resource

Why wasn't a payment automatically applied to the open invoice(s) on the student's account?

There are a couple of reasons why a payment wouldn't automatically apply to any open invoices on a student's billing account:

  • If a payer makes a manual payment and specifically opts not to apply their payment to the open invoices, the payment will be listed as an available payment on the account. An administrator or billing-only staff can apply the payment to the open invoice(s).

  • The payment was made by a payer who is not assigned to the invoice. For example, if the open invoice is assigned to Payer A, but Payer B submits an overpayment for an invoice that is assigned to Payer B, the overpayment will result in a credit balance on the account. However, this credit balance from Payer B's payment will not automatically apply to an invoice assigned to Payer A. Instead, an administrator or billing-only staff can apply the payment to the open invoice

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