To pay a program through brightwheel, at least one student contact with parent-level permissions must be associated with a student’s account. On our most current billing platform, program admins can add additional payers that are Family or Approved Pickups associated with a student’s account.

Any payers will need to add a payment method to their account before making a payment and will only be able to view, modify, or use the payment method added to their accounts. Payers can never see another payer's card or bank account details; this is private and restricted to the respective payer by default.

Continue reading below to learn about the various payment methods that are accepted as well as some additional details about payment methods, autopay, and processing fees.

Table of Contents

Web vs. App Experience

This resource overviews how to add and manage payment methods. While the steps are focused on performing these tasks from your account on the web, the experience in the app is relatively the same. For payers accessing their account in the app, a homepage similar to the below images will be visible.

All students your profile is connected to will be visible under the 'My children' tile. There is also an additional 'School payments' tile.

If you have not added a payment method, in this section, you will see a prompt advising you to Add a payment method to get your account fully set up to make payments to your program through brightwheel.

If you already have a payment method added to your account, in this section, you will see a prompt to View account to make payments!

Managing payment methods as outlined below, making payments, and viewing invoices will be the same general steps across the web and the mobile app! Continue reading to learn how to add and manage your payment methods.

FSA/HSA Accounts

FSA/HSA/Dependent Care accounts are potential options that can be added to a payer's brightwheel account to make payments to a program. It's important to note that each program can choose what type of payments they'd like to accept (ACH and Credit/Debit cards or ACH only), and these settings may limit how certain FSA/HSA/Dependent Care accounts can be utilized.

  • If a program accepts ACH payments and the FSA/HSA account has an associated routing and account number, follow the steps to link or manually add a bank account.

  • If a program accepts Credit/Debit Card payments and the FSA/HSA account has an associated card number, follow the steps here.

  • If you are a payer whose having trouble adding an accepted FSA/HSA payment method, follow the steps here.

Link a Bank Account

This is the most common payment method used by brightwheel payers. Any program that accepts payments through brightwheel will allow for bank transfers (checking account only). This payment method is often referred to as ACH, which stands for Automated Clearing House. If applicable, processing fees for ACH transactions are less than those for credit cards.

There are two ways to add and save a bank account payment method in brightwheel.

  1. Link the account through a secure 3rd party partner directly in the brightwheel app. All you need to do is follow the prompts listed below to confirm your account.

  2. If the banking institution is not listed in the above option, please follow the steps below to manually add and verify the bank account.

Link Bank With Login

This is the simplest & easiest way to add a bank account. This is available for most nationwide banking institutions in the United States and utilizes a secure 3rd party partner called Plaid to instantly connect and verify the information provided.

  1. Navigate to the Payments section online or in your mobile app

  2. Go to the Payment Settings tab and click Add payment method

  3. From the 'Bank account' tab, select Instant verification and then Next

  4. Click Continue

  5. Search for the desired banking institution and click on it when displayed

  6. Sign in to the bank account as usual once you are routed to your bank's login
    Please Note: Only add checking accounts when adding a new bank account. Savings accounts are not compatible with brightwheel billing

  7. Once logged in, the pop-up will verify the setup is complete

Please note: If you experience any errors and/or your banking provider is not listed in Plaid, please follow the instructions to manually add a bank account as outlined below.

Manually Add a Bank Account

If the banking institution does not appear when using the above option, a bank account can be linked with brightwheel by entering the bank account’s routing and account numbers manually and completing a two-factor (2FA) authentication process. For this option, the bank account must be verified by confirming two micro-deposits. These are two small deposits, typically less than $1.00, that will be deposited into the checking account. These funds will remain in the account for 3-4 days, after which they will be withdrawn from the account. Within that time frame, be sure to log back into brightwheel and verify the account by confirming the exact amount of each deposit.

  1. Navigate to the Payments section online or in your mobile app

  2. Go to the Settings tab and click Add Payment Method

  3. From the 'Bank account' tab, select Manual verification and then Next

  4. Select the Account Type

  5. Input the full name, routing number, and account number
    Please Note: Only add checking accounts when adding a new bank account. Savings accounts are not compatible with brightwheel billing

  6. Click Add

  7. A popup will display outlining the next steps. Follow the instructions in the popup to look out for the micro-deposits in your bank account, and then return to the same page to verify the payment method once the micro-deposits are received.

Verify a Bank Account with Micro-deposits

After receiving the two deposits within 48 hours, log back into brightwheel and enter the exact amounts deposited to verify the account. Be sure to enter them in the exact order in which they were received.

  1. Check the bank account online within 2 business days to locate the deposits

  2. Navigate back to the Payment Settings page and click Verify on that payment method

  3. Enter the two deposits and click Verify again

Please Note: If you cannot complete your verification in time or are having difficulty, please email to request that your account be removed to start over or get additional assistance.

Add a Credit or Debit Card

Each childcare provider that uses brightwheel for their billing platform gets to determine which payment methods are accepted. In addition to ACH transactions, some providers also accept credit or debit cards. If the childcare provider does not allow credit card payments when you attempt to add a payment method, you will only have the option to add a Bank Account.

If this option is enabled, any payer associated with the student's billing profile can enter a credit and/or debit card as a payment method after completing a two-factor authentication (2FA) process as an extra security measure. This measure is also commonly referred to as two-step verification, 2-step verification, or dual-factor authentication

  1. Navigate to the Payments section online or in your mobile app

  2. Go to the Payment Settings tab and click Add payment method

  3. In the popup, jump to the Card tab

  4. Choose the Credit Card option

  5. Enter the card information and click Add Payment Method
    Please Note: The currently accepted card brands are: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Diners Club, and China UnionPay.

  6. Input the 6-digit verification code sent to the email and/or phone number you use to log in to brightwheel
    Please Note: This code will expire after 10 minutes. If it doesn't arrive in your email inbox, be sure to check your spam folder.

  7. Click Verify to finish adding the payment method

Please Note: If you add a Debit and/or Credit Card as a payment method, these forms of payment will be subject to higher processing fees. If possible, we’d recommend setting up a Bank Account as a payment method for a lower transaction fee through ACH.

Remove a Payment Method

Payers can remove payment methods as long as there is at least one other payment method attached to their account. Payment methods can be removed at anytime

  1. Navigate to the Payments section online or in your mobile app

  2. Go to the Payment Settings

  3. Locate the specific payment method tile and click Delete

Please Note: If you are removing your payment method, you may be responsible for making arrangements to pay any outstanding balances to your program. We'd recommend that you reach out to your program to find out what alternative payment options may be available to you.

Manage Autopay

Autopay is a great way to save time and remove any worry about missing a tuition payment. Like other automated payments, brightwheel’s autopay feature will charge the desired payment method for the full balance due on the due date of each statement. If multiple payment methods have been added to the account and/or if there are multiple students associated with the student contacts account, each student’s autopay settings can be individually managed, allowing for different payment methods for each.

Autopay always triggers a payment for the total balance due. If autopay is enabled at a moment when a balance has already accrued, the total balance will be paid off on the next statement’s due date.

Some childcare providers choose to enable Mandatory Autopay. This means that any payers will be required to accept and enable autopay the next time they add a payment method. If a payment method had already been saved to the account when the program enabled Mandatory Autopay, brightwheel will display a prompt advising that autopay is enabled whenever the student’s billing account page is visited.

If the provider does not require autopay, payers can manage settings anytime. To change the payment method used for autopay, turn off autopay, choose the desired payment method, and turn it back on.

💡It's also important to understand that if you are paying for multiple students/siblings, autopay is turned on for each, there are invoices with the same due date, and they are being charged to the same payment method - these payments will be bundled together as a single combined payment to save on fees.

  1. Navigate to the Payments section online or in your mobile app

  2. Go to the Payment Settings tab

  3. Each student eligible for billing will be listed under My Autopay Settings

  4. Toggle the My Autopay Status switch to ON/OFF

    1. If turning ON, select the desired payment method from the dropdown

Processing Fees

Anytime a transaction takes place online, or when a card is swiped with any vendor, a processing fee is attached to that transaction. This fee is generally dictated by the payment processor that the vendor chooses, not the vendor themselves. In many cases, the vendor pays this, and the customer is unaware that these fees are associated with their transaction. However, depending on the location and other factors, some vendors may choose to pass this fee on to the customer.

Any childcare provider that uses brightwheel as their billing platform has the choice to forward the processing fees for each transaction to the payer. These fees will be different for ACH and card transactions. If the provider chooses to forward these fees, brightwheel will notify the payer when the transaction occurs.

If autopay is enabled, these processing fees will still be applied, so be sure to understand what fees may be included before enabling autopay or completing a payment. Processing fees are not refundable, even if the payment has been refunded. Any questions regarding processing fees should be directed to the program directly.

Now that you've learned about settings up payment methods, autopay, and processing fees - learn how to Make Payments!

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