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Thornleigh Salesian College
Sharples Park
Bolton, BL1 6PQ

T: 01204 301 351
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Cashless Catering Guide

Student Guide – Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Cashless Catering system?

The Cashless Catering system is a new way for you to purchase food from the canteen without using cash. To do this we need to have some way of identifying who you are and the system will do this by creating a unique reference code generated from your own fingerprint or you being issued with your own pin code. So to load money into your account or buy food in the canteen you will need to scan your finger or enter your pin code and this will update your account.

Bio – what?

Biometrics is a way of recognising you by scanning your finger so you can access the school’s new Cashless Catering system. We want you to be comfortable having your fingerprint taken, if you aren’t, don’t worry that is not a problem we can give you a pin code alternative.

Finger Scanning Technology

When finger scanning is used, it measures a number of reference points on your finger tip and turns this information into a coded number. It is this number which is stored on the Cashless Catering system not an image of your fingerprint. This data cannot be used to recreate an image of your fingerprint.

You can change your mind and object / refuse at any point now or in the future, even if your parents have already given their permission, and your biometric data will be securely deleted by the school. Biometric data will only be used on the Cashless Catering system.

Once you leave school your biometric data is deleted immediately.

Is there an alternative option?

The alternative to scanning your finger is for you to be issued with a computer generated pin code to access your individual account on the Cashless Catering system. So to load money into your account or buy food in the canteen you will need to enter your pin code and this will update your account. You must keep this pin code safe and be sure to not show it to anyone else.

How are students recognised by the system?

By using the finger scanners on the revaluation stations and at the till in the canteen you will be able to access your account and either top it up, check your current balance or purchase food at the point of sale in the canteen. Alternatively if you don’t want your finger scanned then you will be issued with your own pin code which will also allow you to top up at the revaluation machine, check current balances and buy food at the point of sale points in the canteen. You can do finger scanning or have a pin code not both. 

How is it then used to obtain a school meal?

You need to simply place your finger on the scanner or enter your pin code at the till in the canteen; a display will show the Canteen staff your name, class, photo and current cash balance held on the system. The selected food items will be entered into the system from an itemised keyboard while the amount spent and the new cash balance will show on the display.

What about if I am entitled to ‘free school meals’.

The system works exactly the same for everyone whether you pay or have a free school meal. All students have their own account to use in exactly the same way. The amount allocated for the free school meal will be entered on the system daily and you can use it at any service breakfast, break or lunch. If you under spend or miss your meal this will be identified but will not be added to the next day’s balance.

You may add extra cash on your balance in the system by using the revaluation station, by cheque or paying on-line, to enable a greater daily spend on your meal, than allocated by the free school meal allowance of £2.30 (May 2013). There will be no more ‘free meals’ tickets given out in their form during morning registration.

How do I put money onto the system in school?

By ‘cash coin or note’ into an automatic cash revaluation terminal located in both foyers and upstairs in the canteen. The units accept £20 – £10 – £5 notes and £2, £1, 50p – 20p – 10p coins. Please note 1p –2p -5p coins cannot be used. Change will not be given. 

By cheque payment made to ‘Mellors Catering Services’ and given in at the Finance office. All cheques must be given before 9:10 am to ensure you have money in your account to use in the canteen later that day. Make sure you have your full name and form on the back of a cheque and envelope. 

How does the revaluation station work?

Firstly place your finger on the scanner mounted on the Revaluation unit or enter your own pin code number and this displays your name and current cash balance held on the system.

To top up an account you need to insert cash coins or notes into the slot. The cash balance will show on the display. You will need to press the # key to tell the system that the transaction is completed.

How will I be able to check what the current cash balance is held on the system at any one time?

This can be done by using the revaluation station and either placing your finger on the scanner or entering your pin code to display the current cash balance.

Also the display at the tills in the canteen will show your new cash balance when the food service is finished.

Will I have problems in using the system?

No we want to make the change over to the new system as easy as possible for you and there will be lots of members of staff around to help you. You may find it hard to control your accounts for the first couple of weeks, but you will soon learn to manage your money and enjoy being in control of your own account.


Just a reminder, if at any time you change your mind and want to change from pin code to finger recognition please ask your parent/carer to send their written permission into school. Alternatively if at anytime you do not want to continue to use finger recognition but want to change to a pin code please let the Finance office know so we can ensure correct procedures are then followed.

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