Child Nutrition

K12 Payment Center FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


Why is my district using this service?

Your school district is offering K12 Payment Center to allow parents such as yourself to easily and conveniently make payments on your child’s meal account (and if they choose, school fees) from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. This will save you time from having to come into school to make these payments and it also cuts down on the need for cash or checks which can get lost in the process. It is not a requirement for you to use the system but it offers you another option to make payment quickly and easily. Other benefits include free access to your child’s meal history online, ability to transfer funds from one child’s meal account, and get notification of low balances and new school fees.

Log In/ Set Up

Question: What is my child’s Student Number?

Answer: The Student Number is a unique number assigned by your school district office. (It is usually not the same as the 3 or 4-digit lunch number that is used in the cafeteria.)  It is usually printed on report cards and correspondence that you receive from the school. Please contact your district office if you do not know what number to use.

Question: Why do I not see my district name listed under Participating Schools?

Answer: If your district name is not listed under the Participating Schools page, then they have not signed up with Education Management Systems, Inc. to participate in K12 Payment Center. Please encourage them to contact us. If you district is new to us it is possible they are still in process of getting setup and will show up shortly. Please verify with your district that they are using K12 Payment Center.

Question: What if my student’s school is not listed?

Answer: If your student’s school is not listed in the dropdown box you will need to check with your school district directly. They will be able to tell you if the school will be added to our program.

Question: What if I forget my user name or password?

Answer: Click on “Forgot Login Info?” on the Login screen.  Send us your registered e-mail address and we will send you a return e-mail with your information.

Question: What if I can’t remember what e-mail address I used or it is no longer available?

Answer: Contact your school district administrator and they will assist you.

Site/ Fees Cost

Question: Why are there fees for this service? 

Answer: The fees cover the costs of maintaining the secure website and the fees that are charged to us for processing credit card payments. School districts usually do not have funds available for this type of expense.

Question: What does the service cost?

Answer: The cost depends on the processing fee per your district. When you make Payments, a fee will be added to cover the cost of processing the credit card transaction. You can make meal payments for multiple children in one transaction and you will only be charged one convenience fee per meal payment transaction. You will not be charged a convenience fee per child.

Question: What does the processing fee cover?

Answer: The payment fee covers the fees that the credit card company charges for processing the transaction.

Question: What does free registration include?

Answer: Registration gives you free access to your student’s lunchroom balance and meal history, and offers e-mail notification when the account balance drops below a limit you have set. You must turn on these notifications if you would like to receive them. It includes all the students in your family who attend school in the same district.


Site Security

Question: How do I know it is safe to enter my credit card information on the online payment website?

Answer: The online payment site has 128 Bit Encryption provided by Thawte.  Thawte is the most trusted name in online shopping. All information submitted is protected by our secure server, which automatically encrypts your personal information so that it cannot be read while traveling over the Internet.


Students/ Accounts

Question: What do I do if I do not see all my students listed on the payment screen?

Answer: If all the students you have entered do not show up on the payment screen, it is possible the information you supplied could have been typed incorrectly. Please go to the Manage Student page and check the student’s first and last name, school, and Student Number. Correct any errors and save your changes. This student account will be available as soon it is verified with the school’s information.

Question: I have a question about one of the charges on my student’s account. How do I dispute it?

Answer: If you suspect a cashier error or wonder if another student may be borrowing your student’s account number, please contact your school cafeteria directly.

Question: My child has switched school districts. The new district also uses K12 Payment Center. How do I move my child to the new district?

You can change the school district in the Manage Profile section. It should be the first option on the page, and include a drop down. Once you change the district, you will need to re-add your students using their student number and name. Any money left in your student’s account cannot be transferred between districts. You must withdraw any outstanding balance from the school cafeteria you are leaving. Contact your student’s cafeteria for more information.

Question: How do I know what my balance is if I use a family account?

Answer: With a family account, a balance will show for all students since all students are using the funds from this one account. Because of the way our system receives data from the school Point of Sale system, the most current balance of the family account will be reflected by the student who had the most recent cafeteria transaction. Typically, this will be the student with the lowest balance.

Question: How do I get a refund? My student is no longer at the district/graduated/other.

Answer: Please contact the school district directly for a refund, we simply process the online payments. Once the payment clears it is deposited in a school district bank account. We do not hold funds.

Question: Why can’t I see the balance / meal history on my child’s account?

Answer: If your student hasn’t made a purchase in the cafeteria in a while, the account will go dormant, generally after about 90 days. Once they make a purchase again it will “reactivate” and you will be able to see everything. The money/balance is still there, it’s just not showing up on K12PaymentCenter due to inactivity. The child nutrition office at your school should be able to verify that the funds are still there. Alternatively, if you are just registering, it may take several hours for our system to sync with the school district. Once this has completed, you will see balance and history.

Question: Why do I sometimes get an error while making a payment, and then find a charge on my credit card anyway?

Answer: All credit cards are processed through a third-party service that verifies all the credit card information and payment amount. The service verifies that your name, address, card number, and card code match exactly to what your credit card company has on file. If there is a mismatch, the service sends a message to us that the charge failed. Depending on your credit card company’s policy the payment amount may still show as a Pending or a Temporary Hold against your account. Again, depending on your credit card company’s policy, it may take a day or two for the temporary hold to be removed. Please note that K12 Payment Center has no control over this process.

Question: How do I transfer money between by children’s accounts?

Answer: As long as your students are not assigned to a family account, you may transfer money from one account to another. To do this, select Transfer Funds from the navigation pane on the left. Select the student you wish to transfer money from and the student you wish to transfer money to. Enter the amount you wish to transfer and click Add Transfer. The transfer will take place the next time the service runs (typically every 2 hours except 10a-2pET). There is no convenience fee charged to transfer money from child to child because no credit card is being charged. It is simply moving money that is already in the system.

Please note, you cannot transfer more money than is available on the student’s account you are transferring money from.

Question: What if I can’t see all my children’s names when trying to transfer funds?

Answer: This usually means that the student is associated with more than one parent’s K12 Payment Center account. Unfortunately, we do not allow the transferring of funds from/to a student associated to more than one parent’s K12 Payment Center account for security reasons.

Question: Why is the verification process necessary for lunch payments?

Answer: This is how we make sure that your payment is credited to the correct student’s cafeteria account. We check for a match on the student’s last and first name, school, and student Number. This can usually be done instantly; however, in some cases it may take up to 24 hours. Once a student has been verified, lunch payments are processed by a service that runs automatically throughout the day. If it has been more than 24 hours, please contact your school district office and ask for the Child Nutrition Department. They will be able to assist you.

Lunch Payment/ Meal History

Question: How long from the time I register as a New User can I make a lunch payment?

Answer: This process usually takes less than a day. Students must be verified before we can accept payments. This can usually be done instantly; however, in some cases it can take up to 24 hours. Once this process has completed, you can make payments directly to your student account from or the free mobile app available in the app store.

Question: How long does it take for the payment to show at my student’s school?

Answer: Generally, all lunch payments are applied within 24 hours.

Question: How do I set up a low balance notification?

Answer: Go to Manage Profile and scroll down to the Low Balance Notifications section. Check Send Low Balance Notifications box. Next set the dollar amount you want a notification for if your childs balance drops below and select if you want the notification by email, text or both. You will receive notification when the balance drops below the amount you set.

Question: How do I find out what my student has been buying for lunch?

Answer: On your home page, click on Meal History next to the student’s name.

Question: I know that my student should have meal history or money in their account, so why does the balance show N/A?

Answer: There are a couple of reasons that the online payment website displays balance as N/A. The most likely reason is the link between our service and the school’s cafeteria server was broken during a nightly upload. When this occurs, we display N/A to avoid showing inaccurate information or because no information is available. This is normally resolved quickly. If it is not, contact your district and notify them.

Question: I’m getting some sort of error while trying to make a payment. What do I do?

Answer: It’s possible that your credit card information that you’ve entered on the website or app does not match the information on file with your credit card company. Delete and re-enter your credit card information, paying particular attention to your address and name. If that does not work, send an email to PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS CLICKING ON CONTACT US ON THE WEBSITE.

Question: If I make payments in the cafeteria, will they appear on the online payment site?

Answer: When you view Payment History, the page only displays the payments made through our website or mobile app. Any payments made in the cafeteria will be shown on the Meal History page for each student.

Question: How do I know when I’ve made a successful payment?

Answer: When you’ve made a successful payment, a confirmation number will always be emailed to you. You will also be able to see the payment in the Payment History section of your K12 Payment Center account.

Question: Why are my payments being declined?

Answer: If your payments are being declined, please verify all information is correct from your credit card, including the 3 digit security/verification code and billing address. If you still have issues, please contact the phone number on the back of the card for more information. We simply pass on the information that the issuing bank is providing to us.

Question: I keep getting a message that my payment may not exceed $X. Why?

Answer: Please confirm that you have not set up a exceeded the Maximum Lunch Payment amount for your account. This setting can be found under “Manage Profile” at the bottom of the page and you can change the amount to suit your needs.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992.  Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1)        mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2)        fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3)        email:

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Published by Jennifer Rozier on March 4, 2020

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