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Keele University approached numerous suppliers in 2015 to discuss an EPoS & Payments project to span across the Keele University Student Union and Keele University outlets.

The project was to involve a number of hardware and software solutions to innovate their catering and hospitality efficiency whilst improving customer service to the highest possible level. The solution needed to extend from EPoS to Chip & Pin, Cashless Payments & Promotions across the University as well as Stock Control for the Student Union.

Uniware were awarded the contract to assist Keele University with their requirements. With notable experience in this market, Uniware were pleased to be working with Keele.

In 2016 Uniware began the project process. The order contained an array of hardware and software solutions for 31 University Retailers, Hospitality and Student Services Outlets. This scale and the necessary time restraints of the installation required an organised project supported by a methodically planned project plan. On the 1st August, the entire system was set live whilst being overseen by one of Uniware’s Project Managers, Paul Hemsley.

The hardware required installation over the last weekend of July 2016 by a number of Uniware engineers. Installation at the weekend offered the University less disruption as businesses on campus reach their highest capacity in normal working days. The weekend installation offered less risk for the University. 

Systems spanning the University and the Student Union

The University and Student Union represent two competing entities but were both in agreement that they needed an intelligent EPoS system to benefit the students and improve efficiency.

The University and Student Union each have a separate Uniware EpoS system, but share one Uniware Upay system, managed by the University.

The University are focused on catering and promotions, whilst the student union have more bar functionality and stock control, demonstrating the range of functions provided by the Uniware system.

Objectives - why did they change?

  • Speed up the payment by moving to online top up and value stored on the database rather than on card

  • Reduce reliance on wall mounted reloads

  • Better promotion tools   

  • Faster point of sale

  • Better management and reporting

  • Improve the Pharos printing service payment process

The EPoS Specification

Both the University and the Student Union required a replacement of EPoS hardware and peripherals across their combined 31 outlets. The provision included 30 PoS terminals for the University and 22 PoS terminals for the Student Union.

Keele required a flexible and secure PoS System that allowed their staff to sign on to a PoS terminal with smart cards in multiple trading type areas including Student Bars, Catering and Non-Catering outlets. The PoS system includes all required functionality including expected or what could be classified as standard PoS requirements. All PoS requirements were thoroughly detailed by Keele in the requirements specification with Uniware providing response in-line against all items.

The Uniware EPoS System comes with full configuration for Keele via the Uniware Cloud. The reporting module of the Uniware Cloud allows the site to set up scheduled reports based on all areas of their Uniware solution. Every Uniware solution is managed, tracked and checked for effectiveness as well as the products and services that Keele provide their customers.

The EPoS accepts multiple payment methods including wired and Bluetooth Chip & Pin, Cash, Voucher, and Departmental, Student and Staff Smart Cards with various discount and VAT levels applied. 

Upay Payments & Loyalty for Students

Students at Keele use Upay accounts for secure and fast payments. With a pre-pay cashless account, users top-up their account and are then able to make payments with their student cards across site enabling faster transactions for customers and greater efficiency across all outlets. Upay comes with a dedicated app and website that both show all account details to the users including statements, rewards, promotions, balances and more!

Keele requested the ability for a friend or family member to top-up a Upay customer’s account which is covered by Upay’s Guest Top-Up feature. Guest Top-Up provides a dedicated webpage for top-up plus an email invitation feature for Upay customers to utilise.

Upay features a promotions area that enables clients to display their EPoS promotions to their customers. Both Keele University and Keele Student Union utilise this area to display their promotions to their students and staff which include product loyalty promotions and meal deals. Upay users can filter on Student Union or University promotions if desired but usually view all the promotions in a list. This gives Keele and the SU the ability to set up and display different promotions, but to provide these to the customer in one area for better user experience. Each promotion is displayed on what we call a ‘ticket’ that provides helpful information to the user. This area displays free text so the client can choose what information they want to display on their ticket. Keele provide the promotion name, outlet name and opening times as standard. If the promotion is a multibuy Upay automatically tracks the amount of items you have purchased in this multibuy and displays this total for the user. If there were a ‘Buy 9 get the 10th free’ promotion for example, Upay would display the amount of coffees you are required to purchase until your free coffee entitlement.

Each ticket comes with a learn more button that takes you to further information about the promotion. Either this can be free text designated by the client or it can display data driven text where applicable. For example, on the coffee promotion, all qualifying products are displayed so that the customer knows which products are part of the promotion.

Keele use the Upay Merchant account to process their Uniware transactions via Upay. In doing so, Uniware handle the PCI DSS responsibility with our Merchant Account and the always increasing industry security standards. Uniware settle the funds to Keele minus the relevant transaction charges weekly. 

Tokens for Upay Customers

Keele provides tokens to customers which when purchased via Upay, allow the customer to access either Breakfast and Dinner across 7 days or Breakfast and Dinner across 5 days depending on the token chosen. Tokens allow the University to provide customers the option for pre-setting their meals over the term, providing the customer or even a parent peace of mind with a sustainable food plan. 

Campus Printing & Photocopying Services

The Upay payment system is linked with the printing and photocopying services campus-wide on Pharos printing and Canon photocopying hardware. Students are able to utilise their Upay balance to pay for printing and photocopying on-site. To do this, students just tap their student card with the funds coming directly out of the Upay payment account. As printing services are usually a low cost, this removes the need for change machines and the requirement to handle the cash that is accumulated on-site. 

Keele Integrations

Other integrations include:

  • Linking Upay with Pharos Printing & Canon Copying Services

  • Student and staff data is automatically imported to the Uniware system from university systems.  Persons are grouped according to their status, to improve their use of the system.

  • University balance transfers from the previous solution (incl. cashless & loyalty)

  • Student Union balance transfers from the previous solution (incl. cashless, loyalty and salary sacrifice

  • The university’s card management system provides an update of a person’s latest card credentials, shortly after a new card is printed, ensuring the new card is immediately available for use.

Steps into the Future

Not only was this project entrusted to Uniware to replace an existing system but was also expected to act as a propulsion into a smarter, savvier and more efficient future. With many customer contracts spanning 20 years, we hope to build a strong and lasting relationship with Keele based on innovation and trust. 

About Keele University

Keele University was founded more than 60 years ago, and are very passionate about ensuring their beliefs meet a new kind of society, economy and world.

With the university located in the heart of the UK surrounded by acres of glorious countryside, we can only imagine the spectacular views the university must endure. Even though the University has a big campus, they operate on a human scale, providing people the space to innovate.

About Uniware Systems

Uniware are EPoS and Payments Specialists who provide a wide range of solutions to multiple sectors including university, business & industry, education, restaurant, stadia and attractions. With over 23 years of experience, Uniware provide the most comprehensive software with wider reaching features than competitors.

To contact us about our solutions either:

Call Uniware on 0844 800 6200

Contact us via email to

Contact us via our Contact Us page

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