Students Staff

University online payments: frequently asked questions

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Security of the Essex web pages

This system enables credit/debit card payments to be made against students' accounts using Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator versions 4 or above. Our secure-server software encrypts all sensitive information using industry-standard technology.

To protect your security, please ensure you close your browser after completing the payment process.

What is a PRID?

This is your own unique University reference number - it takes the form of 5 letters, always in CAPITALS, followed by 5 numbers, e.g. SMITH12345. It is displayed on all student registration cards and all accommodation invoices. Undergraduates PRIDs will be assigned once they have chosen Essex as their firm choice on UCAS Track and will be able to view their PRID in their applicant portal.

Postgraduates: PRIDs are allocated to all applicants who have accepted their place from April onwards when the Accommodation online booking facility is available. Applicants receive their PRIDs by email at the time the PRID is assigned.

Which cards do we accept?

We accept all VISA, Mastercard and American Express cards. We do not however accept Diners Club cards, due to the high rates of commission charged.

Please also be aware that some cards such as Electron are not capable of being used for online transactions - your bank will advise you if your card is subject to such restrictions.

Which selection do I make? Specified or Unspecified

The Specified Payment screen is intended for use by registered students, so that you can review your outstanding invoices, and select which one to pay. You will need to be registered, with an active user name and password.

The Unspecified Payment screen does not require you to be registered, or have an active user name. Since all you need to know is your PRID and date of birth, it is ideal for use by parents, or if you know the amount you wish to pay.

Troubleshooting - "Specified Payments"

If you are using the "Specified Payment" screen, you need to be very careful that the user name and password are entered correctly, i.e. in capitals or lower case, depending on how you entered your password originally.

If you enter either incorrectly, you will not be able to progress to the next screen. You are allowed 3 attempts to enter your user name and password correctly. If this happens, it is best to make the payment using the "Unspecified Payment" screen, and report your problems to the IT Help Desk. Please note that the above problem can arise within 2 days of being registered, due to all the University computer systems being updated.

If you have more than one invoice, you may find it works better to pay one at a time.

If there is no radio button in the 'paying in full?' column and there is no empty dialog box for 'amount you will pay', there is a browser compatibility problem. Use another browser.

Troubleshooting - "Unspecified Payments"

If you are using the "Unspecified Payment" screen, and you are advised that you have entered an incorrect PRID, please try again, making sure the PRID is entered in capitals. If this is still rejected, it could be that our records contain an incorrect date of birth. To check that, please either e-mail

Troubleshooting - Online payments

If your payment is declining, please contact your bank for further assistance. In some cases banks add further security restrictions on making payments online. It may be because it is a large amount.

From a Non-UK Bank - to obtain an immediate quote to make an international bank transfer, please see our information on Global Pay for Students.

Countries from which we cannot accept card payment

Unfortunately we cannot accept card payment from the following countries:

  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Crimea Region (Ukraine/Russia)
  • Syrian Arab Republic

Declined Payments

If after entering your credit card details, and selecting the transmit button, you are advised "Authorisation has failed", there are several reasons why this may have happened:

  • You may have entered the incorrect card number. Please note that on most payment cards, the number to enter is the long number across the middle of the card.
  • Your card credit limit may have been exceeded - (some cards have a daily limit, in which case try making a smaller payment).
  • The post code you entered is different from the post code held by your bank/credit card company.
  • The postcode must be entered without any punctuation characters such as the hyphen (-) in it, even if that is correct in your country of origin.
  • Not all cards are eligible for online transactions.
  • The card is not accepted by the University (e.g. Diners Club).

If your card is declined you can try again, but for security reasons, your bank will normally allow only three consecutive attempts, after which the card may then be blocked for the rest of the day. The University is not advised by the banks why individual transactions are declined - for your own security, only the cardholder can be advised by their own bank why a card is declined.

When is the data updated?

All payments made via the Online Payment System update the screens as soon as the payment is authorised. Invoices paid using "Specified Payments" will be cleared from the screen.

If you pay using the "Unspecified Payments" screen, the payment will appear as a credit as soon as the payment is authorised. Staff in the Income Team will match the payment to the appropriate invoice on the next working day, and will be reflected on the Online Payment System the subsequent working day.

All other transactions on a student's account (e.g. payments made at the Income desk, new invoices added etc.) are updated overnight.

Foreign language support

To translate text from these pages from English into a range of other languages, try Google's language tools.


We are always looking at how the web payment system could be improved - as a user of this system, we would welcome any feedback you wish to make concerning the web payment pages. If you have any comments or suggestions, please email


If you have any questions about the payment of invoices, please contact If you have any technical queries please contact the Web Development Team at

[log in to the web payments system]