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Student international payments 101: Your options abound

Student international payments 101: Your options abound

An increasing number of international students have chosen higher education in North America. For example, there has been a 55 percent increase in students from India as well as 8 percent from China. Overall, during the past decade, the overseas student population in Canada has doubled, and then some (119 percent).

That overseas group of tech-savvy students prefer to pay their higher education costs with their home country’s resources. Two examples are Alipay, which is widespread in China, and NetBanking in India. Alipay has more than 600 million e-wallet customers, for example.

So, it is incumbent on universities and colleges to make sure their administrative and operational procedures align with student financial needs and preferences. That alignment, in turn, must include speed, security and simplicity of use, regardless of the student’s home country. It is a matter of helping students do what the universities need to survive economically.

Here are some tools in the existing ecosystem of payments universities need to provide to international students:

Currency conversion

Dynamic Currency Conversion provides transparent currency equivalency and costs to the student. The student needs to know the current exchange rate and bank conversion costs.

Local payment resources

They could include e-wallets and convenient bank transfer resources. Those resources need to give the students a choice in paying in the most convenient and preferred method.

Multilingual payment instructions

Foreign students need a full idiomatic understanding of every step of the payment transaction. “Lost in translation” takes on serious consequences when it comes to financial dealings.

Two foreign payment paradigms

One UK firm, Secure Trading, facilitates overseas payments for thousands of foreign students. This service provides a payment gateway to a number of top UK educational institutions. Its payment methods incorporate the convenience of China’s Alipay, Portugal’s Multibanco, and the popular European direct debit service SEPA.

Then there is another UK-based service, Secure Trading Group. This service has the trust and confidence of London’s School of Economics. Over 10,000 UK and international students and 500 commercial customers rely on the website to connect with global payments partners.

Resources for foreign students in the United States

Thanks to the growth of online fund transfer specialists, college students now have a plethora of affordable choices. Their options in the U.S. include:

  • Bank-to-bank transfers—By far the costliest—banks on both ends take a cut of the transaction, but nevertheless, the most secure.
  • Money transfer services online—Reliable money transfer companies offer fast and reasonably priced services.
  • Cash wiring services like MoneyGram and Western Union—With the ability to provide fast money transfers to any location, these organizations are the most widely used in the world.
  • International checks from U.S. banks for overseas payments—The international check is essentially a bank draft. This method provides assurance to the recipient that the funds are available prior to writing the check. International checks do not bounce.

Accommodating international students’ payments promote recruitment and diversity. Easing the student payment process pays dividends in the overall student experience and morale benefits that spill over into the general student population. Collegiality and a pleasant immersion in the campus experience are two factors that make a student’s few years of college life an important part of what it means to be educated.