THE INVISIBLE THREAD OF FINANCE
We provide them with local payment
methods so if they’re coming from China
we’ll give them UnionPay or we might offer
them a local bank Flywire aims to provide transparancy to ensure their clients know where
their money is during the transaction.
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“They can go through the financial site in their language.
We provide them with local payment methods so if they’re
coming from China we’ll give them UnionPay or we might
offer them a local bank account in other jurisdictions. So it’s
really in their currency and they’re really understanding how
much the school is costing them.”
Further reassurance comes when the student receives
their bill. Webster says it is the university that tells them how
to make a payment.
“The university will send out its bill or statement and it
will say for international students please use this link,” she
explains. “And the link is co-branded, so it might be student.
globalpay.com/Stanford or /LSE or whatever the case may
be. And when they get to that site, they see their university’s
logo alongside Western Union’s logo. So this is definitely a
co-branded approach which brings with it certainty that the
university is happy with its students this way.”
Unsurprisingly, both Prudhomme and Webster prefer it
when their companies are a school’s preferred provider.
Not only are they able to take the burdens from the school
– reconciling payments, ensuring payments are made in
full, compliance issues and so forth – they can share best
practices with them.
To this end, Western Union’s client advisory board can in-form
universities of international student trends they might
spot – a larger influx of certain nationalities preferring to
study in China as opposed to Australia say – and help them
attract these students. After all, international students help
many schools with the funding challenges they face.
For schools, keeping on top of the trends in this sector
– and many of them are fast moving and ever evolving – is
a full-time job. Webster acknowledges there are a lot of ope-rators
in the fintech space, although not all can offer global
market pulse taking.
“Not all of these fintechs coming up out of the woodwork
every day are legally licenced to carry out business in all the
jurisdictions that this university may want to do business in,”
Prudhomme reiterates the importance of regulation and
keeping abreast of the rules. “It’s not static at all,” he says.
“It’s always changing. In some areas – Europe for example –
things are just becoming easier with SEPA payments (Single
Euro Payments Area).
“It’s cheaper and easier to move money. In other regions
– particularly areas with volatile currencies or more concern
around it, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to get
funds out of a country. We’re seeing both things happening
at the same time.”
He shares that for fintech firms, “It’s challenging for us to
manage, so I’m sure it would be challenging for schools to
“In some places you have to provide a boat-load of docu-mentation
just to move some money. And in other places it’s
as easy as buying a coffee.”