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82% of internationals want to pay in local currency

A study carried out by international payments company Western Union Business Solutions shows 82% of international students want to pay tuition in their local currency.

Results also show that frustrations arise on both sides of the payment process

According to the research, financial factors are the second most influential in a student’s decision making after the courses on offer at an institution.

“Universities need to take into consideration students’ backgrounds; often what works for one country doesn’t work for another”

“We saw a gap in the payment process and we wanted to quantify that as well as to encourage university providers to be more pragmatic and commercial in what they’re doing,” Julia Kopievska, marketing manager at WUBS told The PIE News.

The figures are based on responses from more than 900 international students, universities and agents from 71 countries who were surveyed online. The desire to pay in their local currency ranked highest on the list of what students want in their payment process, above the demand for their payment to arrive on time (79%), for no transaction charges (78%) and for dedicated student support (72%).

Results also show that frustrations arise on both sides of the payment process, with university international office staff identifying specific pain points including time spent investigating payments; payments received but incorrectly referenced; and delayed payments.

In a statement, Western Union said the research explored the relationship between international tuition pricing issues and university reputation.

“This is a better opportunity to have a more engaged conversation and really point out to universities they just need to adjust the way they handle students,” said Kopievska. “They need to take into consideration students’ backgrounds; often what works for one country doesn’t work for another.”

Recently, Western Union Business Solutions launched a service that allows universities and higher education institutions to accept tuition payments in Indian rupee, and last year it expanded its partnership with ChinaPay to enable participating institutions to accept fees in the Chinese Renminbi.

As a result of the study, Adam Tiberi, a senior vice president at WUBS said the company would continue to broaden its capabilities.

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4 Responses to 82% of internationals want to pay in local currency

  1. Only problem is that WUBS charge students 5%+ in the foreign currency rates, so their solution is far from student-focussed.

    You should have spoken to some companies that are actually trying to help students solve their FX-related issues with regards to their tuition. Companies like Cohortpay (https://cohortpay.com).

    • Thanks to WU for the article, but I agree with Cale. Building a student focused solution is the only way to really eliminate those extra costs and improve the payment experience. 300 Universities already picked peerTransfer to do that, will be happy to share case studies and stats with who is interested.

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