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Flywire partners with Indian state bank on payments

The higher education finance specialist Flywire has entered into a partnership with the State Bank of India, in a deal it says will streamline student payments.

The State Bank of India holds bank accounts for 32% of the country's population. Photo: iStock

The Flywire system will be installed into SBI’s own banking platform

The move promises to make “international education-related” payments, including tuition fees, a fully digitalised process for all State Bank of India customers.

It also sees Flywire partnering with a third bank in India, after other deals were penned with ICICI Bank and HDFC, but the State Bank of India’s coverage extends the payment company’s reach even further.

“32% of the Indian population has an SBI Bank account,” Mohit Kansal, SVP of global payments at Flywire, told The PIE News.

“Fully digitising the payment experience for these payers and bringing the total payment experience down to a few clicks would indicate that Flywire will be a preferred way for these payers to make payments to universities overseas.”

The Flywire system will be installed into SBI’s own banking platform, and will allow students to fully pay digitally for anything from application fees to tuition payments.

The payments will need to be made in three steps through the platform, and will be paid in Indian rupees.

Tracking will also be provided, Flywire said, from when the funds are deposited to the moment they’re delivered to the target institution and a full roster of transaction history will also be available.

While the simplified payment system will benefit a large number of outbound Indian students, only account holders with SBI will be able to use the function.

“Together, SBI and Flywire will be working to ensure we’re expanding access to it as much as possible,” noted Kansal.

Indian students, according to the latest available Open Doors data, are the second largest nationality cohort in US universities – and have overtaken China with the most international graduates. They are also the second largest cohort of international students at UK institutions, according to HESA figures.

“SBI and Flywire will be working to ensure we’re expanding access… as much as possible”

Kansal called the partnership “years in the making”, considering getting money out of India is “typically fraught with complexity”.

“This integration is so pivotal because it’s enabling students and families to make high-value payments in [Indian rupees],” he added.

This adds to a bumper six months for Flywire, which also acquired the Studylink agency in a $39m deal in November.

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