Flywire eases tuition worries for international students

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  • Money transfers service used to pay tuition fees
  • International students use the platform to save on cross-border transfers

Money transfer service Flywire, an online platform that lets international college students make their tuition payments, is fast becoming the preferred method for foreign students studying in the US. For many, the convenience of using the service to pay tuition is preferred over more traditional methods.

“You don't have a lot of stages between the transferring [with Flywire],” said Khanh Tran, a student from Vietnam currently in his first year at the University of Cincinnati.

Tran explained that for his family to make his tuition payments the traditional way, they would first have to transfer funds from their bank to his credit card, which he would then use to write an e-check to the university. Not only could that process take days and be subject to a host of potential delays due to international money transfer laws and regulations, but there's also the risk that a simple mistake on his part could jeopardize each payment, too.

“But basically, if I just so happen to lose my wallet, there's going to be a lot of trouble," Tran explained.

For nearly one million international students enrolled at US colleges and universities, the fear of not being able to attend classes or of putting their enrollment status in jeopardy with late or missing tuition payments makes alternative payment options like Flywire extremely attractive.

Flywire eliminates most of the steps of the traditional funds transfer process, offering direct payments that post faster to student accounts than international bank transfers. Flywire users also have the option of receiving text and email alerts to track each transaction, so students and families know exactly where their money is and when to expect it.

Furthermore, Flywire's low fees are more attractive to international families and the students they support abroad.

Fees on international transfers from banks can be as high as 4.5% on top of current exchange rates. In addition, many financial institutions charge a flat fee of anywhere from $25 to $50 on each transfer. Ultimately, this can significantly raise the cost of tuition over time for international students.

According to some estimates, international students could pay as much as $16,000 more in tuition alone than American students over their four years in college because of inflated interest rates and the high fees associated with international transfers for tuition.

Flywire does not charge additional costs per transaction, nor does the platform inflate fees above the existing currency exchange rate. Users pay just one small fee for each transaction, presenting a welcome alternative to the high cost of traditional bank transfers – particularly on large, lump sum payments like college tuition.

“We're constantly trying to work our partnerships to access better currency exchange rates, but then also build a network of ways for students to be making payments,” said Flywire Senior Relations Manager Talena Bucci.

“We're always trying to find local options... We have a team dedicated to customer support that's 24/7, and we have offices all over the world.”

Nigel Frith
Nigel Frith
Former Global General Manager
Nigel was the Global General Manager at FXcompared. Nigel has a background in marketing for businesses and consumers as well working in a variety of online financial services roles. Read more

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