Higher One, a leader in providing financial services and data analytics to more than 1,900 colleges and universities nationally, announces the addition of the Chinese yuan to its international payments service, which is powered by Higher One’s partnership with Western Union Business Solutions.
“We wanted to provide a solution that encourages the rapidly growing population of international students to seamlessly navigate the payment process, and we’re pleased that with the addition of the yuan we are now able to offer it to tens of thousands of more students.”
The yuan follows the recent additions of Korean won, added earlier this year and the Indian rupee, added last year. According to Open Doors® 2013 “Fast Facts,” students using the yuan, the won and the rupee represent more than 50% of international students in the U.S. “a constituency Higher One now serves through its international payments services. Higher One and Western Union Business Solutions are providing a streamlined solution to more international students than ever and at an exchange rate that is more competitive than what traditional banks offer.
The yuan will be offered through Western Union Business Solutions’ partnership with Geoswift, a group that specializes in the efficient movement of money between China and the rest of the world. This addition allows international students not only to make bank transfer payments, but UnionPay credit and debit card payments toward tuition and any other type of charges and fees owed to the education institution of their choice.
“Our goal is to provide international students and their families with a straightforward and cost effective way to pay their tuition and other school fees in their own currency,” said Jonathan Rees, Managing Director, North America, Western Union Business Solutions. “China has the largest international student body in the world and it is crucial that the payment process works for them as well as their chosen place of study. The beauty of our offering is that it gives all parties confidence; education institutions know that they will receive the correct tuition amount in U.S. dollars while students know exactly how much they are paying in yuan, and that their payment will be immediately identified and reconciled against their fees and student IDs.”
“The international payment functionality we offer through our suite of payment services helps administrators and international students alike when it comes to easily making payments to their college or university,” said Matt Dorf, senior vice president and general manager of Payment Solutions at Higher One. “We wanted to provide a solution that encourages the rapidly growing population of international students to seamlessly navigate the payment process, and we’re pleased that with the addition of the yuan we are now able to offer it to tens of thousands of more students.”
Higher One first partnered with Western Union Business Solutions in 2010 to offer international payments in response to the challenges administrators, international students and their parents face in making tuition payments to U.S. schools. Before, many international students struggled with inefficient and costly wire transfers and expensive exchange rates in order to pay their tuition and fees. Through Higher One’s ePayment and eMarket modules, payment functionality is now available using the local currencies of the three countries that represent the most international students in the United States, helping with cost savings and convenience.
According to Open Doors®, the number of international students in the U.S. increased to a record high of almost 820,000 students in 2012/13 and the ability to send local currency payments is a key element of accessibility when it comes to financing their education. In addition to enabling such payments, the integration offered by Higher One also allows for much simpler reconciliation on the administration’s behalf as the institution no longer has to compare student payments against wire transfer amounts that may or may not include the payer’s details.