4 minute read

5 Benefits of Integrating International Payments with TransferMate

Integrating international payments into business office systems has long been seen as a challenge for universities. It can be time-consuming and often end in failure due to legacy systems, lack of internal resources and expertise.

However, integrating your campus systems is an investment worth making with the benefits far outweighing the challenges. It enables a holistic view of your data, provides a better experience for your students and, when done right, will be more efficient and more profitable for the university.

In this blog, TransferMate, a TouchNet Strategic Partner, looks at integrating international payments and the benefits that will bring.


1. Cost Savings

A streamlined and integrated process will reduce overhead costs for your university simply by reducing the management and administration time. When that is attached to an integrated payment solution, the financial savings on Foreign Exchange (FX) rates and bank or merchant charges add up quickly and can equal significant savings over time.

Having efficient systems can also help recruit students (particularly international ones) from a wider pool. It’s estimated that more than 1.07 million international students attended universities in the United States last year, contributing nearly $45 billion to the U.S. economy. By providing a streamlined, integrated solution that allows students to pay all of their fees, in their local currency, in a secure, payment environment can help attract international students to your university.

2. Seamless Reconciliation

Reconciliation is defined as ‘the action of making one view compatible with another’.  Your business office spends a significant amount of time trying to manually manage and track thousands of payments with missing reference numbers and mismatched funds.

Bringing your payment solution together with other systems, not only ensures that the amount billed is the amount received, but also that invoices are fully referenced, enabling real-time reconciliation. This saves university staff an average of 45 days a year!

The benefits don’t just apply to incoming payments, but refunds too. International refunds and overpayments have been a topic of interest for universities because, in some cases, the overpayment is a red flag for money laundering. The payment to the university should only contain the tuition or fee amount on the student invoice.

Integrated payment solutions that also enable universities to automate bulk refunds to originating accounts, can help protect your university from the risk of fraud. In one simple file exchange you can import up to 10,000 payments for processing, greatly reducing admin time.

Graphic that outlines the differences between direct banking transfers and TransferMate's international payments process.

3. Security & Regulation

With international student mobility and financial crime becoming more intertwined (as mentioned above in the case of overpayments and refunds), tighter restrictions and a greater focus on the industry has added further challenges to universities. Recruitment of international students remains a key priority for universities; however do you have the compliance framework in place to support this?

Payment service providers like TransferMate have dedicated teams to not only support but protect institutions and students from financial crime. These teams work with agencies around the world such as the Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT) and Interpol to safeguard the movement of funds internationally. Integrating with a regulated international payment solution like TransferMate protects your university and its students, providing you with ongoing support and awareness on emerging risks and threats facing the education industry.

It also opens your institution up to new opportunities such as alternative payment methods (APMs). APMs continue to play a key role in accelerating cash substitution, particularly in developing countries. The added benefit of these payments being processed over a regulated and secure network, gives credibility and assurance. Payment platforms that are set up to support multiple currencies across multiple APMs enables your university to attract more international students.

4. Access to Real Time Data

Often seen as the biggest payoff of integration, access to real time data can be a game changer. By incorporating all payments into one system, both the university and student are able to not only track payments online but also to receive payment confirmation notifications in real time. From an administrative standpoint, you’ll be able to see a fuller picture of all students together.

While API integrations have historically been used, newer technology such as webhooks enable instant notifications of real time happenings across the full platform. APIs work by the system requesting a response whereas webhooks don’t make a request, they are ‘event based’ so anytime something happens you’ll know!

5. Happy Staff & Students

The single largest contributor to employee success is feeling that they have the tools and support needed to do their jobs. Don’t overlook the link between good systems and happy employees. Integrated systems give your employees time to focus on bigger, more strategic tasks rather than time consuming admin.

Additionally, for your students, a single integrated payment platform in which to pay tuition, housing, health is a more attractive prospect as it saves them time too and gives them a clear view of everything in one place. Instead of having to checkout with multiple steps, students simply insert their data on a single page and the backend system does the rest. Add in foreign exchange savings and the power of the payment platform integration is really seen.

For more information about integrating your international payments with your TouchNet Solutions, contact TransferMate at [email protected]