Collecting school fees from overseas is a common challenge for many independent and international schools today. With little, or no transparency in traditional processes, combined with inflated exchange rates and unnecessary bank charges, overseas payments are rarely plain sailing for either the school or the parent.
Traditional payment processes for the fee payer usually involve the use of a local bank to facilitate a foreign exchange transfer; a cumbersome process even today. Alternative methods of sending money internationally can be long-winded and often involve unnecessary work such as a KYC (Know Your Customer) process, and anti‐money laundering procedures.
Traditional banking methods can create a range of issues for schools. Inflated exchange rates and hidden bank fees often lead to schools not receiving the full invoice amount. This often results in a reconciliation issue and a re‐invoice process for the shortfall. Notwithstanding the implications on cashflow and parent frustration, this remedial process creates additional work at no small cost to the school.
Concerns are not just confined to the school. It is not uncommon for parents to be paying 4‐6% in bank rates or fees on the invoice total.
Such penal rates and laborious administration are unacceptable and unnecessary at a time when fintech has advanced digital options – some in partnership with management information systems specifically for schools – which reduce costs and improve efficiency, security, communication and data management. Such technologies, designed for today’s schools with their global and local needs, can provide access to systems that match and reconcile incoming international payments seamlessly; advising, tracking and acknowledging at key stages of the process.
At WCBS we have been proactive in recognising the issues around international payments. We want to ensure that the service we provide to our schools eliminates any such issues, improving the quality of service received by not just our customers, but by yours as well. By forming a partnership with innovative businesses, such as those in the payments space, we are confident we can offer the best possible service to the education market.