International students in Australia are finding transaction fees too costly
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International students in Australia are finding transaction fees too costly

International students in Australia are finding transaction fees too costly

International students in Australia are not happy with the rising costs associated with transaction fees.

The recent Aussie Study Experience Annual Report 2019 by CohortGo, which surveyed almost 700 international students in Australia, found that 49 percent of respondents suggested that education providers should provide new payment options to lower transaction fees.

For example, platforms such as CohortGo and Western Union Global Pay for students don’t charge high transaction fees compared to banks. However, not nearly enough universities partner with these types of platforms to offer alternative payment options.

Cohort Go chief executive and co-founder Mark Fletcher told The PIE News that banks normally charge between three to six percent in foreign exchange fees, which means some students can pay up to AUD$30,000 extra for their education.

Australia’s prosperity is directly linked to international education, which is why it’s vital the international education sector continues to innovate and look to improve the student experience of students studying here.”

“Transaction fees imposed on money transfers have been a frustrating bidder cost of paying for international education. Students are calling for education providers to adopt alternative payment options which impose little or no fees on their students, such as fee-free global payment gateways.”

“Anything the international education sector can do in order to reduce the costs of fees would be well received by students and their parents.”

International transfers and cross border fees can be a bane to international students. Charges on both ends, hidden fees and bank transfer limits can make paying for tuition fees and sending money abroad a real hassle. Students from certain countries like Zimbabwe have also complained about the long processing time for fund transfers from their home countries which certain banks may flag as “terrorist financing”.

The international education market in Australia is more competitive than ever. According to ICEF Monitor, the country saw double-digit growth in international student numbers last year, an 11 percent increase over the same time the previous year.

According to the survey, 37 percent of international students in Australia surveyed said that their tuition fees were paid for by their parents, while 25 percent were paid through internet banking and 15 percent on credit card.

Fletcher said, “While managing payment plans is very complex, there are solutions in the market that can significantly simplify the receipting and reconciliation of these payments.”

Universities and education-related providers (such as accommodation providers) have been called to consider offering more payment options and make it easier for students to pay their fees. Doing so could set them apart from their competitors.

The international education market in Australia is more competitive than ever. According to ICEF Monitor, the country saw double-digit growth in international student numbers last year, an 11 percent increase over the same time the previous year.

“In an increasingly competitive industry, education providers who differentiate themselves and enhance the student experience will be more likely to attract a growing cohort of students,” Fletcher said.

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