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Paying tuition just got easier

By Chen Jia in San Francisco (China Daily)
Chinese students enrolled in more than 300 American universities are now able to pay their hefty tuitions in renminbi online, thanks to a new cooperative effort between Hangzhou-based Alipay and Boston-headquartered peerTransfer. Alipay is China’s leading third-party online payment solution, while peerTransfer is a top provider of global payment solutions for the education industry in the US.

“Our goal is to enable payment options that are familiar and convenient for Chinese students and parents,” peerTransfer’s Mira Woods said.

According to the Institute of International Education, students from China represent more than 25 percent of the international student population studying in the US, so this is what Woods called a key focus for peerTransfer.

“Based on AliPays strong presence in China, we recognize the importance of offering its online payment channel for peerTransfer customers,” Woods said.

Woods noted that the partnership was based on the advantages of Alipay, which has a more than 45 percent market share in online payments in China, and supports 22 funding methods. Alipay users do not have to have a bank account and the service is secure in that each user must set up an account prior to checking out.

The company has been signing on schools in preparation for the upcoming billing cycle. The flexibility of the platform allows schools to start accepting payments in a matter of days without any IT integration required, Woods said.

According to peerTransfer, they were the first company in the education payment space to offer local payment options from China and India starting in the summer of 2012. “Even though we have been processing payments from China and India for the last year, it is part of our mission to continually innovate and launch new payment methods that are the most convenient for students and their families,” said Iker Marcaide, CEO of peerTransfer.

“Our goal is to offer students payment options with which they are already familiar, making the experience as easy as possible,” Marcaide said. “For example, an Indian student can now choose to pay via ICICI bank, the second largest bank in India, while a Chinese student can make an online payment directly from their bank account, send a traditional wire from any bank in China, or select great options like China UnionPay or Alipay to pay their tuition.”

“Carnegie Mellon continues to be impressed by peerTransfer’s dedication to creating familiar, convenient, and cost effective payment options for our international students,” said Brian Hill, director of student accounts at Carnegie Mellon University. “We are thrilled that our students from India will have two local payment options, and also that our students from China have four local payment options from which to choose for the upcoming payment cycle. These two countries represent 55 percent of our total international student population, so this is of huge value to the school and our students.”

A 25-year-old Chinese student in San Francisco said: “It is a wonderful solution to pay though Alipay, as my mother used to have to go to a bank in China at least three times and spend around 10 hours waiting in line for the money transfer to pay my tuition in the US.”

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http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2013-06/14/content_16621219.htm

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