The Canada Homestay Network (CHN) provides safe and supportive accommodations for thousands of students studying in the country from over 70 countries. In the last decade, Canadian School Districts have recruited more and more international students and CHN has been able to support this increased demand by offering a safer, more comfortable, affordable, and immersive experience, especially for younger, high school age students.
Managing international payments for the students’ accommodations from the various countries was a different story. CHN often received international transfers through their bank and would have no idea where the payments came from or which student account they were intended for. So, they would sit in the system for a long time before they could be properly credited. Payments were often “short” as well because of transfer fees or exchange rate differences.
As a result of all these factors, the finance staff had to invest a lot of time trying to reconcile the payments, further increasing administrative costs, and creating confusion and frustration for students and their families.
CHN started working with ScholarfX in 2014 to assist with its international payments. In 2016 ScholarfX became part of Flywire. CHN migrated to the Flywire global payments platform and saw immediate additional benefits. The time required of finance staff to reconcile international payments was dramatically reduced. Flywire’s dashboard enabled real-time tracking of the status of any payment for both CHN and students’ families. The visibility also provided both parties with the confidence that the correct amount was being sent and received, and that there were no losses due to hidden bank fees or shifts in exchange rates
CHN also used Flywire to process refunds, a common occurrence due to its refundable security deposit policy. Refunds were especially prevalent during COVID when some students were not able to travel and others departed earlier than expected. Being able to return the funds via Flywire made it a much easier process because Flywire already had all of the payers’ information. And in the case there were gaps in banking information, Flywire was able to take care of it without CHN having to get involved.
The finance team has also taken full advantage of the Flywire Client Success team for itself as well as student families. “We have a specific representative assigned to our organization and we contact him whenever we have questions or concerns. He’s always there to help.” said CHN finance coordinator Emma Archer. “It makes a big difference.”
With Flywire, CHN has seen reduced payment fees, an improved payer experience, and equally important, a much more streamlined administrative process for international payments and refunds. The finance team is able to keep track of everything payment-related in one place (application) making everybody more efficient.
- Lots of international receivables with no information on the sender or intended student account
- Numerous “short” payments as a result of transfer fees and FX rate differences
- Significant staff time required for international payment processing
- High costs due to bank fees
- Payer frustration
- Ten-fold reduction in administrative requirements with international receivables
- Accurate, on-time international payments
- Increased payer satisfaction
- Shift in payment methods from higher fee credit cards to lower fee bank transfers
- Reduced processing fees on credit cards, bank transfers and other payment methods
Our staff time to reconcile payments and process refunds has improved ten-fold. We really like that we can see payments that are on the way to us – both initiated and guaranteed. And when students or agents are having problems with sending payments, we know we can rely on Flywire Support to help them. This is a wonderful benefit, as we are not experts in the field and we know our customers have the support they need in their first language and have access to country experts.”
Meet Canada Homestay Network
The Canada Homestay Network (CHN) is a family-run, non-profit society. Over the years it has served tens of thousands of students from more than seventy countries, individually and in groups, aged 10 to 75. Today CHN manages programs in over forty communities across Canada. Its combined experience of matching tens of thousands of students over the last 20 years has earned a reputation for excellence and professionalism unmatched in our industry. The result: more informed and reasonable expectations; and through timely access to qualified resources, more confidence, more patience and less anxiety for everyone involved. Learn more at https://canadahomestaynetwork.ca/about/.