Sleek kitchens, swimming pools and even cinemas may not come top of mind when considering college housing. But it’s exactly what a student in a Livensa Living building can expect and enjoy. Meeting a surging student population in Spain and Portugal and a shortfall in places to live, the region’s second largest provider of purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) has grown eight-fold since opening its first two buildings in 2019. Thousands of students now live at 19 different Livensa properties across the two countries, with five more currently under construction. Livensa, backed by real estate investment and development firm Temprano Capital, plans to have 10,000 beds for students, in addition to those now standard but well-beyond basic amenities.
Livensa Living Quick Facts
Student payments by bank transfer not sustainable
Livensa’s lightning fast growth necessitated enterprise systems that could support it and scale. The 600 students living at Livensa’s first two properties paid their rent via bank transfer, which required Livensa’s finance staff to manually track and match payments. That process took weeks, and still didn’t always afford visibility into whether a payment had actually been completed – both for Livensa and its payers. “It was a lot of administrative work when you have to match 600 transfers,” said Inmaculada Ferrero, Livensa’s Special Project Director. “There was a lack of control over knowing who paid.” As Livensa opened more buildings, it knew offering bank transfers as the sole payment option, and manually reconciling payments, wasn’t sustainable. Easing the payment and account reconciliation process became a major priority in a company-wide project to upgrade systems and digitize processes.
Client-centricity, flexible payments support pushes Flywire over Worldpay
Livensa narrowed its short list of possible payment providers to Worldpay and Flywire, which both came recommended by their property management system vendor PEX. It picked Flywire over Worldpay because Flywire combined market-leading functionality for multi-currency payments and flexible payment methods with competitive pricing and a client-centric approach that was apparent from the start. “We always felt very comfortable talking to Flywire, that is something that hits you from the very beginning. It’s very easy to explain things and find a solution to a problem,” Ferrero said. “We like the service, we like the product and we liked the price.”
Flywire increases control over finances, gives visibility into receivables
Livensa went live with Flywire in March 2021, and is already realizing time and cost savings, and benefiting from increased visibility and control. International and domestic students and their families can pick their payment method and currency of choice and make all payments online. They can also see in seconds that their payment has gone through, boosting confidence in the process and in Livensa. For Livensa, automated reconciliation saves the time and cost of two Full Time Equivalents (FTEs), and high processing fees for both the payer and Livensa. Because Flywire is integrated with PEX, Livensa has real-time visibility into payment status and greater control over clients accounts, greatly easing the collection of 3,000 payments a month. “It’s about the quality of the information you have on the financial end, and the certainty you have that things are getting done correctly,” Ferrero said. “(With Flywire), a big piece of your business feels secure.”
Livensa aims to be the biggest owner and operator of PBSA in the Iberian peninsula, goals that see it needing to process and reconcile some 10,000 monthly payments. Flywire will scale to support both payment volume and the needs of diverse payers wherever the company decides to go next. Livensa can focus less on monitoring those transactions, and zero in tasks that improve the overall performance of the company. “Flywire takes all administrative tasks that add no value off your shoulders, allowing you to focus on your business operations and performing more value added activities,” Ferrero said. “We don’t consider our business nowadays without Flywire.”