Like many institutions, Wesleyan University has been accepting cash and check payments across campus for a long time. In fact, until 2020, there were still students and other constituents who would hand deliver check payments to the various departments, who would then have to bring them to a central office for deposit. Over the last few years, the University has made progress in becoming more digital and limiting the number of cash and check payments, and it has used Flywire for international cross-border tuition payments for several years. However, it needed a more robust online solution that could easily accommodate ancillary payments made across campus. A centralized platform with a common user experience would not only make it easier and more efficient for payers to adopt, but also for administrators and finance team members to manage and process payments.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the need to minimize cash and check payments became even more critical. In addition to the overall demand from payers who prefer digital payment options, Wesleyan needed an online commerce solution since staff was working remotely and no longer able to collect and remit in-person payments due to the pandemic.
Wesleyan had successfully worked with Flywire to digitize its international tuition payments for several years. So, when the need arose, it turned to Flywire and its eStore offering, an all-in-one online shopping cart and event registration platform. As part of Flywire’s comprehensive receivables solution, eStore allows Wesleyan to sell and securely process payments for a range of different products, services, and events across campus.
Flywire performed the initial setup and then trained Wesleyan’s Controller and Director of Student Accounts on how to use the eStore. From there, Wesleyan was able to train their department teams themselves. They held one large meeting with existing online payment gateway owners to describe the new features, then worked with the “owners” individually to best optimize their respective stores. Easy to set up and manage, Flywire’s eStore enabled the University to seamlessly scale to support an unlimited number of storefronts and products.
The true test came in mid-November 2020 when Wesleyan needed to accept live transactions for a virtual Turkey Trot registration, immediately followed by a fundraising campaign for the school radio station in December. These stores were up-and-running within a day. From there, Wesleyan began using eStore to capture payments for other departments. These payments included rental property deposits, library fees, short courses, donations, and more. Once the initial stores were set up, the team began reviewing all the departments across campus still accepting cash and checks to determine how they could further utilize eStore to best expand adoption and improve staff efficiencies.
In just the first few months, Wesleyan’s eStore successfully processed more than 300 transactions for 70+ products across seven stores.
The ability to have one marketplace with multiple storefronts that can be individually managed by different departments has helped free resources and reduce financial risk by relieving Wesleyan’s IT Services, Finance and Student Account teams from store set-up, configuration changes and manual payment processing. Giving control to department admins who have been trained to electronically handle all registrations, payments and updates for their stores has improved efficiencies for all. Additionally, teams can think outside the box of traditional “products” in terms of what they can use eStore for, which puts control in the hands of the sellers to think about marketing their products in a way they haven’t been able to previously.
The ability to tie GL code by product was huge for Wesleyan. This is most exemplified in the Student Association store, which will eventually encompass more than 200 groups with 200+ different GL chart fields. The school plans to continue expanding its use of eStore across campus, as it becomes more proficient with eStore’s more advanced functionality to further optimize the experience and enhance efficiencies. The finance team continues to run reports to determine which areas have a high volume of cash payments and check deposits with the goal of moving to a cashless and checkless campus.
Before Flywire eStore
- One gateway per product
- Lack of customization options
- Multiple merchant IDs
- IT required to create new stores or products
- Store and product limitations
- No real-time updates
- Poor user experience
After Flywire eStore
- One marketplace with multiple storefronts reduces financial risk
- Advanced customization and granular permissions
- Self-serve flexibility to easily set up stores, add products and make changes
- Streamlined payment and report access with real-time updates
eStore has improved staff efficiencies and the overall student experience. Having one marketplace with multiple storefronts that can be individually managed by departments builds capacity for more strategic priorities. It’s really streamlined payments and report access to departments, helping us all be more efficient.
Flywire has helped to substantially improve process efficiencies and reduce financial risk. It has eliminated manual check processing and allowed Wesleyan quicker access to funds. High-volume, low-dollar transactions are virtually automated, allowing staff to focus on the University’s core revenue streams.