Open Banking brings reassurance to student payments

Open Banking is allowing businesses to send a payment link or QR code to customers with all the correct information pre-embedded to the individual. Which eliminates any chance of information being entered incorrectly or lengthy admin time linking payments with customers. In education, Open Banking is allowing education providers to invoice students via an omnichannel payment experience. Offering students a secure, speedy way to pay their fees online, directly from their bank account.

Open Banking is allowing businesses to send a payment link or QR code to customers with all the correct information pre-embedded to the individual. Which eliminates any chance of information being entered incorrectly or lengthy admin time linking payments with customers. In education, Open Banking is allowing education providers to invoice students via an omnichannel payment experience. Offering students a secure, speedy way to pay their fees online, directly from their bank account.

Benefits for education providers
Typically, reconciliation has been a laborious process, prone to human error. Setting up payments traditionally involves populating many fields manually – and it takes just one small slip to enter a number or letter incorrectly. With hundreds, sometimes thousands, of students paying for tuition and accommodation fees, reconciling invoices can be a significant drain on resources.

Pay with Bank transfer (PwBt) can significantly ease the administrative burden on education providers by embedding the Student ID or Applicant Reference number directly into the payment process for easier reconciliation. With the pre-populated information in place, each payment is automatically attributed to the correct student account. In addition, education providers also benefit from a low-cost payment method, a seamless SCA compliant customer experience, and instant payments with no chargebacks.

For students, PwBt offers a seamless and accurate payment method. Pay with Bank transfer powered by American Express is one of the first Open Banking initiatives in the UK from a globally recognised and trusted brand. The service can be used by current account holders at major UK banks, from high street banks such as Barclays and HSBC to neobanks such as Revolut. It’s powered by American Express but open to everyone.

Payees can benefit from bank-grade security
PwBt uses embedded identifiers that are instantly matched to the payee’s account, removing the requirement to manually enter payment information. Students, their parents or sponsors click the ‘Bank Transfer’ payment option either embedded on the university’s payment portal or included in a digital invoice and select their UK bank. They are then automatically redirected to their bank’s webpage or app to authenticate and approve the payment. No passwords or account details are shared or stored ever. Payees can also see their balance before they approve the payment and benefit from bank-grade security.

International students and UK banking
International students make up 21% of the UK student population and qualify to have a UK bank account. But opening a high street bank requires many documents, such as a three-month bank statement history from their home bank, proof of address and a university acceptance letter. Whereas opening a digital bank account (e.g. Revolut) doesn’t, making it significantly easier for international students to open a UK bank account and pay their fees without having to wait for a debit card to be issued.

Furthermore, not all international banks or platforms are supported across universities. Which makes PwBt a welcomed solution for students whose home banks are not supported by their university. Moreover, PwBt offers international students an alternative to credit and debit cards which can charge foreign exchange fees and are prone to human error if details are inputted incorrectly.

International students and tuition fraud
Pay with Bank transfer provides reassurance to international students by reducing tuition fraud. Which is necessary because increasingly these students are being contacted in person or through social media by fraudsters offering to pay their university tuition fees for a reduced rate or even award them a bursary. When this happens students are often asked to use ‘third party facilitators' and supply their bank details. PwBt removes this risk by giving universities the opportunity to use digital invoicing to send bespoke links to students to pay so they know their payments are secure and going to the right place.

Pay with Bank transfer is currently available for consumer current accounts with the major UK banks, including: AIB, Bank of Ireland, Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Danske Bank, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, Monzo, Natwest, Nationwide, Revolut, RBS, Ulster, TSB and Santander, with more banks joining all the time.

Automated payee set-up at Lancaster University
Lancaster University, one of the UK’s top-ranked higher education institutions, adopted Pay with Bank transfer to help streamline its payments process. Before, students were required to manually set-up and enter all payment information. PwBt has helped automate the payee set-up.

“Lancaster University sees PwBt as an exciting opportunity to further improve our payment experience for students, parents, and alumni, whilst at the same time delivering processing and financial benefits to the university,” commented a spokesperson from the University.

For more information about Pay with Bank transfer and how it can support education providers, visit americanexpress.com/pwbt or email us.