According to the Report on the Spending of Chinese Students’ Abroad (2017) issued by UnionPay International on July 20, Chinese students who study abroad spend over 380 billion RMB overseas each year and 80% of that is in the form of tuition fees and daily expenses. (The figures are estimated based on the overseas spending of students with UnionPay cards). The overseas study market in China is growing stably now with students becoming younger and their choices of destinations more diverse.
As the Report points out, the UnionPay card is the most commonly used cross-border payment tool used by the Chinese, and the transaction volume of UnionPay cards in overseas study-related fields continues to grow over the past few years. Students and parents not only use UnionPay cards to pay tuition fees via the two platforms of WesternUnion and peerTransfer to schools in North America and Europe, but also pay with UnionPay Online Payment at the official website of schools in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Now, more than 2,000 educational institutions outside mainland China accept UnionPay cards for tuition payment, and the UnionPay service system for students studying abroad keeps improving, forming a friendly card-using environment “on and off campus.”
“The Chinese students who study abroad and their families are a customer group to whom we attach great importance,” said Cai Jianbo, CEO of UnionPay International. And based on the UnionPay global acceptance network and service system, the UnionPay payment service system for students studying abroad is improving constantly: On the one hand, we are making education payment a feature service of UnionPay cross-border online payment, providing solutions to the biggest pain point of tuition fees payment. On the other hand, we are expanding our acceptance network in and near renowned schools, further enriching the card-using channels by promoting innovative products like mobile QuickPass QR code payment. We are committed to offering better payment services to Chinese students studying abroad.
Solving the payment pain point of studying overseas: High security and low service fee
Based on public data, the report points out that the U.S., the U.K., Australia and Canada are still the most popular destinations for overseas study, and the Chinese students studying in these countries are increasingly younger. Japan, France, New Zealand, Singapore and Germany are also among the top 10 destinations.
“After getting the offer from the school, I need to pay the deposit of tuition, accommodation, and language course fees in advance when I’m still at home. Therefore, what I care most about is how to pay these fees safely and easily with the lowest service fee,” said Chen, a student in Chengdu who is going to study in University of Kent for postgraduate study. “Initially, I used a bankcard of a foreign brand to pay for these at the school’s official website and the service fee was about 5% of the total amount. Later, I paid with a UnionPay card at the website of WesternUnion. Since there was no service fee charged by UnionPay the final service fee accounts merely about 2% of the total cost. The whole payment process was very convenient.”
Students and parents are able to pay tuition fees with UnionPay cards in the following ways: First is through platforms of peerTransfer (covering over 900 educational institutions), WesternUnion (covering more than 400 institutions), and 6 payment platforms of Bank of Taiwan, Taiwan Cooperative Bank, Chinatrust Bank, Yuanta Bank, First Bank and Chang Hwa Bank (covering about 90% of universities and colleges in Taiwan). Second is through the school official sites, including the over 700 institutions under TMS and TouchNet, Curtin University in Australia and the University of Auckland in New Zealand, etc.
Moreover, students can pay for tuition at the POS terminals on campus with UnionPay cards. For instance, about 80 schools in Singapore including Nanyang Technological University are equipped with POS terminals accepting UnionPay cards for tuition and accommodation payment. In Europe, over 100 colleges and universities, private middle schools, primary schools and training institutions in the U.K., France, Italy and Spain, including the top three business colleges of IE, ESADE and IESE, accept UnionPay cards for offline tuition payment.
Enhancing the payment service system for overseas study: Shaping on and off campus card-using ecosystem
Currently, more than 20 million merchants and 1.4 million ATMs outside mainland China accept UnionPay cards. Based on this, UnionPay payment service system for overseas study has covered online/offline tuition payment, daily cash withdrawal and spending, travel spending and local card application etc. Various UnionPay card products are issued in over 40 countries and regions, including major destinations for overseas study like Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, Japan and Canada.
Taking into account students’ needs for both educational and daily spending, UnionPay International has built on-and-off campus card-using ecosystem surround the prestigious schools in popular destinations. Students can pay with UnionPay cards only at campus merchants, withdraw cash from ATMs near campus, but also easily pay with UnionPay cards at bookstores, restaurants, supermarkets, drug stores, cinemas, etc.
At more 20 US colleges and universities with the largest number of Chinese students, including University of Southern California, Columbia University, New York University and Boston University, UnionPay credit cards are accepted at campus bookstores. More than 200 Australian educational institutions like University of Wollongong and University of Queensland not only accept UnionPay cards for tuition payment, but also support UnionPay payment at campus bookstores and libraries. In the U.K., student service center, dormitory and library of about 20 colleges and universities also accept UnionPay cards, including Imperial College London, University of Manchester, University of Bath, Coventry University and University of Southampton.
Recently, UnionPay International will provide exclusive privileges for Chinese students who are going to study in Europe, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, including online/offline tuition payment privileges and dining and shopping privileges at more than 300 restaurants and shopping centers near renowned universities in the U.S. and Australia.