HSBC launches overseas payment service for Chinese students at international universities

International Education Payment Service will let students pay tuition fees in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2018, 12:31pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2018, 11:26pm

HSBC launched its International Education Payment Service, aimed at Chinese students studying abroad, on Wednesday.

The service will allow overseas students, or their families, to pay tuition fees to universities and other educational institutions in the United States, UK, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. The bank is the first foreign lender to offer such a service to technology savvy users in mainland China.

“China is the largest source of international students for higher education institutions around the world. With most of them born in the 1990s and 2000s, these younger consumers are extremely technology savvy, which drives demand for innovative digital financial services, including areas such as overseas studies,” said Richard Li, executive vice-president and head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC China.

“Students from China, and their families, face a range of challenges and concerns when making overseas payments. Until now the process has often been difficult, stressful and time-consuming,” Li said.

Overseas Chinese students spend more than 380 billion yuan (US$60.44 billion) each year, with 80 per cent of this amount going towards tuition fees and daily expenses, according to a report by UnionPay International last year. A record 600,000 Chinese students studied abroad last year, up 12 per year on year, according to China’s Ministry of Education.

Li said in-house research at HSBC suggested parents and students worried about whether their payments were secure and successfully completed, which led the bank to launch the service, which makes fee payments simpler and easier.

Overseas students or their families can use the HSBC China mobile app, or WeChat banking, to exchange the yuan into either the US dollar, the British pound, the Canadian dollar, the Australian dollar or the Hong Kong dollar, to pay their tuition fee. This will save them a visit to a bank branch or the filling up of paper applications to make payments overseas.

Education is a top financial commitment for Chinese parents, with 42 per cent of respondents to a HSBC survey ranking it as their top priority, much ahead of the 10 per cent who said it was a mortgage or rent payments, the 10 per cent who said household bills or utilities, and the 4 per cent who said retirement savings.

About 54 per cent of parents would consider sending their children abroad for a university education, with the top three destinations being the US (61 per cent), Australia (46 per cent) and the UK (42 per cent), the HSBC survey shows.