HSBC has launched a mobile banking app and WeChat-based payment service for Chinese students studying in the UK to pay their tuition fees to many major universities around the world.
The International Education Payment Service allows renminbi (RMB) to be exchanged into five currencies: the British pound, US dollar, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar and Hong Kong dollar.
Customers can convert RMB on the system using HSBC China's mobile app or WeChat banking, without visiting a bank branch or filling in paper applications.
The simplified service allows students from China or their families to send tuition fee payments to universities abroad. It currently covers major education institutions in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong.
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Michelle Andrews, head of premier and international HSBC UK, said: “China is the largest source of international students for higher education institutions around the world, including the UK. With most of them born in the 1990s and 2000s, these younger customers are extremely tech savvy, which drives demand for innovative digital services. Our new international payments system allows our Chinese customers studying in the UK to pay their tuition fees directly using WeChat or their HSBC China banking app.”
Richard Li, executive vice-president and head of retail banking and wealth management HSBC China, said: “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.
“Our own research told us that parents and students worried about whether their payments were secure, whether they met the transfer requirements and whether the fee payment was successfully transmitted. The International Education Payments Service is designed to address these concerns and make managing fee payments simpler and easier for our customers.”
The UK Council for International Student Affairs reports that 95,090 Chinese people enrolled to study in higher education in 2016/17, up from 91,215 from the year before.
HSBC’s Value of Education 2017 survey showed that education is the top financial commitment for at least two in five Chinese parents, ahead of mortgage payments, household bills and saving for retirement.