Have you ever been an international student in a US college or university that required your parents having to transfer money to your school?
Or perhaps have a child studying abroad for whom you have to do this? In either case, you may want to read this interview to learn about how cross-border payments are transforming the efficiency in the sector.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as to Flywire.
Mike Massaro: I’m the CEO of Flywire. We’re an international payments company. We help global consumers make large payments around the world.
Sramana Mitra: What are the key trends driving your space?
Mike Massar: I think there are a few key trends when you look at e-commerce and specifically, the segment we serve. Consumers all over the world are traveling more around the world. They’re experiencing the world and purchasing goods and services all around the world. Show me one business that doesn’t have suppliers, partners, or suppliers in another country. If you look at cross-border payments and foreign exchange, that’s an area that hasn’t really innovated or adapted much over the last few years. What we do is make it easy for consumers to pay large amounts for things like educational purchases, studies, and medical treatments. It fits closely with those three trends.
Sramana Mitra: What are the key issues of cross-border e-commerce?
Mike Massaro: When you start dealing with a global population of consumers, if you’re a biller or retailer or someone who is looking to collect payments and have consumers all over the world, you have to understand all the different types of payments around the world. You have to understand the impact currency may have on your services. You have to handle customer service questions. You have to handle languages. When it comes to the financial transaction itself, you have a lot of challenges getting it in a cost-effective and reliable way where you can easily identify which payments come from which consumer. Those are some of the largest challenges that exist for our clients.
Sramana Mitra: What is it that you are doing to mitigate these challenges?
Mike Massaro: Let me give you an example. If you look at the education sector for instance, we work with over 900 educational institutions across 14 countries. The growing number of international students studying abroad results in relatively large dollar amount transactions. You’re dealing with tens of thousands of dollars transactions. First of all, there’s just so many ways in which you can actually make that payment. There’s a very small subset of the global population that could put a payment of that size on a credit card. You need to make sure that you have enough payment methods.
What we’ve been able to do is put a solution together that allows for consumers to pay in their own currency using payment methods that make sense for them. For example, if they’re making a small deposit payment for their child to attend university in another country, they can do so via e-wallets, online banking, or credit card. Also if they’re making a full tuition payment, they’re going to be able to make that payment via a local banking network in their country, and they’re going to be able to do so in a familiar and convenient way and get supported 24/7 via customer service.