Aspiring for higher education overseas certainly seems like an exciting proposition filled with a whole new world of opportunities and experiences. Rapid globalization has opened doors for Indian students to explore opportunities for studying in prestigious universities around the world.
As seekers of the latest cutting-edge knowledge in the fields of technology, business, medicine and even artistic pursuits, there has been a huge rise in Indian students seeking to study in foreign universities.
As per Government of India data, there are a total of 5.53 lakh Indian students studying across 86 countries. Studying abroad entails big investments and Indian parents often stretch themselves too far out to fulfil children’s’ dreams.
While studying overseas has its own benefits, what is not often talked about are the costs. Let’s look at some numbers. As per the data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the total study-related outflows from India in 2017 stood at US$ 2.045 billion (INR 13,902 crore)! With the expenses related to studies abroad being substantial, transferring money abroad for education is a huge – and highly lucrative – market for the traditional players. Amid the euphoria and excitement of studying in overseas universities, what students – and their parents – fail to realize is that a significant amount of money is lost while sending money abroad for this purpose. This money, if saved, can certainly mean a lot for families.
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Prajit Nanu, CEO and co-founder InstaReM, a leading digital money transfer company in Asia-Pacific says, “Indian students and their families learn it hard way about the challenges involved in international money transfers relating to fee payments to foreign universities – and there are other expenses, too!”
Part of the problem on fee payments to foreign universities for parents comes from a lack of transparency.
Here are the key reasons for the same-
1. Many universities do not want the cost of tuition to deter applicants, meaning this information can sometimes be overlooked or omitted until later in the application process.
2. Once admission is procured, parents often rush to pay fees- and discover that traditional cross-border money transfers via banks and money transfer operators (MTOs) are entail high transfer fees, hidden charges, extended delays and lack of transparency. At this time, the parents are quite helpless and go through with it anyway.
3. Traditional money transfer service providers typically maintain brick-and-mortar set-ups, adding to their costs that are eventually passed on to the end-users, who in this case are students/parents. The MTOs, and other agents profit off the current system and decreasing the value of students’ tuition payments.
4. Many banks and MTOs also impose a margin on the exchange rate of international fund transfers, with some global banks charging 5% — which means that a $10,000 transfer will entail a transfer fee of US$500. Some non-bank money transfer service providers are known have mark-up rates of up to 10%, which means losing US$1,000 on the transfer of US$10,000.
Overall, the traditional way of paying for tuition fees overseas can leave families with a rude shock. Unfortunately, in most cases, the realization comes a bit late.
InstaReM now offers a new possibility—a unique Zero-Margin FX proposition, superior platform and exceptional customer service.
Prajit Nanu says, “InstaReM offers bank-to-bank money transfers at Zero-margin FX rates using the rates sourced directly from Reuters. InstaReM also bypasses the SWIFT, which not only makes it more cost-effective but also speedier. As a “digital-only” platform, we eliminate inefficiencies of the traditional money transfers and pass on savings to end-users. We are focused on offering extremely competitive costs, transparency, speed and a great customer experience.”
With its compelling value proposition, InstaReM looks to capture a substantial market share of outbound money transfers from India in this arena.
InstaReM is a Singapore-headquartered cross-border payments company. Founded in 2014, InstaReM is licensed as a Money Services Business (MSB) in Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Malaysia, India, European Union, and the USA. InstaReM has created a unique payment mesh in Asia, which is being leveraged by financial institutions, SMEs and individuals to make fast low-cost cross-border payments. It powers local payments to more than 55+ countries, reaching out to 3.21 billion people across the globe.