A Master Class in Convenience: Faster Payments for Higher Education
Paying for college can be a real pain, and the act of paying tuition itself has not kept up to speed with the times.
According to Aite Group, 40% of tuition payments are made by ACH (electronic check), making it the most popular method of payment for higher education. Yet, these payments can sometimes take several days to process. In a world where college students send and receive over 120 text messages per day, immediacy is key. Especially when large dollar amounts are being spent. Students and parents demand that payment options conform to their expectations of speed, to prevent their accounts from being overdrawn.
Class, we’d like you to meet real-time payments (aka faster payments).
What are real-time payments?
Put simply, real-time payments are a payment method that instantly takes money out of one bank account and deposits the money in another bank account, 24x7x365. This same transaction carries the payment and remittance data.
While many institutions do post payments to students’ accounts in real-time, this new real-time payment method moves the money immediately as well. These payments run on new rails and move money faster than same-day ACH and credit cards, and are irrevocable, which means no ACH returns or chargebacks. When a student (or parent) submits a payment, they’ll see it immediately taken from their checking account, preventing them from over-spending and overdrafting in the subsequent days.
For higher education institutions, this means improved collections, a reduction in staff time spent collecting and reconciling payments, and greater customer satisfaction.
“Real-time payments have been very popular in countries like the UK, now they’re coming to the United States,” said Colin Adams, Managing Consultant at Lipis Advisors. “In addition to satisfying students and parents, real-time payments also feature lower transaction costs than credit card payments.”
Real-time real-life scenarios
Tuition Payments – The most obvious benefit of real-time payments can be found in tuition payments. Here, parents and students can submit their tuition payments as they normally would, but instead of waiting days for the payment to process, it goes through immediately. This gives families the peace of mind to know their checking accounts are up-to-date and accurate at all times.
Financial Aid Refunds – Students on financial aid are dependent on receiving their money in a timely fashion, and nothing could be better than receiving their money in real-time. Real-time payments allow schools to disburse these payments as they become available, helping to satisfy this large portion of the student body.
Campus Activities – Online payments for campus activities like sporting events or shows can present opportunities for fraud. Real-time payments help to reduce fraudulent activity with stronger authentication. Unlike credit card payments, real-time payments require the consumer to authenticate the purchase through their own bank account.
Real-time higher education payments forecast
According to Lipis Advisors, real-time higher education payments will grow at more than 80% CAGR from 2018-2022.
In addition, it’s estimated that 25% of online bill payments to colleges and universities will be real-time by 2022.
The types of payments that will contribute the most to the shift will be debit card, ACH and check.
The switch to real-time payments is now a matter of when, not if, thus making it imperative that institutions select partners now who can support real-time payments. Getting it wrong could result in having to redo your campus payment systems within two years.
Related Blog Posts
Payments in a Post-Coronavirus World: How the Pandemic Is Influencing Tomorrow’s Industry in Latin America
While the novel coronavirus has (understandably) dominated the day-to-day focus of today’s payment players, the fact is, at some point we will either fully adapt or be living in a post-coronavirus world. How can our industry prepare? In a recent webinar hosted by Fintech Americas, we brought together experts from Redeban Multicolor, Red Link and PROSA to explore where they see the industry going – with a specific emphasis on Latin American markets – and what they’re doing to ensure future success.
The Pandemic Has Accelerated the New Era of Acquiring
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many trends already taking shape in consumer purchasing behavior. Almost overnight, routine activities ranging from picking up groceries to buying gas unexpectedly became something that they had never been before – risky.
How National Central Infrastructure Initiatives for Real-time Payments Create Immediate Business Opportunities for Merchants
More and more countries and regional alliances are investing in the creation of new financial market infrastructures. Governments and leaders of central banks have decided that the finance industry needs investment to be fit for the demands of digital economies, suitable for the trailblazing businesses of the fourth industrial revolution.
Payments Modernization in the Cloud: An Inflection Point in the History of Payments
Public cloud is one of the big buzzwords in payments right now. While a few years ago financial institutions were reluctant to embrace the technology, they are now among the most likely to do so. ACI discussed the topic of Payments Modernization in the Cloud during a recent webinar, moderated by Finextra’s Head of Research Gary Wright. Katrin Boettger caught up with the panellists — Ciaran Chu, head of cloud at ACI; Peter Hazou, business strategy leader at Microsoft and Lu Zurawski, practice lead, retail banking at ACI — about why the COVID-19 pandemic might be a further catalyst for the worldwide adoption of cloud technology.
Brazil’s Digital Payments Transformation: Five Key Takeaways
Brazil has abundant growth opportunity when it comes to digital payments, with PIX – the Central Bank of Brazil’s new instant payments system – expected to have a significant impact. This was evident during a recent webinar Digital Transformation into Payments, hosted by Mercado & Consumo em Alerta and featuring experts from Getnet, Pernambucanas, Conductor and ACI.
From "Access to Cash" to "Access to Digital" – How Innovative Thinking Is Keeping SMEs Trading
With millions of people in London and the wider U.K. having endured lockdowns and restrictions, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on our shopping habits. While some supermarkets have struggled to keep up with customer demand and social distancing rules, many small, local business have adapted to the crisis quickly, efficiently and in innovative ways. While supermarkets have run out of delivery slots, smaller businesses are now offering local deliveries whilst providing safe digital payments options. They are also selling goods that the big supermarkets have run out of because traditional supply chains have been interrupted.
Taking the Pulse of Biometric Authentication in 2020
Growing demand for digital payment methods in recent years, including a plethora of mobile payments and person-to-person payment applications, has already put biometric authentication firmly at the forefront of payments and fintech. Moreover, the COVID-19 global health crisis has introduced new norms that have discouraged non-essential physical interaction, which has further boosted the popularity of digital payment alternatives. Already in March, CNBC noted that there had been a surge in the number of Americans preferring ‘”tap and go” transactions through digital wallets, like Apple Pay or Google Pay, overwhelmingly secured with biometric (mainly fingerprint) authentication.
COVID-19 Crisis Will Accelerate Launch of New Digital Payment Services Underpinned by Real-Time Payments
The COVID-19 crisis, and the fact that many millions have been self-quarantining at home, contributed to a spike in eCommerce growth in sectors such as retail and gaming and changing payment behaviors. Katrin Boettger spoke to Adam Needel, principal solution leadership manager —real-time payments, to discuss the impact the crisis may have on the future of digital and real-time payments.
When It Comes to Payments, COVID-19 Crisis Could Lead to Long-Term Shifts in Consumer Behavior [Q&A]
ACI Worldwide and GlobalData recently launched Prime Time for Real-Time, a new global report tracking and analyzing real-time payments volumes, growth and dynamics across 30 global markets. According to the global research, an industry first, more than half a trillion real-time payments transactions will be processed over the next five years. I discussed what the findings mean, and how the COVID-19 pandemic might be a further catalyst for behavioral change, with ACI’s global head of real-time payments, Craig Ramsey.
Women in Payments: Celebrating International Women’s Day 2020
International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8, honors the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – including equality for all women.
To commemorate the occasion, we spoke with a few female leaders in the payments industry about what the day means both for them and for the wider payments industry. The comments and insights we received were nothing short of inspiring and encouraging.