Today, it is commonly accepted that technology will transform the education sector, and in fact that it is already beginning to do so at an accelerating pace.
This is because education providers are committed to providing a service to students at an affordable price, but this is in direct conflict with the spiralling costs of tuition fees for higher education in countries such as the U.S., Canada, and the UK. As these fees, and the loans which have been the traditional method for financing those fees, continue to escalate in cost, forward thinkers in the education sector are turning to technology in an effort to bring efficiencies to learning facilities, and in a great deal of cases pass the cost savings to students who would otherwise be unable to afford to enrol.
In addition, the education sector is being compelled to search for alternative financing options for students, such as payment via instalment, to break the monopoly of student loans services and their rising interest rates.
And it isn’t only the cost of providing and acquiring education that is causing a spotlight to be shined on developing educational technology, and specifically how technology is changing the way that education is being paid for. As the nationalities of student populations in countries such as the U.S. become more diversified, it is becoming a point of differentiation in the education market for students and their families to be able to pay for their education services from their home country, and using a payment method that is familiar to them. As the payments landscape continues to become more fragmented, and different payment methods gain traction in different areas of the globe, the ability to accept cross-border payments for education services via a variety of channels grows in relevance.
The development of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) eLearning platforms to meet these demands, and in many cases facilitate distance education, is evident through the growth and projected growth of the value of the EdTech market between 2015 and 2020 (from $5.4bn to $6.1bn).
However, as we have already noted, many of the drivers for eLearning technology revolve around the need for better payment services for education. For education platforms, therefore, it is critical that they get this aspect of their service right, which inevitably means partnering with the appropriate payments technology supplier.
But what does that mean in this context? Here are the five questions education platforms should ask before selecting a payments processing system supplier:
1. How easy is the system to integrate and navigate? User experience is paramount, particularly in sectors where technology is disrupting a long-established status quo. Making a payment via an education platform must be simple to understand and execute to enable mass adoption of any learning technologies; a standardised payment format the purchaser is familiar with being the ideal solution.
2. Can students pay in instalments? As cost maintains its prominence as a barrier to education, there is a value to education platforms in offering a service facilitating payment by instalments. By implementing “buy now, pay later” solutions, the platform is able to receive payment for the education service immediately, without the student being harnessed to the costly financial burden of a student loan. As may students initially investigate SaaS eLearning platforms due to concerns surrounding the cost of education, the capability to offer a pay later option offers clear advantages.
3. Can students make cross-border payments? The ability to pay easily and efficiently from overseas is an obvious benefit propelling the adoption of SaaS in the education sector. EdTech that is enabled to accept remote cross-border payment directly services the growing number of overseas students who desire that their education is financed from their home country. Similarly, in order for an education platform to be easily scalable beyond one country or region, accepting international payments in multiple currencies is critical.
4. Does the processing system offer a broad range of payments? In addition to accepting international payments, education technology platforms should be able to facilitate this through the preferred channel of the student. As payment preferences differ across the globe, this should be reflected in the number of payment options the education software is capable of processing.
5. Does the partnership bring added value? The right payment partner will also bring additional support and services to education platform services, including strategic insight and user experience development through analysis of payments data.
To read more about how the right payments processing system can transform education platforms, read Paysafe’s latest whitepaper Are Payments the Key to a Bright Future for Education Platforms?