PeerTransfer Helps International Students Make Tuition Payments

September 16, 2011

4:30 pm

In recent years, the international student population in the United States has hit record highs – and that number is only growing. With US colleges only accepting tuition payments in US Dollars, international students are forced to either pay via wire transfer or credit card, incurring fees and suffering unfavorable exchange rates. PeerTransfer, a new startup based out of Cambridge, MA, aims to address the money transfer needs of overseas students.

PeerTransfer has developed a secure, easy-to-navigate system for students that enables them to pay for their tuition, fees and admissions deposits in their home currencies. The company offers foreign exchange rates that are significantly lower than traditional banks, saving up to thousands of dollars for both students and the schools they’re attending.

It’s free for schools to partner up with peerTransfer, and no IT implementation is required, so the system can be set up in a matter of hours. International students simply enter their information and pay via their home bank. PeerTransfer even provides 24/7 international support through voice, Skype, chat and email to help guide users though the process.

PeerTransfer collects funds in home currencies, then bundles the purchases to exchange into US Dollars – resulting in low wholesale-rate foreign exchange fees. A daily bundled payment is sent directly to the school’s existing bank account, and payments are automatically reconciled with direct posting to existing systems. Schools are also able to monitor transactions in real-time using peerTransfer’s Education Portal to make sure everything is on track.

The company was founded at MIT in 2009 as a direct result of the same issues experienced by its founder and former international student, Iker Marcaide. PeerTransfer has partnered with nearly 30 schools so far and is considered the leader in international education payments in the United States.

The company recently pocketed $7.5 million in a Series A round of funding, backed by Spark Capital, Accel Partners, Maveron and Boston Seed Capital. This brought peerTransfer’s total investing to $8.6 million.

Learn more about peerTransfer here.

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Trisha Cruz is a Tech Cocktail intern with a passion for writing and design. She is a rising third year at the University of Virginia majoring in Media Studies and minoring in Studio Art. Follow her at: @heytrisha

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