How to pay tuition fees abroad from India: All you need to know

Aman Saxena

Going abroad to study can be an exciting time and the start of a new chapter in life full of new experiences, friends and learning. But whether you are going abroad, or your son or daughter is, the process to pay for tuition can feel complicated and expensive.

And the tuition payments don’t even cover all the other cash and expenses that occur once you are there. But a good thing is that you do have multiple options for payment methods compared to the past.

You can make payments abroad with forex cards, wire transfers with banks, and money transfer providers.

Let’s break down how each one of them works and where you could save money on your next payment abroad. Plus, check out the section below on what factors to consider when choosing the best payment method for you.

Make educational payments overseas the online easily with Wise 🎓

With over 8 million customers around the globe, it is the fast, easy and cheap way to send money directly to local bank accounts 💸

And if you are in one of the qualifying countries, you can get Wise’s Multi-Currency Card that gives you access to swipe and spend in 45+ currencies from one account. All at the real exchange rate and one low fee for conversions. A single account and card to live truly globally.

Forex Cards

Forex Cards are a practical and smooth way to spend like a local overseas. With a swipe of the Visa or Mastercard, or the participating payment company, you can make payments locally and the corresponding money will be deducted from the account.

But Forex Cards for students are far from considered the cheapest way to go. They often come with annual fees, issuance fees and minimum balance and activity requirements. Let alone a hidden exchange rate fee. These additional fees can take a strong bite out of your wallet.

Plus, Forex Cards are not all created the same. For instance, some have limited currency options, so if you want to travel to a neighboring country, your Forex card may be out of luck.

And even if it does work in other countries, you may have to pay a cross currency fee for non-supported currencies. Forex cards also tend to have cash-withdrawal fees that are applied every time you are at an ATM.

In the end, while Forex Cards can feel simple and easy, they are usually tied to multiple additional fees.

Wire Transfers with Banks

One of the more traditional ways to send money abroad is through a bank wire transfer. Most banks in the world use the global SWIFT system that allows them to send money to other countries.

Wire transfers with banks are usually best for large lump sums. Ideally, the wire transfer can be done through the online banking portal your bank offers, but some Indian banks will require you to go physically to a branch.

Using the SWIFT system, you will need to provide exact details of the bank it is being sent to, and the exact amount. And the system usually takes 3-5 business days, but could be longer depending on your exact bank.

As for fees, banks tend to charge a SWIFT fee and an outward remittance fee for money being sent abroad. Inaddition you can face a hidden exchange rate fee with the rate the bank gives you.

If the exchange rate does not match the one you see on Google or Reuters, you can bet that the bank has tucked away a fee in every rupee you convert.

The bottom line is that wire transfers from banks are an available option for specific or infrequent payments. But on the same token, they often aren’t the smoothest or fastest if you are looking for a way to send or pay money regularly.

Money Transfer Providers

Money transfer providers can be a more accessible and easier way to send money instead of banks.

And some money transfer providers let you send cash too.

But choosing the right money transfer provider is important. They vary across the spectrum where some will require you to physically come to a branch for a transfer while others use smart technology to send money online and globally in minutes.

Open your free Wise account now

As for fees, most money transfer providers have a transfer or service fee they charge. Then depending on how they set up their exchange rate, they can give you the real exchange rate or sneak in a fee with a marked-up exchange rate.

They can be faster than a regular run-of-the-mill bank and provide deals or offers to make the transfers cheaper. But in most cases, you will have to keep a sharp eye on the currencies they provide, the delivery time, and ensure there aren’t extra fees on your transfers.

Let Wise take care of all your international payments

Need to make a payment to a university’s local bank account abroad? In 5 quick and easy steps, you can save time and money on your next tuition or education expenses when you use Wise.

1. Sign up with your email online or Wise Android/ iOS app for free

2. Select currency and choose how much you want to send overseas

3. Check the transfer fee, exchange rate and delivery time for your transfer

3. Add the bank details of where the money is going

4. Complete your transfer and make the payment. That’s it.

Wise gives you the real exchange rate on every transfer, so you won’t be spending extra money on fees. All you have to pay is one low transfer fee.

Whether you are paying for classes in Los Angeles or a semester abroad in London, or full year’s tuition in Berlin, Wise makes it easy and cheap to make payments to local bank accounts from the comfort of your own home or directly from your mobile.

So leave the extra fees, long wait times or confusing processes behind, and join the millions that use Wise and make your global learning possible.

What to consider when sending money abroad

With different options available, how do you decide which one is best for you and your family? While it is a personal decision based on your priorities, there are a few broad areas to consider when sending money abroad.

Cost of transfer 💰

The cost of a transfer can totally depend on how you are planning to send it. Different services have differing fees. Whether it is called a transfer fee, or service fee, there is usually always a charge by the provider for the service.

But then, there is the case of the exchange rate. The real exchange rate is the rate that the banks use themselves and is the same one you see on Google or Reuters.

Often providers will make their rates weaker than the real exchange rate to sneak in a fee in every rupee or dollar you convert. And then pocket that difference as profit.

So look closely at the exchange rate and compare it to the one you see on Google to see if you are losing money in a hidden exchange rate fee.

On top of the transfer fee and a possible exchange rate fee, you also may face other additional fees and charges. Always read the fine print and do your research to make sure you are getting the cheapest way possible to send money abroad

Transfer speed 🏎

How fast do you need the money to get to the destination? This can play a big factor in which provider you use if you need to send money in an emergency or if the tuition payment deadline is around the corner.

Wise can have money from abroad deposited in an Indian bank account often within a matter of minutes. But not all providers are the same.

Assess how fast you need the money to arrive and which provider will help you get it there when you need it. Often if you don’t mind a few days, you can get a better deal with other providers or the bank.

Convenience 📱

To make global money transfers easier on yourself, find a provider that works the way you bank. If you like to send money in person at a branch, identify the providers or banks that will fit seamlessly into the way you handle your finances.

If you would rather prefer a digital experience where you can send money at a touch of a button, make sure that your provider has an app or a website that is easy to use and navigate.

Convenience can also mean in terms of currencies and use too. If your son or daughter has the travel bug, save yourself some money on fees by getting a truly global multi-currency card that can be swiped everywhere they go.

Trust 🤝

With education on the line, you want to make sure your payments are completed and received by the date they are needed. Let alone at the cost that you were told.

This is where trust comes in. You need to choose a provider that you can trust will get your money where it needs to go and are true to their word.

Tools like customer reviews and Trustpilot can help you choose the right provider. So if there are any hiccups, that support and help are there when you need it. Whether online or over the phone.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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