Mastercard is offering cardholders in China the ability to use local credit and debit cards to pay U.S. tuitions and other costs through a first-of-its-kind online payment service found atwww.plastiq.com/mcuni.
Largely created for Chinese students studying abroad, the site addresses international payment challenges, including limited payment methods and currency exchange. Many U.S. schools only accept payment via check or electronic bank transfer which can be difficult to manage overseas. For Chinese students studying in the U.S., these challenges are increasingly common as China is the top country of origin sending international students to U.S. schools, according to the Institute of International Education’s ‘Open Doors’ Report (2014-2015). China represented 31 percent of the total international students coming to the U.S., leading India (14 percent) and South Korea (7 percent).
Mastercard joined forces with Plastiq, an online payment service company, to create the site for its cardholders. Unlike other solutions, Plastiq processes cards and sends payments in forms already accepted by recipients. Schools do not need a Plastiq account to accept card payments submitted through the service.
“Parents and students can send tuition and other payments globally with peace of mind as their money is protected by the safety and security of the Mastercard network and delivered to this site powered by Plastiq and Planet Payment,” said Linda Kirkpatrick, executive vice president, U.S. Market Development, Mastercard. “Our new alliance with these two companies supports the Mastercard objective of making payments smart, simple and safe.”
Mastercard, Plastiq and Planet Payment (NASDAQ:PLPM) a leading provider of international and currency payments, launched the site. Planet Payment enables the conversion from RMB to USD in real-time. Plastiq provides the technology that converts Mastercard credit and debit card payments into checks or money orders.
“Tuition is one of the most impactful payments you will make in life. It’s a bill that directly contributes to the well-being of your child, and you should have the choice to pay it with your Mastercard-branded card,” said Eliot Buchanan, co-founder and CEO of Plastiq. “With Plastiq, even if a school doesn’t accept credit cards, you can still use your Mastercard card to pay the tuition. In fact, Plastiq gives you the freedom to pay any bill using your favorite card, so that life’s important payments are on your terms.”
This international acceptance agreement will be exclusive to Mastercard. Chinese cardholders will be able to view the transaction and the competitive exchange rates in Chinese RMB providing greater price certainty at the time of payment.
“It’s really convenient for me to use my Mastercard credit card to pay tuition and know it’s taken care of, instead of dealing with the headache of checks. Plastiq has the lowest fees out there, so it’s my first choice when it comes to paying bills that typically don’t let me use a credit card. I recommend Plastiq to anyone who’s coming to the U.S., especially for college.” Said Jeremy Liu, 24, of China, attending the California Institute of Technology.
According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2015–2016 school year was $32,405 at private colleges, $9,410 for state residents at public colleges, and $23,893 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.
Mastercard, www.Mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.