The way that students and stakeholders want to pay Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is evolving alongside the rest of the economy. But, more than broadening the payment choice in-app or on campus, HEIs need to ensure that back-end platforms are optimized to improve payment authorization and conversion and to reduce churn.
Failure to do this will impact revenue and the bottom line. But it can also have knock-on effects as it leads to payment delays.
Here Joanne Gray, Senior Sales Manager and Ben Harris, Business Development Representative at Checkout.com look at the reputational pitfalls of poor payments and the competitive advantages of getting it right.
It's not enough to know what the problem is – HEIs must know why
In many cases, HEI payments systems have grown organically as channels and methods have altered over the past decade. It means they can often end up with 20-plus components, sourced from 20-plus different providers, held together with various bridges and proxies. This can lead to data silos that stop them from getting a clear and consistent view of what’s happening and the issues that undermine performance.
Using a single modern payment provider can help them overcome this. Businesses can use APIs to consolidate digital payment methods and systems with minimal effort allowing access to every decline code, from every transaction from every touch point.
At the same time, fully integrated, customizable payments dashboards deliver rapid interrogation and reporting. This allows HEIs not only to access consolidated payment data but use it in a more meaningful way. For instance, iterating and testing options, functionality and rules to improve payments authorizations, revenue collection and financial productivity.
Having access to granular data improves payments reconciliation and helps HEIs understand:
- why checkout conversion is low – whether it’s through friction, poor payment choice, slow processes or too much complexity
- whether churn is voluntary or involuntary and help determine the processes to prevent it – for example, changing bill/payment request timings, reviewing registration formats or improving subscription options
- what’s fueling chargebacks and acceptance rates and help benchmark these against other HEI providers.
There’s no doubt that payment optimization helps universities and colleges drive internal efficiencies and smooth revenue collection, but it can also help drive reputational and competitive advantage.
Here are five ways great payment experiences help HEIs compete:
Improve bottom-line performanceFaster, automated payments improve cash flow and productivity and helps keep operational costs low and processes more efficient. Carrying less overhead and having healthy cash flow enables HEIs to invest more resources in student-facing functions.
Ensure more positive student engagementLess false declines and payment delays combined with increased security and fraud protection make interaction less stressful for students and allow them to focus on their studies without worrying about admin.
Deliver greater international appealHaving the flexibility to offer multiple payment options and currencies, and Direct Currency Conversion, demonstrates that the HEI recognizes the unique challenges of its international students and proactively supports their financial health.
Demonstrate needs-focused approachOur latest survey shows that younger age groups have a particularly wide range of payment preferences - from mobile to crypto. Offering more choice and convenience shows that the HEI is receptive to its students’ different needs and lets them pay how, when and where they want
Empower student support
By identifying, rectifying and reducing payment issues, an optimized platform can help free up back-office teams to focus on other aspects of student welfare, such as financial support, mental health, and accommodation services. Improving their academic experience can help boost results and raise the ranking of the HEI.
Discover more ways Checkout.com can help optimize institutional payments.