Flywire University Fee Payment, Cheap or Costly?

Let’s play a game. 

Answer the following questions with a Yes or No.

Are you going to study in a university in the US, Canada, UK, Australia or any other country abroad?

Is the university asking you to make the tuition fee payment via Flywire?

Did you check the difference between the Flywire exchange rate and the live exchange rate on Google? Do you feel their rate is exorbitant?

Welcome to the murky world of money transfer.

In this post, you’ll find out why money transfer through Flywire is such a costly affair.
Learn why some universities abroad insist you pay their tuition fee via Flywire and not through a direct money transfer to their bank account.

Also, find out if there is a cheaper, legal alternative to Flywire. You may be able to save thousands of rupees on your university fee payment abroad with a lesser exchange rate and cheaper service fee. 

Flywire Money Transfer – Cheap or Costly Exchange Rates & Charges

Flywire is a billing and international payments enabling service. It allows institutions (such as universities, hospitals) to bill and request payment from their customers from different countries

Universities that are partnered with Flywire, use the service to receive money for tuition and lodging from International students. 

Every enterprise has a cost of doing business, even Flywire. 

How they recover this cost is by fixing a premium margin on the exchange rate on their money transfer transaction. 

Flywire Fees claim

Though they advertise wholesale exchange rates cheaper than banks, usually it is just as costly, if not costlier. 

Let’s do a comparison between 20,000 CAD rate on Google vs Flywire (as on 10 Nov 2021)

20,000 CAD – Google Live Exchange Rate

20000 CAD Transfer - Live Rate Google 10 Nov 2021

20,000 CAD – Flywire Exchange Rate

20000 CAD Transfer - Flywire Rate 10 Nov 2021

That is a difference of Rs 17,708! 

A charge of nearly 1.5% on the total amount being transferred is costly for education purpose.

The reason Flywire is expensive is that; 

  1.  Trust Factor – Usually, when it comes to payments abroad, students/parents would look for the safety of the transaction as the 1st priority since the amount involved is quite big.

    This allows certain banks and companies like Flywire to charge a premium exchange rate on their transfers as they have the approval of the university abroad to collect the payment from the students.These institutions know that students/parents would prefer them even in the face of bearing costlier rates. This is because of the trust factor involved. However, cheaper and equally safer alternatives do exist (authorized by RBI to do money transfers abroad from India). We’ll discuss this in a while.
  2. Monopoly Factor – Flywire has entered into agreements with many top universities abroad acting as their de-facto payment collection agency.This exclusivity gives them an almost monopoly-like market where students/parents transfer money through them. So they are able to put a higher margin on their rates.
  3. Rate Hedging – A payment invoice for money transfer generated by Flywire is typically valid for 3 days. Usually, the exchange rate of currencies keeps changing every minute.Yet Flywire is able to guarantee the same rate for up to 3 days. This is because, to hedge against the fluctuations in the exchange rate during this period, they set high margins on their currency conversion.Since the margins are high, Flywire can be sure that any currency fluctuation is not going to affect their revenues.
For Ex: Imagine that USD Live Rate (Google) is Rs 75

 And Flywire Rate for a money transfer transaction on the same day is Rs 76

Day 1 USD Live Rate – Rs 75
Day 2 USD Live Rate – Rs 75.2
Day 3 USD Live Rate – Rs 75.4

Even if the transaction takes place on Day 3, Flywire will be making a good profit on it. 

Alternatively; Imagine another scenario. The rates drop down. At this point, the amount of currency exchange fees you’d be paying would become very high.

USD Live Rate (Google) – Rs 75

Flywire Rate for a money transfer transaction – Rs 76

Day 1 USD Live Rate – Rs 75
Day 2 USD Live Rate – Rs 74.9
Day 3 USD Live Rate – Rs 74.7

Now if you were to do the transaction on Day 3, you’d be paying a difference of Rs 1.3/US dollar. This is a very high margin.

So no matter which direction the rate fluctuates, Flywire can be sure of a high-profit margin on the money transfer.

These are the reasons why a money transfer through Flywire is costly.

Why is your university asking you to do the payment via Flywire?

Flywire was started in 2009, in Boston, USA. It was called peerTransfer back then. 

It offered colleges in the US a way to collect funds from students abroad.

International money transfer is fraught with many technical difficulties. 

Each country’s regulatory authority has its own rules and regulations which the university faculty may be unaware of. 

By delegating the task of receiving payments, universities avoid all complications related to payment collection from students. 

  • Easy Payments Collection – Their USP for Universities was a centralized tuition fee collection platform that can record and track payments done by students abroad.

    Universities don’t have to provide their own customized fee payment solution as Flywire can take care of it.

    Also, by employing Flywire, Universities could pass on the responsibilities of fee collection and instructing students regarding Outward Remittance compliances to be followed in their country instead of having a dedicated in-house department for this task.
  • Aggregated Payment Settlements – For universities abroad, instead of receiving multiple payments into their bank account from scores of students, Flywire aggregates them all and settles them to the university account on a daily basis. This is helpful in countries like USA and Canada. Banks here sometimes place a charge on each transaction coming into an account.   

Is there a cheaper alternative to Flywire in India?

Before learning about the cheaper alternative to Flywire,  you need to understand how money transfer through Flywire takes place;

  1. A student or multiple students initiate a wire transfer in India through Flywire. They’ve to transfer the money from their bank account to Deutsche Bank. They are Flywire’s partner bank in India to collect payment from students).
  2. Deutsche Bank India wire transfers the amount to Flywire’s account abroad. This money goes through an intermediary bank.
  3. The amount reaches Flywire Account Abroad from where it is transferred to various universities as gross settlements per day.

Overall speaking, Flywire is a roundabout way of funds transfer and faster, cheaper options are available online.

Instead, you can request the bank account details of your university/college abroad. Then simply wire transfer the funds to them through a cheaper service provider.

At, we have tie-ups with various banks and RBI authorized money transfer services. You can compare among them and choose the one giving you the cheapest rate on wire transfer for University Fee transfer abroad.

Let’s take a look at the 20,000 CAD rate on (10 Nov 2021)

20000 CAD Transfer - ExTravelMoney Rate Nov 10 2021
Comparing 20,000 CAD Rate on 10 Nov 2021

Live Rate (Google)

11.96,034Difference with Live Rate


Rs 7920



Rs 17,708

We had already discussed why Flywire’s rate is costly. You can see the proof in the table above.

At ExTravelMoney, the exchange rate is the one on the day of the transfer. This is unlike Flywire’s high margin hedged rate which is fixed for 3 days. You get wholesale exchange rates through ExTravelMoney which are only usually available to companies and institutions which do bulk transfers.

So if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, Just use to transfer university tuition fees abroad.

Save money on paying for higher exchange rates. Instead, use it for your flight ticket expenses or study expenses abroad. 

Also Read:

All You Need To Know About Paying US University Fee From India
How To Save Money While Studying Abroad

Have any questions? Comment below.


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