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  • General Best Practices
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How to Simplify Your School's Online Payments and Donations for Global Families
Mia Major

When is the last time you stopped to think about the payment experience that you’re offering your current and prospective families? It is likely at the very bottom of your long to-do list. And, amongst the many hats you’re already wearing, investing time and resources into improving the way donors, parents, and grandparents give you their money isn’t really top of mind.

But, it should be something to look at periodically — especially if you work at an international school or boarding school with a global community.

International schools and boarding schools have families across the world that speak different languages, and use different currencies, yet many schools don’t acknowledge that with their payment system, offering a rather poor experience for parents.

Debbie Eisenach, our International Marketing Manager, has put three children through a variety of international schools in both Asia and Europe — none of which offered online payment processing for donations, extra-curricular activities, tuition, class trips, sports fees, etc. 

“It was frustrating, annoying, and difficult at times,” she said. “I’d receive an invoice — and sometimes five in one month for a variety of different things — and I would have to do five different bank transfers. It was such a crazy process for me! And I imagine it is also a waste of time for the school, too. Lots of paperwork and manual processes. There’s no way that’s efficient or cost effective!”

Debbie’s story is a common one among a global community of frustrated parents (and most likely, frustrated schools administrators, too) who are inconvenienced and lirked by the payment process at their school. If it’s not a manual process, then it’s a struggle with numerous online payment gateways, fees, support, etc.

Many international and boarding schools, however, maintain their inefficient process though, because it “works.” It is what they’re used to, despite its inefficiency and clunky experience for everyone

Why does online, global payment processing matter?

Foreign transactions have a higher likelihood of failure than domestic ones simply because there is more happening during the payment process. For instance, two of the most common reasons online payments fail for boarding and international schools include check-out pages that aren’t in a user’s native language or currency, and a lack of global payment support, among others.

True online global payment processing matters because it simplifies the lives of your school administrations, and your community — and when you improve the user experience, it is proven to increase sales (e.g. donations, online merchandise).

Here’s some data to back up that claim, provided by our payment partner, BlueSnap:

1. 75 percent of shoppers prefer not to buy unless the site is presented in their native language. Website visitors from around the world need to read the checkout page; if they can’t, comfort levels plummet. (And so will payments and donations.) 

2. 23 percent of website visitors will abandon a sale if they can’t see the total cost in their local currency. When a parent can’t see the price of tuition, a trip, or another fee in their own currency, it makes them uncertain of the final cost. When they feel uncertain, they begin to do the calculations themselves — which of course, aren’t always accurate, leading potentially to higher fees than expected (and unhappy parents.)

3. Up to 13 percent of shoppers will abandon the purchase if they don’t see a local payment option they prefer. Outside the U.S., the vast majority of sales are done using payment methods besides major credit cards like Visa and Mastercard, anything from cash vouchers to bank transfers to online banking options. Those methods vary by region. Most payment gateways don’t support numerous international payment methods, meaning you may have to add an integration to another gateway at a later date—which can get very cumbersome, very quickly.

4. Up to 17 percent more transactions are approved if your global payment processor partners with numerous banks around the world. Localization isn’t limited to just checkout options — it also applies to behind-the-scenes processing methods. For every transaction, customers’ credit card information is passed along with an authorization request to an acquiring bank, which processes credit or debit card payments on your behalf. Most payment gateways (even those that say they “support global processing”) partner with a single acquiring bank within their own country. This arrangement sets up international transactions for failure because transactions that are seen as foreign have a higher probability of being flagged for fraud. 

Simplifying the payment experience with localized global payment processing.

Imagine how easy it could be, for everyone, if all payments and donations could be made online, through one mobile-friendly, international-friendly, payment platform? 

Recognizing this as a key issue for our clients around the world, we have released our new online payment platform, Finalsite Payments.

What is Finalsite Payments?

Finalsite Payments is our new, comprehensive online payment platform that is powered by BlueSnap, a robust online payment platform that simplifies the online payment process for your families around the world.

With more than 110 accepted payment methods and 100 supported currencies, you no longer have to deal with the frustration of managing numerous gateways, system, fees, and processes. Finalsite Payments provides you with the power to handle all your online payment and giving needs with an intuitive, global, award-winning and mobile-friendly platform.

How does Finalsite Payments Improve the Experience for Global Schools?

Finalsite Payments accepts more 110 payment methods, including over 20 international and local credit and debit cards — simplifying, streamlining, and digitalizing the payment process for thousands of schools around the world. The platform provides a local checkout experience for international donors and families who can pay in their local currency without any foreign exchange or transaction fees. Additionally, donors and families pay when, where, and how they want with a fully-responsive checkout page that automatically renders in the website visitors currency and language. 

Sound too good to be true? If your school is ready to process more payments, save time, and cultivate a happier international community, contact your Client Success Manager today!

Finalsite Payments | Learn More


Mia Major

As Finalsite's Content Marketing Manager, Mia shares innovative and helpful content that helps schools and districts create captivating online experiences that increase brand awareness, student and faculty retention, and school-to-home communications. With more than five years experience in the industry, Mia has written more than 200 articles, eBooks, and reports about best practices for schools on a variety of topics from social media to web design. As a former TV and news reporter, and wedding photographer, Mia specializes in sharing how to use storytelling to power your school's admissions funnel. When she isn't busy creating content or hosting her #LIKEABOSS Podcast for FinalsiteFM, you can find her hiking with her Boston terrier, running an army wives meeting at Fort Campbell, or enjoying a well-deserved savasana on her yoga mat.

  • Online Payments

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Mia Major

Imagine how easy it could be, for everyone, if all payments and donations could be made online, through one mobile-friendly, international-friendly, payment platform? Recognizing this as a key issue for our clients around the world, we have released our new online payment platform, Finalsite Payments.

Read More about How to Simplify Your School's Online Payments and Donations for Global Families