Optal automates reconciliation of international payments for overseas students
How Optal streamlined payments for global tech start-up, Cohort
How Optal added value to Cohort
Cohort is an innovative Australian start-up which focuses on giving students smarter ways to pay for overseas education and living expenses.
The company’s vision is to reduce costs for international students by offering value-enhancing products. To achieve this goal, Cohort has developed an innovative solution working with Optal, a leading provider of B2B payment solutions.
International students have to make a range of payments for their studies (all from their home country) including universities, insurers and accommodation providers. Yet these universities and other businesses offer limited ways to pay, coupled with high exchange rates and extra charges. For students, this increases the cost of studying at a foreign university.
Mark Fletcher, CEO of Cohort, identified the business opportunity and this led to the development of Cohortpay. As well as enabling Cohort to reconcile complex payment chains more easily, students now benefit from lower fees and better exchange rates than they would otherwise be charged by traditional banks and currency transfer houses.
The Optal Solution
Cohort turned to Optal’s Virtual Account Number (VAN) payment solution to develop Cohortpay. The VAN platform automatically generates single-use Mastercard numbers to facilitate payments across the Mastercard merchant network. Students now use a centralised portal and have Cohort take care of multiple payments to providers at low foreign exchange rates, and they see the real-time status of each payment. It’s fast, simple, and most importantly uses one-off card payments so it’s easy to track and reconcile transactions for each student.
Through Optal, Cohort can now process all types of payments in multiple countries and currencies, make automated reconciliations and provide enriched payment data to customers.
”Processing significant volumes of payments daily for our customers and keeping track of these can be a major challenge. With Optal we can break a payment down for a particular transaction and we know that when the money is taken out we can then link that back to the transaction. It makes it easy for us to isolate and understand the processes.”
Mark Fletcher, CEO Cohort
Mark Fletcher and his team have gone from strength to strength, and thanks to Optal’s VAN-based platform, payments have never been simpler or more transparent for Cohort’s customers.