As well as the valuable skills they bring to Australian shores, international students are a vital part of the domestic economy where inbound payments are set to pick up in the coming year according to Novatti Group Managing Director, Peter Cook.
Prior to the onset of the pandemic, fintech company Novatti Group (ASX: NOV) created the underlying payments technology that allowed Chinese nationals to seamlessly use RMB to pay Australian bills. These included student tuition, rent, insurance and anything that could be paid with a biller code. The technology was then integrated with popular payments apps such as Alipay, WeChat Pay and UnionPay which made Novatti’s ChinaPayments one of the most popular payment services amongst international students in Australia.
While the service saw a decline during the peak of the pandemic, Cook is pleased to see cross-border payments from ChinaPayments increasing as international borders have re-opened to students, tourists and professionals.
“At the moment we’ve been growing the business at about 100 percent year-on-year,” said Cook.
“We have very, very strong support from Alipay, WeChat Pay and UnionPay because they see that it’s a great way to bring a service to their customers. So if we keep growing that at between 50 and 100 percent year-on-year, that could be doing a billion dollars of gross transaction value, really helping Chinese residents who have got properties or students with bills to pay in Australia.”
In addition to collecting these bill payments from Chinese nationals, automatically converting their RMB to have the bills paid in AUD, Novatti can also process payments via Visa or Mastercard.
Doing so, Novatti is able to offer payment gateways to migrant service providers such as education or accommodation providers to accept online payments from a Visa or Mastercard. These services are offered through Novatti’s deep ties to the migrant services industry in Australia, as well as their new payments gateway offered to 114,000 accounting software users.
Like all things in the world of technology, digital payments advance very quickly and Novatti are very much conscious of this. Preparing for further acceleration in the shift towards cashless economies, Cook sees blockchain technology as a powerful solution that can address issues with digital payments such as speed, volume and security.
“In future B2B payments, we see a lot will be based around blockchain networks and a drive for greater integration between countries and businesses between countries.”
“For instance, between Australia and China, there is a lot of trade, and we see that the trade will continue to grow. people want to be able to pay. Each business wants to be able to pay the other business efficiently. Novatti is the method of dealing.
“Looking at this innovation in the future, we’re very involved in a number of blockchain strategies and in fact we will be deploying a stablecoin which could work, for instance, with the China Central Bank digital currency.
“We’re also doing other modern payment services and trying to work very closely with Chinese payment companies. And, of course we’re already doing it with Unionpay, Alipay and WeChat Pay.”
No strangers to blockchain networks for financial services, Novatti have been adopters of RippleNet to facilitate instant payments between Australia, Thailand and the Philippines. This has already demonstrated Novatti’s ability to work with foreign financial institutions for rapid movement of money across borders without costly fees incurred by traditional banking networks.
By engaging in stablecoin liquidity, the network of potential partners could be substantially more than those aforementioned nations.
Prior to the onset COVID-19, international students contributed more than $40 billion towards the Australian economy.