Insights

Powering Card Issuance For EdTech

Even before 2020 started, EdTech was touted as the next Fintech. It might be appropriate to imagine that two-year projections now need two-month delivery. It’s daunting, but usually it is the way innovation works; quantum leaps are hardly ever straight forward.

Levelling With Challenges

In late March, major countries enforced a COVID-19 triggered lockdown, leading schools, colleges
and offices to shut down indefinitely and institute a work from home regime almost overnight.
Curfew like situations have now eased but we can hardly expect that our movement will not be
constricted until we have a legitimate medical solution; which is to say, we will be on the curb for the foreseeable future and embrace what has been called, ‘a new normal’.

Over the last three months, the focus on the EdTech sector is understandable. Already, global EdTech investments were projected to jump to $350 billion in 2025 compared to $19 billion at the end of 2019 [1]. Since 2016, the sector has been clocking in approximately, 17% annual growth, according to EdTechXGlobal [2].

Given this context, it is not surprising that knowledge platforms have reported
unprecedented, multifold growth in subscriptions and programmes. For instance, according to media reports, US-based Coursera added 25 million enrolments in the last three months, registering a growth of 520% compared to the same period last year [3]. Some others have also been able to double subscription numbers since last year. Much of this robust growth and gumption embedded in the sector was driven by its ongoing transition from cash to digital and the focus on personalised customers experience. Now, the need of the hour is to ensure that the digital-first innovation is scaled more aggressively.

This means:

1. Investing in solutions that can deliver results in a short span of time
2. Easy incorporation with assured results
3. Collaborating with companies that offer best-in-class solutions and focus on co-innovation

Digital Deep-Dive With Branded Cards

In the past, digital intervention has often come with a disruption of trust. However, we have also reached an inflection point. All stakeholders operating in a digital environment have to be assured of safety, security and efficiency. Electronic payments can ramp up inclusion, which has been
highlighted as one of the major challenges of the EdTech sector, in extraordinary ways. One sure shot solution lies in launching co-branded cards, which allows companies to utilise their
internal employee budget allocation, increase employee engagement, invest in existing internal
knowledge and provide visibility on employees’ educational interests. Moreover, cards are
contactless, which doubles up as an additional benefit as we lean in and learn how to navigate an
environment where touch is endangered.

1. One of COVID-19’s major fallout has been an economic downturn. When we hit downturns,
we must become more vigilant; our margin of error has to be zero. Branded cards restrict
liability of a corporation to the balance that is available on the card. It can track transactions,
monitor through notification, institute authentication and enforce ways to resolve dispute
mechanisms that ensure customer convenience. In case of fraud, a set of regulation driven
compliance requirements are put in place immediately. Bank grade detection and fraud
prevention tools make it easy to keep track of where money is and where money is going.

2. When our systems have been thrown out of balance and time is of the essence to launch new
programmes, investing in simple, easy-to-incorporate, streamlined processes become
necessary, it might even be all the competitive advantage a company needs. Branded cards
integrate into systems easily, enable faster expansion, reduce cost and ensure best in class
security, with end to end encryption. It is a tool that can simplify payouts and disbursements.
With the help of the right partner, companies can speed up a card launch programme by as
much as 20 weeks.

3. As international travel continues to be hit and people feel apprehensive of travel, branded
cards can be used to manage cross border transactions systematically. Companies have access
to currency flexibility, automated spend controls, term offerings as per local currency, an
ability to manage global payment and simplify payrolls, etc. to keep up to date and track all
payments.

4. Branded cards also give an insight into customer likes, interests and aspirations. They help in
creating a value proposition for customer onboarding. The digital journey is immediately
customised, with no spamming. It creates focus around seamless, personalised, digital
experience and becomes particularly lucrative for reward driven programmes. EdTech
platforms can create new avenues of revenue, a necessity, when growth is being driven by
free subscriptions.

Conclusion

It is not as if the EdTech sector will deflate once business-as-usual resumes. Its potential is not
circumstantial. An estimated $7 billion of venture capital funds were invested in EdTech in 2019.
Dozens of private equity players are in the process of raising focused funds. The runway of
opportunities is seemingly endless; the winning strategy will depend on finding solutions, scaling
rapidly and finally, delivering cutting edge quality with precision and consistency. The time is right
for opportunistic innovation.

About Nium

Nium is a global financial technology platform redefining the way consumers and businesses send,
spend and receive funds across borders. The company is continuously innovating to provide the most relevant and agile solutions to meet the needs of consumers and businesses, having evolved from solely focusing on consumer remittance via InstaReM, to also providing fintech solutions for
businesses from 2019. Nium’s network is powered by our portfolio of licenses, hard-earned by
building trust with financial regulators in over 38 countries. NIUM is a member of Visa’s Fintech Fast Track programme, enabling the company to offer end-to-end issuing, processing and onboarding services, and shorten the lead time for Visa card issuance to just four to six weeks.

[1] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/technology-education-edtech-play-learning/

[2] https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-report-predicts-edtech-spend-to-reach-252bn-by-2020-580765301.html

[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/17/threat-unleashed-by-covid-that-could-sink-high-priced-college-degrees.htmlhttps://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/17/threat-unleashed-by-covid-that-could-sink-high-priced-college-degrees.html

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