How to pay Canada college fees from India?

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Canada welcomes Indian students with open arms. Travelling to study abroad can be thrilling and stressful at the same time. There are many things you must do before you land and begin your new adventure, including planning your expenses. 

Some major expenses you will incur are college tuition fees and living expenses such as food, groceries, travel, healthcare, insurance, and entertainment. There are many things to account for, but your chosen city and lifestyle will influence your money requirements.

While there are several methods for making payment for these, paying directly from your account offers several distinct advantages, such as control, convenience, on-time payment, security, and improved credit score. 

But here is an interesting fact: did you know that students are required to pay their college fees before coming to Canada?

Well, it is true. While you will incur most of these expenses once you land, you must pay your tuition fees before landing. To pay college tuition fees from India to Canada, Canadian colleges accept payment through several methods, such as bank transfer, demand draft, credit card, payment platform, forex card, and overseas bank account. Continue reading to learn more about these payment methods for a seamless transaction. 

How to pay tuition fees in Canada from India?

Some of the biggest concerns about sending money to Canada from India are that it should be done quickly, easily, and securely. There are several ways to make the transfer, but which one is right for you? Go through the following different methods to choose the right method for you:

1. Bank transfer

One of the safest, traditional, and universal methods of paying college fees is through bank transfers. Banks like HDFC, ICICI, etc., are authorised financial institutions that allow you to make international payments from India by visiting the bank physically or using a net banking facility.  

You can use your own bank account to make the transfer; all you will need is the bank account details of the college (Name, account number, address, country name, bank name, and recipient’s address), SWIFT Code, and transit number. Once you have filled out all the details to make the payment, be it online or offline, you will need to wait for 2 to 5 days for the college to receive the amount.

There are certain restrictions imposed by the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) regulations. As per it, you can’t send more than USD 250,000 (INR 20,682,750) per financial year (April-March). However, there are no limits on the frequency of transactions. If you wish to send money over the restricted amount, then you must contact the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).                 

To send money abroad, several bank charges are applicable, such as exchange rates, commissions, correspondent bank charges, GST (Goods and Services Tax), and foreign correspondence charges. These charges vary from bank to bank. For instance, ICICI Bank charges:

  • Markup fee – 3.5% + Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Balance Enquiry overseas – Rs. 25 + GST

Pros of bank transfers to pay Canada college fees:

  • Reliability and security: It is one of the most reliable and secure methods of transferring money and paying fees in instalments. For instance, ICICI Bank developed Unifee, a solution for online fee payment specially designed for students or payers to pay college fees directly from their bank account.   
  • Complies with relevant authorities & regulations: With banks, you don’t have to worry about compliance with the relevant authorities & regulations. They function as per RBI guidelines.  

Cons of bank transfers to pay Canada college fees:

  • High fees: Reliability and security come at the cost of high fees. The markup fees alone range from 3% to 5%, depending on the bank. They also charge GST.
  • Long processing time: The transfer takes up to 2-5 days to reach the college’s bank account. If you are in a rush to pay college fees, then this is not a good option.

2. Demand draft

Sending money through demand is an old method of payment. However, you can still use it today. You can use this safe and reliable money transfer method by going to the bank, filling out the form, and giving it to the bank for further processing. Once the outstanding funds have been debited, the bank will issue a demand draft. You will need to manually mail the demand draft to the college. The money will be credited to the account when the demand draft is delivered to the college’s bank account. The whole process takes 1 to 21 days

The same restrictions imposed by the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) regulations apply to demand drafts. So, you can’t send more than USD 250,000 (INR 20,682,750) per financial year (April-March), and there is no limit to the number of transactions.

When it comes to charges, you must be wary of the exchange rates. Also, the bank charges local or NRI clients INR 250 for collection arrangements.   

Pros of using demand drafts to pay Canadian college fees:

  • No limit on amount: Demand drafts don’t impose a maximum limit, so you can send any amount. However, adherence to LRS regulation’s limitations is crucial. 
  • Guaranteed availability of funds: When you issue a demand draft, the funds are immediately debited from your account. This ensures that the college receives a guaranteed payment. For example, if you are an Indian student paying tuition fees to a Canadian university, a demand draft provides assurance that the funds are available.
  • Cheaper than other methods of payment: Except for the exchange rates and collection arrangement charges, there are hardly any charges, making it a better option than others. 

Cons of using demand drafts to pay Canadian college fees:

  • Long processing time: It takes 1-21 days to process, which is a long waiting time.
  • Risk of fraud or misuse: While demand drafts are generally secure, there is still a risk of fraud or misuse.   

3. Credit Card

You can also use your credit cards to pay for college fees. The bank’s partnership with companies like Visa, Mastercard, Amex, etc., aids the process. 

All you must do is go to the college’s online payment portal, enter the student number and amount, and your credit card information to make the payment.

Depending on the bank’s policy, the maximum amount for transferring money may change. For example, you may transmit up to INR 20 lakhs per day with ICICI Bank but only INR 7,44,462 per day with HDFC Bank. Also, LRS regulations’ restrictions apply, so the maximum amount you can transfer per financial year is USD 250,000 (INR 20,682,750). It takes 2 to 5 days to complete the transaction, depending on the bank. 

The charges for money transfers vary from bank to bank, but they range from 3% to 5%, along with Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Pros of using credit cards to pay Canadian college fees:

  • Convenience: Credit cards allow you to borrow money and pay it back later. Since Canadian colleges cost around INR 15 lakhs to INR 50 lakhs, this is quite beneficial.
  • Reward Programs:  Credit cards are famous for their reward programs on money transfers. For example, if your credit card has travel rewards, you might earn points if you pay college fees through it.

Cons of using credit cards to pay Canadian college fees:

  • Long processing time: It takes 2-5 days for the transfer to go through. 
  • Fluctuating charges: The charges involved with sending money vary depending on the credit card issuer and the specific transaction.
  • High interest rate: Money transfers via credit card are considered as cash in advance, which come with higher interest rates compared to regular credit card charges.
  • Negative effect on credit score: If you plan to use a credit card every semester to pay college fees, it can negatively impact your credit score.

4. Payment platform

Payment platforms like overseas remittance companies can help to pay college fees easily, faster, and at a low cost. Online remittance companies, like Wise, HiWiPay, etc., present different ways to transfer money like bank transfer (ACH or SWIFT), debit or credit card, bank draft, or international money orders. 

Overseas remittance companies have online platforms, apps or websites. Through these platforms, you can manage your account, transfer money, and track progress. You must input the amount you want to send in foreign currency and complete the student KYC and student information forms. Next, fill out the college’s details.

To create the challan, digitally sign the A2 form after verifying the total amount in INR, including TCS. They offer various payment methods, such as bank transfer (ACH or SWIFT), debit or credit card, bank draft, or international money orders. The transfer goes through within 24 to 48 hours.

They do have a minimum limit ranging from INR 100 to INR 1000, but when it comes to a maximum limit, it ranges from company to company. The maximum limit doesn’t exceed the restricted amount, i.e. USD 250,000 (INR 20,682,750), as per LRS regulations.

Coming to the markup fees and transaction fees, online remittance companies charge 1% to 2%. They often include a calculator on their website and app that breaks down these payments and indicates how much the receiver will get. 

Pros of using payment platforms to pay Canadian college fees:

  • Transparency and competitive rates: Their fee structure is transparent. They charge only 1 % to 2 % in markup and transaction fees, while other methods tend to charge 3% to 5%. It is cost-effective. 
  • Faster processing time: The transfer goes through within 24 to 48 hours, unlike other methods where you have to wait for days.
  • Convenient online platform: Their online platforms are designed with user convenience in mind. You can initiate and track transfers anywhere, anytime.

Cons of using payment platforms to pay Canadian college fees:

  • Limited coverage by country: Not all countries have access to every online remittance service. So, before paying college fees, ensure that the service you choose supports both your country and Canada.

Read more: How to Transfer Money From India to Canada for International Students

5. Forex Card

Forex cards are much like debit or credit cards. Several banks over a Forex card. You can fill out the card with foreign currency exchange, and then you can pay the college fees from it. The biggest advantage is that you won’t have to pay a dime to transfer money. 

Load the Forex card with the required amount in CAD. You can do this through your bank or the forex service provider. The maximum amount will vary depending on the bank though, so do check that. Again, LRS regulation’s imposed limit of USD 250,000 (INR 20,682,750) applies. Also, check the exchange rate when loading and lock it; this way, you won’t have to worry about exchange rate fluctuations. 

You will need the college’s bank account number, SWIFT code, and other relevant details to make the transfer. When you transfer money, the card will automatically convert the loaded amount to CAD.

Pros of using Forex card to pay Canadian college fees:

  • Currency flexibility: It allows you to choose the currency of your preference and load it. For example, if you are an Indian student paying tuition fees to a Canadian university, you can load Canadian dollars (CAD) onto your Forex card. 
  • Protection against exchange rate fluctuations: You can lock in the exchange rate when you load money into the card. This means that once the exchange rate is locked, it remains the same for the whole trip.
  • No extra charge: Most Forex card transactions come without transaction fees, making them cost-effective for international spending.
  • Secure transaction: The card is PIN-protected. You must enter the PIN to make a transaction. If your card is lost or stolen, you can swiftly block it to prevent unauthorised use. 

Cons of using Forex card to pay Canadian college fees:

  • Initial cost: Obtaining a Forex card may involve issuance and reloading fees. These costs can vary depending on the bank or provider.
  • Complex reloading process: Reloading funds onto a Forex card abroad can sometimes be more complex than cash withdrawals or Credit Card payments. So, ensure that you understand the process clearly and plan accordingly.

6. Overseas bank accounts

The last money transfer option is opening a bank account in Canada. Your child or you can open an account in person or online. You need 2 identification documents, like a passport, study permit, or letter of acceptance. Then, select the bank, choose your account type, fill out the application form and submit the identification documents. Then, wait for verification and approval to gain access. However, you can only pay college fees once you enrol in college. All of the aforementioned payment options must be used to cover the first college fees. The minimum and maximum limit will vary depending on the bank chosen.

Pros of using an overseas bank account to pay Canadian college fees:

  • Direct account-to-account transfer: With an overseas bank account, you can transfer funds directly from your account to the college’s bank account.

Cons of using an overseas bank account to pay Canadian college fees:

  • Higher fees and exchange rate: Banks often charge higher fees for international wire transfers. Exchange rate markups can also apply, affecting the total cost of the transfer.
  • Limited transparency on fees: While banks provide security, their fees are not always transparent. Additional charges may apply beyond the upfront transfer fee.

How Hiwipay can help?

HiWiPay can be your support system, just a click away. It offers a swift, user-friendly solution for paying college fees in Canada from India. With fast transfers processed within 24-48 hours, competitive rates (1-2% markup), and transparent fee structures, it ensures compliance with regulations and provides flexibility in payment methods. Visit our website or download our app today!

Tax on foreign remittance

Tax on outward remittance refers to any applicable taxes imposed by the government on funds being sent out of the country, even while paying college fees abroad. As per Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS), you must pay 20% Tax Collection at Source (TCS). However, to cover educational expenses, there is an exemption from TCS up to a maximum of Rs. 7 lahks. Also, for transactions up to Rs. 7 lakhs, TCS charges of 0.5% will apply if the funds are provided via a loan, but if it is from another income source, then 5% TCS.

Additionally, there are hidden charges to consider while paying your college fees abroad:

  1. Nostro

A Nostro account is a bank account that is created in a foreign country with the goal of doing transactions there using that country’s currency. The bank levies a fee known as the Nostro charge in order to expedite the transaction, which varies from bank to bank. It is advised to complete the transaction online rather than visiting the bank to avoid incurring significant fees. 

  1. GST

Goods and services tax (GST) is charged by the bank for sending college fees to Canada from India. The percent or amount of GST charged depends on the amount of the transaction. Here is the slab:

Amount of Currency Exchanged (ACE)GST RatesMinimum GSTMaximum GST
Upto INR 1 Lakh0.18% of the transfer amountINR 45INR 180
Between INR 1 Lakh and INR 10 LakhINR 180 + 0.09% of the transfer amountINR 180INR 990
Above INR 10 LakhINR 990 + 0.018% of the transfer amountINR 990INR 10,800

Note: The numbers mentioned in the table are subject to changes by the government. Last updated on 18/03/2024.

  1. KYC charges

To send any amount abroad, it is mandatory to complete your KYC. You can do this either online or by physically going to a bank. Offline KYC is free, but if you do it online, banks charge a fee. 

  1. Prepayment charges

Some banks may impose prepayment charges if you choose to prepay or settle your outstanding balance on an educational loan or any other financing arrangement used to fund your college fees. These charges are typically applied when the prepayment occurs before the agreed-upon term. It is usually 5% of the remaining balance. 

Things to keep in mind while paying university fees from India

Consider the following factors to make informed decisions when paying university fees from India for a smooth experience:

Cost of transfer

The cost of transfer depends on various factors, including the payment method chosen, the amount being transferred, currency exchange rates, and any additional fees or charges imposed by banks or financial institutions. 

An overview of the cost of transfer: 

  • Bank Transfer: 3% to 5% Markup fees + GST
  • Demand Draft: INR 250 for collection arrangements
  • Credit Card: 3% to 5% + GST
  • Payment Platform: 1% to 2% 
  • Forex Card: minimal to no fees.

Speed: 

The speed of transfer is crucial, especially when paying university fees with a close deadline. Faster transfer can help reduce the burden and avoid potential delays or penalties. Some methods are slightly faster, such as payment platforms like online remittance companies, which have a faster processing time in comparison to banks. The cost of the transfer can indeed depend on the speed. Faster methods might be more expensive.

The following is the processing time taken by different payment methods:

  • Bank Transfer: 2 to 5 days
  • Demand Draft: 1 to 21 days
  • Credit Card: 2 to 5 days
  • Payment Platform: 24 to 48 hours
  • Forex Card: N/A

Ease of use: 

Ease of use is essential for a smooth payment experience. Look for payment methods and platforms that are user-friendly, intuitive, and accessible across devices. In comparison to banks, online remittance companies like HiWiPay offer convenience. Their interface is easier to use to initiate and track payments. However, if you have no problem with physically visiting the bank to make the transfer, go for that option.   

Trust:

Trust is indispensable for international financial transactions involving large sums of money. So, choose reliable, reputable, and authorised banks, financial institutions, or remittance companies. Conduct thorough research, read reviews, and seek recommendations from trusted sources to ensure that your choice is trustworthy.

Customer support:

For online or offline transfers, a service provider with good customer support is necessary to make sure the fund transfer process is completed smoothly. Look for options with dedicated helplines, email support, live chat assistance, or comprehensive online FAQs to provide timely assistance and guidance as needed.

Documents required for making an international transfer to pay university fees

The following documents are required for making an international transfer to pay university fees:

  1. University acceptance letter mentioning the amount to be transferred
  2. Valid Indian passport of the student
  3. Valid Indian ID proof of the sender (PAN card, Aadhar Card or driving license)
  4. PAN Card of the sender
  5. Duly Filled A2 Form cum Declaration
  6. KYC Documents like a passport or Aadhar Card

Please note that the exact requirements may vary depending on the bank or service provider you choose for the transfer. So, do check with them before initiating the transfer. 

Why You Should Avoid Sending Tuition Money Through Agents?

Local agents can help transfer college fees from Canada to India. Agents like Western Union, Ria Money Transfer, etc., provide in-person assistance, verification and documentation, cash payouts, bank account transfers, exchange rate information, and security and encryption. They offer to send money via someone’s bank account or cash pickup. They take 3 to 4 business days to complete the transfer. They have a price estimator tool that may help to understand the situation when it comes to taxes, currency rates, and transfer costs. 

While the local agents have their own advantages, like in-person assistance and cash pickup options, things can seem easier. However, you should avoid sending tuition money through agents. Here’s why:

  1. Reliability Concern: Not all local agents may be reliable or authorised representatives of financial institutions. Dealing with an unauthorised agent can lead to fraud, mishandling of funds, financial losses or even disputes. 
  2. Regulatory compliance: Agents may not always adhere to regulatory requirements or compliance standards governing international money transfers, which can cause legal issues, fines or penalties.
  3. Delays and missing payments: Agents can delay or miss payments because of inefficient working processes,  errors in the intermediary process, or lack of prioritisation. This delay can have a negative impact on your enrollment.   
  4. Additional cost: Agents often charge additional fees or commissions for their services, increasing the overall cost of transferring tuition money.
  5. Lack of control: If you decide to pay tuition fees through an agent, you have no control over the transfer process, making it difficult to monitor or track the status of payments. This can lead to uncertainty or anxiety regarding the safety and reliability of your funds.

Problems With Completing Payments Via an Agent

If you do decide to go ahead with paying college fees via an agent, then there are some other problems apart from the ones mentioned above you must be aware of. The following are some more problems that you might face with completing payment:

  1. Communication issues: Agents may not always effectively communicate payment instructions or requirements, leading to confusion or misunderstandings regarding the transfer process.
  2. Hidden fees and charges: Agents may impose additional fees or charges that are not disclosed upfront, making it difficult to accurately budget for the payment.
  3. Lack of accountability: If there is any problem with the payment,  it may be challenging to hold the agent accountable or find a solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I pay foreign university fees from India?

You can pay foreign university fees from India through bank transfer, demand draft, credit card, payment platform, forex card, or overseas bank accounts. 

Can I pay foreign university fees with a credit card?

Yes, you can pay foreign university fees with a credit card. However, irrespective of the convenience and rewards program’s benefits, the cons far outweigh the benefits. International transfers through credit cards have a long processing time (2 to 5 days), fluctuating charges, and high-interest rates. It can even have a negative impact on your credit score.  

What will happen if I don’t pay international university fees?

If you fail to pay international university fees, your study permit will be revoked, and your enrollment will be withdrawn. After this, you might even lose your visa, access to study materials, and right to attend classes. However, the university might be inclined to offer an extension if there is a legitimate reason for the delay.

What happens to my student visa if I can’t pay my foreign university fees?

If you are unable to pay your foreign university fees, it could have serious implications for your student visa. Your visa will be revoked, and you will have to come back to India.

Do we need to make payment of fees in whole or in installments?

The method of payment for university fees can vary depending on the university’s policies. Some might ask you to pay in full or semester-wise.

Can GIC and university fees be paid from my parents’ account and show for a student Visa?

You must pay GIC from your bank account or from a joint bank account with your parents. If you pay through accounts other than these, then the money will be returned, and you will have to pay administrative/intermediary bank fees incurred.

University fees can be paid from any bank account, including your parents’ account. However, to avoid taxation after crossing the 7 lakh INR limit, the transfer should be spread between parents.

Is there a cheaper way to pay university fees abroad?

Out of all the options available, i.e., bank transfer, demand draft, credit card, payment platform, forex card, or overseas bank accounts, payment platforms like online remittance companies are the cheapest way to pay university fees abroad. They only charge 1-2% in markup and transaction fees and process the payment within 24 to 48 hours.

How much does it really cost to study in Canada?

The specific amount will vary depending on your city and lifestyle, but here is an overview of the cost of studying in Canada for an international student:  

Major ExpensesCost 
Flight ExpenseINR 1,00,000- INR 2,00,000 per flight
Study Permit FeesINR 11,123
Work Permit FeesINR 11,493
IELTS test FeesINR 14,700
Student VisaINR 8,542
Tuition feesINR 10,00,000 – INR 50,00,000 per year
GICINR 7,00,000
AccommodationINR 2,67,000 – INR 5,39,000 per year
Food & GroceriesINR 17,508 – INR 23,344 per month
TravelINR 4,300 – INR 6,000 per month
Healthcare & InsuranceINR 17,000 – INR 44,000 per year
Entertainment & MiscellaneousINR 20,000 – 40,000 per month

Note: The figures mentioned in the table are approximate. They may vary by location and currency exchange rate. Last updated on 17/03/24.

Is it possible for international students to pay 2nd-year tuition fees in Canada?

Yes, it is possible for international students to pay 2nd-year tuition fees in Canada. 

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