Crimson Education, established in 2013, found great success helping young people in its native New Zealand to reach top universities in the US and the UK. To help more students around the world achieve their college dreams, it scaled to new markets. But entering new markets, each with its own currencies, payment methods, and banking infrastructures, was tricky.
Additionally, it was important for the business to give students the flexibility to make payments with their preferred payment method and at comfortable intervals while collecting and analyzing those payments effectively. “Offering families their preferred payment methods and plans in their local currency helps ensure on-time payment, which is critical for us in forecasting business plans and budgets,” said Mark Ashley, global financial controller for Crimson Education. It was also important that this payment solution was automated to reduce manual work for Crimson Education’s finance team.
In the search for a platform that would scale internationally, offer students flexible payments, and save its team valuable hours, Crimson Education chose Stripe to support its payment needs. “We have to be nimble to meet the needs of our users. That’s where Stripe has really helped us the most,” Ashley said.
Using Stripe Payments, the company can more easily grow into new regions by accepting payments from customers in their own currencies, without having to set up a local bank account. These payments are protected by Smart Retries because “in many cases, installments are large sums, and if a card declines because of the size of the charge or another error, the ability to retry that payment is essential,” Ashley said. Meanwhile, with Stripe Radar, Crimson Education protects itself and its customers from fraudulent charges without running the risk of blocking legitimate customers in the process.
Crimson also added new payment methods, like Alipay and WeChat Pay that are especially prominent in Australia and New Zealand, to its platform. With Payments, Crimson customers can pay with new payment methods like Apple Pay just as easily as using a credit card.
Crimson Education used Stripe Billing to help families create more flexible payment plans. “Stripe Billing allows us to set up payment plans very easily, and we’re continually automating and integrating them into our systems to adjust our pricing models to customers’ preferences,” said Ashley.
To help support the Crimson Education team, the company decided to move its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to NetSuite. This change also involved reconnecting and reconfiguring Stripe with the new system. To ensure a smooth implementation process, Crimson Education connected with Stripe partner SuiteFunction. “Having a partner that knows what Stripe and NetSuite can do together is invaluable. Continuing to automate and simplify is super important to us as we enter this next step of digital growth at our company,” Ashley said.
Students in 11+ countries offered new educational resources
More choices for customers and an easier way to collect payments with different methods and currencies has helped Crimson Education accelerate its international expansion. The company has opened new offices in India, Indonesia, and Turkey in the past 18 months.
The company is also expanding its products and services powered by Stripe. Beyond consulting services and online high school courses, Crimson Education is growing its subscription-based tutoring service, Revision Village. “Revision Village is growing fast. It’s set to be one of our largest business units in the next three to four years, and 100% of those subscription payments are going through Stripe,” Ashley said.
90% average on-time payment ratio across the entire organization
Crimson Education fully integrated Stripe in a matter of weeks and was able to immediately offer a variety of payment plan options—including monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or annually—to help families manage payments. Crimson Education uses Payments, Billing, and Radar to create a secure and simple recurring payment system to achieve a 90% on-time payment ratio. By automating scheduling, collecting, and billing, the team can reach its on-time payment collection goal with fewer resources. “Setting up monthly payments was an administrative nightmare. Now, we can just set up a monthly subscription with Stripe and don’t have to hire additional receivables personnel to monitor and manage installment payments,” Ashley said.
The Crimson app saves students and tutors, with faster ways to manage payments
The 10+ hours per week the team is saving by automating manual account management allows Crimson Education to focus its efforts on new projects and continuing its growth. One of these value-add projects is embedding Stripe into the Crimson app, which allows students to book and rate tutors and lets tutors provide session reports for important follow-ups. Once those steps are done, the app generates an invoice with Stripe for Crimson Education to pay the tutor. With payments built into the app, students can also purchase additional tutoring hours with just a few taps.
Stripe has surprised me, and not just from the technical side. Being able to just pick up the phone and talk to support has been a major differentiator. It’s led to us even collaborating with Stripe on sending some of our students to tour their office. It’s a great relationship.