Fintech solution becomes rising Techstar

Sponsored: UniZest offers banking for international students, and is one of 10 fintech start-ups chosen by Barclays for its Techstars programme 2018

UniZest created and launched the Aspire account which elegantly solves the problems that international students experience in opening bank accounts after they arrive in the UK. This problem has negative impacts not only on the students and their families, but also on the institutions where they are studying.

The key point about the Aspire account is that the students can open and start using their account even before they leave home to travel to the UK. Giving them and, just as importantly, their families the peace of mind of knowing that an important part of their new lives in the UK is already in place.

Importantly it will significantly reduce the number of students turning up to the UK with dangerous amounts of cash. UniZest said that the account will improve the wellbeing of the students and help them to concentrate on settling into their new lives in a much less stressful environment.

Through partnerships with Contis Financial Services and the Global Currency Exchange Network, UniZest say its product will circumvent the traditional problems.

Peter Miles, UniZest CEO, has had previous entrepreneurial experience in the UK domestic HE market with SubTV. He explained that the key to this new product is that it is designed exclusively for international students and focused on helping them in enabling their new lives.

“Imagine it,” he said, “the student is sat in Malaysia, with mum and dad, about to go thousands of miles away to a country where none of their existing support systems are already in place. But now they can open their Aspire account.”

“Not only open,” Miles added, “they can start using it! Through the foreign exchange service they can turn ringgits into sterling and then make UK payments while they are still at home. UK to UK local transfers can be made for things like accommodation and tuition fees.”

Miles said that UniZest are already working closely with 15 university partners in communicating this valuable service to their international students, and that they are hoping to increase this to 30 by the end of September 2018.

So far, the firm only works in the UK, but UniZest has plans for a large-scale expansion to Europe, North America and Australia.

Back in the UK, Miles is sure that UniZest’s inclusion in the Techstars programme will accelerate growth by working with Barclays, one of the biggest retail banks in the UK.

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