Proof of Funds is how you show that you have enough funds to settle and study in the school that has offered you admission to come study abroad. With this document, you can proceed with your offer letter to process your visa.
Straight to the interview!
Marykeen Consult: Hi Grace. Does Asset Microfinance Bank have a license to operate?
Grace Williams: Yes, it’s CBN-licensed and insured by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). It has been around for more than 5 years.
What’s the Process for Getting Proof of Funds?
Marykeen Consult: Some people apply to schools abroad and get admissions. They receive their admission letters and the school fees they are to pay.
It dawns on them that they can’t afford the school fees, and their family and friends may probably not be able to help raise the funds for them. If they were to approach you, what processes would they go through?
Grace Williams: The Proof of Funds works when the visa official requests for your account statement. That’s when the proof of funds comes in.
The Proof of Fund is your financial ability. There is a value the visa official expects that you should have as a closing balance.
For the UK, when you make a part payment of your school fees, you need to begin to factor in living expenses, accommodation, and the rest of your school fees payment.
These are the things you factor in when you want to calculate the Proof of Funds.
Proof of Funds is clearly different from your school fees. It is a closing balance that shows that you can take care of yourself while you’re overseas.
Marykeen Consult: Tell us more about your experience with the UK and Canada.
Grace Williams: For the UK, you don’t need an existing bank account. You just need a 28-day account. The process for the UK when it comes to Proof of Funds is usually faster.
The money could be in your account for a period of two-and-half to three months. Within the space of 1–3 months, your visa will be granted.
But for Canada, you need to keep the funds in your account for close to 4 or 6 months. Within that period, your visa will be granted.
When Do You Need to Start Processing Proof of Funds?
Marykeen Consult: At what time does someone need to start processing the Proof of Funds?
Grace Williams: You need to have done your admission processes, you need to have gained admission, you need to have made part payment of the school fees. That’s when you can start talking about Proof of Funds.
When you gain admission, Proof of Funds is not the next thing. You need Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to apply for your visa. This is for the UK.
The Visa doesn’t take long. Between one and one-and-a-half months, it should be granted.
Before you can get CAS, you need to get your account funded with the closing balance.
The day the closing balance hits your account, that’s the day for you to apply for CAS begins to read.
Marykeen Consult: That means that the school gives you CAS and CAS is more or less like, “We have checked that you have this certain amount of funds to take care of yourself, so we are giving you this confirmation for you to go and apply for your visa.”
Grace Williams: Yes, yes, yes.
Estimate for POF Closing Balance and Bank Rates
Marykeen Consult: For the UK and Canada, do you have a rough estimate of how much they expect you to have in that account?
Grace Williams: Yeah. For living expenses, there are regions where the cost of living is higher than others.
But then, it’s safe to say that if it’s a family of 3 or 4, they could have like 20M — 25M (in naira).
If it’s a single person, 11M.
It’s usually stated though, when they send you the letter. The school would have factored in all your costs.
Marykeen Consult: That’s beautiful. Imagine that someone has already gotten their admission and they need to get that Proof of Fund to get their CAS and apply for their visa.
If they come to you and want Proof of Funds, what are the steps they need to take so that you can provide the amount that they need?
Grace Williams: It’s pretty simple. There are several banks we work with. For the UK, we recommend a Keystone account because Keystone is very fast when it comes to processing and in less than 24 hours, you will be funded.
You will get the money in your account unlike the other banks where you need to do some other checks and signatures.
That’s what delays the other banks. For Keystone bank, the processes are very fast.
If the applicant doesn’t have a Keystone account, we can also open a Keystone account for such a person. We will send them an account opening form.
We create the account unless the applicant states that he or she would love to walk into the bank to open the account themselves, which is fine too.
The first step is to open a Keystone account and make sure that it is regularized and is upgraded to a Tier-3 account.
When that is done, we send them a KYC form. They have to fill using a valid ID, recent utility bill and passport photograph.
The next step is to make payment for the services we are rendering.
Marykeen Consult: How much does the service cost?
Grace Williams: We are currently selling Keystone bank at the rate of 2.8%. If the person is applying for N10M, such person would have to pay N280,000.
When they send proof of payment, we fund the account immediately.
Marykeen Consult: It’s immediately, so it doesn’t even take time.
Grace Williams: No, it doesn’t.
The Next Thing…
Marykeen Consult: After the initial payment (that is, 2.8% for Keystone Bank), what’s the next thing that’s expected of them?
Grace Williams: They begin to run the account just to create transactions in the account. That’s what’s expected of them.
But then, the funds in the account, we have it locked.
Marykeen Consult: That means they are expected to start using that account like a normal account and use it to run transactions.
Grace Williams: Yes.
Marykeen Consult: So they get the admission, and the Proof of Funds and they travel abroad to school. How long do you require them to start paying back?
Grace Williams: No, we don’t require them to pay back. This is not a loan. That’s why I said it’s a service payment upfront.
The money we put in your account has a duration. 1 month.
When you pay the N280,000 using the example of N10M, the money is expected to stay in your account for 1 month (30 days).
After 30 days, if you don’t make a renewal or say you don’t want the money in your account again, we take it out of your account.
Marykeen Consult: Oooh (Light bulb moment). I see.
I get what you mean now.
So, it’s a service. You’re only giving them that money to show. If they want to renew for another month, then they pay the 2.8% again.
Grace Williams: Yes. And remember that the 2.8% is for them to get the visa.
Proof of Funds is Not a Loan
Marykeen Consult: I see. That’s interesting. For Proof of Funds, this service is for 30 days. What if the visa processing takes longer than 30 days. Does that mean they would have to renew for another month?
Grace Williams: Yes, exactly. You have to renew for another month. The system is programmed. When you don’t make payment on the 30th day, the money leaves your account immediately.
Other Things to Take Note of
Marykeen Consult: From your experience so far, are there other things you would always want people to take note of when they want to do this Proof of Funds with you?
Grace Williams: They should know and understand that Proof of Funds is not a loan.
We’re providing this service because we need to take off this financial burden off travelers.
Some people have lost their admission as a result of lack of funds.
Marykeen Consult: Yeah.
Grace Williams: Especially these living expenses. You have to put in a certain amount of money in your account and you would not touch that money, of which there are so many things you need to sort out because you’re in a process.
You need to get so many things done. You need to factor in your flight ticket. On the other side, there’s accommodation, feeding and all of that.
Keeping the money in a client account to serve a purpose is a risky business on our side but there’s no business that’s without risks.
Clients should understand that after the initial payment for 30 days, if they want to roll over, they need to make payment in due time.
If they don’t make payment and the money is removed from their account, it is risky to the client also because the money will be taken out of your account and the process will be cut.
Such a person is at the risk of losing a visa.
Marykeen Consult: Imagine that someone subscribed for that first month (30 days) and they couldn’t finish the visa processing and they subscribed for the next month with the hope that they would finish the process in the second month.
If they finish the visa processing in one month and one week, would you refund the balance for the rest of the 3 weeks?
Grace Williams: Thank you for asking. Some of my clients now know that after paying for that first month, they could pay for 2 weeks thereafter. The two weeks they are paying for is 14 days. If they pay for another 2 weeks, that will be another 14 days, making 28 days.
Marykeen Consult: So it’s not even up to 30 days.
Grace Williams: Yes. It’s up to them also but we cannot refund.
Marykeen Consult: The 2 weeks means that they will be N140,000 for Keystone.
Grace Williams: Yes. If they’ve paid for 2 months straight and their visa has not been granted and they are speculating that within the next 2 weeks, it should be out, they pay for the 2 weeks.
The least we do is 2 weeks. Even if you want to get a closing balance of N10M within the space of 5 days, you have to pay for 2 weeks. That’s how it works.
Marykeen Consult: What do you recommend in terms of timeframe for renewal?
Grace Williams: Latest, a day before the due date or expiration of the previous agreement.
Marykeen Consult: Apart from the KYC, do they get an agreement, or payment receipt or anything to show that they’ve worked with you when they come for this service?
Grace Williams: If they need a receipt (a paper document), they can come to the office.
Marykeen Consult: Where is your office?
Grace Williams: We have an office. Our office is at 17A, Dele Adedeji, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
Marykeen Consult: Can they make service payments online as well?
Grace Williams: They will always have an agent attached to them, of which I’m one.
Marykeen Consult: Apart from Keystone, are there other banks? Can people use their existing bank accounts?
Grace Williams: That’s especially for Canadian travelers. But if you’re using Keystone and you want us to fund your existing account, that’s fine too. But the rate for each bank differs.
Marykeen Consult: So, Keystone is the cheapest for now?
Grace Williams: Yes, it is. Even if I have people planning to go to Canada by January of next year, I would advise them to open a Keystone account by now and run transactions from friends and families. That would be good for them.
Keystone is the lowest rate in the market right now and we’re the ones offering 2.8% right now.
Marykeen Consult: Others are higher than that?
Grace Williams: Yes. I can beat my chest to tell you that we are giving 2.8% right now. It was formerly 3% for Globus Bank. SunTrust 3%. Access Bank is 3.8%. GTBank is like 4%. First Bank is like 5%. Even Keystone was 3% but our organization right now is giving Keystone 2.8%. They can get 3% for other organizations.
So, it’s best to use a Keystone account when you’re going to the UK.
Marykeen Consult: Does this money have to be in naira and in a Domiciliary account? What currency does the school require?
Grace Williams: It’s a Nigerian account which is naira. The bank you’re working with has to be CBN-certified.
Our services are not limited to those that are applying to school in the UK and Canada.
We said the UK because there are different regions attached to these places. When we talk of Canada also, it is inclusive of the USA.
The rules that apply to Canada applied to the USA.
Even if you need to study in Australia and you need a closing balance, in as much as it is a Nigerian account, we can work with you.
We are not limited by anything.
This service is not also limited to University applicants alone. I have clients that are going for tournaments and need a closing balance. If you need a closing balance if you’re traveling abroad, that’s where we come in.
Marykeen Consult: So far, this has been very helpful and eye-opening. Thank you. How can we reach you?
Grace Williams: On WhatsApp or you can call me on +2348105590199
Marykeen Consult: Thank you, Grace.
If you have more questions on Proof of Funds or studying abroad, ask them in the comments.
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