Boston start-up peerTransfer raises $6.4 million

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PeerTransfer Corp. has raised $6.4 million in venture capital funding to speed up the growth of its online service indented to make it easier for international students to pay tuition, the company announced Tuesday morning.

The founding round is led by QED Investors of Alexandria, Va., and brings the total amount raised by the Boston-based start-up to $15 million. Its other investors include FIDES and KIBO Ventures of Madrid, Spain, as well as Boston’s Spark Capital and Maveron, a firm with offices in San Francisco and Seattle.

PeerTransfer, which was founded in 2009 and has about 40 employees, works with 350 education institutions including schools such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Emerson College. It has processed payments from 190 countries. Its online service promises to give families paying for overseas tuition cheaper rates than traditional transfer services.

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“The exchange rate is much more competitive, and we share some of that savings with the students,” said Iker Marcaide, who founded the company while he was attending MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

The average yearly payment made through the service is $25,000, and peerTransfer rates are often half what foreign banks charge, said Marcaide.

PeerTransfer said the number of payments it has processed increased 10 fold between 2011 and 2012. It would not disclose the total amount of money that has flowed through its online payment system.