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Coursera Introduces One-Time Payment Options for Subscriptions

Coursera offers one-time payments as an alternative to subscriptions in some countries. Here’s how it works.

Coursera’s one-time payment options in Brazil

Until recently, Coursera Specializations were subscription-only. But now, Coursera is offering an alternative, at least to learners based in Brazil and India.

One of our Class Central colleagues based in India recently discovered an option to purchase a specialization for a certain amount of time: 1 month, 3 months, or 6 months. The longer the term, the bigger the discount.

We quickly cross checked this with our colleagues in other countries and found that this new payment option wasn’t available in so-called “developed countries” like the United States, Belgium, and Australia.

These one-time payment options were probably a response to the restrictions put on recurring credit card payments by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last year. These restrictions resulted in many companies moving away from subscriptions.

When I analyzed Coursera’s annual report (also called 10-K Form), this RBI policy change was mentioned under Risk Factors as an example of how Coursera might be impacted by local laws and regulations.

Coursera’s one-time payment options in India

In India, Coursera doesn’t offer learners a choice to pick a subscription plan (as shown in the screenshot above). But in Brazil, learners get a choice between a monthly subscription and a one-time payment. 

This might be related to the RBI ruling. In fact, in India, on the Specializations page, the Coursera Plus catalog subscription is not advertised (though if you visit the Coursera Plus page directly, Indian learners can sign up for it).

Coursera: Payment options available in the US, India, and Brazil
United States India Brazil
Coursera Plus Shown ✔️ ✔️
One-Time Payment ✔️ ✔️
Monthly Subscription ✔️ ✔️

Class Central has been documenting Coursera’s monetization journey right from the beginning. You can read about how Coursera went from zero to hundreds of millions in revenue here.

Dhawal Shah Profile Image

Dhawal Shah

Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.

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