It’s no good when you end up losing a customer because you don’t offer a suitable payment method. Instances of people paying exorbitant fees and getting unfavorable exchange rates add to many woes, as well. If you run a business that deals with international customers or you’re a freelancer with international clients, using the right means to receive payments can save you time as well as money.
Bear in mind that there’s no one-solution-for-all, and you need to take your individual needs into account at the very beginning.
1. Payment Gateways
If you own an e-commerce platform, integrating a payment gateway with your website gives your customers an easy way to make payments using their bank accounts, credit cards, or debit cards. A payment gateway, though, is no more than a tool that processes transactions, and you’ll need a merchant account where you receive transferred funds.
What you need to worry about in selecting the right service provider is the fees you’ll need to pay and the conversion rates that might apply. Some of the leading gateway integration alternatives for start-ups in the United States include Braintree, Stripe, Authorize.net, PayPal Pro, and Intuit Merchant Services.
2. Wire Transfers
Wire transfers typically come with lower fees when compared to payments received via payment gateways. This option is more suitable if you don’t depend on real-time transactions and invoice your clients periodically.
If you chose to go the wire transfer way, your client may use the services of a bank or a specialist fund transfer company such as TransferWise, World First, CurrencyFair, and OFX Money Transfer. However, banks usually charge high fees and offer less than desirable exchange rates.
If your client wishes to send payments through a bank, you’ll need to provide your account number, the bank’s name, and the bank’s routing number. Some online fund transfer companies such as TransferWise and PayPal let you receive funds by giving your customer no more than your email address.
3. Invoicing Services
Invoicing services such as Harvest and FreshBooks are best suited for high-volume businesses. Some offer free services for domestic and international payments and can integrate with payment gateways from different parts of the world. If you use an invoicing service, tracking different currencies becomes easy. All you need to do is change the currency directly on your invoice.
4. International Bank Accounts
International bank accounts may work well if you need to process a lot of payments, especially as an online trader or a freelancer. One drawback is that you may need to provide a resident permit or a tax number from the nation in which you wish to open the account.
Fortunately, companies such as TransferWise and Payoneer provide their global users bank account details from countries such as the U.S. and the UK, giving them easy and cost-effective ways to receive payments in matching currencies. Using an international bank account lets you circumvent fees that come with international wire transfers and may hold funds in different currencies for as long as you like.
If you run an e-commerce store, you will need to consider integrating one or more payment gateways into the overall scheme of things at some point or the other. If you are okay with sending invoices to your customers, you may want to weigh in on the other options, depending on the volumes you deal with and the needs of your customers. Banks, in any scenario, don’t appear to be worth the money they charge any more.