If you do business overseas then getting paid can be troublesome unless you know what to do about other currencies.
Whatever the nature of your business, developing an interest from foreign customers can really add to your turnover and growth potential. Unfortunately, many online merchants and sole traders, even those who have been established for years in Malaysia, struggle when it comes to dealing with payments from overseas. However, it does not take much to overcome these issues and to begin trading in earnest with customers from outside of the country.
Accepting foreign currencies as payment for your goods or services should be as easy to organise as payments that are made in Ringgit. The trouble is, when you are operating online you don’t want to advertise your prices in a whole range of currencies – many of which will change relative to one another over the course of a day. Nevertheless, if you agree a price in Ringgit with a customer who then wants to pay in Euros, for example, it is often little use accepting a cheque in that currency. Most sole traders use basic current accounts for their banking needs and, even if you have a business account, your bank will probably charge you to accept a cheque in a foreign currency. On top of this, the relative prices of the currencies may change by the time the cheque arrives, which could also leave you out of pocket. Using conventional payment methods, therefore, hits your profit margin and makes the whole enterprise unfeasible.
Currency Conversion Services
To combat this, there are several payment service providers that can manage currency conversion during the online payment process itself. This allow your customers to pay in their preferred currency without the risk of market fluctuations, and you will know the transaction value the moment they have paid. Moreover, payment companies must ensure that they comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), so you can rest assured knowing your transaction will take place safely.
When choosing your online payment processor, it is important to consider that some charge per transaction and some don’t. However, each usually has a minimum transfer value – something like 1278 MYR to 2557 MYR in many cases – in order to conduct the transfer for free. Check what the exchange rate is for each of these services before going ahead as some will be more favourable to the seller than others. If you already use a service like this, run a quick check on how competitive your supplier is using a comparison website.
Use Your Bank
Another very secure way of accepting an overseas payment for an online product or service is via your own bank. Banks use an international system called CHAPS which should give you the confidence to release the goods once the money has cleared. It is fast and, because it is run by your bank, secure. It is the recommended form of transactions of a high value, for instance when you are selling a property.
Any business accepting international payments stands to dramatically increase their revenue streams if they know how to handle things correctly. The added accessibility of an online store means you can target a much wider audience than in a fixed location shop, and offer a much greater range of products without the excess overheads.
?It is always best to explore your options and perhaps you could specify a range of payment options for international customers which vary depending on the monetary amount or frequency of the transactions. Ultimately, as the merchant, you want to ensure that you get the best deal without alienating your customers by imposing large fees. If you’re new to online payment acceptance and want to play it safe, avoid payments in currencies that are volatile or subject to high inflation; stick to Ringgit until you gain confidence with accepting alternative foreign payments.
After working in IT, Melvin is currently setting up his own small woodwork firm with his two brothers.