How to choose the best cross-border payment solution for your business

David Beach5 minutes
How to choose the best cross-border payment solution for your business
In this article

Choosing the best cross-border payment solution for your business will help you save time and money, so it’s worth doing your research. 

You may have already tried some international money transfer services or perhaps you’re totally new to making multi-currency transactions. 

In either case, you’re probably already aware that being able to make cost-effective and speedy cross-border payments is a vital piece in the global scaling jigsaw. 

But with so many cross-border payment service providers and multi-currency transfer services out there and with varying features and costs, it can be hard to choose. This comprehensive guide on how to choose the best cross-border payment solution will provide insights into:

  • Why cross-border payments are so important for your business

  • Cross-border payments best practices to help guide your search

  • Questions to ask potential providers with our thorough 10-point checklist 

Read on to find out how to choose the best cross-border payment solution for your business.

Why are cross-border payments so important for your business?

Understanding exactly what cross-border payments are and how they work should be the first step in your journey. But once you have the fundamentals established, the next step is to find a solution that meets your business’ specific requirements. 

Whether you're at the beginning of your global expansion journey or well established, it pays dividends to set up a solid international payments system that streamlines your business processes and doesn’t eat into your profits. 

One of many criteria may be finding an affordable cross-border payment solution, since high costs remain one of four major challenges in cross-border payments faced worldwide. But simply searching for low-cost international transfers for business probably won’t help you identify the best cross-border payment solution for you. 

So what else should you be looking for when searching for the best cross-border payment service provider?

The right cross-border payments strategy will help you:

  • Minimise the costs of doing business overseas

  • Avoid cross-border fees (especially hidden fees)

  • Manage your cash flow by providing cash flow visibility 

  • Streamline your global finance operations 

  • Consolidate disparate financial tools and functions

Importantly, being equipped with the right knowledge when it comes to cross-border payments will provide momentum for your business to scale.

Global payments: Tapping into cross-border payments best practice 

In light of the complexities of cross-border payments compared to national payment systems, taking a strategic approach will help you maximise gains and minimise the costs to your business to make overseas money transfers. 

Adopting a best practice approach to cross-border payments at an early stage will provide a sustainable foundation on which your business can grow.  

Here are eight considerations to keep in mind in your search for the best cross-border payment solution. And you’ll find the 10 step checklist below.

  1. To B(2B) or not to B(2C): A common feature of cross-border fintech platforms is their B2C origins. It means the user experience is often seamless but the functionality required by a midmarket or growing business may not be a priority. 

  2. Treasury visibility: Working with multiple currencies can be a challenge when it comes to cash visibility and reporting. Be sure to check what features are offered in relation to treasury visibility.

  3. Speed to market: How quickly can you get up and running with a new cross-border payment provider and begin transacting? How much work is involved from a developer point of view to integrate the solution? APIs and pre-built elements reduce developer efforts and help you unlock more global revenue. 

  4. Operational efficiency: The best cross-border payment partner will save you time and accelerate your efficiency. Look for features like workflow automation, finance system integrations and batch payments to streamline your global finance operations. 

  5. Consolidation and compatibility: Many cross-border payment partners have expanded beyond multi-currency payments with ancillary or complementary services. Card issuance, expense management, bill pay and accounting and eComm software integration are now offered. 

  6. Compliance: Complying with local regulations doesn’t have to be complex when operating on a global scale. An experienced provider will have deep and robust knowledge of cross-border payment regulations, risks and regulatory compliance requirements in local markets, along with local regulatory relationships and licences. 

  7. Security and fraud prevention: Automated transaction monitoring is pretty much a given. Leading providers are going one step further with risk engines that assess the chances of a transaction being fraudulent by using machine learning. 

  8. Currency exchange rates strategy: A provider that offers a wide array of local and global transfer options will most likely give you access to low fee currency conversions. Some providers offer market-leading rates irrespective of transaction value. They may also offer a rate alert function which lets you set up a notification for your account when chosen currency pairs reach your specified rates.

How to choose the best cross-border payment solution for your business 

With so many providers on the market, it can be hard to know which is the best international money transfer solution for your business. Yet it’s a strategically and commercially critical decision. 

Money keeps your business moving—and how you handle it can make or break the success of your business. 

Global payment providers do a lot more than simply overseas payment processing. It (and in turn, you) must consider payment compliance and security, conversion fees, the user experience, scalability and much more.

We’ve included some of the key questions and considerations to ask your potential cross-border payments provider in this handy cross-border payment solution checklist. Of course, this is designed for educational purposes only and will depend on your business situation.

Cross-border payment solution checklist

  1. Cost: Consider foreign exchange and conversion fees and the impact on your profitability. The value and volume of transactions may also have an impact on cost. 

  2. Speed of settlement: How quickly are funds settled? How does this differ between currencies, jurisdictions, and payment methods? 

  3. Payment methods: Which methods are supported? Do these meet your commercial requirements? Do you need to offer payment links so you can accept customer payments using their preferred payment method? Or offer a Chilean Pesos checkout experience?

  4. Scalability: Can you move money without opening and operating local entities and hold multiple currencies, for example using Global accounts? Will it support currencies where you plan to expand to?

  5. Infrastructure reliability: What’s the guaranteed uptime? This is especially vital if maximum uptime is critical to your business operations. 

  6. Customer service and support: What customer support is available and when? Do they offer 24/7 support?

  7. Information security: Are your funds, data and privacy safeguarded? What security measures does the provider have in place?

  8. Configurability: How easy is it to configure your chosen solution? Do you need APIs from your chosen provider to programmatically manage foreign exchange and payouts?

  9. Compliance: Are the right licences in place for the markets you operate in? How are local tax and regulatory requirements managed?  

  10. Ease of use: Can you get up and running quickly with the solution? Does it give you the caseflow visibility you need? How straightforward is the reconciliation process? How about reporting capabilities?

Discover Airwallex, the global financial platform built only for modern businesses

When navigating the complex world of global commerce, finding the best cross-border payment solution provides peace of mind that your transactions will remain affordable, convenient and protected. By understanding your volume needs, destination footprint, reconciliation practices and compliance duties, you can shortlist providers purpose-built for your requirements. 

Rigorously compare capabilities, infrastructure reliability, customer service and reporting insights across shortlisted cross-border payment vendors. The ideal fit balances security, savings and cashflow visibility, enabling your business to trade across borders with confidence through specialised payment systems as your trusted global growth ally.

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David Beach
Content Marketing Manager - EMEA

David manages the content for Airwallex. He specialises in content that helps EMEA businesses navigate global and local payments and banking.

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