Historically, international payments were always time-consuming and arduous.
Only about two decades ago, making a cross-border payment would require you to go to your local bank and fill up a transfer form manually. In addition, these global payments always came with a hefty fee, be it a markup on the FX conversion rates or the bank’s fees.
This, obviously, did not last because time is money, and this gruelling process was a gargantuan obstacle for global expansion.
In the last two decades, the world has seen the rapid evolution of international payment systems and services. So much so, we’re at a point where trillions of dollars in hundreds of different currencies can flow across borders in real time. This is thanks to both the banks’ innovative approaches, the establishment of global networks, and the rise of specialist payment providers, like Wallex, that offer an alternative.
FinTech companies not only reduce the barriers to entry for international payments, they’re also fully compliant with local regulations, transparent, may offer API solutions, and possibly an even better customer experience.
The importance of a long-term global payment service provider
As innovation comes and goes, so do payment service providers (PSPs). Case in point, in 2023, American Express announced the termination of its foreign exchange services for business clients. Consequently, their clients have no choice but to seek an alternative PSP before the company officially halts its services.
Depending on the timeline given, it has the potential to impact day-to-day operations and lead to even greater risks.
But on the flip side, if the selection of a PSP is done right, it permits your business to scale up more efficiently, without incurring the hefty cost of constantly switching between PSPs.
With that said, whether you’re seeking an alternative to AMEX or on the hunt for a new global payment service provider (PSP), here are five items you should consider.
AKA, anti-fragile, pivots on one notion — avoiding causes of operational delays.
In the payments industry, there are certain periods where there is a heightened demand for international transfers or foreign currency exchange. These may be predictable periods such as local holiday seasons or unpredictable periods such as global trade conflicts.
A reliable PSP platform must have the capability of withstanding high volumes without any service disruption. This not only avoids any potential delay of the payment, it also prevents slippage if foreign currency exchange is involved.
Above that, the reliability of the PSP also involves the longevity of the platform. In the event of an exit (like AMEX), customers have no choice but to re-set up their cross-border transaction operation with another global payment solution provider. This, of course, will eat up time and effort, at the very least. And at worst, it may cause further disruption and bottlenecks in international operations or cash flow issues.
The security of a platform comes in two facets — reconciliation and compliance.
Reconciliation is the process in which the two sets of records (the originator’s and the beneficiary’s records) are checked against each other to ensure consistency. In practice, this process typically involves checking invoices against bank statements and making sure that the payment is made correctly. And if there are any inconsistencies, a good PSP makes it easy for its users to reconcile the transactions.
Compliance helps businesses avoid regulatory scrutiny. This is especially important in international transactions, which may require compliance with two or more different jurisdictions. If a PSP is not compliant with local regulations, there is always the risk that the funds will get held up before reaching their intended destination.
Additionally, both reconciliation and compliance provide clients with another level of protection against fraud by preventing engagement with non-compliant businesses or sanctioned countries.
Your business isn’t static; your PSP shouldn’t either.
In a world where the slightest competitive advantage can set you apart from competitors, you should ensure your PSP is also providing access to the most powerful technology in the market.
Not just that, as your business grows, your payment needs will also grow. For instance, you may not require advanced features such as bulk payments, payment automation, or the maker-checker process now, but this may change as your business expands into different countries.
Having a platform that has a suite of products lets you scale up your processes without having to migrate to a new PSP.
Integrating a new software/ecosystem is always painful. That’s because it requires internal teams to rejig existing processes and go through a steep learning curve to adapt quickly.
A great PSP pays attention to this through simple user interfaces that allow users to navigate through and utilise the platform, even without much prior training. It includes everything from the onboarding journey, right through confirming a payment.
This is pivotal for companies who are migrating from one platform to another, yet still want to avoid any operational hindrances.
In unprecedented situations, customer support is the handyman that will help you resolve issues promptly. Not resolving them in the quickest manner possible may lead to unprecedented costs. In less eventful periods, on the other hand, can help clients or users find ways to optimise their cross-border payments.
Customer support is also crucial in resolving disputes and chargebacks in cases such as fraudulent transactions, billing discrepancies, or even delivery disputes. Above all, having great customer support (at an arm’s length) showcases the PSP’s commitment to customer satisfaction.
As the world becomes more and more interconnected, international business and trade is the natural progression. But, whether this is an opportunity, or a challenge depends heavily on the PSP.
Choosing the right global payment service provider is not just about cost, but also reliability, security, platform versatility, user-friendliness, and customer support. These are the differences between a good and a great PSP.
If you’re looking for an alternative to your current payment service provider, check out Wallex. Our 98% positive reviews are a testament that we are committed to serving our clients with the highest standards, rain or shine. Supporting your business is our business.
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