In an overseas payment transaction where you receive money from customers, the process is relatively straightforward. Your customers pay through a variety of methods and portals, and the money shows up in your account.
However, your outbound overseas payments to suppliers, employees, etc., are more complicated. Your payments run a gauntlet of verification, foreign exchange filters, and compliance checks, which slow everything down and add additional costs of doing business.
You can either run that gauntlet on your own, or you can use a third-party payment platform to automate and expedite your cross-border payments. The international payment process includes the following basic steps:
1: The beginning, or the “who”
The payer has to collect all the necessary information on the payee, or the beneficiary of the payment. That includes the person’s, or the company’s name, how they prefer to receive the funds, and where they are located. That will determine what country and currency in which they will receive the payment.
Then there is the added complication of how different countries identify their banks and what additional information they need in regard to members’ accounts. For example, in the US, the payer needs to know the receiver’s bank routing number as well as the account number. Most of Europe, on the other hand, requires just a single international bank account number.
The good news is that most internationally compatible payment systems account for those differences by altering required submission fields. That is where an automated third-party payment platform can help.
2: Knowing what the exchange rate is
Big banks offer an apparent convenience of static foreign exchange rates. Those rates do not account for fluctuations in FX values, and the banks typically apply an inflation factor or “spread”. They make money on the spread, and they conceal those earnings in service and fee charges.
Modern third-party payment platforms, on the other hand, update currency exchange rates in real-time. Users can use the latest exchange rates to approve this stage of the payment before continuing with the transaction.
3: When and where the payer submits the payment
At this point, the payer is ready to press the “send” button. This last step involves the user’s close check of all the transaction-specific data. The data must include everything the overseas country requires as compliance details necessary for processing the payment.
This step is a summary of the transaction. It itemizes the reasons for the fund transfer—the goods or services being purchased, reason why money is being sent, etc.—and it confirms the exact amount of funds required to make the transfer.
This review of transaction details represents the tally of charges as well as taking into account accompanying local taxes and FX exchange rates described above.
4: Why compliance checks and screening are necessary
This is a screening stage where the host bank or third-party payment provider initially receives the payment. The screening includes checks that include region-specific tests, including safeguards against identity fraud, among other protections.
Compliance checks, while varying slightly from country to country, usually include cross-checking transaction information for consistency with existing records as well as verifying the identity of the beneficiary of the payment.
5: The end: The transaction is finished
This is the end of the transaction. Funds are freed up and paid to the beneficiary’s account. Options include:
Paying via credit card, where the card provider assumes the responsibility to transfer the funds.
Providing the host with bank account information, whereupon the host pulls the funds directly from the customer’s account and places them in the account of the beneficiary.
Pushing the payment into the hands of the payer, who must then initiate the money transfer from the local bank account to the beneficiary.
Regardless of whether the payment is “pulled” or “pushed”, the transaction host still retains the responsibility for full compliance checking and ensuring that the funds received comply with transaction details.
Not so fast. There could be an additional waiting period.
Even when the agreed upon funds arrive in the beneficiary’s account, some countries impose a break in the process before the account holder can access the money. Many Chinese banks, for example, commonly ask for additional proof of a transaction invoice before they execute the final transaction.
Expediting the process with a third-party payment platform
The 5-step process described above can move at a snail’s pace or lightning fast, depending on whether multiple parties perform the steps manually, or if it is automated and transparent.
For example, if you passively accept bank FX exchange rates as a cost of doing business, you might be paying additional fees if that bank must outsource its currency exchange services. Service fees and ancillary charges could add as much as 7 percent to your payment.
On the other hand, you can automate and expedite your overseas payments through a third-party payment platform. From start to finish your overseas business process can be simplified and unencumbered by high costs, delays, and compliance complications.
To learn more about how our platform does that, contact us. We’ll save you time, money, and headaches while providing help to widen your overseas business footprint with our team of market experts.
Sign up to receive the latest market news from our experts.
Who can use the MTFX payment service?
Individuals and businesses who need to send money in foreign currency internationally can use MTFX’s services. The beneficiary of the transfer must have a bank account for the funds to be paid into.
Personal clients usually use our services to transfer money between their own accounts in two different countries.
Business clients usually use our services to transfer funds to suppliers, fund international operations, or repatriate overseas earnings.
Why should I use MTFX and not my own bank?
MTFX offers currency exchange rates that are 2-5% better than those offered by the banks. Personal clients usually save hundreds of dollars per transfer and for larger transfers, the savings can run into the thousands.
We also offer excellent customer service, dedicated currency specialists, and a 24/7 online platform with best-in-class technology that allows you to complete transfers from any device virtually anywhere in the world.
Business customers save with better currency exchange rates and proven solutions geared towards managing and mitigating foreign exchange risk. Our solutions include forward contracts, market orders, rate alert services, and much more - all backed by great technology and great people.
How do customers send funds to MTFX?
Funds can be transferred via wire transfer, Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), or ACH payment services. MTFX maintains bank accounts in all major currencies with highly-rated banks. Our banking infrastructure ensures that you can transfer funds to us quickly and securely.
How long does it take MTFX to transfer funds?
Our global network of banking partners allows us to get funds to virtually anywhere in the world quickly and efficiently. Most wire transfers from MTFX will be received by your beneficiary within 24-48 hours. MTFX also offers same-day transfers that are almost instantaneous, as well as low-cost in-country payment services for your less urgent transfers. For further information please speak to one of our currency specialists.
MTFX is in the process of migrating our online dealing system to a newer version which offers more functionality along with an updated look and feel. While we complete our migration, both versions of our online dealing platform will be accessible.