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Cut the Complexities Out of International Payments

International Payments

We all have things that we don’t particularly enjoy. Perhaps it’s cleaning your car. Or taking the trash out.

In the business world, that quasi-dreaded task can be international payments.

Whether it’s to your favorite supplier based in Ireland or that amazing marketing agency in Australia, the action of initiating and sending international payments traditionally brings about the same pleasure as getting a tooth pulled. You might not like to do it, but it must be done.

Besides, not executing these global business payments leads to late fees and unhappy vendors – neither of which you want to happen.

Why are global payments such a drag? How can you make it better? Let’s break it down.

The challenges of international payments

In the olden days – well after stagecoach deliveries and before the pervasiveness of the internet – a business owner would run to a bank for an international transfer. Many companies still practice this same method. That’s a problem because it means you leave other work tasks on hold to run this errand. It’s inefficient.  

Plus, banks tend to charge service fees when it comes to global business payments. Sending a wire transfer to Delhi? Depending on the bank, your payment can skyrocket thanks to various fees they impose for international payments. Imagine arranging for a $200 payment but having to cough up a $40 fee to send it. That’s 20 percent extra out of your pocket to pay a bill.

Reconciling payments also present a challenge. What’s the conversion rate? Is the right amount entered into your accounting software? Will this impact cash flow – and when?

It all needs to be much, much simpler.

A digital bill payment system makes international payments much, much easier.

Paying your global bills online through a digital bill payment system can vastly simplify your international payment obligations, saving you time, frustration and money. A bill payment system (like Bill.com) brings the entire payment process in-house, allowing you to organize, automate, review and approve payments online. 

With this approach, you nix the trips to the bank and the reams of paperwork they require. With a laptop, tablet or smartphone, you can log in to the system and arrange for a global payment in a few quick clicks or taps. This condenses an hour-long errand into a three-minute task. Already, you’re gaining time and eliminating irritations.

Second, you avoid excessive service fees. For example, with Bill.com you can make an international payment for as little as $9.99 a pop. Whether your payment is to Spain or Siberia, you can benefit from lower charges for global payments.

Third, you can add automation to your bill payment process. Instead of shuffling an invoice for review from team member to team member, the whole bill payment process goes digital. That allows the system to “walk” the bill through the entire review and approval process based on your company’s guidelines. Once the bill enters the system, the first reviewer gets a notification to take a look at it. Then, when that reviewer approves the bill, it moves forward until the payment itself is approved.

This automation offers even more perks.

Each step of the automated process is tracked and auditable. Plus – and this is an important one – you enforce the separation of duties. For example, Bill.com only allows permitted individuals to log in to the system. Even then, users have only the permissions they need. One person may be authorized to review a payment, but they do not need to have access to the company’s banking information or the power to approve a payment.  In short, the system supports a process that limits theft opportunities.

Finally, let’s consider integration. Your digital bill payment system will work on the most obvious level of integration – syncing with your accounting software, like QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, Sage Intacct, NetSuite and Xero. That keeps you from administrative pains like double data entry and ensures your financial data is up to date.

However, the bigger concept of integration is this: By using the same platform for all bill payments – domestic and international – you create a higher level of transparency. No longer are your payments spread across multiple websites, credit cards, wire transfers or vendor sites. Instead, they’re consolidated onto one system. There’s no more guessing or forgetting pending payments. It makes your cash flow much more manageable.

International payments don’t have to be an expensive, time-consuming hassle. Instead, with the right technology, you can transform your international payment experience altogether. Try a risk-free trial of Bill.com to see first-hand how to take the cringe factor out of international payments. 

October 4, 2018
Charles Yeung
Director, Digital Marketing at Bill.com
Charles has worked in various marketing roles over a multitude of industries, include fintech, ecommerce, direct mail, and retail. Leveraging his passion for numbers and all things marketing, he's now helping businesses and accountants learn how they can fundamentally improve their business by adopting cloud-based payment solutions. Charles has a BA in Business Management from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and holds an MBA from San Diego State University.