Accounts Payable
Best ways to pay international vendors (and employees)

Best ways to pay international vendors (and employees)

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Paying international vendors and suppliers can be a complex task, especially when dealing with different currencies and payment methods. In this blog post, we'll explore the best ways to make international payments, including the pros and cons of each method.

By the end of this post, you'll have a better understanding of how to efficiently pay your international vendors and suppliers.

Key takeaways

Be sure to consider speed, cost, and security when choosing an international payment method.

Integration with business systems can streamline the payment process and reduce errors.

Having access to a variety of payment methods can help mitigate risks associated with international transactions.

What to consider before making international payments

Before making international payments, consider these crucial factors to ensure smooth transactions with your vendors.

Foreign exchange rates

Fluctuations in exchange rates can affect the amount you pay in your local currency, potentially leading to unexpected expenses or savings. Monitor and plan for fluctuations, so you can make informed decisions about when and how to make payments. Failure to consider foreign exchange rates could result in increased costs for your business.

When considering your international payment options, be sure to compare exchange rates and wire fees. BILL Accounts Payable, for example, offers $0 wire transfer fee* and competitive exchange rate for payments in most local currencies.

*Based on the average published fee for outgoing international wires in local currencies, charged by the top 10 US banks according to the FDIC. This fee excludes currency conversion rates.


Different countries have different regulations regarding currency exchange, taxes, and import/export duties, just to name a few, that may impact your payment to an international vendor. By understanding and adhering to these regulations, you can avoid any potential legal issues or financial penalties that may arise from non-compliance. 

Vendor information

Researching the vendor's background, reviews, and any accreditation they may have can help you avoid scams or fraud.

Additionally, understanding the vendor's policies, such as payment terms and return policies, can help you make an informed decision. Consider vendor information beforehand to protect your business from potential risks.

Payment methods

By researching and understanding the various payment methods available, such as wire transfers, letters of credit, and online payment platforms, you can choose the most secure and cost-effective option for your transactions.

Being aware of exchange rates, transfer fees, and the potential fraud risks associated with each method also helps you avoid unexpected expenses and delays in payment processing. 


International transactions may carry higher risks due to differences in regulations and security standards across borders. Carefully evaluating the security measures of the vendor and ensuring that they have a secure payment system in place can decrease the risks of unauthorized transactions or data breaches.

Prioritizing security when dealing with international vendors can help safeguard your financial assets and maintain the trust of your customers.

6 different ways to pay international vendors

Here are six different methods to consider for paying your international vendors, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

International wire transfers

International wire transfers are a common and convenient way to pay international vendors. This method involves transferring funds electronically from one bank account to another across different countries.

While international wire transfers are a reliable way to send payments, they can sometimes be costly due to processing fees charged by banks.

It's important to provide all the necessary vendor payment details, such as the recipient's bank account details and the correct currency, to avoid any delays or additional charges.

Also, compare exchange rates and fees offered by different financial institutions to get the best deal for international wire transfers.


Another common way to pay overseas suppliers is by issuing a physical check in the currency of the vendor's country and either mailing it to them or using a courier service for delivery. Checks can be a convenient option for some vendors, especially those who prefer traditional payment methods or don't have access to digital payment systems.

However, it's important to consider the potential delays and fees associated with international check processing as well as security concerns when mailing checks across international borders. It's important to weigh the pros and cons before using checks as a payment method for international vendors.

Global ACH

Global ACH, or Automated Clearing House, is a popular method for paying international vendors. This system allows businesses to send payments electronically from the US to vendors in other countries, making the process fast, secure, and cost-effective.

Global ACH transfers can be used for one-time payments or recurring transactions, and they typically have lower fees than traditional wire transfers. Businesses can easily set up Global ACH payments through their bank or a third-party payment provider, streamlining the international payment processes.

Foreign currency from an overseas bank account

Another option is to pay in foreign currency from an overseas bank account. This method can be more convenient for vendors who prefer receiving payments in their local currency. When you use an overseas bank account, transactions can be quicker and easier for both parties.

However, this may involve currency conversion fees when transferring funds between that account and your local financial institution, and fluctuations in exchange rates may not always be in your favor.

Peer-to-peer and electronic wallet services

Peer-to-peer transfers involve direct money exchanges between individuals, often using platforms like PayPal or Venmo, allowing for seamless transactions and currency conversions without the need for physical cash.

These options offer convenient and secure ways to pay international suppliers, providing flexibility and ease of use in managing financial transactions across borders. However, these services may limit the amount of money that can be transferred in a given time period.

Credit cards and virtual cards

Credit cards offer convenience and ease of use, allowing businesses to make payments quickly and easily. Virtual cards provide an added layer of security and control—they can be set up as temporary numbers that may only be used for a single transaction.

What is the best way?

The best way to pay international vendors is to have a payment solution that offers a variety of methods to choose from. With access to multiple payment options, businesses can select the most suitable method for each transaction based on factors like speed, cost, and security.

Pay international suppliers in over 130 countries

Consider using BILL and its overseas payment capabilities to pay vendors and employees in over 130 countries, simplifying your global payment processes.

  • Save more: Avoid intermediary bank fees by paying in local currencies.
  • Pay less: Vendors won't need to "pad" bills to offset exchange rates.
  • Pay vendors faster: Don't keep vendors waiting—pay them in their local currency.
“BILL enables us to pay our overseas vendors in local currencies or U.S. dollars. We used to go to our bank to send international wires. Each transfer would take at least 15 minutes. With BILL, it's a 1-click operation.” — Spikeball

Plus, BILL lets you pay your international suppliers with the same convenient workflow you use for domestic payments. Learn more here.

Paying international vendors FAQ

Here are quick, easy answers to a few of the most common questions that arise when working with international vendors.

How to pay an international invoice?

Payment methods for international invoices include:

  • International wire transfer
  • Check
  • Global ACH
  • Foreign currency from an overseas bank
  • Peer-to-peer electronic wallet
  • Credit card or virtual card

Determine the best payment method by evaluating each one for availability, speed, cost, exchange rates, international transaction fees, and security, then initiate the payment through your chosen method.

Payment services like BILL make paying international suppliers easier by building international payment options into the platform.

How to pay overseas employees?

Payment methods for overseas employees are similar to those for overseas suppliers:

  • International wire transfer
  • Check
  • Global ACH
  • Foreign currency from an overseas bank
  • Peer-to-peer electronic wallet
  • Credit card or virtual card

Consider factors like currency exchange rates, availability, speed, cost, security, and local regulations to ensure timely and secure payments to overseas employees.

Payment providers like BILL make international payments easier by building international payment options into the platform.

The information provided on this page does not, and is not intended to constitute legal or financial advice and is for general informational purposes only. The content is provided "as-is"; no representations are made that the content is error free.