International Payment Processing: How Informed Decisions Reap Rich Rewards


As the population closes in on the 7 billion mark, your potential international customer base is growing at an astonishing rate; a paper released by the OECD forecasts growth from 1.8 billion middle class consumers to 3.2 billion by 2020 and a whopping 4.9 billion by 2030. Savvy marketers will recognize that the rewards of adopting an integrated international marketing strategy may be rich, but which precise steps they need to follow in order to achieve this remains puzzling to some. By following some very simple guidelines, you can ensure that your campaign behaves like a global citizen, blending effortlessly in markets around the globe, even ones that were once considered inaccessible.

Locals Pay in Local Currency

If you take only one thing away from this article, let it be this: You need to be set up to accept payment in local currency.

Entering a market with the expectation that the local customer base will change the way they do business to suit your payment needs is tantamount to writing your marketing material in a language you expect them to learn. It just doesn’t make sense.

Pricing your product in local currency can increase response by 25% to a spectacular 200%, depending on the market and demographic. Creating a fabulous offer perfectly attuned to the target market in a specific locale can take a lot of initial investment. Unfortunately, marketers stand to experience disappointing response rates if they don’t also pay attention to the local payment culture.

Your Margins Dictate Your Markets

You also need to be aware of local prices for similar goods or services. This is simple research that requires only a little web sleuthing and a few phone calls. Know what local businesses charge and vary your prices accordingly. If locals can purchase the same goods and services at a considerably lower rate than you can offer, your time is better spent in markets that offer greater margins. Be aware, however, that the markets move quickly and check back often to see if prices have adjusted in your favor.

Understand Local Payment Preferences

Once your currency and price point are decided, the business of local payment preferences needs to be addressed. This area can require somewhat more time and effort, but understanding local payment preferences will benefit your international venture in clearly measurable ways. Although credit cards are widely preferred for online purchases, it’s important to know that mail order payment preferences vary from country to country, and even further from generation to generation. This type of research can be a little daunting to the uninitiated. If you have partnered with a seasoned international payment processing company, you should be able to access their years of experience in global payment preferences. Any international Payment Service Provider (PSP) worth their salt knows that this vital step is often omitted or outright ignored, resulting in a lukewarm launch and a disappointing overall response. Your PSP can be an invaluable resource, drilling down into each of your sales channels to recommend the perfect suite of payment processing options for your chosen markets.

Informed Choices

Having completed your research, you should come away from the process knowing exactly how you will fine tune your message for each specific locale. Once you are ready to execute your campaign, you have two choices to consider for international payment processing implementation. You can take the DIY approach, opening your own bank accounts and negotiating local merchant service agreements for each country you are entering. This method can significantly lower your bank fees, but comes at a cost, requiring a large initial investment of time, money, resources and accounting services. As mentioned earlier, the second option is to contract with a Payment Service Provider (PSP) that has international capabilities. You can look upon a dependable international payment processor as a financial global citizen who understands the local payment landscape in markets around the world.

A PSP should also have local knowledge that is valuable in fraud prevention. Some countries have a better reputation than others; once you know the markets you are considering, ask your PSP to share their experience to promote your success.

For marketers, integrating the various marketing channels such as direct mail, web, online ads and TV into a seamless whole can mean the difference between healthy profit margins and a weak response. One key element of any integrated marketing campaign is the consideration of international payment processing methods. This can make or break a campaign. No matter how clever and efficient you have been in developing marketing materials that reflect your brand and elegantly target your audience, you run the risk of alienating your potential new customer base if you do not take the time to consider the currency, pricing and payment options that are most critical for each individual channel and each individual market.

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