The new frontier in the bankcard business is international processing and the new buzz word is multi-currency. To be successful in this evolving marketplace, sales professionals need to not only recognize the lingo, they must also know what it means. For example, the word “domestic” can no longer be used as it has in the past. To a European or Asian merchant, domestic is not USD. We cannot view centrally into ourselves. We have to think globally and do more than just think it. We have to change our vernacular and successfully apply it!

What is multi-currency processing? Basically, it is the ability to send a transaction to interchange for authorization in a number of international currencies and settle that transaction in the same currency.

International merchant accounts are beneficial to merchants in a variety of ways. First and foremost, their customers can shop and purchase goods in a currency they are comfortable with. That translates into a decrease in shopping cart abandonment. Customers who are confused by unfamiliar currency designation will walk away from a purchase and seek a merchant who offers that product in a currency they understand. This means more sales, more revenue.

For global merchants who have expenses in a particular currency, receiving settlement and funding in that currency also helps them with treasury concerns. For example, an e-commerce merchant may have suppliers in Europe or Asia, so they have to pay out to those suppliers in their respective currencies. That means they have to convert USD to the appropriate currency. Multi-currency processing eliminates the need for double conversion as well as worries about dollar fluctuations in the marketplace.

What should you look for in a multi-currency processing partner? Flexibility tops the list. It is imperative that your partner has the ability to work with multiple sponsor members/banks. By rule, MasterCard and Visa work with banks. Multi-currency processing providers work with both global proprietary members and sponsor members. ISOs tend to be sponsored members of MasterCard and Visa and rarely proprietary members because they are not financial institutions. Multi-currency processing providers rent BINs and become sponsored members of the card associations with different banks worldwide. This is key since ISOs and acquirers have to obtain a sponsor bank to play in the international arena. If a reseller establishes their own BINs worldwide, the costs are enormous. Partnering with a provider who already has established BINs eliminates those costs.

Infrastructure costs are equally critical. Picking a reputable partner with a proven track record alleviates the challenges associated with developing a multi-currency processing system, establishing international BINs with sponsoring members, revising underwriting and risk systems to address merchants from different regions, incorporating a single back-end reporting operation that facilitates easy integration, just to name a few. The list goes on. Mistakes can and are being made in the industry. Perform your due diligence when selecting the right provider.

Be aware that there are other challenges associated with offering multi-currency processing such as doing business with different cultures, unfamiliar languages and different business practices. Establishing trust with international merchants can also be quite difficult. Partnering with a respected and established multi-currency processing provider will break down those barriers.

Training is also paramount to selecting a multi-currency processing provider. Look for one that offers formal training that covers sales, pricing, international business practices, different applications and underwriting. These training sessions must teach you which currencies you can authorize and settle in as well as which can only be authorized in and not settled. They should also teach you about currency management, international marketing concerns and international treasury concerns.

Multi-currency processing is the next evolution of the electronic transaction industry. And as our industry has evolved, acquirers have proven they can overcome whatever challenges arise and create lucrative merchant portfolios. The savvy sales professionals will embrace the international market with that same entrepreneurial spirit and expand their merchant base to global proportions.

Author's Bio: 

RocketPay delivers multicurrency merchant accounts and is a leading source of expertise for international ecommerce. We enable card-not-present merchants to reach customers in new markets worldwide with secure, easy-to-integrate global payment solutions. With RocketPay you have access to more than 32 currencies in 200 countries, and a full menu of 60 country specific payment solutions. Ask us how we can help you grow your international sales.