Payset prespective
November 23, 2023

International Payment Solutions For Small Businesses

Finding the best international payment solution for your small business is essential if you operate online or in multiple jurisdictions or currencies. Our guide will help you understand the factors in choosing the ideal payment solution.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are becoming increasingly conscious of poor pricing and service quality in the payments industry, which has created demand for high-quality and affordable business accounts for small business. The best payment services can provide a helping hand with organising and processing international, online payments to and from clients, suppliers, or staff.

Traditionally, small businesses have relied on banking services when making international payments. However, this approach can be expensive because banks often pass the hidden costs of currency conversion onto their clients and charge high processing fees.

In this article, we’ll explain how merchant accounts for small businesses can help businesses process payments in an affordable way and avoid the costs of traditional payment methods. 

What Is a Business Account For Small Businesses?

A business account for small business is a service or tool that businesses use to handle incoming and outgoing transactions, often international and often in multiple currencies. Services in this category include EMIs like Payset and other online payment service providers like PayPal and Wise.

The best business accounts for small business allow your company to send and receive various types of payments via multiple payment networks and in many major global currencies. Potentially supported payment types include cross-border transactions over payment networks like CHAPS, SEPA, or SWIFT, free payments between the provider's accounts, and even cryptocurrency or stablecoin transfers. Support for local and international currencies will also vary depending on the service, so you should do your homework to ensure the currencies and payment types you use most frequently are supported.

In short, a payment account for small business is useful whenever you need to make or receive digital payments, particularly internationally. This is true if your business is serving online customers in its own country, but it is especially true if you are serving a global customer base that can only pay remotely. 

How to Choose the Best Business Accounts For Small Businesses

It’s important to choose a payment solution that meets the needs of your business and its customers, and that helps you grow to new international markets by opening up payments in new currencies and jurisdictions. There are several things that you should consider when choosing a business account for small business. 

For example, you should take into account the following factors:

Pricing & Fees

Choosing a payment solution with manageable rates and fees is critical. You should compare the fee structure of each provider to find a model that works for you. 

As a business owner, you will likely pay monthly fees and per-transaction fees regardless of your choice. However, you can compare services to find the most affordable rates. Furthermore, you may be able to choose whether per-transaction fees are percentage-based or charged as a flat rate, which is another factor affecting affordability. 

You should also consider whether international transaction fees and currency conversion charges will impose additional costs — though once again, these fees may be inescapable.

Integrations & Customisations

You might need to integrate a payment solution with other services such as recurring billing or subscription tools and your existing business software. It can be difficult to determine compatibility with specific services, so you should ask the payment service provider for details.

Payment Methods

Online payment solutions typically handle international payments in key global currencies. However, business checking accounts for small businesses may support only specific payment networks, and they may only support a certain selection of foreign currencies. 

You should determine if a payment solution meets your needs before you sign up for it — especially if you plan to handle international transactions or unusual payment methods. With Payset, you can book a demo to help you determine whether our services meet your needs.

Security

Because payment solutions usually work with commonplace payment methods, they are almost always compliant with payment standards such as the PCI DSS standard. EMIs like Payset in the UK are regulated by the FCA, which ensures a base level of security across all activities.

Some services make use of additional security features such as multi-signature capabilities and advanced anti-fraud. If you are concerned about fraud or crime or work in a higher-risk industry, you may want to consider a solution with extra security features.

Types Of Payment Gateways

A payment gateway is the front-end technology that accepts and reads client payment information and sends it to the banking partner for processing. You will want to consider the best type of payment gateway alongside merchant accounts for small businesses to cover all your payment needs. There are several types of payment gateway. Below, we will classify four types of payment gateway based on the ways in which they handle user transaction information. 

Redirect

Redirect payment gateways send users away from your business’ website during a purchase, requiring them to enter their payment details into a site operated by the gateway provider.

Redirect gateways are ideal if your company needs a simple, ready-to-use form that can easily be linked from its website. Because the payment gateway handles almost every part of the process, adding payments in this way only requires you to link to or integrate the payment form. 

Using a redirect payment gateway requires very little technical expertise beyond what is needed to set up the service. However, this advantage also comes with a limitation: redirect forms allow very little customization beyond what the gateway service itself permits.

Hosted (Off-Site Payments)

Hosted payment gateways are similar to redirect payment gateways. Once again, the customer enters their payment details into a site or form operated by the third-party payment gateway.

This method may include the redirect payment method described above. However, some off-site payments are handled through embedded web forms or pop-ups that temporarily display an external form but do not actually send the user to a separate web page.

Like redirect payment gateways, this option may allow for a small amount of customization, and it is useful when your company needs a simple, ready-to-use payment solution.

Self-Hosted (On-Site Payments)

With self-hosted or on-site payments, your company can have customers enter their payment details on its web page without any redirection. After the customer enters their information, that data is seamlessly forwarded to the payment gateway for processing.

This approach to payments is ideal if your company needs to customise its customer checkout experience beyond what pre-built checkout options allow. However, managing a self-hosted payment gateway may take time, effort, and technical skill. Although the gateway provider may provide some support, you need to maintain your website and the payment forms at all times.

As such, self-hosted payment gateways are only necessary if you don’t want your customer to be directed to a third-party website. They are only ideal if you have sufficient technical ability.

Point-of-Sale

Payment gateway services can also allow for point-of-sale payments. This may be accomplished through special hardware terminals or devices sold by the provider. 

However, some payment gateway providers allow you to easily create a point-of-sale device by installing a mobile app on a tablet or smartphone. These mobile devices are commonplace, so using them as an improvised payment terminal is affordable and straightforward. 

Point-of-sale payment options are only necessary if your business has a physical storefront or interacts with customers in person. Otherwise, online options are sufficient.

Stakeholders For International Payment Gateways

There are several stakeholders involved when payments are sent over a gateway. These stakeholders include merchants, cardholders, issuing banks, and acquiring banks. We’ll take a closer look at how each of these stakeholders contributes to operations below.

Merchants

Merchants are businesses that use a payment gateway to accept transactions. Generally, merchants set up a web form, mobile app, or point-of-sale device to accept payments. Merchants ultimately receive the funds that customers send through any payment processor.

Though they do not handle transactions directly, merchants play a key role. Without products and services to sell, there would be no need for any payment services to exist. 

Customers and cardholders

Customers initiate transactions through payment gateway forms that are set up by merchants. Though customers typically spend money through these gateways, they may occasionally receive funds through gateways such as refunds, credit, rewards, or cashback.

Customers are often referred to as “cardholders,” but some gateways allow customers to pay via mobile payments, bank transfer, PayPal, or other types of non-card payment. 

Issuing Banks

Issuing banks provide payment cards to customers. Whenever a customer uses one of those cards to transact through a payment gateway, the issuing bank must perform certain actions.

Issuing banks primarily authenticate transactions. To do so, issuing banks must process various information including the validity of the transaction data, the customer’s balance or credit limits, and the identity of the cardholder. After checking this information, the bank then approves or denies the transaction and leaves further duties to the acquiring banks.

Acquiring Banks

Acquiring banks are financial institutions that allow merchants to accept card payments. They authorise certain information separately from any earlier steps. Though a transaction is completed almost immediately after an acquiring bank authorises it, account balances related to the transaction may not be settled across all involved accounts for several business days.

Payment Gateways Vs. Payment Processor

Payment gateways are generally distinguished from payment processors. The term “payment gateway” typically refers to the service that is used to accept customer payment data. Payment gateways are usually online payment forms or physical point-of-sale devices.

The term “payment processor,” meanwhile, typically refers to the network that relays data between the merchant and any involved banks or other participants.

While companies without any online presence may only need a payment processor, companies that accept payments online likely need both types of service. Fortunately, these two services are often combined and can be found together regardless of the term that the provider uses.

Which Payment Solution Is Right for Me?

You should consider which payment solutions meet your needs before signing up for a service of this type. Here are a few things that you should take into account:

Where Do Your Customers Prefer to Shop?

If your customers shop online, you should choose a payment gateway that provides redirect, hosted, or self-hosted payment pages. On the other hand, if your customers shop in person, you should choose a payment gateway that provides point-of-sale options.

The good news is that many major payment providers provide multiple options, meaning that you can change between different payment gateway types somewhat easily.

How Do Your Customers Prefer to Pay for Your Goods or Services?

You should also consider how your customers prefer to pay for goods and services. Customers may pay with debit cards, credit cards, bank transfers, mobile payment apps, cryptocurrency and stablecoins, or virtually any type of digital payment that is commonly recognized.

Major payment gateways often support all of these types of payment. You may not even need to sign up for more than one service — a single option may support multiple types at once. 

On the other hand, payment gateways that provide support for many types of payment may carry higher fees due to their more advanced capabilities. As such, you might prefer to choose a payment gateway that only handles the payment types that you plan to accept.

What Is Your Monthly Sales Volume?

You may want to consider your monthly sales volume when choosing a payment processor. This factor is important because many payment gateway services will charge your business a flat monthly service rate as well as fees on every transaction.

If your company experiences a large number of monthly transactions, you may prefer a plan that offers high flat monthly fees alongside low flat per-transaction fees. This way, your company will not need to pay extra fees if it experiences extra business one month.

Conversely, if your company sees only a small number of monthly transactions, you may opt for high per-transaction fees alongside minimal or zero monthly fees. This way, your company will need to pay very little if it does not experience significant business in certain months.

Note that these fee models are complicated by the fact that some fees are percent-based.

How Do Business Accounts For Small Businesses Work?

Business accounts for small business work by providing an online portal from which to manage incoming and outgoing payments in multiple currencies. Essentially they work with banking partners and payment gateways to process payments on the most efficient and affordable payment network available for each transaction type. You should be able to log into your business account and manage payments around the globe in multiple currencies and exchange between currencies within a single dashboard. While not a bank, your merchant account for small businesses will work alongside banking partners to facilitate your cross-border and local payments.

What Are the benefits of a Business Account For Small Businesses?

Business accounts for small business offer many benefits. In the broadest sense, they allow you to accept more types of payment in more currencies from more regions around the world in a straightforward and cost-efficient way.

Those benefits can in turn help you grow your business by attracting more customers and opening up new regions, by providing existing customers with a safer and more streamlined user experience, and by introducing support for a variety of payment methods and currencies. Businesses and customers can also expect more successful (that is, unrejected) transactions as well as faster settlement.

The ease-of-use and offloading of responsibility provided by quality payment solutions will also make it easier for your company to manage its finances. These benefits may also reduce or eliminate the need for your company to assign additional staff to areas related to customer support and security. 

In short, payment solutions can streamline all of your business operations. This is possible because the payment service provider is responsible for almost all aspects of the service.

How Can Payset Help?

At Payset, we offer an international payment solution for small businesses that includes a multi currency account and online currency exchange, allowing your company to easily and affordably operate globally.

Our online business account for small businesses provides advanced protection from fraud. It’s simple to use and can be integrated with your business in a quick and easy manner. 

Payset’s secure payment solution allows you to accept payments in 34 of the world’s most common currencies — an ideal feature for any business operating across borders.

In short, we offer one of the most versatile payment solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), allowing you to accept online payments through your website, via invoices, or via subscriptions and recurring bills. Ask us if you have any questions.

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Frequently asked questions

What is a multi-currency account/virtual IBAN?

A Payset multi-currency account allows you to receive money in 34 different currencies and send money in up to 38 currencies, all within the same account.

You can deposit and withdraw funds, convert currencies at competitive exchange rates, and hold your chosen currencies to capitalize on market movements.

A Payset multi-currency account allows startups and business owners to receive payments from clients virtually anywhere in the world and pay suppliers, staff, and contractors quickly and affordably in their chosen currency.

  • Funds can be deposited and withdrawn from the account for a small fee.
  • Account holders can send and receive money with other Payset users for free.
  • Depending on your region, you can use various payment networks from your Payset account, including SWIFT, SEPA, ACH, Fedwire, Faster Payments, BACS, and CHAPS. 
  • Once you register an account, you will be provided with a Virtual IBAN (International Bank Account Number), which makes all of these transfers easy.
  • We provide you with local payments and collections. For example, transactions in USD, EUR, CAD, and GBP are processed through the local payment networks, which is far cheaper and takes minutes as opposed to days

Are there limits on the amount of money I can send and receive?

No, there are no transaction limits on Payset multi-currency accounts.

However, higher-volume transactions may require additional anti-fraud verification. If you plan to make a large transaction, contact us in advance to avoid verification delays.

How is Payset regulated?

Payset allows you to receive payments in 34 currencies. You can send payments from your account in 38 currencies. For more details, check our payment guide.

How do I send money from my account?

Once you have opened your verified IBAN account and added money to a balance, transferring funds is simple.

Simply log in into your account and add a beneficiary, then simply “make a transfer” in your preferred currency to that beneficiary.

Information contained in this publication is provided for general education and information purposes only and should not be construed as legal, tax, investment or other professional advice or recommendation, or an offer of, or solicitation for, any transactions or any other actions (or refraining therefrom); This material has been prepared without taking into account any particular recipient’s financial objectives or situation. We make no warranty, guarantee or representation, whether express or implied, as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or fitness thereof for a particular purpose; Use of images and symbols is made for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation or advice to take or refraining from any action; Use of brand logos does not necessarily imply a contractual relationship between us and the entities owning the logos, nor does it represent an endorsement of any such entity by Pay Set Limited, or vice versa; Market information is made available to you only as a service, and we do not endorse or approve it; Any reference to past performance, predicted returns, or likelihood performance scenarios may not reflect actual future performance and certainly do not guarantee future outcomes.

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