How to Accept Payments from Your Overseas Clients

It really hurts when you lose potential business opportunities just because they are not able to PAY you, which is what you run your business for, in the first place.


Ideally, you must integrate an online merchant account payment system into your website to facilitate purchases or ensure hassle-free subscription to your service packages. However, the above words may sound downright ridiculous and too simplistic an option when you actually begin to receive payments from your overseas clients.

With the PayPal crisis ruining your web startup big time, you must be wondering if there was a way out for you.

Having run my company over 3 years and a half, I know how critical having an efficient payment system is to your business. I’ve seen a lot of prospective clients backing out from the brink of entering into an agreement with me, just because I don’t accept payments via Google Checkout or 2Checkout, to cite some examples.

It really hurts when you lose potential business opportunities just because they are not able to PAY you, which is what you run your business for, in the first place.

Ok, now even if you’ve not been running your business for just as long, but you sure appreciate the frustrations emanating from losing a prospect for a reason as simple as the lack of a client-friendly payment system.

Ok, so there are two things we talk about here, when we discuss accepting payments from our prospective clients.

First, we MUST anticipate there will always be some prospects on your website looking for a PAY NOW button to be able to buy your products or subscriber to your services with the click of a mouse. Therefore, not empowering your prospective clients to be able to do that can obviously cost you potential business opportunities. You don’t need to be an Einstein to understand this. If you offer any services that require recurring payments to be made on the part of your clients, then it makes a lot of sense to integrate a Subscribe Now button on your website.

Secondly, there are clients who prefer to pay you only when the invoice is raised at the end of the month. In such a scenario, you are left with multiple options to choose form. You can either get your clients to agree to make a wire transfer or use any online payment system at the click of a mouse from the confines of their cubicle. And, while that looks a very attractive and convenient option to your clients, it may NOT serve your financial interests well, if you consider the two following things:

The fees of the online payment gateway
The conversion rate they apply

Regardless of which website you use to enable your clients to pay you online, you are sure to lose critical dollars to a third-party i.e your online payment gateway. Worse, if you use PayPal, you are sure to get ripped-off BIG TIME. We’ll get back to that in detail, later.

Plus, consider the conversion rate. While a wire transfer ensure you get the best value for your transactions, you get a substantially lower currency rate while using an online payment gateway.

Does that mean you should never use an online payment gateway?

Well, the truth is, if you are willing to continue your web business on a long-term business, there is simply NO get-away from online payment gateway services. However, you can certainly reduce your chances of using these services by getting your clients agree to pay you via Wire Transfer.

Problem with Wire Transfer

Technically, there’s simply NO problem getting paid via Wire Transfer. It is as easy as taking a pic on your iPhone4 camera. All you need to have is a current account and send details of the same to your overseas clients to initiate the wire transfer. The money will reach you in just 2 business days, and sometimes in just less than 24 hours if you are lucky! However, there are two potential things you need to keep in mind:

– Most banks will charge your clients a fixed fee for each wire transfer. The fee could be anything around $45 if you have a US-based client is sending money up to $5000. How does that benefit you and your client? Let’s delve deeper into this aspect and do the math later.
– You clients will need to Visit The Bank physically to initiate Wire Transfers. Some clients usually find it a hassle as it tends to eat into their busy schedule.

Other than these, Wire Transfer is the easiest and most convenient means of getting paid by your overseas clients. This is an option which contributes to a holistic payment ecosystem.

– When your client does a Wire Transfer from his bank, he pays the fees to his bank, helping his bank grow, contributing his country’s economy positively.

– The bank, in turn, ensures the client pays a lower transaction fee for the amount transferred.

– You get the best value for your work as your bank pays you a decent currency rate. You bank grow as you receive foreign remittances frequently from your overseas clients. It goes without saying how that impacts your country economy.

Wire Transfer vs. Online Payment Gateway

Let’s assume you are to receive $5000 from your US-based client each month. Here’s how much your client has to pay in term of fees:

Wire Transfer: ONLY $45 for $5000

Online Payment Gateway: Nearly $250 for $5000

Further, if you consider the currency rate for both options, here is what it looks like:

Wire Transfer: $5000 * 50 = 2, 50, 000 INR (if $1 = 50 INR)
Online Payment Gateway: $5000*48 = 2, 40, 000 INR
(Online Payment Gateway services have an arbitrary approach to decide the currency rate)

So how much you lost in terms of higher fees: $250-$45 = $205 or 10, 250 INR
And, the difference in currency value costs you = 2, 50, 000 – 2, 40, 000 = 10,000 INR

So, by opting for Wire Transfer, you could save 10, 250 + 10, 000 = 20, 250 INR

And, that’s a lot, right?

Don’t Lose A Client

Well, now that I’ve talked about both options available to you, and what they really mean to you business, you can take your pick!

So, let’s take a look at an entire gamut of situations where you might lose a client:

-Absence of Pay Now button on your website
-Absence of Subscribe Now button on your website
-Absence of Client-friendly Payment System in place

Here’s What I Do:

Clients with Small Payments (less than $50) – Online Payment Gateway
Clients with Small but Frequent Payments – Once monthly invoice for all payments via Wire Transfer
Clients with Monthly Bulk Payments – Wire Transfer
Pay Now and Subscribe Now Buttons – I do have them on my website, but after the first payment, I usually advise my clients to use switch to Wire Transfer.
Multiple Online Payment Gateways – Taking care of your clients’ preferences and conveniences is a very important step towards building the trust with them. I do have a multiple Online Payment Gateways that visitors to my websites preferred in the past. It really helps to tell them you do receive payments via their favorite payment gateway. It significantly reduces your chances of losing a client the very moment he comes to you. Once they agree to work with them, they see your point in using Wire Transfer.

Choosing the right payment platform is an integral part of every web startup. When the potential buyers are located globally, an efficient payment system must be in place in order to improve customer experience.

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About Susanta Sahoo

I'm the founder and content marketing head at Top League. Our team can help you build great content that helps you rank high on Google and generate high-quality leads. Get in touch with us and let's discuss your project. I'm on LinkedIn & Twitter, just so you know.