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A boom in businesses trading on digital marketplaces has underscored the need for local currency accounts, but what do companies need to consider as they go global?

In 2020 and 2021, ecommerce has become more important than ever. With government enforced lockdowns keeping people home, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a significant shift in consumer behaviour, with more people turning to online services to acquire what they need. This change in consumer behaviour inevitably pushed UK SMEs to rethink their business models and pivot to a digital-first approach.

At the same time, the emergence of online technology has made it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to reach these international consumers. International trade has become in many ways more straightforward. Marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibaba have made it almost frictionless to sell goods in foreign markets with a single click.

However, while access to new markets has become easier, and online and marketplace sellers can launch quickly in new countries, they often find it difficult to receive payments and repatriate funds, meaning profits are eroded by wasted time, poor exchange rates, and hidden fees.

How has the financial services industry kept pace with this change?

In many ways, traditional financial services can still present a barrier for SMEs operating internationally. The application process to create a new traditional bank account abroad can be a complex process that involves the need to present extensive documentation, and in many cases requires a local presence, subsidiary, or an agent. It is also time consuming, with even the quickest banks taking days or even weeks, rather than hours to set up a new account.

During the pandemic, there have also been restrictions on people crossing borders in many countries, which has made it more challenging to open traditional bank accounts in some jurisdictions.

While many marketplace platforms offer their own currency conversion, these can often involve:

  • High fees
  • No guarantee of the most optimal exchange rate
  • A lack of flexibility on timing and onward payments

Doing business globally shouldn’t be so complicated

Our mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere, that’s why we believe in the importance of our International Collections Account proposition which enables customers to collect, convert, and make payments locally, all around the world. It’s a virtual account that provides customers with a locally domiciled currency account in ten currencies.

The WorldFirst International Collections Account allows online sellers to create multiple currency accounts for free and on demand, allowing them to move quickly when launching in new markets, bypassing the need for local banking relationships.

We offer a way of having a whole suite of currency accounts around the globe all on a single platform. We made a huge hurdle into a tick-box exercise by offering a viable alternative, without the trade-off of security or peace of mind.

Taking control of your international finances

International expansion will be digital first for all companies in the future. Covid-19 has accelerated the push for more businesses to trade online. We want to be an enabler for international growth, assisting companies in expanding their operations internationally.

SMEs need more resources beyond just payment and collection solutions. In foreign markets, companies will eventually need new products and services. The most important thing to us is that we have a fantastic core product, but we recognise that SMEs will need more. Since their international success is our success, the product suite we provide must continue to support our customers’ development.

That is why we’ve moved to combine the convenience of local currency accounts with flexible FX and currency risk management solutions, enabling businesses to send and receive payments quickly in multiple currencies, locally and cross-border.

Grow your business globally with World Account—the simplest way to collect, convert and make payments locally, online, practically anywhere in the world.

Enter new markets with your easy alternative to a bank account abroad

Save time

  • Open local currency accounts in 10 currencies at the click of a button and use instantly*
  • Set up payees with ease
  • On-demand statements and proof of account ownership
  • Connect to Xero to sync all your transactions and streamline your accounting process
  • View and manage the status of all your accounts from a single dashboard

Stay in control

  • Unique account details in each currency and country to receive local payments
  • Keep more of your profit with low transparent pricing
  • Real-time view of all account balances
  • Live rates display to take advantage of market movements
  • Repatriate funds when it suits you – not your marketplace supplier
  • Move currency between accounts, whenever you want via our online platform

Optimise your supply chain

  • Make same-day payments across our popular currency pairs
  • Open the door to Asia with flexibility to pay Chinese suppliers online in CNH, USD, HKD, or EU
  • Pay quickly and easily in local currency and avoid hidden FX fees
  • Secure profit margins by shielding against exchange rate fluctuations with Forwards contracts

*Most requests will be activated instantly but in some cases this can take up to 1 business day.

The support you deserve

  • Rated excellent on TrustPilot
  • Dedicated account managers available over the phone 24/5 to support you with any questions you may have
  • Live chat in-platform to contact our team instantly

Important information regarding Amazon Payment Service Provider Policy

WorldFirst is part of Amazon’s new Payment Service Provider Program, which helps Amazon detect, prevent, and take action against fraud and abuse.

In February 2021, Amazon announced a new payment service provider policy. This policy will take effect on the 31st of May later this year.

Online retailers who sell on Amazon and use a Payment Service Provider (PSP) to receive their Amazon sales proceeds, need to make sure their PSP participates in Amazon’s Payment Service Provider program.

If you as an Amazon seller continue using a non-participating PSP after May 31, you will be subject to a longer disbursement reserve period of up to 21 days after the latest estimated delivery date. And beginning on July 15, Amazon will stop disbursement to sellers using non-participating PSPs.

Find out more here.

About WorldFirst

WorldFirst are an international payments company that helps businesses collect and send money around the world by making global payments simple. Since 2004, more than 240,000 customers have utilised our services to send more than £87bn around the world.

In 2019 WorldFirst became part of the Ant Group, the operator of digital lifestyle platform Alipay which serves 1.3 billion users worldwide with its global e-wallet partners. Together, we are advancing in bringing inclusive and affordable services to small business and SMEs in the rapidly growing areas of cross-border trade and e-commerce.

If you are interested in understanding the international collection, payment, and risk management solutions offered by WorldFirst, our team of dedicated account managers are on hand to provide you with the information you need.

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0203 925 9326 | [email protected] | Website

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