Accepting payments in a foreign currency is something you should consider if you have an ecommerce business.

Sell to the world with multiple currency payments

Ecommerce businesses are born global. Selling online gives you access to lucrative international markets such as the US or the UK.

Offering foreign currency payments can also reduce shopping shopping cart abandonment by international shoppers. There's nothing more off-putting for a shopper than seeing a foreign currency just as they are about to pay for their purchase. Lack of clarity around conversion rates and prices are likely to turn them away and lose your business a valuable sale.

Where do I start?

It’s surprisingly easy to set your business up to take international payments, and you have a good range of options.

We previously wrote a post detailing some of the traditional options: setting up a foreign currency merchant account with your bank, establishing a company in a foreign market or using a third-party vendor. Each of these options pose limitations and drawbacks.

The simplest option is to use a payment provider that processes the transaction for you and automatically handles the currency conversion. With this type of payment system, you don’t need a merchant bank account. Most can approve you within a day or two so you’ll be ready to go in no time.

If you're using a shopping cart platform like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magento, most payment processors will easily integrate with any existing solution you have.

What should I look for?

A great payment provider will give you the option to charge your customers in a range of currencies and either, i) convert the money back to you local currency before putting it in your bank account, or ii) allow you to keep the money in the currencies in which your customer paid. The second point is valuable if you’d like to have control of when to convert money back to your local currency or if you need to keep the foreign currencies for any outgoings.

We find that most businesses leave it to their payment provider to convert the money back into their local currency. But, as a business matures, it starts to make sense to keep the money in the foreign currencies.