Tips for Accepting International Payments on your Ecommerce Site

The internet, and by extension online shopping, is without borders. Often, fast-growing ecommerce companies are eager to extend their business to the international level, but it's more challenging than the openness of the internet would have you believe. In addition to logistical considerations, there's also the matters of foreign exchange and payment processing. If you plan on increasing the number of international transactions on your ecommerce site, be sure to consider the following tips to provide your new customers with a user-friendly billing experience.  

Tell everybody

Research from Ingenico, an international payment processing company, has shown that 25% of shoppers will leave a website if their preferred local currency is not offered. If your ecommerce site accepts more than one type of currency, clearly mention it next to product prices, on the cart/subtotal page, checkout pages, etc.

Add conversion features

If an international shopper reaches the checkout page and doesn't see the cost of their order in a currency they're familiar with, they will most likely visit a currency converter website to understand how much they're paying. If you're trying to reduce cart abandonment, then this "checkout distraction" scenario is one you want to avoid.

Remind consumers about banking policies and fees

Many consumers aren’t aware that banks and other credit card issuers charge fees for currency conversion and/or international payment processing (and any conversion features you provide are unlikely to account for those extra fees). Additionally, transactions involving foreign currency can be flagged as potential fraud by credit issuers and blocked. To help prevent returns, billing-related customer service calls, and cart abandonment, inform your customers of these and other potential payment issues that may affect them. One way to do this is to provide the information in detail on an FAQ page, then offer to direct users there at key junctures – like when they are using your currency converter or when your checkout system detects foreign billing information.

Chargebacks & Ecommerce Merchants’ Rights

Typically, credit card chargebacks are so few and far between that most ecommerce merchants feel they aren't worth the hassle of disputing. Unfortunately, when that mindset persists, it exposes the business to continuous losses via chargeback fraud (i.e. when consumers initiate unwarranted credit card chargebacks for items they knowingly purchased in an attempt to avoid paying for them.)
While it’s true that the work involved is time consuming, disputing chargebacks with consistency is important limiting financial losses over time. Establishing step-by-step guidelines can greatly reduce the burden of disputing chargebacks. But, creating these procedures requires some due diligence on your end. To start, you should understand what merchants’ rights are extended to you by each of the credit issuers you work with. Visa, Mastercard, et. al., have rules in place that, when adhered to, grant rights and protections to merchants in chargeback disputes.

The rules and regulations from credit card issuers often place a burden of proof on either the merchant, the customer, or both. For example, let's say Visa has a rule in place that a customer cannot file a chargeback unless they have attempted to return the item. The customer would need to provide proof of return. Merchants should make sure that each transaction is thoroughly documented (ID verification during checkout, delivery confirmation, etc.) so they can easily provide supporting evidence when filing a dispute.

Essentially, by thoroughly understanding your merchants’ rights and meticulously recording all the relevant transaction information, you’ll have the foundation necessary to streamline chargeback disputes so they take up less of your time – and money – over the long run.

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