As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, our socially-distanced world has paradoxically revealed how connected we really are. A pandemic that knows no borders has everyone realizing the borders our technology can cross just as easily. We’ve learned to work together, apart. And payments are no exception. Technology has made it easier than ever to work, sell, pay or get paid internationally. We’re joined today by Iain McNicoll, Regional Head of SMB Americas at Payoneer, a company dismantling the barriers in international payments.
- How technology like Payoneer is simplifying payments abroad
- Why small sellers are entering new markets
- Why international freelancing is booming
How Payoneer is simplifying international payments
Payoneer is a business platform facilitating the sending and receiving of payments internationally. It works with SMBs as well as larger companies that need a mass-payment solution across borders. The company is on a mission to empower businesses of all sizes to grow all over the world.
How are they fulfilling this mission? By simplifying the pain points of international payments for the user. Users no longer have to worry about nuisances like currency conversion, the complexities of fees and VAT, or even just ensuring they pay out employees in their local currency.
All of these difficulties are handled by Payoneer behind the scenes and, from the user perspective, international payments are no more difficult than domestic payments. Payoneer achieves this by leveraging a vast network of global banking partners, which means even the smallest businesses can reap rewards historically reserved for the largest international companies. The flexibility offered by Payoneer means the platform finds itself addressing a number of different use cases and verticals, but two of their biggest are small e-commerce sellers and freelancers.
Why small sellers have gone international
Domestically, most sellers tend to sell through online retail giants like Wal-Mart and Amazon, where the scale and recognition provide a ton of benefits for those users. But with the sheer scale of these marketplaces provides an obvious downside, too. Their ubiquity leads to some pretty fierce competition. So, it makes sense that many small online sellers would want to move to less-crowded Amazon marketplace in, say, the UK, where the competition may be a little less stiff. And sometimes sourcing locally is too expensive, so many of these sellers source where they sell or from countries even further afield.
But then the headaches start. If you want to sell in Europe, you’ll have to track the VAT obligations across the various nations. You’ll need to pay credit card and wire fees. What about advertising Oh, and don’t forget about the currency exchange. If you’re sourcing items in the UK, paying with dollars, selling the items and getting paid in pounds, you’ll be hit with the conversion fees twice on every sale and you’ll have to keep a close eye on the exchange rate.
And this is where platforms like Payoneer really open up the international possibilities for small sellers: All of these things are hardwired into their system in a manageable, single location. Sellers can also maintain a balance on there in the currencies they use abroad, avoiding the dreaded double-conversion problem when sourcing— while still getting paid in USD.
And that’s important because in the US — more so than in other countries — sellers will only settle for domestic currency, even if their business is mostly international. Payoneer also maintains strong relationships with these marketplaces, which allows them to help sellers with a whole host of other concerns once they’ve decided to sell globally. These relationships mean Payoneer can offer solutions for sellers seeking to break into emerging markets, diversify their selling portfolio, or simply want a fast-track their moves into these markets.
Why freelancing abroad is easier than ever
The other vertical Payoneer are heavily invested in, freelancing, is making huge strides globally as well. Several developments in recent years have conspired to create a thriving global market for freelancers. Advancements in technology like Zoom, newer marketplaces like Upwork and even just a new-fangled openness in the attitude of the US towards working with different geographies have all contributed to the phenomenon. And these developments are underscored by the current pandemic — more people are being exposed to these new technologies as we adjust to a socially-distanced work environment.
As for the freelancers, there is a generational shift in working attitudes that has led more people than ever before to seek out freedom and flexibility in their job opportunities. The younger crowd wants the freedom to travel or to choose their own hours.
This international freelancing boom is only possible, though, when freelancers can navigate the issues with receiving payments from businesses abroad without worrying about the issues of working without borders. Thanks to platforms like Payoneer, there are fewer headaches and more time to enjoy the flexibility afforded to those who chose to work globally.
Until next time!