indicatorForeign Exchange and Global Trade

The business of your global payments strategy

By ATB Financial 11 August 2020 3 min read

In today's globalized economy, supply chains leverage cross border payments that need to be fast, reliable and secure to help businesses maintain their competitive advantage.

Using a cheque or wire transfer are the most common types of international payments, but what are the many nuances that go into ensuring these payments are processed smoothly and efficiently?

Facilitating multiple payment types with a USD account

If your company sends funds in US Dollars (USD), consider opening a USD account. This will allow you to send USD cheques or wires to vendors that you need to pay, and receive funds in USD without exchange risk. As foreign exchange (FX) rates fluctuate, having accounts in both CAD and USD gives your company the flexibility to buy or sell currency in anticipation of your future payment needs whenever the rate might be more favourable. Choose a financial partner who gives you access to a full suite of services, allowing you to transfer funds between these accounts either in person, or using telephone, online or mobile banking.

For payments, cheques often are ideal for companies that rarely make time sensitive transactions. Cheques are best used in established vendor relationships where accounts are payable within 30+ days of delivery. They might not be as helpful for exporters who want to avoid credit risk and get paid before they ship goods.

When vendors require payment before releasing shipment, your best option is to use international wires. Wires are quick, irrevocable and provide proof of payment. They can be harnessed for larger transaction amounts. You have the option of facilitating wire transfers at your local branch or, more conveniently, through your online banking, which can potentially also save costs.

Leverage online banking to send wires

Sending an international wire is a great payment option, but can be inconvenient and expensive if you decide to go to your branch to complete it. Processing the wire transfer from your online banking platform is much simpler.

Sending an international wire through online banking allows you to:

  • Add or modify vendor information for repeated use in the future
  • Send payments in USD and other currencies within minutes.
  • Have multiple signor rules that are consistent with your company’s governance policy.
  • Use two-factor authentication for additional security.

There might be a learning curve to understanding the payment codes that vary from country to country (for example, SWIFT Codes, ABA routing numbers, IBAN, etc.), but there are many resources to help you and it gets easier every time. When making payments, also consider double-checking your payment instructions to avoid delays and interruptions to your payee receiving your funds. Due to the irrevocable nature of wires, recalling funds can be difficult.

If you have a frequent need to send wires to other countries, an online foreign exchange platform is an excellent way to take advantage of live market rates.

Consider an online foreign exchange platform

If your company is making larger and/or more frequent foreign payments, consider an online foreign exchange and payment platform. A foreign exchange platform offers you the power, control and flexibility to view market rates before booking. That level of price transparency in real time means no surprises for you. Taking advantage of favourable rates, an online foreign exchange platform will also allow you to actively manage your currency risk with more advanced hedging strategies such as Forward Contracts. Advanced online foreign exchange platforms will have leading edge security standards such as two-factor authentication and multi-level permissioning to prevent unauthorized access to your funds.

Not only can businesses get access to live foreign exchange rates whenever the market is open (24 hours a day, five days a week) from their home or office, they can also make foreign exchange transactions in real time in a variety of currencies.

Online foreign exchange platforms often include additional features and benefits:

  • Storing vendor payment details for future use can decrease settlement errors.
  • Trading and settlement to single or multiple vendors can be completed in minutes, saving you time and money.
  • May include free outbound wires to pay vendors as part of the FX conversion.

Whether your company’s business is in USD, EUR, GBP or another foreign currency, the right strategic financial partner will be able to help you manage all your foreign payments while also identifying opportunities to mitigate risk and capitalize on opportunity.

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