The offshore merchant accounts are not new to the industry. They have been around for years. Some businesses prefer them because they offer a better deal regarding fees and rates. However, many people still do not know what offshore merchant processing and payment entails, so here is all you need to know about it.
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If you are an offshore merchant account holder, it’s essential to understand the best way to handle your payments. When it comes to security, Offshore Merchant Accounts are always the safest.
Offshore merchant accounts allow you to process international transactions without having a brick-and-mortar storefront or a physical location in the country where the customer lives. It provides many benefits to businesses, such as lower transaction fees, no credit card fraud liability, and higher conversion rates because customers don’t have to leave their home country during checkout.
As a merchant account holder, you may often wonder if it is worth the hassle to deal with offshore payment methods. What are some considerations for those of us who have an offshore business? This article will explore some key points that will help you determine offshore merchant processing.
What Is Offshore Merchant Processing?
The fear of debit cards, credit card fraud, and chargebacks lead merchants to turn away from cash. In an age where customers have ample options when paying than ever before, it is essential for service providers like banks or online wallets (in this case) to offer solutions that will help your business flourish while not sacrificing integrity. So, here comes a method of payment that helps in doing transactions globally, Offshore Merchant Processing.
Offshore merchant processing is when you accept credit cards or debit cards and send them abroad without converting them to local currency. There is a difference in chargeback rates between offshore and onshore processing.
An offshore merchant processing company is a third-party organization that processes transactions for an online retailer. Unlike a domestic merchant account, which is a direct agreement between the processor and the business to process credit card payments, an offshore merchant processing company generally charges merchants through added fees on each transaction processed.
For example, If I’m in Venezuela and process a credit card transaction in U.S. Dollars, the company pays me for this through my bank account. Still, it makes an exchange that will give the amount of sale transaction in local currency equivalent at approximately 2 dollars less than what people would pay if they went with an onshore processing service such as Visa Offshore Company.
Limitations Of Opening Accounts
Opening an offshore merchant account is a pain, mainly if you handle or open it for someone else (example, client). If you want to ensure that everything goes as planned and remains a smooth process, there are a few limitations you should know before going through with the process:
- Time-difference: You should consider the time difference in countries outside the home country’s time zone. If you’re receiving the payments before the merchants will have a chance to withdraw them, this can cause problems if there is an error on either party’s part.
- Transaction Fee: Since the company you’re working with operates in a different country, a transaction fee (4-10%) will go along with the process.
- Dispute: If you have not performed transactions correctly and without errors on either party’s part, misunderstandings will most likely rise.
Checks And Balances Linking To Offshore Accounts
The checks and balances system relates to the complexity of communicating checks and balances that create social control by various law institutions. You can see these components in any society, and this entire system smoothens the justice process within a democratic country. Checks and balances linking to offshore merchant accounts function on the same principle. There are checks built into offshore merchant accounts for fraud prevention purposes; these options make it more difficult for criminals to misuse compromised credit cards without detection.
Offshore merchant processing accounts give merchants more flexibility in withdrawing or depositing customer payments without dealing with the legalities of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). It’s essential to keep all the transactions legal with offshore merchant accounts because many countries have high restrictions on what kind of money can come into their borders.
Proper Verification Steps Before Opening An Account
If you use a foreign merchant account to process credit cards, you must have the proper verification steps before submitting your application. Getting this wrong might lead to fines and termination of your merchant account.
- Make sure the business operating the account has legal authority over any funds received by their company.
- Verification documents can include utility bills for their location, bank statements, copies of government ID, etc.
- Proof that the company operating the merchant account owns/rents out the office space from where they are working.
- Get a signed affidavit from a bank or government office that says, “The attached utility bill has confirmed as being in the name of [offshore business].”
- Provide a copy of the company’s business license. If you’re American, then this should be your state-issued business license. If you’re offshore, then it should be the equivalent document that that country’s government issued.
Monthly Audits Of Transactions Linking With Offshore Accounts
A monthly audit of transactions is an examination of the merchant account to ensure all sales are legitimate. Some companies offer these audits as part of their services, while others charge for this service. They can also be present with other errors requiring attention, such as erroneous deposits or credit card mishaps.
Monthly audits of transactions linking with an offshore merchant account for small and medium-sized enterprises is something that every organization should be doing. The process is easy, and if you are looking for a third-party service to take it over for you, there are services such as Transaction Risk Monitor (TRM) which can do this for your company.
Executing the appropriate monthly audits will ensure good standing with regulatory bodies such as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). With the introduction of new regulations and penalties from FinCEN, it’s time to review what transactions belong in an audit.
The last thing you might do is deal with the headache of an offshore merchant account. There’s no option around it; if your company processes payments outside the United States, you will eventually need to open one up. But before opening that account, make sure you know what type of payment processing services are available for your business to grow and thrive.
With all the offshore merchant account information available in this article, you have everything you need to know about how to deal with offshore accounts.