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If your business sells products or services to other businesses, you’ll need to decide whether a global B2B solution works for you. Cross-border transactions come with distinct challenges to overcome, but with automation and international payment gateways, it’s now easier than ever to get started with B2B international payments. Here’s what you should know before choosing a B2B international payment solution.
What is a B2B payment?
A B2B payment describes the money paid by one business for another business’s goods or services. Business-to-business transactions tend to involve higher sales volumes compared to customer-facing sales. They’re often recurring as well, with businesses paying for ongoing orders from preferred suppliers. While you sell to individual consumers, when making a sale to a business you’ll typically need to deal with individuals from multiple departments for approval. You can find out more about this definition in our guide to B2B payments.
How do B2B payments work?
The B2B payment process starts when an order is placed from a business to a supplier. It follows the procure-to-pay process involving requisition requests, purchase orders, invoicing, and eventual payment. These steps might involve numerous approvals from various departments, which makes it important to devise an organised system to move the transaction through each internal step and onto payment processing.
So, how do B2B payments work once an invoice has been approved? While some businesses still pay with cash or paper cheques, it’s far more common to use electronic payment methods today. Options include:
Online payment gateways (PayPal, Stripe, etc)
Credit card payments
Recurring direct debit payments
Should you accept international B2B payments?
The situation grows more complex if you’re accepting international B2B payments. For example, you’ll need to consider tax information, data security, local regulations, and currency exchange rates.
However, it’s well worth accepting international B2B payments, particularly if you sell SaaS or wish to enhance your brand’s global presence. Today’s online payment gateways make it easier to process cross-border transactions, without relying on costly wire transfers. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind:
Not all payment options are used in every country. You’ll need to research your customers’ payment preferences, and make sure you have the necessary data to comply with local regulations. For example, some countries require a tax ID number for an international bank transfer, while others require an IBAN or SORT code.
You’ll also need to note the difference between one-time and recurring transactions. A one-off wire transfer might make sense for a large payment, but if you plan to work with a customer or vendor on a regular basis you’ll need a system that can handle recurring payments.
In the wake of the pandemic, both businesses and consumers alike have shifted to digital payments. The B2B payments market is embracing new finance technology for a seamless, real-time payment experience. This makes it a better time than ever to start accepting international payments.
How to choose a B2B payment system
It’s clear that a digital platform will make the international B2B payments process much more efficient. Yet all come with different processes and features. Here’s how to choose a B2B payment system based on the best features:
Payment volumes: Most B2B international payment platforms are designed to support mass payments from a single dashboard. Be sure your platform can handle the volume of sales you’ll be engaging in.
Currency conversions: A good platform will automatically convert multiple foreign currencies into AUD. Be sure to compare fees for currency exchange and international transactions, as these can vary widely.
Integration: Does the B2B international payment solution integrate with your existing CRM systems, accounting software, and payment gateways? You should be able to join these systems together for greater efficiency.
Payment methods: Which international payment methods does your platform support? Remember that international customers have different payment preferences, so you’ll need a platform that can handle card payments as well as bank transfers and alternative payment methods.
GoCardless offers a convenient way to collect international payments from your B2B customers. It supports payment from over 30 countries at the real exchange rate, using local bank debit options. This means that your customers can pay in their home currency while your business will receive payment in AUD, without any need for opening foreign business bank accounts.
We can help
GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.