Last editedApr 20233 min read
If you do business internationally, then you need a way to receive international payments. This could mean a multi-currency account. Alternatively, it could just mean an account where your bank will automatically convert international payments for you. Here is a straightforward guide to help you find the best bank account for receiving international payments for your business.
Points to consider when choosing the best bank account for receiving international payments
The best bank account for receiving international payments will depend on your specific priorities. With that said, there are certain points that everyone should consider. Here are the main five.
This is one area where you cannot compromise. Any failings in this area could have serious implications for your money, your business and your personal reputation
Countries and currencies supported
By contrast, this is an area where you may have the option to be flexible. Many businesses only receive international payments from a limited number of markets. This is particularly true of smaller ones. This means that all you really need is a service that covers these key markets rather than full global coverage.
Exchange rates and fees
In addition to looking at the headline costs, it’s also often helpful to look at the cost structure. The simpler it is, the easier it will be for you to predict what you will need to pay (when and how). By extension, this will make your overall financial planning easier.
You should also be clear on what you’re getting in return for what you pay. Keep in mind that the services with the lowest headline costs don’t necessarily offer the best value overall. Even if there are no hidden costs in the service, it may have limitations that create more work for you.
Accessibility and mobile friendliness
If you’re going to use a bank for business, then it needs to be accessible. Even if you don’t have any particular accessibility needs right now, you may have them in the future. For example, you might want to bring staff or freelancers on board to help you.
Mobile-friendliness can also be very useful. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean an app. A mobile-responsive website can be absolutely fine. One way or another, however, it’s generally preferable for a bank to have a mobile-friendly option.
This may be last on the list but it’s still important. You might not use it often but when you do you need it to be effective.
As a final point, any time you find a potential bank account for receiving international payments, make sure you check the eligibility criteria. Only put it on your shortlist if you’re at least reasonably sure that you qualify for it.
Three best bank accounts for receiving international payments
Here are the top three best bank accounts to receive international payments for Australian businesses. They are rated on the criteria above. All three banks have the highest standards of security. They also score well on accessibility (including mobile-friendliness) and customer service.
Commonwealth Bank international payments
Commonwealth Bank offers various accounts that allow businesses to receive funds in multiple currencies, including USD, EUR, GBP and JPY. They also offer a global currency account that allows businesses to hold and manage funds in multiple currencies. This can help to reduce a business’ exposure to exchange rate risks. While Commonwealth Bank's exchange rates are competitive, their transfer fees can be higher than other banks.
NAB international payments
NAB offers multi-currency accounts that enable businesses to receive funds in different currencies, including USD, EUR, GBP and JPY. NAB also offers hedging options that allow businesses to lock in exchange rates, which can help to reduce currency risks. While NAB's exchange rates and transfer fees are generally competitive, they do charge higher fees for certain types of transactions.
WestPac international payments
Westpac offers multi-currency accounts that allow businesses to receive payments in different currencies, including USD, EUR, GBP and JPY. They also offer foreign currency drafts that can be used for international payments. While Westpac's exchange rates and transfer fees are generally competitive, their fees for foreign currency drafts can be relatively high.
Best alternative to a bank account for receiving international payments
An alternative to using a bank account for receiving international payments is to use a payment processor that offers currency conversion.
If you’re going down this route, however, then you need to be very careful about exchange rates and charges. With GoCardless, you benefit from the real exchange rate as set by Wise. You also benefit from transparent and affordable transaction fees.
GoCardless also offers the option to have international payments sent directly to your bank account without currency conversion. This means that, potentially, you can have some currencies sent to you directly and others converted.
All in all, GoCardless makes it as easy to collect international payments as it is to collect domestic ones.
How can GoCardless 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.