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How to receive payments from abroad

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Last editedFeb 20202 min read

If you’re receiving payments from clients abroad in your Australian bank account, you could end up losing money due to poor exchange rates and high fees. Fortunately, getting paid by international clients doesn’t need to be a hassle, and there’s no reason why receiving payment in currencies other than AUD should leave you out of pocket. Find out how to receive payment from overseas with our simple guide.

How to accept payment from international clients

If you’re getting paid by international clients, all you really need to do is provide your payment details and wait for confirmation that the payment has arrived in your account. Here’s all the information you’ll need to provide to the sender:

Which factors affect how much money I receive?

First off, it’s important to think about the exchange rate. If an account in the UK is sending you a payment in GBP, there may be a difference between the amount you were expecting to receive, and the amount that ends up in your bank account.

Imagine you’re expecting a payment of £1,000, and the exchange rate of the day means that £1 = $1.96. You’d be expecting to receive around $1,960. However, if the UK bank handling the payment has a currency exchange rate of £1 = $1.81, you may end up receiving around $1,810 – that’s significantly less than you were expecting, even before fees have been taken into account.

A difference of $150 may not sound like much, but when you’re dealing with payments reaching tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, the impact on your business can be significant.

But exchange rate isn’t the only thing you need to pay attention to. Most banks charge relatively hefty admin fees for handling international transfers. This hidden mark-up is then taken out of your account, further reducing the amount you were expecting to be paid.  

What’s the best way to receive payments from overseas?

Companies that are receiving payments from abroad on a regular basis may want to look beyond banks. To avoid poor exchange rates and high fees, there are many specialist services that can end up being cheaper and faster than traditional bank transfers. So, what’s the best way to receive payments from overseas? If you’re processing international recurring payments, GoCardless could be the ideal solution for you, enabling you to collect those payments from your customers’ bank accounts and settle them in your home country.

What happens if the transfer doesn’t arrive?

If you’re getting paid by international clients but haven’t received the funds you were expecting, it’s always a good idea to get in touch with the sender. Incorrect details, such as the wrong account number or an erroneous BIC/SWIFT code could mean that the payment was sent back. If all the details were correct, check to see if the transfer went through with the sending bank. Assuming it has, you should give your own bank a call to see if there are any delays on the payment.

How long does receiving payments from abroad take?

International bank transfers tend to take anywhere from one to five days to be sent, processed, and deposited in your account. This is because international payments are sent via the SWIFT network, which passes your transfer instructions through a number of corresponding banks before the payment arrives at your destination. 

We can help

Expanding internationally? GoCardless have created the first global network for recurring payments. Collect payments in your customers’ currency, and settle in your own, at the real exchange rate. All with just your existing bank account. Learn more about international payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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