Whether your business offers a product or a service, markets these days are global so you need to be able to accept multiple currencies, including US dollars.

Before we crack on, a few definitions.

Payment system: A mechanism for transferring cash. As you’re collecting US dollars in this case, these will be online.

Presentment currency: The currency that the customer pays you in.

Settlement currency: The currency accepted by your account.

With most of these accounts, you can opt to open multiple separate currency accounts so that you can receive and withdraw US dollars directly. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay a currency conversion fee.

Airwallex

The Airwallex Global Account is an international collections platform which lets you receive foreign currency payment as if it’s local, using the local clearing system.

You can use the Global Account alongside Airwallex’s conversion engine and multi-currency wallet.

Fees: Free

Conversion rate: 0.5pc-1pc

Can I open multiple currency accounts?: Yes

Ideal for: Small businesses who deal with a larger number of multi-currency transactions

Worldpay

Worldpay accepts payments in over 120 currencies, including USD, as part of its multi-currency service. You can add up to five of a possible nine currencies: GBP, EUR, USD, CAD, DKK, HKD, NOK, SEK, SGD.

Fees: Free

Conversion rate: 4pc

Can I open multiple currency accounts?: No (but can be added as a settlement currency)

Ideal for: Businesses who want to process money with a well-established name.

Braintree by PayPal

The difference between PayPal and Braintree is that PayPal only allows you to accept payments through PayPal whereas Braintree allows payments through Venmo, Google Pay and Apple Pay too.

With Braintree you can have single or multiple currency set-ups. If you’ve got a single currency account and somebody makes a purchase in their local currency, the bank will convert the sum to GBP, subject to your bank’s currency conversion rate.

You have the choice to present or settle in multiple currencies. If you want to accept different currencies as well as US dollars, you can put on additional merchant accounts in different currencies. Those who are unsure can experiment with collecting various currencies in Braintree’s testing environments.

Fees: 1.9pc + 20p per transaction (Amex is charged at 2.4pc +20p per transaction) + 1pc for every transaction with a card outside the EU/EEA.

Conversion rate: N/A

Can I open multiple currency accounts?: No (but can be added as a settlement currency)

Ideal for: Businesses who want to give customers more payment options.

TransferWise for Business

TransferWise for Business claims to be 19x cheaper than PayPal. For example, if you’re receiving a $2,000 in GBP it’ll cost nothing on Transferwise compared to PayPal’s £66.88.

Fees: US dollars are free to receive, though holding limits apply

Conversion rate: 0.33pc-3.56pc

Can I open multiple currency accounts?: No

Ideal for: Freelancers and micro businesses

Stripe

With Stripe you can display currencies in your customer’s preferred currency and make global payments in over 135 currencies. If the charge currency differs from the settlement currency, Stripe converts the charge to your settlement currency.

The good news is that you won’t be bundled with set-up fees, monthly fees or hidden fees. Though if you want to avoid the conversion rate, it’s best to create multiple settlement accounts.

Stripe has multiple balances for different currencies so that your US dollars will automatically go into a different balance.

Fees: 2.9pc + 20p

Conversion rate: 2pc

Can I open multiple currency accounts?: Yes

Ideal for: Online businesses who want to limit their fees

Payoneer

With Payoneer, it very much depends on what accounts your payments are coming from. You’re provided with a local receiving account so people can pay you as if you have a local bank account. You’ve also got the option to accept payments via Payoneer networks for free and receive funds from Amazon, Wish, Rakuten and more.

It allows you to manage currencies and move them between balances for a flat fee of 0.5pc.

Fees: As mentioned, you can receive payments fee-free from other Payoneer customers and via receiving accounts. However, USD payments taken directly from your customers incur 3pc on credit card and 1pc on eCheck. Fees on payments from marketplaces and networks depend on where the payment came from.

Conversion rate: This will be either the currency conversion or the cross-border fee – not both. Each fee is up to 3.5pc.

Can I open multiple currency accounts?: Yes

Ideal for: Freelancers and service providers, online sellers, digital marketers and holiday rental hosts.

Read more

Accounting in foreign currencies: what small business owners need to know

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