When shipping any produce across borders whether from the USA to Mexico or Canada or the other way around, it is always good to consider the topic of international payments. While this may appear as a miniscule and rather technical area, it is in fact can get very expensive when paying or being paid through foreign currency.
Why can cross-border payments take a bite into a business’ bottom line? The reason for that is the exchange rate you’re getting for your foreign currency. Let’s take the Canadian Dollar to USA rate as an example. For December 13, 2018, the interbank official exchange rate stands at 0.748. If you are due for a payment of US $10,000, it means you should be charging $13,361.85 Canadian. In practice, U.S banks will never exchange foreign currency for the official exchange rate – they offer a much lesser rate than that. So, if your bank currently offers a rate of 0.723 (which is within range for what most U.S banks offer) you would trade that 13,361.85 Canadian to $9,660 US – netting a loss of $340 US against your original goal of $10,000 just because you were willing to accept foreign currency payments.
There’s a better way to deal with inbound and outbound international money transfers, though. The fact some banks may be overly expensive or demonstrate abusive behavior should not deter you from international business. Of course, it is preferable that whomever you engage in business will pay you in US Dollars but in some cases that may just not be possible. There are third party providers who are able to transfer and receive money from abroad in foreign currency and exchange it to dollar for much better rates.
These companies are named money transfer companies or FX providers. There aren’t particularly known or popular in North America, but as many as 50% of the internationally trading small businesses in the UK and Australia use them. In spite of the fact that these companies have limited success to date in the North American markets in comparison with the rest of the world, they maintain a strong presence. Take OFX for example, one of the top rated for online transfers – they have offices in San Francisco with a large staff, while their headquarters are in Sydney, Australia. The firm employees more than 700 employees worldwide and is traded in the Australian stock exchange so you know that not only you are going to get better rates, your money is safe too.