What is the best way of receiving larger payments from the US?

Question

We sell software applications to non-profits all over the world. The majority of countries that we sell to – they tend to be Western countries – don’t have a problem paying by wire transfer. The one big exception is the US. We only take payment in pounds and prefer wire transfer. Some non-profits are able to do this but others seem incapable. They want to pay by credit card or by cheque.

I refuse to be paid by cheque (they always send US dollar cheques which are too problematic). We have been accepting Paypal but the fees are horrendous. What is more Paypal has an upper limit of £5500 per transaction. This is OK for most of our products (they are £1800) but two of them go above this.

Does anybody have any suggestions of a better solution? I did look into setting up a US bank account but was told that the company had to be registered in the US which is not an option right now for us.

Thanks

David

Answer

Hi David

I work as the MD for GPS Capital Markets and we help a variety of clients find solutions for all their FX and payment needs. Following up on your question I would be able to help you with your current situation. The best way to proceed would be get your suppliers to send the USD direct to our dollar account which is held in country in the US and then we would do the exchange on your behalf and credit your sterling account with far more favourable rates than PayPal. Please let me know if you would be free for a chat sometime today so I can explain in more detail how it would all work. My email address is ngreen@gpsfx.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Nigel

Answer

Hi
I have a USD bank account in the UK for customers who don’t use sterling. Depending on the size of the order, you could use a letter of credit which bumps up the cost but the bank will change it for you into GBP if you ask them to. Otherwise as suggested above, use a currency broker such as Cambridge Mercantile who I use to both receive and pay out in currency other than GBP.

Answer

The two solutions above seem like the most sensible.

Either:
1) Utilise an FCA authorised UK based fx company, who have a USA based bank account for accepting payments from USA based companies.
You will have to negotiate a USD price with your USA customer, so that the USA customer knows how much to pay the fx company, but the fx company will convert that to GBP for you at (hopefully) a not unfavourable rate of exchange.

or

2) Open a USD bank account with your own bank in the UK, and receive payment directly to it in USD from your USA based customer. USA based customers often don’t wish to deal in GBP, but will be happy to send USD to your UK bank account.
Unlike what Fiona suggests above, you do not need to use an expensive letter of credit service (which would be inappropriate in this case), but you can you a similar inexpensive quick and automated FCA authorised escrow company (such as Transpact.com, who offer such a service for just $9.99 per party per transaction).

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