The companies surveyed are North American small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and corporations involved in international commerce, and nearly 30 percent said they plan to start using an online automated international payment tool, or upgrade their existing tool in the next 12 months.
The study, AFEX’s first annual State of International Payments Report, comes as two dynamics have taken hold:
• The rise of online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon bringing international commerce within the reach of smaller businesses;
• And the availability of mobile payment platforms opening access to previously untapped and unbanked markets.
“As globalization continues to intensify, North American businesses seeking to increase their exposure to international markets are presented with a new set of challenges when handling higher volumes of more complex international payments,” said AFEX CEO Jan Vlietstra. “As firms scale their business overseas, they need to be cognizant of currency exchange risks and the associated costs and the complexities involved when dealing with different banking systems.”
More than half of companies planning to add or upgrade automated payment capability said they were doing so to reduce time spent processing payments. Another 43 percent said automation was key to making and receiving payment in real-time.
Over the last 12 months, nearly a quarter of North American businesses surveyed said they have experienced foreign exchange volatility when making or receiving international payments and a similar proportion experienced a delay in receiving payment. Around one in 10 had an international payment fail or get lost while transferring.