Introduction - sell online without opening a US bank account
As e-commerce has grown in the last few years, many new services have become available to merchants thanks to innovation in the fintech (financial technology) space. In particular, solutions for payments have become much more diverse and widespread. This has called in to question one of the truisms that many have believed – that in order to do business in e-commerce, you must have a United States bank account. Truth is, there are fewer and fewer real barriers to doing business online, internationally and including the USA. There are benefits to opening a US bank account but you may opt to use a bank account from your own home country. This post will walk you through your options.
E-Wallets and Other Specialist Vendor Services
One essential tool is the merchant e-wallet, which a vendor can set up with an established fintech e-commerce service provider. This will provide a secure account to which buyers can make payments using the payment method of their choice on your website.
Using e-wallets your customers can pay by credit card through a trusted gateway, wire transfer and and SEPA direct debit as well. Customers are increasingly likely to be comfortable paying using new fintech products as these become available on the market, opening up new revenue streams for international e-commerce vendors.
Using the e-wallet provider's own bank account system your funds will be remitted to your local bank account. E-wallet solutions provide highly competitive conversion rates and transaction fees, which will generally provide a substantial benefit over international bank transfers, with their generally higher conversion rates.
Modern specialised services can give lower rates, more individualised service and tailor solutions to your needs which will grow alongside your business. These payment processor accounts are fully accredited with international finance bodies (such as the FCA in the case of MoneyNetInt).
Note that using account aggregators (so-called because they provide merchant services using their own merchant bank accounts into which individual vendors’ accounts are aggregated) can prove to be less cost effective in the long run compared to the option of having your own bank account.
Remittance For Amazon Sellers
Many vendors wonder if they can enter the United States marketplace through its biggest e-commerce business, Amazon.com. Is it necessary to have a US bank account or business entity? Contrary to what many have been told, due to conditions in the past, the answer is no. But further explanation is needed.
Any would-be vendor, from any country, can register on Seller Central on Amazon, and start to sell that way. However, requirements for remittance back to your bank account differ according to which country that bank account is located. If you are a non-US seller, your home bank account will fall into one of two categories: ACH compliant, and non-ACH compliant. ACH (Automated Clearing House) is the secure monetary transfer facility used primarily in the USA, but this system has been extended to other nations, mainly all the nations of the EU, as well as Australia, Canada and India and several others (more information here).
If your country is not found in that ACH-compliant list, money can be remitted to you by a specialist service provider like MoneyNet with highly competitive exchange rates and minimal fees. The location of your bank account will not stop you doing business on Amazon and accessing the huge and still growing US market.
The US Bank Account Option
You might consider whether your e-commerce business would benefit from having a US bank account even if you are located outside the USA. Benefits include being able to pay US suppliers more easily, and the ability to function as a US business entity for legal or tax purposes.
If you decide on this option, there are now easier options than travelling to the USA to open a bank account. Specialist firms such as MoneyNetInt can help you open such an account under your company name. This can be done online and for free, and in addition, you do not have to be registered as a business entity in the USA. There are no fees, no minimum deposits, no expense of visiting the USA in person and so on, which used to be the case. You are then able to transfer money received in your US bank account to any other accounts you may have, at highly competitive exchange rates and a charge of 1%. This type of option compares favourably to the high fees of alternatives.
Those who have been involved in e-commerce for some time have noticed the increase in availability of tools, software and general preponderance of financial technology now in the marketplace. It has also opened up globally all across the supply chain, with fewer barriers to sending money and products worldwide.
Using the services of a specialist financial services provider for e-commerce will enable you to craft the solutions you need for each step of the process: paying suppliers, receiving payments from customers on-site, and remitting your funds back to your home bank account. At each step of the way utilising trusted and secure systems with highly competitive exchange rates, fees and charges. Whatever the size of your business at present, you can plan your future growth and craft your business solution using state-of-the-art services, whether or not you operate with a US bank account. Based on the your business needs, if you do decide that it is more convenient to use a US bank account, it is now easier than ever to open one without high expenses, travel or the need to register a US business.
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