British Companies struggling with International Payment Systems
14 July 2010 | by The Retail Bulletin
77 percent of companies that trade abroad admit to significant challenges in handling multiple currencies and foreign cardsChase Paymentech Europe Limited has announced results from a national survey today exploring the challenges faced by UK firms in ‘Customer Not Present’ (CNP) payments. The survey conducted by independent research company, Dynamic Markets, showed that 30 percent of the 200 businesses questioned had international growth plans within the next one-to-two years, but that most did not have the payment systems in place to properly support European customers.
Western European online retail sales are projected to grow 11 percent to reach £153 billion by 2014. On a regional level, several key European countries have seen record growth above the UK’s growth of 160 percent over the past few years: examples include Spain at 199 percent and both France and Italy at 181 percent.* This has triggered a rush of UK merchants aiming to develop new revenue streams via international expansion into lucrative European markets.
This, in turn, has lead to organisations looking to cross-border sales to build or increase their European customer base, however when questioned 79 percent of finance directors felt that their payment systems were not ready. Cross-border sales require merchants to present and settle in a wide number of Methods of Payments (MOPs). These include common options such as Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express and Direct Debit but also regional offerings such as ELV in Germany and iDEAL in the Netherlands. Without the proper payment systems in place organisations are often required to work with multiple acquirers to trade in a range of markets or currencies. As well as adding administration cost and complexity, this process can also be a massive strain on IT systems and business processes.
The lack of investment was not confined to domestic organisations looking to expand. 77 percent of companies who already traded internationally felt that their payment systems were not set up to meet the demands of European customers. Organisations who had expanded internationally via a merger or acquisition faired even worse with 86 percent stating that their CNP processing was fragmented, making operating outside of the UK even more challenging and expensive.
“There is no doubt that e-commerce remains the most profitable channel for retailers but it does come with its own challenges especially as organisations look to make the move beyond their domestic market. For instance, customer service and effective payment processes are vital if organisations want to succeed in new markets. Having a single payment system in place which allows an organisation to trade in multiple markets in a wide range of currencies is advantageous both in keeping overheads low; helping increase checkout conversion rates and providing customers with a first-class experience,” said Shane Fitzpatrick, President and Managing Director, Chase Paymentech Europe Limited.
“If customers require payment in a different currency, our systems can facilitate this. Our payment service enables merchants to transact in over 130 currencies and settle in twelve. Our team of dedicated relationship managers have the knowledge and expertise to consult with organisations on the most appropriate Methods of Payment to suit both their markets and their business plans. No matter how many markets a merchant trades in, we have the tools to support them,” concluded Fitzpatrick.
A sample of 200 merchants across all industries who secured at least some of their sales from CNP purchases were used. This quota was made up of 30% large companies (250+ employees), 34 percentage mid-sized (50-249 employees) and 37 percent small organisations (11-49 employees). All interviews were undertaken independently by Dynamic Markets early 2010.
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