13 July 2022

How can merchants reap the benefits of cross-border payments?

Global e-commerce is growing at an exponential rate, with sales on track to reach $7.4 trillion by 2025, and cross-border purchases are following suit, with 51% of global consumers saying they plan to make more. To enable these consumers to buy what they want, when they want, and how they want, merchants are increasingly onboarding cross-border payment methods such as digital wallets, QR codes, money transfers, online cash applications, buy now pay later (BNPL) services, and cryptocurrencies.

While it’s an advantage to give customers choice and flexibility in how they pay for a product or service, cross-border payment methods are notoriously difficult to onboard, integrate, scale, and manage. So, what is an ambitious merchant with finite resources to do, and what do they need to consider for e-commerce success?

Technical challenges with implementing payments

It can be hard work for a merchant to negotiate with multiple payment service providers (PSPs), and costly to accommodate their different APIs and functionalities. Often, months of painstaking integration work are required to add a single payment type to an existing payment stack and related checkout, fulfillment, and accounting systems.

Then there’s the front-end and back-end work needed to support updates and enhancements to a payment type across its lifecycle. For example, merchants need the ability to prioritize payment methods offered at checkout, decline transactions early, and intelligently route transactions, so payments settle faster. They also need to consider ways to reduce fraud and chargebacks, restrict the sale of prohibited goods, optimize processing fees and lessen the overall cost of transactions.

The complexities around regulation, geography, and generation

With e-commerce knowing no bounds and open banking initiatives providing favorable trading terms, many merchants want to expand to new markets. However, this requires deep knowledge of a market’s unique payment landscape and technical and linguistic skills many do not have.

Regulation presents even more complexity. In Europe, the EU General Data Protection Regulation mandates the local storage and management of citizens’ payment data. Countries such as India and Brazil boast similar regulations, and this regulatory minefield across the world is changing all the time. Meeting these diverse requirements is a significant challenge and requires cloud-driven Edge computing capabilities that bring computation and storage closer to the data sources.

If these factors weren’t enough, there’s also payment fragmentation based on generational preferences. Baby Boomer and Generation X consumers, for instance, like credit and debit cards. In contrast, mobile-centric Generation Z shoppers prefer digital wallets, pre-paid vouchers, and BNPL solutions, with millennials sitting somewhere in the middle. To capture the largest potential market share, merchants must have the financial and technical wherewithal to accommodate the preferences across all these demographics.

How payment orchestration can help

One solution for all the above is to use a cloud-native payment orchestration platform (POP), which facilitates payment routing and processing between multiple payment providers and unifies all transaction components under a single control layer, enabling the end-to-end management and automation of payments processing. A POP allows merchants to streamline and manage all their payment methods, services, and transactions in one place while dispensing with the time-consuming and costly coding and integration work involved in onboarding and supporting different payment methods.

A POP also helps to keep merchants in compliance with local regulations governing the use and storage of citizen data by processing and storing data at the Edge. A local edge keeps merchant and customer data in the region or country deployed, helping merchants meet data privacy protection laws while offering varying localized payment options to a specific region – making cross-border payment optionality easy.

Another advantage of a POP is that it allows merchants to work with various payment providers and thus avoid being locked into proprietary APIs or a single ecosystem. The result? More payment options at checkout, which helps optimize customer conversion and increase sales. And at a macro level, a POP acts as the foundation for all current and future cross-border payments, making it easier for merchants to enter new, regional markets and scale for international e-commerce success. 

While accommodating cross-border payment methods can significantly enhance the growth prospects for a merchant, they also bring the burden of integration and long-term management. However, with the right payment orchestration platform and partner, a merchant can support cross-border payment methods quickly and enjoy all of its advantages without the burden of managing multiple payment methods.

Gr4vy’s POP leverages the power of the cloud to give users the capability to streamline and manage payment methods, services, and transactions all in one place. Its orchestration layer upgrades a company's payment stacks to make infrastructure nimbler. While its intuitive, no-code dashboard centralizes the integration and administration of payment methods, providers, conditions, and transactions. With Gr4vy, you never have to lose a transaction again. 

This article first appeared on Payments Next