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April 28, 2022

Three ways to make cross-border payments more efficient

In the current environment of economic and political uncertainty, how can an organisation improve efficiencies in executing cross-border payments? Why would efficiency in this task matter?

By lead monitor

An increase in the use of e-commerce market platforms is driving demand for global payments. (Image by Gu Studio via iStock)

Enterprises of all sizes are increasingly looking to improve cost-effectiveness and efficiency. If you transact in multiple currencies, to the extent you have not already done so, one approach that can achieve this goal is to design and implement a stable and sustainable currency risk management policy and programme that is tailored to your needs.

Cross-border payments are on the rise. In a 2021 study, Juniper Research found that an increase in the use of e-commerce market platforms was driving demand for global payments. The same study showed that within the cross-border payments industry, B2B payments alone are projected to reach $42.7trn by 2026, up from $34trn in 2021.

Yet while digitisation and new technologies have empowered smaller businesses to trade across borders, many are yet to implement comprehensive currency hedging strategies to help optimise successful exchange of foreign currency and international payments.

The currency markets are unpredictable and currently reflect uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic, rocketing fuel costs, inflationary pressures, and seismic events such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Volatile currency markets can result in losses. Kyriba’s ‘Currency Impact Report’ found that multinational corporations in the US and Europe reported losses of $9.5bn in Q1 of 2021 due to currency volatility. For smaller enterprises the losses may be smaller in absolute terms, but can have an even bigger impact on small businesses.

There are a few ways that an organisation can increase efficiencies in the cross-border business.

  1. Have an ongoing strategy and plan. According to Darryl Hood, senior director for EMEA risk management at Corpay Cross-Border Solutions, a comprehensive picture of what your desirable outcome looks like can be a quite helpful to help you organise principles for your hedging strategies. Once that picture is clear, he says, this can help a business start to identify available currency support tools and how to combine excellence both in human and technological expertise – all with the goal of helping to improve efficiency in making international payments.

    “Often when decision makers talk about currency or risk management, irrespective of what products or strategy they’re using, they may forget or need to readjust what the initial intention behind those management strategies is,” Hood explains. “When we talk about risk management, typical goals for organisations in this regard can include to: a) guarantee a profitable margin; b) and/or lock in/book business profits, even in volatile markets.

    “Many businesses start with a clear idea in mind, but facts can change. If the market has moved in your favour, this doesn’t necessarily make it prudent for you to stop recognising the value in hedging your exposures. We can help you stick to your strategy.”
  2. Utilise technology. To facilitate the better harnessing of automation and big data, a tool that can help with this is efficient and effective implementation of a comprehensive hedging and foreign exchange strategy. Corpay can support your research and provide access to technology that can help identify opportunities and free up time for decision makers.

    “The people driving the marketplace going forward may no longer be institutions in the manner in which we currently know it, but maybe whoever writes the best software and creates the best tech,” Hood says. “In that sense, the technology is likely to become more important than the institutions that adopt it, and with the emergence of disruptive innovations like crypto and blockchain, we’re already seeing that potential begin to be realised.

    “In terms of financial markets and how various new technologies relate to the provision of cross-border payments, financial services in my opinion are probably still in the embryonic stages of tech innovation. Corpay is preparing not just to compete with the inevitable number of competitive new players as time goes on, but also to partner with the correct partners. Tech will be a huge driver in increasing the methods of trading, the development of the types of transaction that are available and the growth in the number of channels of communication.’’
  3. Take advantage of the Corpay network. A key strategy that can help businesses that want to capitalise on technology, according to Hood, is not only to invest in the necessary technology, but to know which markets to support. If there is no infrastructure in the recipient country when a payment is made, then it does not matter how technologically competent the sender is. This is where the benefit of local partners and relationships can hold real value – it can sometimes be the only way to gain access to a market.

    “Some unilateral modernisation efforts can help mitigate this risk, to help ensure that legacy systems don’t slow the pace of business down for everyone,” Hood says. “When you have uneven distribution of infrastructure across different regions, it can impact everyone – from businesses to state institutions right down to the end consumer.”

So, strategise, plan and implement. Use technology to help and benefit from networks. Legacy system modernisation and standardised regulations can help facilitate the expedient movement of money. The Corpay goal is to support cross-border challenges so businesses can focus more time on day-to-day operations.

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