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That will do nicely - Online payment solutions for expatriate communities

Date Added: March 19, 2009 11:06:12 AM
Author: Dave Tug
Category: Computer & Internet
Where would your business be in today's global marketplace if you could not support the way consumers wish to pay? Over the past ten years, businesses have evolved from P.O collection invoices and 'the cheque is in the mail' invoice payments to sophisticated online payment solutions involving wire transfers, credit cards, ACH, echeques, Money Transfer services and digital cash solutions. Consumers are much more likely to purchase from a website that communicates in their language and local currency. And with millions of people accessing the Internet in a language other than English, website localisation and translation is clearly important in expanding and improving sales. So is flexibility. Gaming operators know that if they want to target a specific consumer population, they have to offer regional games in foreign languages and online payment options in the currencies of the players' jurisdiction. Typically, in the past, it was difficult to secure regional or domestic payment solutions in order to market to expatriate consumer pockets, but the Internet has changed the landscape by allowing merchants to connect and service consumers from all over the globe regardless of their operational jurisdiction. Understanding local money transfer regulations (both in and out) in target markets is critical to ensuring you are able to support the payment needs of consumers in those markets. Expat workers in traditional markets As the internet gaming industry expands into emerging markets, and operators increasingly focus on payment and language options to attract new consumers, they need to take a serious look at whether they are providing the right payment options for their traditional markets. Interestingly, immigrant groups within established markets are often overlooked. According to a UN population estimate, the US has the largest number of immigrants, at 38.4 million in 2005, accounting for 12.9% of the total population. The US emigrants constituted about 0.8% of the total population. The top ten immigrant sourcing countries for the US at the end of 2005 were Mexico, Philippines, Germany, India, China, Vietnam, Canada, Cuba, El Salvador and the UK. The majority of immigrants are from Mexico and other Latin American countries. According to the International Association of Global Money Transfer Networks, the USA is also the world's largest outward payment remittance market. The total amount of outward remittance was about US$42.2bn, or 0.3% of the country's GDP in 2006. What this means is that these expatriate markets are needing payment and remittance solutions that are convenient, secure and reliable. In recent years, with increased globalisation of economies, opportunities for expats have increased substantially. Companies in developed nations are looking for more skilled workers at lower costs to reduce their employee cost, a need met by the expat workers. The recent credit crisis is laying significant pressure on US companies to reduce their costs, thereby leading to increased skilled labour force sourcing. We have seen that even in English-speaking countries, a significant percentage of immigrant groups worldwide are searching the Internet in their native language, rather than the language of their adopted nation. As well, they would like to be able to spend money online in their local currency, rather than their adopted country base currency. The pressure to remit money home for family maintenance needs remains very strong in second- and third-world countries. For instance, merchants may think that their European business only needs payment solutions in euros and pounds sterling. However, they must consider the large expatriate communities within the European market. Take the Indian consumer market in London, for example. The ability for merchants to process Indian rupees credit card transactions may win them the consumer sale, however remitting back to this same cardholder will be a challenge for the merchant if they have not thought through or incorporated a localised remittance service that allows their Indian consumer to receive local funds in Rupees. Remit2India is a product available for the Indian communities around the world (along with Remit2Home) which identifies the need for 'westernised' merchants to understand the payment culture of lesser developed nations. Currently, money transfers to India are estimated at $28bn per annum. Another example exists in Panama where there are established tax treaties with Japan and a significant amount of Asian business takes place there. Finding an acquiring solution in Central America that can support yen, Korean won, Malaysian ringgit presentment processing or JCB acquiring may be easier then you realise! Alternative payment options Implementing non-credit card alternative payment services is an important factor for businesses to consider as part of the payment process and when marketing to expatriate communities in target markets. Alte ...
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