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How to make international business transactions

London businesses frequently do business across international borders. Many transnational corporations have local headquarters, while British-owned products and services are in great demand around the world. Likewise, foreign goods and supplies may form a large part of your business.

However, when it comes to exchanging the large sums involved in international business dealings, you want security, convenience and favourable fee structures. You need to be assured that your funds will find the right destination, avoid exposing your company to risk, and prevent any stepping beyond its legal capacities. Here are four options for making overseas business transactions.

Local wire transfer

There are many convenient locations for money transfer companies in London and in most major population centres. You can research terms, choose the company that you prefer, and make transactions in person at their nearest location.

Bank-based transfers

You can make payments through your corporate bank provider and keep transactions conveniently located in a single set of records but will generally face higher fees than with alternative options. Banks may offer slightly more favourable terms for very large transfers.

Online exchange

There are various online money transfer services, from the traditional to the emerging. You’ll often find the best rates in emerging fintech contenders, but be cautious and thorough in checking credentials and reviews. Some of the most innovative and competitive options offer remarkably low fees.

One recent approach has been to facilitate transactions without sending currency across borders in the first place. The transfer service holds funds in multiple currencies and essentially brokers transactions between unrelated senders and recipients in the same currency to match the equivalent of the sums that would have been exchanged. In other words, if you need to transfer £100,000 in London to USD in New York, then the service would take that £100,000 and hold it until a recipient in the UK needs to be paid in GBP, and take the equivalent sum in USD from their holdings in America to pay your recipient in New York.

Local offices or partnerships

An alternative to using a transfer service is to hold sums in other currencies and conduct trade without making exchanges. For instance, if you’re buying supplies and selling goods in USD via a partner or branch office, then you might choose to open a USD account in America, accept funds, and hold them until you need to make a purchase in USD, only occasionally making withdrawals to GBP.

This solution isn’t for everyone, but larger businesses with trusted partners or locations in another country where large purchases and sales are made in the same currency will find that they save quite a bit on exchange fees by simply putting off the need to transfer currencies across international borders. Stockpile funds and use them to make ongoing transactions in a single currency until there’s a more significant sum or perhaps a corporate year end, and then exchange it in a single large transfer to avoid unnecessary fees.

You can make the most of your international business transactions by doing your research on the best format for your business. Always check the registration and reputation of your transfer service, but don’t be afraid to explore your options and select the best deal for your needs.

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