How Business Gift Cards Drive Employee Satisfaction

What would you do without your employees?

Though a rather alarming question, it’s worth considering–at least for a moment.

Whether you’re a startup or a billion-dollar enterprise, your employees are the lifeblood of your business. Take them away, and your reputation, products, and clientele will vanish. 

However, protecting your team isn’t just about retention. It’s about employee satisfaction

In order to fulfill their potential, your employees must feel genuinely supported, motivated, and rewarded for their tireless efforts. 

As we will discuss, tailored incentives–and more specifically, business gift cards–can play a powerful role in promoting employee satisfaction. 

What Employee Satisfaction Is–and What It Is Not

Everyone loves “happiness”–that effortless feeling of living life with the wind at your back. 

And yet, as pleasant as that sensation may be, it’s impermanent. Happiness is fleeting.But there’s a good reason for that: happiness is the fruit of something planted far deeper. 

In fact, satisfaction is the parent of happiness, particularly within the workplace. True satisfaction dictates an employee’s internal value as they pursue a larger mission every minute of the day.  

Satisfaction is a state of contentment

It’s the quiet confidence that arises from doing work you’re proud of–work you believe in.

Happiness is an effect of satisfaction, not its cause. Therefore, employee satisfaction is the true engine of a dynamic workplace filled with complementary and trusting relationships. 

Frankly, it’s possible to be satisfied without having the outward signs of happiness. Indeed, employee satisfaction may not always manifest in the expected form of smiles and high-fives.

That’s okay, because employee satisfaction nurtures the soul

The Role of Employee Satisfaction on Business Success

The average person spends approximately 30% of their life at work. Over the course of their career, they will accumulate a whopping 90,000 hours of labor

When your employees invest such precious time into your business, they deserve to be recognized for their efforts. 

But true satisfaction often surpasses the financial realm. 

Yes, money is essential to life, but it often fails to satisfy the heart–at least in the long run. Though generous compensation may encourage employees to fulfill the minimum obligations, it will rarely inspire them to go the extra mile. 

Conversely, authentic employee satisfaction can unlock newfound levels of business performance and profitability, including:

  • Enhanced operational efficiency.
  • Increased employee productivity. 
  • Elevated sales metrics.
  • Expanded retention rates.
  • Improved customer satisfaction.

In fact, there’s a proven link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction.

According to recent studies, businesses that promote employee satisfaction enjoy a 40% lower turnover rate and a 2.5x higher revenue growth rate

Emphasizing employee satisfaction isn’t just a benevolent gesture for your staff. It’s a direct investment in the growth and longevity of your business.

This momentous journey starts with providing the right incentives. 

The Impact of Incentives on Employee Satisfaction

What drives employee satisfaction? 

Incentives–or stimulus given to either motivate or reward a desired outcome.

In a very real way, incentives bridge the gap between employee engagement and business success. They promote diligence, honor effort, and give employees a cause to celebrate their wins

Most importantly, incentives can establish a reward cycle that inspires your employees to stay disciplined and hungry for ongoing achievement. 

Over time, such organic engagement will be woven into your company culture and become a primary attraction for recruiting new talent. 

Delivered in both monetary and non-monetary forms, incentives often include:

  • Salary raises.
  • Extra vacation days.
  • Referral bonuses.
  • Profit-sharing.
  • Mentorship programs.
  • VIP experiences. 
  • Health and wellness programs.

According to research from McKinsey & Company, a one-off investment of $50 million in incentives can “generate $1 billion in recurring value above business-as-usual performance.”

While those numbers are impressive, there’s a more customizable (and more rewarding) way to motivate your team. 

Indeed, business gift cards are the perfect tool to promote employee satisfaction. 

Business Gift Cards: A Tailored Incentive

While financial incentives are appealing, they often lack customization. 

Routine bonuses and raises can seem cold and generic–the opposite of a gesture meant to stimulate employee satisfaction. But where money appears transactional, business gift cards are tailor-made. 

In other words, they give employees the freedom to redeem their rewards at their favorite shops, brands, and restaurants. And instead of an impersonal wire-transfer notification or terse email, your team can receive physical gift cards to enjoy in-person experiences with friends and family. Best of all, these gift cards can be replenished in real-time–so the rewards keep on renewing. 

UniTeller’s “Oh My Card!”–The Ultimate Employee Incentive 

You probably know us as a global leader in B2B and P2P payments processing

While we’re proud of our reputation, cross-border payments aren’t our only area of expertise.

With our latest venture, Oh My Card! (OMC), UniTeller is thrilled to expand our replenishable gift card service in Central America. 

Since its inception in 2013, OMC has issued nearly 1 million business gift cards. Today, OMC boasts 450+ registered companies, 121,900+ active users, and over 2,000 points of sale across Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama. 

Our amazing allies include:

  • Office Depot
  • Distefano
  • Super 24
  • Vinoteca
  • Baron’s
  • Mr. Sushi
  • Sport CIty
  • Aldo Nero
  • And many, many more

The most influential commercial brands in the region trust OMC, and we’re excited to continue growing our partnerships. 

However, we’re most excited to see how OMC transforms your company’s culture. 

With Oh My Card!, you’ll motivate your team in their pursuit of excellence. More importantly, you’ll be able to reward them in a personable, tailored, and replenishable way. 

After all, you can quickly reload OMC Multi-brand Gift Cards® with just a few quick clicks.

As we’ve seen, employee satisfaction not only unlocks increased sales and customer loyalty.
It unites your team in a common cause to power the perpetual growth of your business. 

At OMC, we’re more than a business gift card platform. We’re your strategic ally in loyalty, rewards, and employee satisfaction.

Get started today.

Let’s Go

International Business Payments: Streamlining Global Transactions

In today’s interconnected world, businesses are no longer confined by geographical boundaries. As companies expand their operations globally, the need for efficient and secure international business payments has become paramount. The rise of online payment platforms has revolutionized the way cross-border transactions are conducted, offering seamless B2B payments solutions to tackle the challenges of international commerce. In this blog, we will delve into the world of international business payments and explore the importance of online payment platforms in simplifying global transactions.

What are “International Business Payments”

International business payments refer to the process of transferring funds between businesses, across different countries or regions. These transactions involve payments for goods, services, or investments and play a crucial role in fostering international trade and collaboration. In the past, traditional methods like wire transfers and checks were common for such payments, but they often came with high fees, lengthy processing times, and currency conversion complexities. However, with the advent of online payment platforms, businesses now have access to streamlined, cost-effective, and secure B2B payments solutions to make cross-border transactions hassle-free.

The Need for International Business Payments

As businesses aim to tap into new markets and cater to international customers, seamless B2B payment solutions become essential. Online payment platforms enable businesses to accept payments from customers worldwide, fostering expansion and growth.

Traditional payment methods often involve lengthy processing times, which can delay transactions and impact business operations. Online payment platforms offer near-instantaneous transfers, enabling businesses to conduct transactions in real-time and maintain a competitive edge.

Dealing with multiple currencies can be challenging and costly. Online payment platforms provide currency conversion services, allowing businesses to accept payments in various currencies and expand their reach to diverse markets, thus, making it more accessible to a larger audience.

Security is a top priority for businesses engaged in international transactions. Online payment platforms employ robust security measures, encryption, and fraud detection systems to safeguard financial data and protect against cyber threats to provide themselves and their customers a smoother, safer payments experience.

The Future of International Business Payments

The future of international business payments looks promising, driven by ongoing technological advancements and changing market dynamics. Recent reports show that global cross-border B2B payments are expected to exceed $40 trillion by 2024. This exponential growth is fueled by the rise of digital payments, increased global trade, and the adoption of online payment platforms by businesses of all sizes.

Additionally, the integration of blockchain technology is poised to transform international business payments further, and is already projected to grow to $469.49 billion by 2030. Blockchain’s decentralized nature offers transparency, security, reduced costs, and faster settlement times, making it an ideal solution for cross-border transactions and enhancing trust among international business partners. As businesses continue to embrace digitalization, the demand for seamless and efficient international B2B payment solutions will continue to rise.

UniTeller’s Business Payments

With a focus on speed, security, and reliability, UniTeller’s Business Payments product suite empowers businesses with a seamless platform to conduct cross-border transactions and with solutions that they can explore to offer B2B payment solutions to their customer base.

Click here to learn more.

Security Risks in Cross-Border Payments

Cross-border payments are crucial for businesses involved in global trade. Yet, along with the ease of worldwide transactions comes the responsibility to protect sensitive financial data from Cybersecurity and Cross-Border Payments threats. Recognizing the risks linked with cross-border payments is key for companies to address vulnerabilities and ensure transaction security.

When it comes to conducting Cross-Border Payments, cybersecurity should be a top concern. Implementing strong security measures and staying updated on emerging threats help companies shield themselves and their clients from cyberattacks. Adhering to industry regulations also plays a role in mitigating risks and upholding trust in the global market.

Efficiency is essential for smooth international business transactions. Utilizing Tips for Efficient International Business Payments not only ensures timely and cost-effective transfers but also minimizes errors or delays. Streamlining payment processes and embracing innovative technologies can enhance overall productivity.

Moreover, collaborating with trusted partners is crucial for cross-border payment security. Working with reputable financial institutions and payment service providers prioritizing cybersecurity helps mitigate risks and enhances transaction integrity. Staying informed about cybersecurity developments and taking proactive measures keeps businesses ahead of potential threats.

Undoubtedly, one of the most significant advancements in cybersecurity is the rising use of artificial intelligence (AI) to bolster cyberattacks. Cybercriminals exploit advances in generative AI to craft increasingly convincing fraudulent content like text messages, videos, and audios. This shift poses additional challenges for cybersecurity, as defense systems must continually evolve to counter emerging threats.

To delve into how AI is shaping the future of global remittances, read our article on How AI is Shaping the Future of Global Remittances.

In 2024, an investment of around $159 million in cybersecurity services is projected across various sectors, with the financial sector leading at 28%.

UniTeller’s Role in the Cross-Border Payments Space

UniTeller contributes to secure and efficient cross-border payments by providing advanced encryption protocols and robust authentication mechanisms. Additionally, UniTeller’s expertise in international payment solutions enables businesses to streamline processes and execute transactions efficiently. Our focus on transaction integrity and security proves valuable for companies as it mitigates risks associated with international payments.

Ready to discover how our Digital Remittances as a Service Solution can revolutionize your cross-border payment processes? Click here to learn more!

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Cybersecurity and Cross-Border Payments: An Overview

Digital advancement is a double-edged sword. 

While connecting the global economy, it has also unlocked the door to cybercrime. 

Mirroring the laws of thermodynamics, every new digital convenience introduces an equal (and opposite) digital danger. 

In this article, we will explore the landscape of cybersecurity for cross-border payments. Though this might seem to be a disconcerting task, we ultimately maintain a very optimistic view.

At UniTeller, we are supremely confident that the many threats facing international business payments can be not only identified and quarantined but also eliminated from the world economy.

After all, mitigating risk is essential to maintaining trust across the payments ecosystem. 

Laying the Foundation: Emerging Trends to Consider

There are myriad components to cybersecurity—particularly at the nexus of cross-border payments and the digital world. 

Fortunately, these expansive topics can be classed into three key pillars. 

Macroeconomic Expansion

The rise of fintech companies and alternative payment platforms has powered the global payments market.

2023 saw an estimated market value for digital payments of $4.2 billion. 

If nothing else is certain, digital transformation will continue driving market expansion. Assuming international business payments maintain their compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 10%, and reach the target of $220 trillion by 2028 (all channels), cross-border payments will cement their supremacy in the global economy.

Regulatory Demands

The cross-border payments surge has not gone unnoticed by regulatory bodies.

As international business payments skyrocket, compliance expectations expand across multiple jurisdictions, with legal departments working overtime to codify the fine print.

Though regulations vary by region, they generally aim to address recurring areas of exposure, including anti-money laundering (AML), know your customer (KYC), counter-terrorism financing (CTF), fair trade practices, and data protection.

Failure to comply with these regulations results in punitive fines and criminal charges. Going forward, online payments platforms and their constituents will need to satisfy all necessary reforms if they intend to participate within the cross-border ecosystem. 

Technology Advancements

Not long ago, agile, do-it-all B2B payments solutions were inconceivable. Today, they’re leveraging tokenization and encryption tools to expedite secure transactions.

As the next generation of tools come to market—including artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, and distributed ledger technology (DLT)—payment platforms are fast becoming more reliable than ever before. 

Unfortunately, each of these trends shares something in common: cybercriminals seek to exploit them for their illicit financial gain. 

Therefore, it’s imperative for payment industry professionals to stay ahead of the curve by anticipating cyber-developments long before they occur. 

As Interpol admits, “cybercrimes know no national borders.” Criminals, victims, and technical infrastructure span multiple jurisdictions, bringing many challenges to investigations and prosecutions.

Cross-Border Payments: The Cyber Threat Landscape 

Almost every week, a new headline decries yet another cyberattack on a bank, fintech, or even a humble mortgage provider

In 2023, America’s financial institutions reported a 43% increase in fraud year-over-year. That’s why JPMorgan Chase spends $15 billion a year, and employs 62,000 specialists, to maintain its robust cybersecurity protocols. 

But the problems aren’t merely domestic: they’re global. 

Just ask the Norwegian state, which recently endured a four-month cyberattack. Or consider the island nation of Vanuatu, which was hit with a cyberattack that took their government offline for over a month

While cross-border payments are still standing tall, one respected analyst has calculated the potential devastation of an attack.

According to Lloyd’s of London, a data breach of an international online payments platform could inflict $3.5 trillion in losses. While the U.K. insurance provider calls this figure the “weighted average” of their risk scenario, they specify extreme losses of up to $16 trillion

This may sound more like schoolyard scare tactics than an honest review of the status quo.

In reality, however, cybercriminal syndicates have already sent the financial world into a tailspin. After all, the average cost of a cyberattack in 2023 was $4.45 million. 

Though cyberattacks manifest in many forms, the most common methods include:

Phishing

In a phishing scam, cybercriminals exploit human vulnerabilities to gain control over a network. They do this via email addresses, phone calls, text messages, and websites to steal sensitive information.

Business email compromise (BEC) ranks among the most common “social engineering” attacks. In this scheme, hackers impersonate legitimate employees or vendors to defraud a company.

In 2022, there were over 300,000 phishing attacks, which cost corporations an average of $4.91 million each.

Malware

While phishing attacks often open the door to malware, this “malicious software” can also be unintentionally downloaded through infected webpages. 

After malware is deployed, hackers gain unbridled access to a company’s data.

While malware can damage a computer network, it’s often used to trigger ransomware—a form of malware that holds a network hostage until the company pays a fee.

Since 2018, ransomware has cost global financial services organizations over $32 billion.

Data Breaches

These attacks enable unauthorized access of a network or device. Once hackers gain control of a target, they can leak the personal information of its clientele.

Many data breaches are focused directly on a company’s mainframe. However, some cybercriminals mask their efforts by first targeting a firm’s third-party vendor.

This recently occurred with Flagstar Bank, which was breached by a Russian hacking syndicate. Rather than directly pursuing the bank, the group hacked Flagstar’s file-sharing software, Accellion, and exposed the data of 1.5 million clients.

This scenario was replicated in the infamous 2023 MOVEit attack, which saw the same Russian cybercriminals expose over 2,600 organizations through a third-party vulnerability. 

Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)

This is a coordinated attempt to flood a server with fake traffic.

In a DDoS attack, a group of compromised computer systems (often called “botnets”) work in unison to disable a target. This disruption prevents users from accessing the system while leaving the company vulnerable to extortion and blackmail.

Financial services companies face over 30% of all reported DDoS attacks. Worse yet, victim companies lose an average of $6,130 per minute while their company is offline. 

Identity Theft and Fraudulent Transactions

While flashy cyberattacks dominate headlines, more surreptitious modes of attack (like setting up fake supplier accounts or sending forged invoices) are increasingly common.

The most infamous version of this scheme played out in 2016 when the Federal Reserve Bank of New York paid $100 million to hackers who issued fraudulent payment instructions from a compromised account in Bangladesh.

More recently, 90% of surveyed companies admitted to encountering fraud in their accounts payable (AP) operations.

Best Practices for Cybersecurity in Cross-Border Payments

Necessity is the mother of invention. 

In response to the growing threat landscape, cybersecurity professionals have developed a range of data defense mechanisms.

1. Multi-Factor Authentication

Cybercriminals can quickly hack over 50% of commonly-used passwords

While that’s discomforting, here’s some good news: Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) raises the barrier to entry. 

By requiring at least two verification factors (ideally three), MFA prevents hackers from guessing their way into a data breach—or leveraging brute force attacks to perpetrate a data breach. 

2. Employee Training

Human error opens the door to 95% of all cyberattacks.  

To protect your company, your employees must undergo rigorous cybersecurity training, whether via in-house education or a third-party instructor.

Employees are the target of cybercriminals and deserve to be equipped for digital self-defense. That’s especially true in the age of remote workforces. 

3. Antivirus Software

While restricting human error, it’s equally important to shield your company’s devices.

This can be accomplished by installing antivirus software across your digital infrastructure.  

Just remember to set automatic updates, so your software can swiftly identify emerging (and even unnamed) cyberthreats. 

4. AI Fraud Detection

Artificial intelligence predicts and prevents cyberattacks before they occur

Though it sounds like science fiction, it’s a very real (and affordable) technology. 

By using machine learning algorithms, AI can identify anomalies in their infancy. This omniscient threat detection eclipses human intelligence on this matter.

5. Compliance Checks

While compliance regulations can seem constraining, they’re essential for cybersecurity. 

In fact, many such standards are instituted to protect you and your customers from exposure. 

For example, Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS) are mandatory for all vendors that handle cardholder data. This twelve-step PCI DSS checklist provides an ideal roadmap for online security—remember that noncompliance can result in fines.

6. Incident Response Plan 

While actively avoiding potential attacks, it’s wise to establish an incident response plan (IPR). 

Generally speaking, an effective IPR framework should be able to quickly detect, quarantine, and eradicate an active threat. 

It must also provide clear policies to recover control of your digital infrastructure, review potential damages, and rebuild your defense protocols (if necessary).

You’ll have plenty of latitude to create your own IPR. Just make sure your employees can confidently and consistently repeat each protocol. 

7. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software mitigates the risk of data loss and damage. 

By constantly analyzing network traffic, DLP protects data in every situation—whether it’s being transferred, reviewed, or sitting in storage. 

In fact, DLP protocols provide three benefits: 

  1. It satisfies compliance requirements (including PCI DSS)
  2. It blocks data exfiltration
  3. It prevents data destruction in the aftermath of a breach. 

UniTeller: Your Business Payments Partner

Thus far, the payments ecosystem has been left (somewhat) unscathed by cybercriminals. 

While we’re grateful for that, we shouldn’t take this digital threat for granted. As the Roman army commanders famously warned “in times of peace, prepare for war.” 

In the realm of cybersecurity, the war is always much closer than it seems. 

At UniTeller, we remain firmly committed to providing the highest standards in cybersecurity. 

Why? Because we deliver digital payments solutions that streamline cross-border payments—and our success in that mission depends on the effectiveness of our security practices. 

That’s why we invest in state-of-the-art safeguards, AML measures, and encryption technology: so our business partners can enjoy true security and peace of mind

The gateway to secure cross-border payments is just one API integration away.

Join us to gain the ultimate partner in B2C, C2B, and B2B payments solutions.

How APIs Are Powering Cross-Border Payments

Imagine sending a payment from Miami to Rio de Janeiro in 1985. 

In this frantic scenario, you would be compelled to negotiate divergent exchange rates, compliance regulations, and time zones—all while appeasing a host of global intermediaries with intensely varied operating protocols.

Oh, and you would have little more than a primitive landline and IBM computer to help.

While it’s stressful to even imagine this scenario, the world has mercifully evolved since 1985. Thanks to APIs, cross-border payments are faster and more convenient than ever.  

At UniTeller, we champion the integration of APIs around the world.

In fact, our proprietary B2B payments solution—a global payment gateway with a single API—empowers businesses to process payments to over 50 countries. 

However, while API standards are foundational to our firm, we understand that they remain a mystery to much of the world. 

In this brief article, we’re going to introduce what APIs are, explain how they function, and explore how APIs have revolutionized the payments industry

Let’s get started.

What is a Cross-Border Payment API?

The digital economy is utterly dependent upon APIs.

That’s true whether you’re a bank, an e-commerce clothier, or even a food delivery app. In the modern world, APIs facilitate practically every online transaction, of all types—B2B, B2C, or C2B.

But what are APIs, exactly?

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are digital bridges that enable the exchange of data between software programs.

In other words, APIs make it possible for computers and apps to talk with each other. More specifically, when it comes to businesses, APIs make it easy to send and collect payments. 

That’s why cross-border payment APIs are so indispensable: they seamlessly intermediate payment systems and their external liaisons—including financial institutions, currency converters, and messaging networks. 

Nevertheless, while facilitating the global transfer of funds, API infrastructures remain invisible to end users. The technology is simply that good.

How Payment APIs Work

Payment APIs are like “master keys” that unlock the doors of international business payments.

Like the Rosetta Stone, APIs harmonize diverse languages, payment methods, exchange rates, time zones, and even compliance demands. 

As a result, businesses can effortlessly send and collect payments in multiple currencies. More importantly, by leveraging API technology, they enjoy reliable (and profitable) B2B payments solutions.

Here’s the best part: business owners don’t need to develop their own APIs.

After all, APIs are add-ons built to integrate with your existing systems infrastructure.

All you need to do is partner with an online payments platform that delivers the white-label solutions you need. Once your partnership is in place, you’ll instantly access tools that translate the complex language of cross-border payments.

Though payment APIs come in many forms, they typically provide core services including:

  • Payment reconciliation, to guarantee accurate financial accounting. 
  • Payment status, to offer real-time updates on amounts paid/date/method.
  • Automated payouts, to define predetermined payment schedules.
  • Compliance oversight, to ensure regulatory alignment with KYC and AML demands.
  • Data protection, to defend against cyberattacks and fraud in the global marketplace.

As you can imagine, the benefits of payment APIs are manifold—and meaningful. 

Benefits of APIs in Cross-Border Payments

Business owners need to know that their cash inflows and outflows are secure. 

More specifically, they need true confidence that their company can consistently receive payment from customers and honor agreements with vendors

While delivering on those foundational tenets, payment APIs also provide a spectrum of internal and external benefits. They:

  • Enhance efficiency by automating all tasks, from initiation to processing, to payout. 
  • Provide real-time, fast payments, with zero manual effort. 
  • Improve accuracy and eliminate the potential risk of human error.
  • Reduce the workload for all stakeholders’ accounting teams.
  • Empower firms to initiate payments anytime, anywhere.
  • Fortify security by encrypting and tokenizing data at every touchpoint. 
  • Fulfilling all regulatory and compliance obligations.
  • Streamline cash flow by providing real-time visibility into all transactions.

Best of all, these benefits can be instantly unlocked—all it takes is integrating turnkey APIs with your existing business systems. 

How APIs Are Disrupting the Payments Industry

Let’s return to 1985 (for just a minute, we promise)

If you’ll recall, we were trying to send funds from a business in Miami to a vendor in Rio de Janeiro. This intricate process is not for the faint of heart. 

After all, it involves U.S. and Brazilian banks, the conversion of USD to the Brazilian Cruzeiro (now the Brazilian Real in 2023), the use of BIC/SWIFT codes, the institution of fees and taxes, the appeasement of international regulations, as well as the involvement of multiple clearing and settlement entities.

To complicate things even further, this cross-border payment is also vulnerable to potential theft and fraud, cannot be tracked in real-time, and could take weeks to arrive.  

That’s how cross-border payments often occurred in 1985. With no guarantees or protections, businesses that engaged in the international market simply had to hope for the best.  

Thankfully, those days are over, as payment APIs have disrupted the industry for the better. While international business payments remain subject to intermediaries, APIs have succeeded in consolidating these labyrinthine processes. 

Today, cross-border payments are just a few clicks away. 

Unsurprisingly, this seismic disruption has led to mass adoption of APIs across the financial sector. And while consumers enjoy the benefits, business owners stand to gain the most. 

After all, APIs have opened the floodgates to cross-border payments, powering a surge in global commerce where any business can now be considered a global business. 

What used to be expensive and time-consuming is now affordable, fast, and seamless. Modern innovations have leaped over legacy systems with API integrations too powerful to be ignored.

UniTeller: A Global Network, One API

Most APIs are plural. In other words, businesses looking to scale their operations must engage with multiple API providers to check all the boxes. 

For example, they need transaction, tokenization, compliance, and reporting APIs—just to name a few.

UniTeller is different in every way. With UniTeller, you get access to a global payment network with a single API. 

As a result, you’ll never need any other APIs to revolutionize your B2B payments solution. 

UniTeller’s Business Payments also offers a white-label turnkey solution, where integration is both quick and comprehensive

As APIs continue to disrupt the financial world, UniTeller remains the leading choice for emerging and scaling businesses. 

Your seamless business payments solution is just one API integration away. To learn more, check out our Business Payments features page.

Trends to Watch in Cross-Border Payments

The payments ecosystem stands at an inflection point. 

As we look at the past, we see how far the industry has come. Cross-border payments are faster, cheaper, and more secure than ever, fueling emerging economies and connecting millions of people and businesses around the globe. 

And yet, despite these advancements, cross-border payments have only scratched the surface of their potential

The future is filled with daunting challenges, mounting competition, and thrilling opportunities—especially for businesses looking to join the cross-border conversation. 

In this article, we will explore three fundamental questions:

  • How have cross-border payments evolved in recent years?
  • Which payments trends can we expect to see in 2024?
  • What API cross-border payment solutions are available to small businesses (SMBs)? 

Let’s get started.

The Story So Far: Cross-Border Payments in Review

How can we accurately assess the state of cross-border payments? 

It’s a complicated question on several fronts.

For one thing, clear benchmarks are required to objectively determine success (or failure). Secondly, the cross-border ecosystem is like the known universe: it’s rapidly expanding.  

Indeed, cross-border payments involve global markets, governments, currencies, digital currencies, incumbent payment providers, disrupting payment processing companies, and countless end users.

Though there are many ways to measure the market, the G20 Roadmap for Enhancing Cross-Border Payments provides the ideal perspective.

In October 2020, the G20 intergovernmental consortium outlined four targets for cross-border payments: 

  • Increase transaction speed.
  • Reduce transaction costs.
  • Promote transaction accessibility.
  • Enhance transaction transparency.

By 2027, the G20 expects to see demonstrable improvements in each of these categories.

By that time, the cross-border global market could exceed $250 trillion. If that happens—and it seems quite likely to—cross-border payments will have grown nearly $100 trillion since 2017

Nevertheless, it remains to be seen if such growth will automatically satisfy the G20 goalposts.

In his address at Harvard Law School, Under Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Treasury Department Jay Shambaugh admitted that “cross-border payments  are too often slow, expensive, opaque, and difficult to access.”

Though he works for the federal government, Shambaugh does not expect his employer to close the gap: “no one is waiting for the U.S. Government to solve the problems. There is presently a wealth of innovation that will change the payments landscape.”

Indeed, the private sector is playing a vital role in the evolution of cross-border payments. 

In fact, the rise of application programming interface (API) harmonization has already changed the game. 

By delivering turnkey solutions and extending functionality, API integrations are allowing businesses to seamlessly enter the world of real-time cross-border payments solutions.

The result? Diversified revenue streams for businesses and reduced costs for clients.

Better yet, these API solutions allow businesses to not only access global payment networks, but also shield them from worrying about precarious compliance laws, volatile FX conversions, demanding AML checks, and more.

Still, this is only one part of the payments trends picture. While cross-border payments as a service are a significant development, five other trends are taking shape as we approach 2024. 

Payments Trend #1: New Players

Once upon a time, global payments were managed by a tight-knit coterie of banks. 

Those days are long gone, especially as new payment methods and payment processing companies take center stage. 

Neo banks, fintechs, payment service providers (PSPs), and other non-traditional players are seizing large swathes of the industry. 

While employing cutting-edge technology, many of these competitors are utilizing punchy marketing and social media campaigns to put a fresh spin on a timeless need. 

It’s working both in the U.S. and around the world

The evidence is found in an unexpected place: mobile app stores, where neobank downloads outpace traditional banks in Europe

As Silvio Peruci, Managing Director of App Radar puts it, “even though legacy banks may still have a larger general market share than neobanks, the gap is decreasing and competition is increasing.”

According to Citigroup, over 40% of traditional banks have lost 5% of the market to fintechs—and they expect to relinquish another 5% in the coming decade. 

Alternative players are putting significant pressure on the core business models of international card networks and traditional banks.  

In order to remain competitive, companies will either need to create their own digital infrastructure or leverage established APIs that support fast, affordable, and secure payments. 

Payments Trend #2: Disruptive Technology

In 2024, disruption is the name of the game. 

Market innovation has accelerated the adoption of advanced tech like distributed ledger technology (DLT), Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), cloud platforms, and even artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

Though many of these tools aren’t exactly new, they will soon become ubiquitous across the payments ecosystem. 

For example, CBDCs were little more than a rumor just a few years ago. 

Today, however, 130 countries—roughly 98% of global GDP—are actively exploring their own digital currency. By 2030, CBDCs could drive over $213 billion in annual cross-border payments. 

Of course, most CBDCs are supported by distributed ledger technologies (DLT), which have also pervaded the payments universe. 

While networks like SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) have formally embraced DLT, enthusiasm for the infrastructure is quickly spreading elsewhere. 

In May 2023, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released a joint report expressing interest in using DLT to facilitate cross-border payments. 

The landscape is changing, and fast. 

While facilitating international transactions, some of these disruptors—like artificial intelligence—can also deliver meaningful defense protocols. 


Payments Trend #3: Enhanced Security 

Cybercriminals have set their sights on cross-border payments.  

Online fraud has been a major problem since 2016, when the Federal Reserve Bank of New York almost paid $951 million to criminals who hacked Bangladesh’s central bank. 

Since then, bad actors have leveraged countless schemes to breach payment networks, steal credentials, and plunder financial resources. 

According to a report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 11% of all fraud complaints were related to cross-border payments in 2022—up from just 1% in 1992. 

While 11% may not sound especially alarming, that amounts to roughly 264,000 cases of cross-border fraud in a single year.

Nevertheless, it’s the trends that worry financial analysts, especially as digital currencies become more prominent in the global economy.

In fact, Lloyd’s of London recently estimated that an attack on a payments system could lead to global losses of $3.5 trillion. The United States alone would suffer losses in excess of $1.1 trillion. 

That’s why the Bank for International Systems (BIS) is actively developing a seven-point plan to prevent cyberattacks on CBDCs, and why many firms are including blockchain and AI in their security frameworks. 

After all, AI has the power to automate data reconciliation, to quickly detect anomalies, and to flag suspicious payments before they authenticate. 

While AI technology is available for firms of all sizes, major companies are building proprietary tools to defend their clients. For example, J.P. Morgan and Starbucks recently collaborated to develop an advanced AI watchdog system to monitor their own cross-border payments.  

As we head into 2024, security will become a paramount factor—especially for newer firms entering the competitive realm of cross-border payments. 

Payments Trend #4: Digital Wallet Dominance

While the G20 provided four targets for cross-border payments, they had one goal in mind:
to promote financial inclusion around the world.

Digital wallets are integral to that mission.

After all, they help put banking in the hands of people who need it most, wherever they live.
Indeed, there are over 2.6 billion digital wallet users in Asia and over 621 million in Africa

Digital wallets are proliferating on a global level.

In fact, while total penetration was roughly 50% in 2020, it’s expected to reach 75% by 2025, when the majority of all e-commerce transactions will be completed with a mobile wallet

Digital wallets make cross-border payments fast, affordable, and reliable. They’re also replacing paper-based systems and cementing our cashless society.

Though consumers are leading the charge, many businesses may soon incorporate digital wallets for B2B payments

While this trend is well underway in the United States, it’s also developing in places like Kenya, Ghana, and Tanzania, where many merchants utilize digital-wallet infrastructure

By 2028, the B2B digital payment market will be worth $8.2 billion. Digital wallets could play a leading role in this expansion. 

Payments Trend #5: SMBs in the Spotlight

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have more optionality than ever. 

Major banks once had a monopoly on cross-border payments, but that’s not the case anymore. Today, SMBs can confidently center the market with significant upside potential.

By integrating custom API solutions, SMBs can enjoy faster access to data, less interaction with intermediaries, and seamless execution of FX payments.

In other words, the future of cross-border payments will empower SMBs to pay and get paid quickly—without taxing their time or bottom line. 

After all, SMBs are no longer confined to their local zip codes. They’re global, and they need cross-border payment solutions that allow them to scale internationally, should they want to. 

According to a Mastercard study, 80% of SMBs say that third-party cross-border payment solutions helped them improve their cash flow

Just imagine what they could accomplish with a comprehensive API solution. 

UniTeller: The Gateway to Cross-Border Payments

At UniTeller, we deliver comprehensive and competitive cross-border payment solutions.

With our end-to-end API solution, you can establish powerful new revenue streams while enhancing your firm’s presence at home and abroad.

Serving over 80 countries with payouts at over 200,000 paying locations and over 70 currencies, UniTeller unlocks real-time access to one of the most competitive payment networks in the world.

In fact, we work with over 100 remittance companies, corporations, banks, payers, and retailers across the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. 

By partnering with UniTeller, you’ll gain total access to this network—and you can leverage it in real-time for P2P, B2C, C2B, and B2B transactions. 

Whether you need robust turnkey solutions or niche integrations, we’ll tailor our platform to your unique needs. 

We look into AML compliance checks, transaction screenings, and FX conversions. Plus, we’re licensed across all states in the United States but more regions in the pipeline.
Your state-of-the-art payment experience is here with UniTeller Cross-Border Send.

UniTeller’s Complete Guide to International Business Payments

A leader in the international business payments industry, at UniTeller we track the latest trends, develop strategic partnerships, and deliver powerful B2B payment solutions for our clients.

While the payments ecosystem is constantly evolving, our mission remains the same: to move money to individuals, communities, and businesses around the worldin real-time.

As we promote innovation and growth, we believe it’s vitally important for users to understand the breadth of international business payments: what they are, how they function, and which payment methods are available. 

Today, we’re going to explain the ins and outs of the industry with this complete guide to international business payments.

What Is An International Payment?

An international payment constitutes any financial transaction where money is sent from one country to another

International payments can occur within the same time zone, as between a corporate entity in New York City and a customer in Montreal. 

Conversely, international payments can also occur overseas, as between a buyer in Rio De Janeiro and a seller in Osaka.

Also known as “cross-border payments,” international payments include all personal, business, and federal (i.e. government-sponsored) transactions.  

6 Types of International Payment Methods

There are many international payment methods to consider. 

Here is a comprehensive list of the most popular cross-border payments on the market.  

1. Cash-In-Advance

As the name implies, cash-in-advance is a form of pre-payment

In most cases, the buyer pays the seller before the goods are shipped. For example, an art dealer in Detroit might pay an artist in Paris before his paintings are put in the mail. 

Cash-in-advance payment methods come in many forms, including:

  • Credit cards.
  • Prepaid debit cards.
  • Wire transfers.
  • Paper checks.

While cash-in-advance is ideal for sellers, it can pose a moderate risk to buyers. After all, they have no guarantee of receiving their merchandise on time (or in the condition promised).

2.  Letters of Credit

While cash-in-advance remains popular, it’s not always the ideal choice for businesses.

As we mentioned, buyers have little guarantee that they will receive their purchased goods, or that they will even be delivered according to contract requirements. 

Of course, sellers have their own concerns. Without prepayment, the buyer could receive the delivered goods and decide not to pay.

That’s where letters of credit can help. 

In short, a credit letter is an official bank document that guarantees the buyer will pay on time. To secure the guarantee, banks require some type of liquid collateral (i.e. cash) from the buyer before issuing a letter of credit. 

If the buyer ignores his obligations, the bank will complete the payment and seize the buyer’s money.

Though letters of credit can be expensive, they help give buyers and sellers confidence with international trade dealings. 

3.  Open Account

In an open account transaction, merchandise is shipped before payment is due

The polar opposite of cash-in-advance, an open account payment actually requires the goods to be delivered before payment is provided. 

In fact, the goods can be shipped up to 90 days before the buyer must finally pay. 

While this method clearly benefits buyers, many sellers embrace it in an attempt to beat local competitors by providing more attractive terms. 

Therefore, some sellers will extend generous credit to buyers (while pursuing additional protective methods against potential delinquency or theft). 

4.  Wire Transfers

Though technically a form of cash-in-advance, wire transfers deserve special mention.

After all, the wire transfer revolutionized global payments when it was invented in the 1870s

And what is a wire transfer? It’s the electronic delivery of funds from one bank account to another

Today, wire transfers rank among the most secure (and convenient) cash-in-advance options.
Though they do incur transaction fees, their reliability often mitigates the upfront cost.

5.  Remittances

Wire transfers sent to other countries have a unique name: remittances. In most cases, a remittance is regarded as a financial gift sent to friends and relatives overseas. 

Where domestic wire transfers involve two banks, an international remittance includes a third party in each transaction. This liaison is often known as a remittance transfer provider or money transfer operator (MTO).

By charging a small fee, the remittance provider ensures secure and timely delivery between the originating and receiving banks. 

6.  Automated Clearing House (ACH)

ACH networks process large batches of debit/credit transactions. Like wire transfers, ACH payments are handled electronically via bank-to-bank money transfers. As such, they are convenient, secure, and affordable. 

However, unlike a wire transfer, ACH payments involve a third-party processor that mediates between banks

In the United States, direct deposit is a popular application of ACH technology. In fact, over 93% of American workers get paid via direct deposit. 

Thanks to recent innovations, global ACH now empowers many countries to enjoy similar benefits. While international ACH can take up to several days to clear, it remains an affordable option for cost-conscious countries. 

How Do International Payments Work? 

International payments are constantly moving around the world.

In 2022, customers paid global businesses roughly $2.8 trillion, while B2B cross-border payments exceeded $150 trillion. Though the statistics are staggering, the journey of each transaction is rather simple—especially with UniTeller Business Payments.

In fact, there are only three steps needed for our B2B payment solution to connect businesses around the world.

1. Origination

Payment starts with senders, including banks, fintechs, telcos, corporations, or MTOs (money transfer operators).

Individuals are also included in this part of the process.

The payments—whether B2C, B2B, C2B, or P2P—are securely entered into UniTeller’s payment gateway API.

2. Processing

After receiving the funds, UniTeller begins preparing for payout.

Our end-to-end solution deftly manages complex issues including:

  • Foreign exchange (FX) settlement. 
  • Anti-money laundering (AML) and compliance protocols. 
  • Transaction screening.

UniTeller’s approval process is applied to all payment types. In fact, even smaller amounts like gift cards and bill payments are rigorously analyzed and secured, so as to prevent any potential fraud or delay.

As always, we leverage our global network of financial institutions and strategic partnerships every step of the way.

3. Payout

After processing is complete, the payment is ready for payout.

The transaction is then directed to the intended payment institution, including banks, fintechs, telcos, MTOs, and retail agents.

As you might expect, there are many potential channels available for delivery. At UniTeller, we proudly provide a full suite of payout destinations, including:

  • Bank accounts
  • Cash
  • Bill payments
  • Mobile wallets
  • Business payments

In some countries, we can even provide home delivery to customers. 

With UniTeller, our B2B payment solution empowers you to send or receive payments almost anywhere in the world. 

Plus, you can have confidence that it will be delivered safe and sound in just a few short business days. 

International Payment FAQs

While international payments are powerful, they can also be a little overwhelming. 

Here are some answers to the most pressing questions.

How much does an international business payment cost?

The exact cost varies depending on your provider and preferred method of payment.

For example, a global ACH payment will generally cost less than a letter of credit.

Nevertheless, most international payments will incur a range of fees for the initial transfer, the currency exchange, and the intermediaries involved.

That’s why it’s important to read the fine print and know which fees are in play, and
leverage a payment platform built to reduce costs at every touchpoint. 

How do I determine the foreign exchange (FX) rate?

Most payment providers will set their own rate (independent of the market).

Whether you use their website or mobile app, the exchange rate should be clearly displayed before any purchases are made.

While many providers offer a competitive rate, we encourage you to stay aware of market trends so you can always find the best deal.

Here is a free, real-time currency converter.

Do international payments take longer than domestic payments?

Yes. Because domestic payments involve fewer intermediaries, they often complete transactions in just one or two business days.

However, while domestic payments are often faster, international payments are quickly gaining ground in both speed and efficiency. 

How long does an international business payment take to complete?

Most international payments arrive within one to five business days

Once again, the exact transaction time will depend on your chosen payment method and provider.

For example, our uLink remittance clients (P2P) can transfer money overseas in minutes when they use a credit or debit card. 

Q: Are international business payments secure?

Yes. Thanks to advanced security protocols, international payments are very safe.

In fact, there are two security methods worth your attention: encryption and tokenization.

Encryption ensures that customer data is fully immune to tampering or theft, while tokenization replaces payment details (like a bank routing number) with unique symbols that have no inherent value if compromised.

Alongside authentication tools, these protocols combine to eliminate customer exposure at every point of a transaction.

International Payments Glossary

The international payments ecosystem is vast.

As you explore payment providers and methods, there are many terms that you’ll likely encounter along the way.

Presented in alphabetical order, here is a brief glossary of international payments:

Automated Clearing House (ACH)

ACH payment is an electronic bank-to-bank payment.

As the name implies, ACH transactions are completed through a “clearing house:” a third-party mediator that facilitates the exchange of payments between buyers and sellers.  

While ACH is commonly used in the U.S. for direct deposits, global ACH is also available for international transactions. 

Though domestic payments generally take one day to process, global ACH requires up to five business days to complete.

Bank Identifier Code (BIC)

A bank identifier code (BIC) is an 8-11 character number used to identify global banks and financial institutions.

BIC codes ensure that money transferred between banks arrives in the intended destination. 

Note: As we will discuss below, BIC and SWIFT codes are used interchangeably. 

Beneficiary Type

A beneficiary is the end user who receives the funds that you’re sending. 

In some cases, the beneficiary is also referred to as the recipient.

Note: A beneficiary can be either a person/individual or a company/entity. 

Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS)

CHIPS is the world’s largest private-sector money transfer system.

Primarily used for large-value banking transactions, CHIPS clears and settles $1.8 trillion in domestic and cross-border payments every day. 

Foreign Exchange (FX)

Foreign exchange (FX) is the conversion of one country’s currency to another.

For example, FX shows the exchange rate of the US dollar (USD) to the Mexican peso (MXN), among other possible combinations. 

Foreign Exchange Market (Forex)

Forex is a global marketplace where foreign currencies are actively traded. 

The Forex market is open 24 hours a day, five days a week and has a daily trading volume over $6 trillion

International Bank Account Number (IBAN) 

An International Bank Account Number—or IBAN—is used to identify a foreign bank account. 

Combining up to 34 alphanumeric characters, an IBAN code is used whenever money is sent between two international banks. 

IBANs are most commonly used in the European Union. While U.S. banks do not have IBAN codes, they do use the system to process outbound foreign transfers.  

Know Your Customer (KYC)

KYC guidelines protect banks against fraud and corruption. 

Though KYC contains several regulatory features, its primary use is in identity verification of clients. That’s why KYC plays an integral role in global anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) protocols. 

Money Transfer Operator (MTO)

An MTO facilitates the fast and efficient transfer of money from one location to another. 

uLink, a world-leader in remittance services, is considered an MTO. 

In most cases, MTOs must be fully licensed and regulated to provide financial services.

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT)

Based in Belgium, SWIFT is a vast messaging network used by leading nations around the world.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications provides members with a SWIFT code, which is used to identify global bank branches. 

While European nations primarily use IBAN codes, many western nations—including the United States and Canada—are members of SWIFT.

Note: SWIFT codes are used interchangeably with Bank Identifier Codes (BIC). They are the exact same codes and provide an identical service. 

Wire Transfer

A wire transfer electronically transmits money between people and businesses

While the process often incurs a fee, a wire transfer enables the direct flow of money from one bank account to the next.

Unlike an ACH transaction, a wire transfer does not involve a third-party mediator. 

Note: Wire transfers are synonymous with bank transfers and credit transfers. 

The Gateway to International Business Payments

In the business world, payments are essential.

Whether you’re receiving funds or paying vendors, modern companies need an efficient, reliable, and secure way to handle cross-border payments. 

That’s where UniTeller’s Business Payments can help.

By accessing business payment solutions, you can streamline international payments across B2C, B2B, and C2B markets. 

Businesses can offer seamless business payments to their customers with our white label turnkey B2B payment solution. 

Interested in learning more? Check our UniTeller Business Payments features page, or reach out to us directly.

The Power of Cross-Border Payments in Advancing Global Commerce

In today’s interconnected world, businesses are no longer confined by geographical borders. The rise of the internet and globalization has paved the way for a significant increase in international trade and e-commerce, resulting in a growing demand for efficient and seamless cross-border payments.

What are “Cross-Border Payments”?

Cross-border payments refer to financial transactions involving the transfer of funds across international boundaries. These transactions are essential for enabling global trade and facilitating international business activities. Whether it’s a multinational corporation purchasing raw materials from a supplier overseas or an individual making an online purchase from a foreign retailer, cross-border payments play a pivotal role in fostering global commerce. It also calls for an increasing number of online payment platforms that are compatible across countries, currencies, and modes of payment for consumers and companies alike.

Why are “Cross-Border Payments” on the Rise?

The rapid growth of e-commerce at an average of 20% every year— crossing $5.7 trillion in 2022— has expanded market reach for businesses, allowing them to target customers worldwide. As a result, businesses need efficient cross-border payment solutions to accept payments from international customers.

The rise of the gig economy has led to an increase in freelancers and remote workers collaborating with clients and employers from different countries. Cross-border payments enable seamless remittance of earnings across borders. Additionally, businesses looking to expand their operations internationally need reliable and accessible cross-border payment methods to manage their global supply chains, pay overseas vendors, and handle international payroll.

Online payment platforms have revolutionized cross-border transactions by leveraging cutting-edge technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence. These advancements have improved speed, security, and transparency in cross-border payments.

Global remittance flows reached $647 billion in 2022, providing essential financial support to families in developing countries. With an expected increase to $656 billion to low and middle-income countries in 2023, remittances will continue to play a crucial role in cross-border payments.

Challenges and Considerations for “Cross-Border Payments”

Despite the progress in cross-border payment systems, several challenges persist:

  • Constant fluctuations in currency exchange rates
  • Varying regulatory compliances for various countries
  • Susceptibility to fraud and security risks
  • High transfer fees and processing times
  • Lack of financial inclusion

What the Future Holds for “Cross-Border Payments”

The future of cross-border payments is promising, with ongoing efforts aimed at addressing existing challenges.

The rise of digital currencies, including central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and cryptocurrencies, is expected to revolutionize cross-border payments by providing faster, cheaper, and more transparent transactions.

The blockchain market for cross-border payments — valued at $11.4 billion in 2022 — is projected to grow to $17.57 billion in 2023 itself, offering enhanced security, traceability, and quicker settlement times, and eliminating the need for intermediaries and reducing transaction costs.

Governments and regulatory bodies are increasingly recognizing the importance of streamlined cross-border payments and are working towards implementing policies that foster innovation while ensuring compliance and consumer protection.

Online payment platforms are likely to continue integrating various payment methods, currencies, and value-added services to offer a seamless and comprehensive cross-border payment experience.

UniTeller’s role in Cross-Border Payments

UniTeller Digital Link, an end-to-end remittance processing service, is a cutting-edge payment solution that empowers businesses and individuals to conduct seamless real-time cross-border payments.

Along with providing various payments methods and currencies, UniTeller Digital Link provides Full White-Label Turnkey Solutions that allows businesses to offer efficient bill payments, phone reloads, and international money transfers with complete transparency, security, and efficiency to their customers.

This versatile payment system not only caters to the needs of multinational corporations but also promotes financial inclusion by providing accessible payment services to underserved regions. UniTeller Digital Link stands as a testament to the potential of online payment platforms in revolutionizing the way we conduct cross-border transactions in the digital age.

Want to learn more about our Digital Remittance as a Service solutions? Click here to get started.

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Cross-Border Payments and the Need for Adaptive Platforms

Cross-border payments have existed for millennia. 

Throughout history, they have served as a bridge, connecting diverse cultures and fostering economic relationships in unprecedented ways. Also, they have continually evolved, shaping and adapting to the changing landscapes of society and technology.

That’s why, to understand what the future of cross-border payments looks like, we must first investigate our past. 

In this article, we will explore the history of cross-border payments, the complex landscape that businesses face today, and the adaptive online payment platforms that can secure their future.

Cross-Border Payments by the Numbers

Technology has turbocharged the payments ecosystem. 

Thanks to digital innovation (and smartphone proliferation), cross-border payment flows exceeded $156 trillion in 2022

Such growth shows no signs of slowing down. 

In fact, if cross-border payments continue their compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5%), the market could reach $290 trillion by 2030. 

While B2B payments constitute the bulk of cross-border growth, other verticals are on the rise:

  • B2C cross-border payments increased 14% in 2022, from $1.4 trillion in 2021 to $1.6 trillion last year.
  • C2B transactions have seen a similar expansion, rising from $2.4 trillion to $2.8 trillion over the last two years.
  • C2C payments (i.e. global remittances) reached nearly $800 billion in 2022, en route to an anticipated $1.7 trillion market by 2030.

But to really appreciate the scope of modern cross-border payments, we have to look back. 

A Brief History of Cross-Border Payments

While technology changed culture, it hasn’t changed human desire in the slightest. 

Since the dawn of time, people have shared the same fundamental needs of safety, shelter, and sustenance. 

That was as true in the Neolithic Age as it is in New York City today.

Cross-border payments represent one of mankind’s earliest attempts at promoting economic peace and prosperity. 

The Very Early Beginnings

Cross-border payments have existed in some form since 2,000 B.C. Ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) is regarded as the official home of “mercantilism”—the practice of trading and transacting. 

People bartered, trading “this for that,” whether it meant fur for jewelry, grain for water, or a sword for a shield. 

Over time, this quid pro quo economy was anchored by a more reliable store of value: money. 

Around 600 B.C., gold, silver, and bronze coins began to populate throughout the Mediterranean, Persia, China, and parts of Europe. 

While money made trading (and traveling) more efficient, it also introduced new obstacles.

For example, money quickly became the target of widespread theft and fraud. On the Silk Road, 

bandits preyed on unsuspecting merchants and looted with impunity. 

Later, the advent of paper currency attracted a less violent type of criminal. 

Around 1260, China began creating paper money from mulberry trees. At the time, Chinese

Emperor Kublai Khan wanted to encourage domestic trade by unifying the region’s disparate coins under a dominant new currency.

While paper promoted commerce, it also attracted criminals eager to make an easy profit. After all, a lone mulberry branch could make them rich. 

According to Marco Polo, Emperor Khan threatened criminals with the death penalty if they ever forged his currency. While that may sound extreme, attempts at counterfeiting U.S. currency carries a 20-year prison sentence today. 

West of Kublai Khan’s empire, cross-border payments had an equally militaristic origin in the Knights Templar, which economists regard as the world’s first multinational corporation. 

Throughout the 12th and 13th centuries, their job was clear: to move and protect financial assets from Europe into the Holy Land. Like modern-day B2C transactions, they transferred money to clients (albeit with weapons in hand). 

While the Knights Templar were disbanded by Pope Clement in 1312, they helped pave the way for the emergence of central banks. 

Cross-Border Payments Evolve

Over the next few centuries, financial tools like advancing funds, deposit making, and foreign exchange became more commonplace. 

By the 17th century, central banks were flourishing in Amsterdam, Sweden, and London, which would become the global hub for financial trading by 1870. 

These early central banks hastened the development of cross-border payments, as they enabled transactions between domestic and foreign banks. 

However, such payments would take months to complete. 

Whenever banks sent checks, banknotes, or currency abroad, it traveled on backs, boats, and horse-drawn carriages. 

Successful delivery was wholly dependent on myriad factors including the weather, accurately drawn maps, well-intentioned couriers, reliable mail systems, language barriers, and the successful avoidance of thieves and robbers. 

This antiquated and slow system remained the norm until the mid-20th century. In the Middle East, this ancient practice is known as “Hawala,” and it continues throughout the region to this day. 

Ultimately, the problems that foreign exchange rates posed for many centuries were simplified in 1873, when most western nations moved onto the gold standard

International commerce was close at hand.

Following the invention of the telegraph, Western Union made it possible for Americans to send money from one major metropolitan area to the next. 

Over the next few decades, Morse code would facilitate cross-border payments around the United States, though international transactions remained out of reach.

The 20th Century and Beyond

Finally, in 1951, Credit Suisse developed a direct “telex” connection between Switzerland and New York. 

While this technology remained inefficient, it laid the groundwork for the 1973 founding of SWIFT, the “Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.”

Electronic cross-border payments were officially born. 

However, despite the speedy acronym, SWIFT wasn’t as fast as promised, and funds often took days or weeks to be delivered. 

Today, of course, digital technology powers payments to happen at the speed of now. And yet, while fintech innovations thrive, the industry deals with struggles of the past, and the new challenges of the present.

In fact, despite technological innovation, informal remittance channels remain in effect worldwide.

Cross-border payments continue to be threatened by high costs, security concerns, and scalability limitations, among other compromising factors. 

The Complex Landscape of Modern Cross-Border Payments

The past is prologue, and the future is now. 

Over 4,000 years of invention have enabled us to reap the benefits of an international payments ecosystem. 

Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement. To that end, cross-border payments are faced with four key challenges.

1. High Costs

The average cost of cross-border payments is 6.5%, more than double the United Nations’ target goal.

After all, each transfer incurs a variety of costs along the way, including intermediary charges, regulatory charges, currency conversion fees, and more.

This “chain of intermediaries” can present an insurmountable barrier-to-entry for consumers and businesses alike.

2. Slow Delivery

While cross-border payments are faster than ever, they’re still too cumbersome.

Though advanced technology is available, many businesses are stuck with legacy online payment platforms that force them to wait weeks for a given payment.

In fact, the average U.S. company waits a whopping 33 days to receive cross-border payments.

3. Compliance Hurdles

Each cross-border payment must clear the laws and regulations in both the originating and recipient country.

Because each nation has their own compliance expectations, modern businesses must have online payment platforms that efficiently satisfy all laws and regulations—both foreign and domestic.

If they fail these tests, they could face numerous fines and lawsuits.

4. Security Vulnerabilities

While cost and compliance are important, security is essential.

Unfortunately, many online payment platforms lack the encryption tools needed to fully protect transactions at each touchpoint.

And cybersecurity remains an existential threat: 56% of businesses are concerned about cross-border payments fraud

On top of these issues, financial institutions face an even larger roadblock: they lack the technological and capital resources needed to build their own platform. 

As a result, they are unable to participate in the lucrative landscape of cross-border payments. 

Fortunately, adaptive online payment platforms can solve each of these problems and position modern businesses for short and long-term success.

The Need for Adaptive Platforms: The White Label Solution

In recent years, online payment platforms have solved many of the systemic issues facing cross-border payments. 

They have eliminated the inefficiencies of legacy systems and replaced them with affordable, scalable, and adaptive technology. 

Best of all, modern companies aren’t required to invest precious time and money into building a competitive product from scratch.

Instead, they can easily leverage online payment platforms to jumpstart their payment journey. 

These white label solutions aren’t “one-size-fits-all” strategies: they’re fully tailored to the unique needs of each and every provider. 

After all, no retailer, financial institution, money transfer company, or fintech firm has the exact same goals. So why should they have the same tools?

Customization is crucial, and modern companies deserve access to turnkey payment platforms that provide:

  • Cost-effective implementation
  • Rapid time-to-market launch
  • Robust regulatory compliance
  • Seamless branding integration 
  • Reliable security protocols 

At UniTeller, we’ve developed an online payment platform that provides all of these features—and so much more. 

UniTeller Digital Link: Remittance as a Service

Welcome to the industry-leading “remittance as a service” platform. 

With UniTeller Digital Link, you can create a powerful revenue stream within the cross-border payments landscape. 

Our technology, licenses, and compliance—your brand and customers. 

As part of our client commitment, you’ll have zero development responsibilities. We’ll handle the details and do the heavy lifting, so you can focus on what matters most.

Whatever you hope to achieve, UniTeller guarantees:

  • Global Access: With an expansive payout network spanning 70+ currencies and 200,000+ paying locations in over 80 countries, you can go truly global.
  • Total Convenience: Rather than developing costly integrations of your own, UniTeller helps you save on resources and leverage cross-border payments with ease.
  • True Customization: From turnkey solutions to white-label integrations, UniTeller technology powers the platform with your brand front and center.
  • Tested Compliance: With UniTeller, you’ll never have to worry about regulatory details. Our state-of-the-art compliance and licensing platform has you covered 24/7.
  • Unrivaled Security: With our “Zero Fraud Guarantee,” you’ll always be supported by UniTeller’s top class authentication and risk-approval model.


Finally, UniTeller clients gain access to our best-in-class, multilingual customer service agents—available to you and your team every day of the week. 

Interested in learning more? Check our UniTeller Digital Link features page, or reach out to us directly.

Tips for Efficient International Business Payments

Globalization changed commerce forever. Companies of all sizes can now buy and sell anywhere in the world. In a very real sense, a significant number of businesses are global. 

And yet, while the capability for global payments exists, inefficiencies remain ubiquitous. Too many businesses simply lack the infrastructure needed to streamline global payments. 

As a result, they overspend on payment fees, endure lengthy transaction times, and compromise their financial security along the way.

Fortunately, there’s a better path forward—and today we’ll show you how to get there. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the top payment challenges facing modern businesses and provide actionable tips to address them. 

Then, we’ll compare the best international payment methods on the market and reveal how you can help your firm save money and time.

Challenges Facing International Business Payments

Innovations often introduce more questions than answers.

Consider the invention of flying. As soon as airplanes put people in the sky, questions abounded:

How can we fly safely?
How can we fly affordably?
How can we fly consistently?

Before commercial aviation could be established, these questions needed answering.

International business payments are in a similar position: in order to thrive, they must be able to work safely, affordably, and consistently.

Unfortunately, cross-border payments are often undermined by three pernicious obstacles:

  1. Currency Exchange: For most companies, negotiating a range of fluctuating currencies can be costly and unpredictable.

    Plus, many businesses rely on manual, legacy systems to mediate foreign exchange, burning precious time and money in the process.
  2. Chain of Intermediaries: Cross-border payments often get crippled by passing through a series of cumbersome gateways.

    While stalling transfers (and incurring hefty fees), these intermediaries can also burden business accounting departments with clerical work.
  3. Security Threats: Cybercrime and fraud are an existential threat in the digital economy.

    Unfortunately, too many businesses lack the security protocols and compliance measures needed to protect their best interests.

These are just a few of the many challenges facing international business payments. 

Now that we’ve outlined the primary obstacles, let’s review some helpful strategies to help your business save money, address compliance concerns, and streamline payment processes.

Cost-Saving Strategies

When it comes to saving money on payments, some strategies are obvious—like shopping around for the best exchange rates. 

Other strategies require a bit more nuance, like using forward exchange contracts (FEC) to lock in exchange rates and protect against currency fluctuations.

If an FEC isn’t appealing, you can negotiate exchange rates with your payment processor and save money on incoming and outgoing transactions. Payment terms can also be negotiated.

For example, if your business intends to make a sizable international transfer, you might be able to settle longer payment terms with the beneficiary. This could help spread the cost over a longer time period and improve your firm’s liquidity.

As you can see, cost-savings strategies are easily attainable—especially for one-time payment transfers. However, if you’re looking for repeatable, long-term solutions, you may need to find a more comprehensive option.

Addressing Compliance and Regulatory Considerations

Payment fraud is a harsh reality for modern businesses.

Last year, nearly 60% of U.S. companies dealt with payment fraud, with the average case totaling $1.8 million in losses

When it comes to payment security, the fundamentals still apply: always know where you’re sending money (or where you’re receiving it), verify all financial information, and immediately report suspicious behavior. 

Of course, you’re not alone in the fight. Regulatory frameworks like Know Your Business (KYB) and Know Your Customer (KYC) help keep an eye out along the way. 

Nevertheless, businesses should invest in custom security tools to protect their interests. That may include incorporating encryption protocols, end-to-end compliance platforms, and anti-money laundering (AML) software to defend your company around the clock.

While security isn’t free, it pays for itself by keeping criminals at bay. 

Streamlining Payment Processes

There are endless ways to streamline payment processes—and that’s part of the problem. 

It would take years (and huge capital reserves) to upgrade individual components of your business.

For example, you could automate your manual processes. You could employ AI to increase operational efficiency. You could download new apps to monitor Forex and time your transactions. Or, you could look for a fully-integrated API that does all of the hard work on your behalf.

It’s an idea worth pursuing: employing a turnkey solution that provides the targeted solutions you need, all in one place. 

We live in the 21st century, after all. Dynamic technology is available to modern businesses. All we have to do is use it.

Exploring Popular International Payment Methods

As international business payments have skyrocketed, fintech innovators have sought to match demand with new payment methods. 

Some tools are more familiar than others. For example, the standard bank transfer continues to dominate the scene. While it’s a decades-old approach, it largely works (for the most part). And by “works” we mean, “the funds reach the intended destination—eventually.”

Nevertheless, bank transfers remain prohibitively expensive. Though ideal for one-time payments, recurring bank fees can drain a company’s capital resources over time.  

Other legacy payment methods refuse to cede ground to newer technology. 

Believe it or not, paper checks are still making the rounds—both in the U.S. and overseas.

In fact, they account for almost 33% of B2B transactions

The popularity of checks can be easily explained: people trust what they know, and paper checks travel slowly, which helps businesses retain their funds for a few extra days (or weeks).

In recent years, digital wallets have made their presence known throughout the global economy. 

Apple Pay, Dwolla, and Google Pay are among the most dominant players in America, while vendors like Alipay and Cash App are thriving internationally.

Though digital wallets are specifically tailored to individual consumers, some companies have tried to adapt the technology for business payments (with varying degrees of success).

Ultimately, all of these payment methods share a fatal flaw: they have been adapted to the international business payments landscape. They weren’t made with that landscape in mind. 

This is a crucial distinction, as businesses need more than a payment method that’s simply “good enough.” 

As we’ve seen, issues like currency exchange, security concerns, and exorbitant costs have inspired businesses to seek a more unified solution. 

They’ve found a state-of-the-art, seamless API integration built exclusively for B2C, B2B, and C2B payments.

Leveraging UniTeller’s International Network

At UniTeller, we specialize in helping businesses move money around the world—in real-time.

By partnering with our team, your business will join a global paying network in every corner of the world. 

Better yet, you’ll unlock a fully customizable, end-to-end service that seamlessly moves funds across borders in 80+ countries, 50+ currencies, and 200,000+ paying locations. 

And thanks to our global payment API, you can send & collect payments in multiple currencies. 

While we’re proud of our network, we’re equally thrilled by our product suite

Whether you need white label integrations or robust turnkey solutions, the UniTeller platform provides the targeted solutions you’ve been looking for. 

As always, you’re guaranteed high security standards and fraud protection. After all, our “Best in Class” AML and compliance platform has your business covered 24/7/365. 

With UniTeller, your gateway to global payments solutions is just one API integration away.

Uniting the World With Payments

When it comes to transferring money, UniTeller maintains high standards of excellence.

As a fully-licensed money transmitter in the United States and Canada, we remain intensely committed to providing payment services with a transparent and flexible business model.

With UniTeller, your business can complete international payments with unrivaled security, reduced cost, and enhanced speed. We’re the gateway for businesses to drive global payments into the 21st century. 

Want to learn more? 

Click below to start moving money in real-time. 

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