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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    33

    Solution: US$ Merchant Account for Australian Companies

    After all the help I have received here I thought that I should give something back

    I have managed to find a rather complex, but workable, solution on how to bill in US$ if you are an Australian Company without having to acquire a US merchant account.

    The Commonwealth Bank offers an efpos-based system http://business.commbank.com.au/busi...TS8335,00.html that allows you to charge a customer in their home currency (it appears to be designed for restaurants and tourist-based businesses). Unfortunately you can't just enter a US$ amount in (this would make too much sense ), but the terminal will give you the current conversion rate and you can use this to enter the corresponding amount in AUS$. This is then converted to the correct US$ amount by the terminal.

    While this is a pain, it is quite cheap ($79 application fee and $29 a month for the terminal) and the merchant fees are very low (well at least for me ). In addition, you get a bonus commission of ~1% for every transaction passed through the system.

    The only major problem with this approach is that all the transactions have to be entered manually into the terminal, so it is not a viable solution if you have large numbers of transactions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    5,779
    I tested it, it does not work too well. The conversion rate the machine uses is at least 3-4% higher than the daily conversion rate the bank figures on everything else so you lose 4% right off the top.

    Easier to just find the conversion rate at 9am when they post on the web site run it through an excel sheet for the day and use their MIGS system to enter the charges for the day.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    40
    Depending on your volume you could go with www.paymate.com.au if you need something simple and dont go through much volume, but Im sure there must be plenty of other solutions to bill in USD

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    33
    Thanks Techark for the information about the exchange rate- I figured there had to catch!

    I do have have one question about the MIGS system - won't the transaction appear as a AUS$ amount on the customers statement?

    Creztor thanks for the suggestion about Paymate but with their 5.5% cut it is a pretty expensive option.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Castle Pines, CO
    Posts
    7,189
    Could you use XE to help you do the conversion?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    33
    Hi Corey

    The problem with using XE is the conversion rate the bank uses has little relationship to the real rate. Every time I have to change money I am always reminded of Jesus in the Temple

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    76
    Originally posted by Daniel Tillett
    won't the transaction appear as a AUS$ amount on the customers statement?
    It would have to - all you are getting is the ability to give your customers a better approximation of what their home currency charge will be.

    Creztor thanks for the suggestion about Paymate but with their 5.5% cut it is a pretty expensive option.
    Even WorldPay and the NAB (both with large upfront costs) charge a discount rate in this range.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    33
    The main advantage of the Combank terminal is the customer is billed in their home currency (unless I was told the wrong information by the Commonwealth Bank minions). This mean that they should see a charge in US$ on their statement. I will contact ComBank and try and clarify this.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    33
    Just a quick update for anyone interested in this topic. The National Australia Bank finally got back to on their US$ merchant account http://www.national.com.au/Business_...,32273,00.html. So far it looks the best if you are a serious business. The nice thing about this account is the money goes into a US$ account so you don't need to pay currency costs until you withdraw.

    The costs are AUS$1200 setup, and for me, a bit under 3% in merchant fees.

    I hope this helps someone in my situation in the future

  10. #10
    Daniel, I have previously been in contact with NAB regarding their solution but they stated something along the lines of requiring a long standing business relationship with them... did they also say something along these lines to you?

    Edit: Also, do you know how well their system integrates with such systems as ModernBill? Batch processing would probably be the best way to go...
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    33
    No they didn't say that to us, but we have been established for six years and our turnover is around seven figures so this might have been why. I haven't yet been approved by them so I will have to wait and see if they bring this up! There is always the complicated Combank system I mentioned higher up if NAB won't have you.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Posts
    208
    I just wanted to thank Daniel Tillett for providing this info on what the CBA can offer - I had no idea they were even able to bill customers in different currencies.
    We spoke to a very helpful CBA rep. today (who even gave a demo of a multi-currency transaction on his test terminal) and combined with the AGHA/CBA offer it turns out quite nicely.
    So thanks again.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    33
    Hi Wolf

    I am glad my experiences are of some help Sounds like your CBA rep has more of an idea about what is going on than mine did - I had to explain their system to them for about half an hour before they could understand what it does.
    Last edited by Daniel Tillett; 08-06-2005 at 11:54 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    33
    Just an update for those interested. I can't talk about the details but we have finally been approved by the Nat bank. It actually was a lot simpler than I thought it was going to be.

    Daniel

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