international clients... the who whats and hows...
I have been providing web hosting for quite some time for my clients. What I have never tried is accepting international customers. My ordering forms were pretty much designed in a sense that would not work properly with customers outside the U.S area. I was wondering how you would charge international customers, would your regular merchant account be suitable?..., or would you need a special merchant account.... What are the common payment methods of international customers, and is it reliable to do business with them.... Please provide some helpful information if you would to help us all out here at WHT...
Well the very first thing that you must do if you do not have this already - log the IP of every signup and do a lookup in ARIN's database. Check to make sure the IP comes from the same country as the billing address. Once you start accepting international clients, my experience has been that your fraud rate will increase dramatically. (You should actually log and look-up IP addresses for US orders also).
If you have a full merchant account... IE... not a 3rd party processor but an actual merchant account through a bank, you should be setup to accept international credit cards already. If you have a 3rd party processor, I am not sure if you can accept, but I imagine you should be able to.
One thing to keep in mind - AVS generally does not work on non-US credit cards (except for some cards from the UK & Canada), so it may be harder to insure that the billing address is correct for the card. Also, I think that some countries do not have a CVV2 field.
When you actually charge the card, you just enter the amount in US funds, and the bank will automatically adjust it for the exchange rate.
Also note that your APR for processing Visa and MC will go up. Before I was accepting international orders, I was at 3% with no monthly or transaction fees. Now that we take orders from Europe, Asia, etc., our APR is at 5%.
It's difficult to fit the fields for all countries, but I would say "postal code" instead of "ZIP code" (since ZIPs are US-only). I might also say State/Region, though if you have a drop-down menu with US states that might be a problem. Also make sure your phone number field doesn't limit the characters to 10 or whatever.
mpope was right on about checking the IP addresses, but that should go for the US too. Most of my fraud orders have US cc's, anyway, though most of the fraud is actually entered from Indonesia, Romania, Russia, etc.