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Accepting international sales

Accepting international payments is inherently riskier. AVS is less reliable, communication barriers arise, and fraud is more common. Exercise extreme caution with foreign payments.

Accepting international sales is just as easy as accepting sales from US banks - simply process the payment just as you would otherwise! So, many merchants assume that there are no additional considerations. As you may guess, though, there are a few more moving parts with an international transaction that are helpful to know.


First, there are additional fees to be aware of, like Visa’s Cross Border Fee. It's part of the card association fees that all merchants pay. The exact value will depend on the specifics of the sale, but typically, merchants can expect to pay an extra 1.45%  on top of the underlying interchange rates. Good to keep in mind! These cross border fees are charged directly by the card associations.


Another important item to consider, is what happens when a international customer decides to dispute a sale? What protections does a merchant have under those circumstances? When accepting an international payment in an in-person environment (or Card Present, CP) you’ll want to ensure you are able to dip the card so as to use the card’s chip. If the customer’s card is not able to be chip read and the customer disputes that sale with their international bank you as the merchant will lose the dispute. So, make sure to always process an in-person international sale as Card Present.

If you are an online business you’ll want to ensure you have as much information about your customer as you can. As a merchant, it is far tougher to win a customer dispute from an international bank in a Card Not Present (CNP) environment. When an international order comes in you’ll want to contact that customer to confirm the order. Sadly, it’s a common fraud tactic for a fraudster to target smaller business with a large international order. It’s only human to see a large order come in and be excited, and this is exactly what the fraudster is hoping to happen! It’s common for the card to be already stolen, and when the actual card holder sees the fraudulent charge they will dispute that transaction. And, if the small business has already shipped the goods it means they will be out of the products shipped, as well as the money for the sale since they will lose the dispute, as well.

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