How to get an offshore merchant account?

Just ask! We will help you navigate the rather challenging process to get set up with an offshore merchant account. Offshore merchant accounts have certain limitations that make processing transactions a challenge, so we work though each option and ensure you as the merchant will succeed with a certain solution. For instance, an offshore provider may require 3D Secure on all transactions, which can negatively affect your conversion rates on transactions. Another instance we see is that an offshore account may not support your shopping cart platform, so you would need to integrate the API into your website. Many of our offshore providers offer plugins to make this easy, but several are harder to integrate, such as Shopify. We will be sure to inform you of this before we move forward.

Once we have your account pre-approved, we will circle back to you with rates, terms and anything you need to know that might cause issues in the future. If everything is satisfactory, we will move to the next stage of collecting documentations and getting a formal agreement signed. We are always around to support you through the process in any way we can, and you will also have a dedicated account manager at the processor who works in tandem with us to make sure you get approved, go live and begin processing as soon as possible.

Be aware that offshore merchant accounts do carry some limitations versus domestic accounts. Transactions tend not to settle as quickly, often taking weeks to settle rather than 2-3 days. This is something to be aware of, since it affects cashflow. A second issue that pops up frequently is credit card transactions that are declined because a U.S.-based card-issuing bank flags the transaction as originating from another country. While this is not always the case, it can disrupt customer relationships and create extra work.

On the plus side, offshore accounts enable you to conform to the tax laws in the host country rather than those in the U.S. In some cases, this results in lower taxes. Another favorable characteristic of an offshore account is that it may not have a limit to the number of transactions you process each month. If your business is expanding rapidly, or if you want it to, this is a very important thing to consider.

While offshore merchant accounts are wonderful options for many high risk businesses, they are also worth exploring if you, for instance, serve a global market and do a considerable amount of business outside the U.S. and/or in certain foreign countries. Setting up a merchant account in the local currency and jurisdiction can be more convenient and help you establish your brand as being local to those markets.

If you are not sure whether an offshore merchant account fits your business, or you’d like to consider other options, contact us now. We have decades of experience in high risk payment processing and have strong relationships with the industry’s best offshore processors.

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