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International Payment Services

This question is basically only for orchidians who have a business outside the US and sell regularly to tourists (tourists meaning people whose credit cards were not issued in your country), particularly Americans.

In Israel there are only two companies which handle clearing/transferring payments to businesses for international sales. One has recently sent out a letter to its agents saying that any business which has 5%-10% international sales is considered a money-loser for the company and should not be allowed any of the special rate options normally offered. They claim that the local cc company is charged an average of 2.9% by the mother company abroad for international sales, and sometimes as much as 4%. So the lowest cc-clearing rate they can give folks like me (99.9% tourist/international sales) is 3.25%. This is in addition to a monthly rate which must be paid to an external company either for equipment (the physical swiping device) or for a software application package if transactions are instead cleared via the internet. A credit card agent told me this (and showed me the letter) and said cc rates for international sales will be shooting up as a result.

The last time I checked, PayPal took an arm and a leg for international transactions. In today’s world, are there any PayPal-type services which charge ~1.x% for international sales? Ideally something which is easy for clients to deal with. The definition would be sales where the buyer is in one country and and the seller in another, AND the seller is not in the US.

My works are all custom and all quite expensive, so I have relatively few sales per year. I often have months with no sales. Up till now I managed to get away without a digital swiping device and would like not to have to get involved with that whole business, which is super-overkill for so few sales per year. There are now endless companies in Israel which offer payment services for small businesses at ridiculously low percentage rates. You can sign up online and pretty much start using it right away. You simply report your sale online and the money is transferred to your bank account. Easy peasy. But it’s only for sales where payment is with local (Israel-issued) credit cards…:-(…

Any suggestions for alternative systems would be much appreciated…:-)…!

Janet in Jerusalem

CLARIFICATION: I meant that the question is addressed not to American Orchidians but rather to Orchidians who sell largely (but not exclusively) to American tourists. :slight_smile:

Happy to help but its best done via email, not through this forum.
Mail me at vladimirdotfrateratgmaildotcom

Hi!! :slight_smile:

Here in Israel the local credit card companies are jacking up their fees (to 4%) for transactions on what is here called ‘tourist cards’ (= cards not issued in Israel). It used to be the case that all I paid was the percentage commission, which was 1.4%-1.7%; now you have to pay monthly rates as well even on months when you don’t use the service. I have few sales, all for large amounts, and all from tourists. I got really excited when I saw that there are now many companies that offer payment/clearing services for real cheap (as low as 1.1%), and you can do it easily from your computer or phone without a device. But all of them charge 4% on tourist sales. I’m now leaning towards having Americans simply pay by personal dollar check or local bank transfer to my US dollar account and periodically bringing to Israel the amount transferrable for the bank’s minimum transfer charge: about $30 for about $15,000. Amounts over that are charged the percentage (only 0.19%). The conversion fee for over $100 is another 0.19%. So even with conversion and transfer fees, it’s still much less than credit card sales. But that still leaves me without a solution for Europe, Australia, Russia, etc. …:-(…


Janet, I feel for you. PayPal charges me 2.6% for inside USA sales. That does not include any exchange fee. Add that and the rate goes up ~3%. There is no way that can work for international sales without raising your rates.