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Or to be more precise, a client has a website and has been accepting credit card payments for over 2 years. He has had customers from many countries in Europe, plus Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and many others. Yet he has only had one customer from the USA.
Could this be something to do with him only accepting payments in UK Sterling ? (This is actually a restriction imposed by his banks due to the nature of the goods he sells). Do US citizens have an aversion to paying in any currency other than US$ ? Are US Visa and Mastercards valid outside the USA ?
Could there be some other reason ? We estimate that about 40% of his site visitors are from the USA so it would be nice if we could increase sales to US customers.
Well... OK, a currency converter function on the site would be nice (or a link to another site providing a curency converter... it could open in a new window), just so I knew exactly how much $USD I was paying.
I think if any site (even those with USD pricing) wants to do business internationally, they should provide some kind of currency conversion calculator in their shopping area.
Do US issued credit cards charge a fee for transactions made in other currencies ? Could there be some other problem ?
it made no difference to uk customers
but INCREASED sales to the usa,
i have a disclaimer on the site saying that the $ price is for guidance
and that we are a uk based company charging the cc company in pounds
therefore there could be a +/- few cents difference between the quoted price and the billed price,
and that we will make the difference good if there is a problem
this is stated clearly on the site and also on the confirmation email, giving them a chance to cancel the order,
in 12 months no-one has either cancelled or asked for a refund of the difference.
incidently, i process credit card sales manually and if you have high turnover Barclays in UK will process us$ credit card transactions directly on accounts with foreign currency transactions of 20k+ pounds annual. (so in this case the customer would pay the exact dollar amount)
Agreed – quoting anything else other than US$ prices to the US market is an unnecessary barrier on a site.
If you’re targeting international markets, I’d also say that the US$ is the most universally accepted currency for quotes so it makes sense to stick to US$. When it comes to actual credit card transactions from a foreign merchant account however, we’ve found that there’s often a slight variation from interbank (or interbank plus x%) rates on the client’s bank statement simply because of transaction routings and the slight timing variations when dealing with different currencies. (Typically client quoted $100, actual statement amount $98-$102) We warn clients in advance about a 2% variation and generally get away with it.
One of the real problems we’ve had is quoting US$ rates for British clients – it's the only nationality with whom we've had a problem. Once again the barrier needs to be avoided if possible – definitely a point of consideration for companies who’ve traditionally dealt with US/international markets and are planning a foray into the UK market. On-site currency converters are one option. We’ve opted for a more personalised e-mailed explanation during the selling process.
The first time I traveled over seas, I did some research and found out that plastic (credit cards) is plastic all over the world. I didn't know this before I plans this trip.
If you post on your site that you accept "American" credit cards, you will probably see an increase in sales.
I've made a slight change to the wording as suggested by Hope, and I'll let you all know if this makes any difference.
The almighty US dollar rules! Why fight it.
Take Vietnam for example. The local currency is the Dong. There are ~14000 Dong to the U.S. Dollar (at least a while ago). The largest bill available in Dong is something like 5000 Dong. So you need a stack a foot high to buy anything tangible. Also the ink runs if you get it wet. I'm not kidding. So they use the U.S. dollar as the hard currency. Every shop and bank will take dollars.
If a site is going to sell to US customers, particularly unsophisticated ones, I'd highly recommend pricing in US Dollars or at least offering a very easy and obvious currency conversion feature.
a) It is the biggest market for my products
b) Most people can broadly convert USD to their own local currency without using a tool to do it. However, as an example, most Americans wouldn't have a clue how many Euros there are to the $. They might have a better idea with £ to $, but not much better.
There is therefore no contest for me... $ it is.
(edited by: Napoleon at 9:52 pm (gmt) on Nov. 11, 2001)
Over time, Visa, MasterCard, and Amex have become more sophisticated and, arguably, rapacious. Conversions are made at less favorable rates (at least by some issuers), are made as of the date of purchase, and--deadly from the vendor's point of view--with a non-trivial additional service charge. Those who purchase with the assurance that "US credit cards" are accepted are due for a shock--great or large, depending upon their price sensitivity--when their credit card bill arrives. Don't count on folow-up purchases.
For myself, I never purchase from Stateside in other than USD. Whether I'm typical or generalizable-from is not for me to say.
In some cases, yest. Some of the big issuers charge a hidden currency-conversion fee of 2 to 5 percent on top of the 1 percent that Visa/MasterCard charge for currency conversion. Some don't charge anything, however--it all depends on the card.
I don't think that's the reason why U.S. buyers are reluctant to order from overseas vendors, however. (Most U.S. credit-card users aren't even aware of such conversion fees.) A more likely reason is lack of experience in using foreign currency, combined with a fear of the unfamiliar. The United States is a big country, and I'd guess that the majority of Americans have never used any kind of money except the U.S. dollar.
This is true only to the extent that U.S. credit card users may be presumed not to read their monthly statements--which may or may not be the case. There is, however, nothing hidden about these conversion fees: in contrast to the more abstruse matters of purchase vs. posting dates and rates of exchange, which are indeed "hidden," the service fee for conversion is broken out explicitly, right next to the vendor's name and purchase price. (This is true at least for Chase-issued Visa and MasterCards, and for American Express.) Heck, the less sophisticated purchaser might even assume that the vendor, and not the credit card issuer, imposed the service charge.
This is not just a matter of perception. Unless the item offered for sale is unavailable in the States, or is so very much cheaper when purchased from a foreign vendor, or if price is for some other reason irrelevant, it makes little sense for the U.S. purchaser to look beyond our borders.
While driving through Canada (having forgotten to exchange some $$ for CDN at the border), I found that my credit cards gave me a much better conversion rate than most of the local gas stations I did business with. And that's *after* I read my statement. ;)
That said, if I were planning a vacation in another country (rather than just driving through on my way to the rest of the U.S. ... why Alaska isn't part of Canada, I really can't say.), I'd make darned sure to convert some money to foreign cash when I arrived.
Online though, all I ask is that you accept US cards, and give me a currency converter on the site.
Sorry for being long-winded. The short version; remove their fear.
If your target audience is young and tech savvy, you'd probably see a bit more resistance, but still find a fairly open-minded market.... these folks would probably be effectively soothed with a currency converter.
However, if you are targeting the K-Mart-shopper-AOL-mom-n-pop-middle-american sort of consumer, who leave all their computer settings at their defaults, and consider a "Made in the USA" sticker an important product feature, go straight to USD pricing. Don't waste your time with something as complicated as a currency converter, and don't leave all those funny "foreign" symbols near your prices. People will run away.