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Electronic payment systems boost SME internationalization

Online payment tools are an easy and safe way for buyers and businesses to make and receive payments over the Internet. It is an essential e-commerce tool for SMEs seeking to place their products overseas.  

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Cross-border e-commerce is a growing trend, with great potential for strengthening SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) business activities in the Americas. Thanks to electronic payment platforms, SMEs in Latin America and the Caribbean have unprecedented access to international markets.   

Currently there are numerous and trustworthy e-payment providers that enable small businesses to easily develop online stores and hence to market their products or services in the global market.   

Upon choosing an online payment provider, businesses must pay special attention to the safety of the prospective customers’ personal data. Cybercrime and internet thieves stealing credit card information are real threats in today’s world. 

To offer assurance, providers rely upon powerful data encryption systems, safe servers, identity controls and transaction verifications to ensure customer data safety.   

One of the advantages of using online payment methods is that the majority of providers facilitate the processes of setting up an online store. For example, PaypalMercado Pago, and Google Wallet offer purchase buttons with direct links to the store’s online shop or website. There are also many tools that enable, among other options, including a shopping cart on the website for a friendlier customer experience.

Main e-payment options:

  • Paypal: it is the oldest tool in the market with a solid reputation. It is simple to open an account; one has to only access the website and select the registration option. SMEs must select the business option. It works associated with a credit or debit card where PayPal transfers purchase payments made by the customer. This aspect is very convenient in regard to safety, since all of the customer’s information is managed by PayPal’s own safe servers. The cost for using PayPal is a small amount for withdrawing cash and or for each purchase made.
  • Mercado Pago: this payment solution was created by Mercado Libre and is relatively new. It can be used to make purchases on websites, social media, cell phone applications and more. Its mechanism is very similar to PayPal, associated to a user’s credit or debit card account. It is simple to register; by just accessing the website one can create a free account and start using the service. The safety measures offered include 24 hour monitoring of payments and buyer protection against fraud. The cost for using the service is 5.99% for each payment made. However, it is free for purchases made on Mercado Libre.
  • Google Wallet: is Google’s answer to electronic payments. The model is very similar to that of PayPal and Mercado Pago but with a novelty: a payment system through smartphones with near field communication technology (NFC). It is a wireless communication mechanism integrated into Google Wallet’s mobile app, which is currently only available in Android. As to security measures, Google covers eligible unauthorized transactions 100%. It also offers a 24/7 advanced anti-fraud monitoring system. It is fully operating within the U.S. and is in process of expansion in over de 160 countries. Web Site.

New e-commerce trends

Paypal drafted a report titled “Modern Spice Routes: The Cultural Impact and Economic Opportunity of Cross-Border Shopping” that analyzes the business generated by cross-border e-commerce and its behavior in six key markets: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, China and Brazil. 

According to the document, in 2013 cross-border electronic transactions represented over 105 billion dollars. This is expected to grow to 300 billion by 2018. The study reveals that the main reasons for buying online were: “to save money” (80%) and “because there is more variety than in the local market” (79%). 

The research also reveals that online buyers seek not only to obtain discounts overseas but also greater authenticity and quality. The safety and reliability of the service is also key: 9 out of 10 buyers demand personal data protection guarantees for their purchases.

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