The digital, connected economy knows no borders.
The movement of money, however, is increasingly aware of them.
Whether a company is already transacting internationally, or looking to enter a new market, the realities of cross-border payments can add layers of complexity to businesses’ commercial opportunities — particularly digital ones.
“The best value proposition that plays in the payment ecosystem is to unlock for merchants complex, international economies and opportunities by doing the heavy lifting that opens up the growth potential in a neat and convenient way,” Guillaume Tournand, VP of growth and digital commerce at Worldline, tells PYMNTS.
But doing so is just as easy as it sounds — not very.
There exist a host of international payment frustrations and reconciliation frictions due to ongoing and historical round-peg, square-hole operational bottlenecks.
“There are headwinds of complexity,” Tournand explains.
Not the least of which for eMerchants are various local regulatory frameworks specific to each country or region, new currencies, and new sets of payment service providers (PSPs) to integrate with as well as deciding on secure ways to avoid the low approval rates of cross-border transactions.
Integrating into a new economy requires a huge “technical and compliance” lift, Tournand says.
“Turkey can facilitate for our merchants a vector of growth,” Tournand says. ”That’s why we’re so excited that this is now live.”
To succeed in today’s modern ecosystem, payment systems need to be fast, fraud-free, and have low fees.
And those needs are amplified when transacting internationally.
“The ecosystem … in terms of complexity remains, but it’s crucial for merchants to have a simplified access to global local geographies where they can really outperform their competition, open the gate of growth, and forward all that complexity to third parties,” Tournand explains.
Among the numerous challenges for eCommerce merchants, particularly when it comes to dealing with local regulations and currencies, compliance is a big topic.
“There’s nobody that can come and tell you that payments are simple … no matter which country you look at. It’s complex in Turkey, it’s complex in Brazil, it’s complex in South Korea, it’s always complex,” Tournand adds.
To overcome these obstacles, it is critical to find partners that can provide local compliance support, seamless integrations, and long-term assistance.
Working in collaboration with local partners to facilitate access to local data and understanding of the local market frameworks can be part of a broader strategic approach to helping eCommerce merchants enter various high-growth markets.
“It’s a two-sided coin,” Tournand says. “As we are fixing complexity, it means that the local markets we unlock deliver value to our merchants.”
Aggregating solved complexity across bundled geographies can help streamline the payment process and empower merchants to thrive in the ever-evolving digital economy.
And future innovations poised to transform legacy cross-border programs are right around the corner.
“We need to demonstrate to merchants how accurate and data-driven new solution can be versus the current ecosystem and current environment,” Tournand says.
“Artificial intelligence [AI] is an obvious buzzword that’s coming to the surface, and I would expect it to play a role somewhere as an innovation driver for cross-border commerce,” Tournand adds.
That’s because, as he notes, merchants are “more and more keen” to be very close to their customers so there might be a “rise of super-app or a way to be more intimate to aggregate payments into some super apps,” that when powered or augmented by AI can streamline and optimize growth across markets.
Another driver Tournand sees is to make payments faster, “especially now with the interest rates that have been rising.”
“It’s increasingly important to make sure that merchants optimize their cash flow. How can cash move faster between the pocket of the consumer, when they click the payment button, and into the pocket of the merchant,” he says.
And these key elements are particularly important across high-growth international markets.
As for what Tournand is looking forward to most?
“Launching in multiple geographies per year is something we want to industrialize so we don’t have to reinvent it for every launch. The more we expand into new markets, the better we get at doing it — and with all the launches we’ve done, each delivers long-term infrastructural benefits that enable the next one to piggyback on it and be released faster. The more we progress, the better we progress,” he says.