The whole world has internet access and online sales keep growing. Yet online sales are not nearly as obvious as it seems. Sometimes companies have to bend over backwards in order to be able to sell globally, or in a particular market. In this blog post, we’ll have a look at what options you have for selling products or services online.
Payment providers for global sales
The choice of a payment provider mainly depends on the address you want to link to the account. In other words: in which country is your company located? In some cases, you only have one option, while in other countries you have the choice of multiple providers.
PayPal is active in 200 countries, but we are talking about the countries where payments are allowed to come from. PayPal accepts direct payments from account to account. If you don’t have a PayPal account to pay you, you can use your credit card. The countries where merchants are not allowed to be located include Turkey, the British Virgin Islands, Macedonia, the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname. Probably because of problems with fraud, many African countries have also been banned.
With Stripe you do not only accept credit card payments but also national payment systems such as iDeal for the Netherlands and Alipay for China. Your customers do not need to have a Stripe account, but this network does set requirements for the country in which your business is located. Currently, only 39 countries allow merchants, including the Netherlands and Belgium, but also countries that are interesting for digital nomads and location-independent entrepreneurs: Bulgaria, Estonia Malta, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The originally Dutch payment platform Adyen is doing a lot of work. With customers such as Uber, KLM and Booking.com, you know you’re right here. Adyen seamlessly integrates a payment module into your app or website, allowing you to accept more than 250 payment methods.
What if your customers are in one place?
If you sell a product or service to customers in a certain geographical area, for example, the US or Europe, it may be wise to open a company and bank account in that region. In this way, you not only gain the trust of customers, but you also prevent a payment platform such as Paypal from exchanging currencies at unfavourable rates.
A platform like Paypal, which is currently subject to strict supervision by tax authorities, can also be difficult if you sell in one country but do not pay tax there. In any case, there are disturbing stories circulating about the ease with which Paypal -without explanation- freezes assets and closes accounts.
So, for example, if you have a mobile app that only operates in Southeast Asia, it makes sense to register your business in one of the countries in that region. In fact, we would recommend that you spend as much time in your market as possible. This way, you will get to know them even better and your product will fit the target group even better.
And do you sell mostly in the US? One of Stripe’s services is Stripe Atlas. This allows you to remotely set up an LLC in the American state of Texas or Delaware… Your start-up will also receive a bank account in the US. And of course, Stripe will then become your payment provider. The disadvantage of this construction? The high taxes in the US. But this we can solve…
Move to where your business is…
The infamous Panama Papers have put an end to the golden age of offshore companies. Of course, tax havens still exist, but you don’t really benefit from them until you go and live there physically. As international tax advisors, we, therefore, built this website, with a matching service to help internet entrepreneurs and investors find a new home.
Because everyone’s situation is unique, we provide tailor-made advice. We would love to hear from you what your challenges and wishes are, so we can give you a shortlist of destinations for you and your business. Would you like to get in touch with us? Just mail us!