The Best Methods for International Payments

An Overview

Accepting payments is essential for any business and with globalization more widespread than ever, accepting international payments is becoming just as important. However, there are numerous different methods for sending and receiving global payments. These methods each come with their own set of pros and cons, and the right method often depends on the situation.

If you’re a business that sends or receives international payments, you need to decide which payment methods to offer. Whether that means you offer one payment method or multiple options, you need to decide what makes sense for your company.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the most popular international payment methods along with their advantages and disadvantages. If you need an easy solution for managing international payments, choose Dots. Dots makes accepting and sending international payments simple. Schedule a demo for Dots today to get your international payment processing set up. In the meantime, read on to learn about the top global payment methods.

Wire Transfers

Wire transfers are a straightforward way to send money between banks. One account wires funds directly to another. This is often one of the simplest and fastest methods of exchanging money internationally. Often, recipients can get their money on the same day.

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of wire transfers.


Wire transfers are advantageous because they’re incredibly fast compared to some other payment methods. They’re also considered secure because there isn’t a middleman — the money goes from one bank to another. However, it’s worth noting that authentication for wire transfers varies by country regulations. A payout API like Dots can ensure this information is verified and authenticated for you.

Wire transfers work well when you need to get money to the payee quickly. They’re also good for transferring large amounts of money. Since the fees can be high, it’s not always worth sending small amounts through wire. If your business makes numerous international payments regularly, wire transfers can also be advantageous.


As mentioned, wire transfer fees can be costly. These fees go up even more if the wire transfer fails. If a wire transfer fails, it can also lead to bottlenecks in the accounts payable or accounts receivable process, since the issue will need to be resolved. While issues are relatively uncommon, it doesn’t mean they don’t happen on occasion. Unless you’re needing to send money quickly or sending a large amount of money, you may be better off going with a different payment method.

Global ACH

Global ACH is a way to send money through the National Automated Clearing House Network. Global ACH payments can be sent quickly to various countries, converting the funds to the local currency of the payee. To send a payment through the National Automated Clearing House Network, you must provide the identifying information for all parties along with the banking requirements for the country where the money is being sent.


Global ACH payments are great because of their convenience and the low cost of transactions. If you know the banking requirements and the necessary information to send funds, it can be one of the easiest and most reliable methods as well.

Global ACH payments can be good options for parties who want to conduct low-cost transactions and don’t need their funds quickly. It’s also a great option for those who want to make it easy for the other party to receive their funds in their country’s local currency. Since the payments are sent in batches, it’s convenient for companies that conduct multiple international transactions daily.


Global ACH payments are not the quickest method. While they often go through in less than a few business days, it depends on when the individual bank or company processes the batch of ACH transactions. With that being said, there are sometimes options for pushing ACH transactions through on the same day. However, there will likely be additional fees for this service. Also, if you don’t meet the banking regulations of the recipient country you may have to deal with processing delays. It’s also worth noting that not every country is capable of accepting global ACH payments.


Checks are a form of payment that draws money from one account to transfer funds to a payee. A paper check can be cashed or deposited into a bank account. The amount is written on the check. If the bank confirms the payer has money in their account, then the funds can be withdrawn and given to the payee. There is usually a middleman in these transactions that process the checks. It can take multiple days for a check to clear.


Paper checks may be an older form of payment, but they still have various uses. First, they’re easy to use and they’re widely accepted. Some banks can also submit and transfer checks electronically. Typically, paper checks can be beneficial if you don’t want to provide banking information. This can also be useful if you’re doing business with a country that doesn’t have the infrastructure for electronic payments. Of course, checks are also a low-cost form of payment.

It is worth mentioning that eChecks are a viable international option instead of paper checks. eChecks are initially processed through the Automated Clearing House Network before being processed as a local bank transfer for international transactions. For the most part, eChecks address a lot of the concerns of paper checks — such as security and efficiency. However, they’re still slower than various other digital payment methods and not every country is equipped to accept electronic checks.


There are quite a few disadvantages to using paper checks, which is why most businesses prefer to transact without them. Namely, paper checks are inefficient and difficult to track. With paper checks, you usually have to send them in the mail. This can take several days or more to reach the payee. Also, if there is nowhere for the payee to cash the check, it becomes useless. Paper checks aren’t always a secure form of payment either, as they can be stolen and they’re a risk for fraud. Overall, the disadvantages of paper checks usually outweigh the advantages. While they’re still used in some scenarios, it’s typically not the preferred method.

Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards are a payment method that is processed throughout a debit card network. Funds are transferred to a debit account to be used for purchases. Prepaid cards can be used for online transactions and with any business that accepts the debit card provider. Typically, these funds go through instantly.


One of the biggest advantages of prepaid debit cards is they can be used internationally, the funds go through quickly and they don’t require payees to have a banking account. Even countries that aren’t equipped with extensive banking infrastructure can usually accept prepaid card payments. They’re easy to use, convenient and fast. However, they don’t come without their disadvantages.


Prepaid debit cards may not be ideal for large transactions or doing business with large organizations. This may require these organizations to create accounts with the debit card provider and pay fees. However, having a payout API like Dots can make it easier to accept multiple payment options, like prepaid cards through Visa, Mastercard and other major providers. You likely will still be subject to fees from these providers, but accepting the payments won’t be as resource-intensive.


Unfortunately, Venmo doesn’t accept international payments at this time. With that being said, it’s widely used in the U.S. and it can be a useful and fast form of payment.


Venmo is a fast and convenient payment method. It’s also low-cost, with no fees for payments made through a debit card or bank account. Even credit card transactions only come with a small fee.


This list breaks down the best global payment methods and Venmo does not meet this parameter. While it’s a good option for transactions in the U.S., it can’t be considered a viable international payment option at this time. We will update this if Venmo offers international payments in the future. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that Venmo isn’t a worthwhile addition to your domestic payment processing options.


PayPal is one of the easiest ways to accept digital payments. PayPal is a large payment processor that is capable of transactions both domestically and globally. Typically, PayPal is used for e-commerce checkouts, but it can also be used for billing and invoicing.

With PayPal, an account is connected and funds can be loaded to pay for products, services and invoices. These funds can be withdrawn by the payee into their connected accounts. Typically, the Automated Clearing House is used to draw funds from PayPal. PayPal also has a special business account and payout account for organizations that need to transact regularly at a high level.


PayPal is one of the fastest ways to transact internationally. Typically, the payee will get their funds in minutes. It is also secure, only requiring an email address to send funds. PayPal can also handle mass payments easily. Most countries also support PayPal, so there aren’t too many limits on where you can do global business through the platform. PayPal is also easy to use, allowing users to log into PayPal directly through e-commerce payment pages to finish their transactions seamlessly, increasing conversions.

Additionally, many businesses, individuals and organizations are familiar with PayPal, so it’s easy to transact with other PayPal users.


PayPal can have fairly high fees. International fees can also be costly. If you’re sending mass payments, you’ll be subject to even higher fees such as currency conversion fees. Although PayPal is used by many countries around the world, not every country is equipped to use it. Whether it’s a lack of infrastructure or regulations that don’t allow PayPal, it may not be the right solution for all transactions.


At this time, Cash App only allows transactions in the U.S. and the UK. It technically qualifies as an international payment option because you can transfer money between the two, but it’s a limited option at this time. Still, Cash App is a popular mobile payment app that quickly and easily sends money.


Cash App is one of the fastest payment methods and requires little input. Simply enter the payee and send the money. The transaction can be completed in seconds. Cash App also allows you to send or request money between the U.S. and UK. Cash App automatically converts USD to GBP and vice versa. The transfer will be based on the exchange rate at the time of payment. There are also no fees to make these transfers.


Cash App can only make transactions between the U.S. and UK at this time. Until it offers more countries, it is a limited international payment option. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that Cash App isn’t a worthwhile addition to your domestic and UK payment processing options. Additionally, Cash App is not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company, so it may not be ideal for larger transactions.


Unfortunately, Zelle doesn’t offer international payments at this time. Zelle makes it easy to send money between bank accounts, but only U.S. banks are supported at this time.


Zelle is a free and fast way to securely send money between two accounts. There are no limits on receiving money and it doesn’t even require banking information to complete a transfer. As convenient as this is, Zelle isn’t currently a viable international payment option.


While it’s a good option for transactions in the U.S., it can’t be considered a viable international payment option at this time. We will update this if Zelle offers international payments in the future. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that Zelle isn’t a worthwhile addition to your domestic payment processing options.

As mentioned, there isn’t one payment method that is perfect for every situation. This is why many businesses offer numerous payment options, especially if they do business globally. Of course, implementing multiple payout options can be difficult and time-consuming. Fortunately, there are solutions like Dots that make things much simpler.

Easily Consolidate All of Your Payment Methods With Dots’ API

If you need a way to consolidate all of your payout methods, the Dots API is your solution. You can easily implement numerous international payment processors, allowing your customers to choose the one that works best for them. If you’re needing to send invoices to international employees, Dots makes payouts simple as well.

Dots will also take care of compliance for sending and receiving payments while also tracking the necessary tax information. This can all be done with little to no lift from your dev team. Instead of spending time and resources developing multiple payment workflows, they can simply implement the Dots API. If you’re ready for a friction-free solution for sending and receiving international payments, Dots is ready to help. Schedule your demo today to learn more and to see how our platform works.