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How can I receive payments from overseas?

4-minute read

Sending goods overseas? One of the best ways to ensure you receive payment promptly is to ensure your customers can pay as easily and securely as possible. Here are some options for doing that.

The Westpac SWIFT code for overseas payments is WPACAU2S. If the sending bank requires 11 characters, use WPACAU2SXXX.


 

Key take-outs
  • Offering multiple payment options may help you get paid faster
  • Some options get the cash into your account quicker
  • A variety of services are on offer to exporters

What are the best ways to accept payments from abroad?

This depends on a number of factors. However, one answer could be “the best way to accept payment is the way your customer prefers”. Offering your customers multiple payment options may encourage them to pay promptly.

Receive money by electronic transfer

Also known as 'telegraphic transfers', electronic transfers can be a fast, economical and secure way to receive electronic payments into your standard business transaction account1. The funds will arrive in your account as ‘cleared funds’, so you have immediate access, and with online banking1 you can monitor payments from your home or office.

Give your customers all the information they’ll need to make a payment, by including the following on your invoice:
 

  • Your name, trading name or company name
  • Business address (not a PO box)
  • Phone number (starting with +61)
  • Bank branch (BSB) number, account number and account name
  • Bank's SWIFT code: Westpac's SWIFT code is WPACAU2S. Use WPACAU2SXXX if 11 characters are required.

Accept credit card payments

It may pay you to set up credit card payments1. Research suggests that customers spend more when they’re able to pay by card.

Accepting payment by card increases the payment options you offer, as you can accept payments online, by phone, or by post. Better still, offering a card payment option can make it more convenient for your customers to buy more of your goods, which could lead to increased sales.

Get paid by cheque

Receiving payment from overseas in the form of a cheque can be a slower way to receive cash into your account. There's the time it takes for the cheque to get to you in the first place, then you'll usually need to wait for the funds to be cleared.

Cheques in Australian dollars drawn on an Australian bank generally require three business days to clear. If they are drawn on an overseas bank, then it can take four to six weeks for (cleared) funds to be received from the drawee bank. That said, there may be delays relating to the physical delivery of cheques that are outside your bank’s control, which will not be the case with electronic transfers.

Reduce the risk of non-payment for exports

If you’re concerned about being paid, Westpac can guarantee payment from your customer's bank (assuming certain terms and conditions are met) using an export documentary letter of credit.

Another service we can provide is to organise the collection of your export proceeds with export documentary collection, which could help free up time for other aspects of your business. Please note that export documentary collection is an administration service, and not a guarantee that you will be paid.

Take control of exchange rate decisions

If you pay or receive funds in a foreign currency, a foreign currency transaction account is an option worth considering.

Rather than accepting payments from overseas at the payment day's exchange rate, with a foreign currency account1 you can hold funds in another currency and choose when to convert your money into Australian dollars. This can potentially provide you with protection against unfavourable foreign exchange movements over time.

Westpac’s foreign currency accounts are available in a wide range of currencies and do not charge an account maintenance fee, though other fees apply.

We also offer a variety of other international trade solutions to help you with your export business.

View your bank balance in other currencies

If you transact overseas or just want to compare rates, you may wish to quickly get an approximate idea of how your funds are looking when converted to other currencies. It's easy to do this if you’re registered for Westpac online banking1. Here's how:

1. Navigate to Overview and select Edit view. Select View balances in different currency.

2. Select the currency you would like to view your balance in. Then select Apply. Your balance will now be shown in the currency selected.

To reset your currency to AUD:

1. Navigate to Overview and select Edit view. Select View balances in different currency

2. Select Reset to AUD. Your balance will now be shown in AUD.

 

Much will depend on the nature of your overseas transactions. But the more payment options you offer your customers, the better it could be for your business.


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Things you should know

1. Westpac’s products are subject to terms, conditions, fees and charges; and certain criteria may apply. Before making a decision, read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Product Disclosure Statement and T&Cs for Westpac business bank accounts, online banking, merchant services and foreign currency accounts, by clicking the above links; and consider if the product is right for you.

2. To make an outward electronic transfer from a Westpac foreign currency account, you must have an eligible Westpac Australian dollar transaction account. You will not be able to proceed with the transaction until you have this account, for which standard fees and charges may apply.

The information in this article is general in nature and does not take your objectives, financial situation or needs into account. Consider its appropriateness to these factors; and we recommend you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before making any decisions.