Sam Ranieri, Reach chief executive officer, founded the company in an effort to transform the cross-border shopping experience. "FX has been my game from the beginning, and as far back as 2010, I saw an opportunity to improve ecommerce foreign exchange rates."
The ultimate aim was to build a cross-border ecommerce platform that would enable consumers to shop globally in home currencies at guaranteed rates, Ranieri stated. For example, a U.S. shopper visiting a UK site would want to shop in U.S. dollars, not British pounds, and would not want to see an assortment of cross-border fees on their credit card statement, he noted.
Ranieri felt there must be a way for shoppers to transact online in local currencies and not get hit with extra cross-border fees when packages reached their doors. From that basic premise, the company resolved to figure out how to localize an ecommerce site from a currency perspective, which involved a whole set of complementary services, with the biggest one being processing.
"We sought to remove friction and localize transactions," Ranieri said, adding that the answer may have been simple but the build required him to flip the processing script. "We had to set up local entities to meet consumers where they shop, which is the opposite approach from traditional payment providers that process payments where the merchant is," he noted. "We process the payment where the shopper is, with a local entity and local acquiring channel in Canada, the UK, EU, Australia, plus a Partner Network in emerging markets in Latin America."
Reach partnered with banks and processing networks, creating a platform with a single API that enables a merchant to access local acquiring and currencies in numerous countries. To achieve this, Ranieri learned, Reach had to become the merchant of record model in foreign jurisdictions.
"In early days, the merchant of record model involved a clunky redirect, and merchants lost their brand and analytics," Ranieri said. "We focused on building the actual APIs, so we're actually integrated on the merchant site, enabling them to retain their brand and analytics.
And while we do have to show a disclaimer, we make our brand minimally visible, like a 'powered by' that's embedded in the merchant's site to facilitate the transaction."
Fraud can be a problem when transacting internationally, Ranieri pointed out, adding that Reach is 100 percent responsible for fraud as the merchant of record. "U.S. merchants don't always understand the nuances that are happening in Brazil, India and other markets, so handling 100 percent of fraud is another value we've added," he said. "Our internal team mitigates fraud on behalf of merchants so the merchant literally goes global with one integration and zero liability while saving interchange fees. We call this a 'win win win.'"
Ranieri went on to say Reach prides itself on transparency by "exposing those dirty little secrets the banks have been using for years," and making everyone in the chain, from shoppers to merchants, aware of fees. Reach partners, which include payment service providers, acquirers and ecommerce shopping carts, can download the Reach app or directly integrate it into their platforms. The technology combines local pricing, local acquiring, fraud mitigation and multiple payment methods, giving Reach channel partners a competitive advantage, he stated.
Today, Reach offers a suite of pay-as-you-go payment products designed to enable shoppers to pay in their preferred currencies. Robust fraud management, continually updated in response to emerging threats, is also included, Ranieri noted. The company's partners and shoppers have access to a global network with wholesale FX rates and local processing in more than 100 currencies, and merchants can dynamically display local currency based on their customers' locations, he added.
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