The Green Sheet Online Edition
June 27, 2011 • Issue 11:06:02
A button so smart, it connects the world
Creating a global presence for online merchants, though challenging, has been the focal point for 2000Charge Inc. since 1999. In that time, the alternative payments provider has amassed an array of alternative payment options. 2000Charge reported that with its new Alternative Payment Smart Button, the company's global customers have access to 45 alternative payment options with one simple button. Using a single line of code, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard-compliant solution uploads to merchant websites.
When the company started out, it took a systematic approach by delving into Europe, one country at a time, adding local payments for each nation until coverage in Europe was complete. Then it tackled automated clearing house payments in the United States and Canada before venturing into debit card networks in Asia. Now, 2000Charge is exploring alternative payment options in the Latin American market.
"I'm from Europe," said Wolf Kring, Chief Executive Officer at 2000Charge. "I recognized when I started in the payments industry that everybody was doing credit cards in America, but in Europe only 30 percent of payments are credit card-based. If you are selling to Europe or anywhere outside the U.S., people use other forms of payment. They use their local debit card, which does not have a Visa/MasterCard logo - they pay with their bank account."
Kring added that since an estimated 100 million Europeans use the European Bank Debit system to purchase products and services over the Internet, merchants can substantially increase sales internationally by adding the 70 percent of European customers who use debit and other payment options.
Connecting with customers
Kring said e-commerce merchants who want to be successful globally must compete with local businesses in the regions they target, which requires a seamless presentation using local currencies and languages to establish customer relationships.
To use 2000Charge's smart button, merchants simply add it to their websites, "preferably next to the Visa/MasterCard button," Kring said. He pointed out that if a customer is Italian, for example, he or she can click on the smart button, and it shows the Italian flag and displays information in Italian, including local payment options.
"The smart button says, 'Hey, I know you're Italian. I'll give you your Italian language, your Italian payment options and a local phone number you can call if you have questions,'" Kring said. "That's really what the smart button is doing. It cuts down the clutter. We don't want to disconnect the shopping order, the checkout process."
Beyond common language and payment barriers encountered on e-commerce sites, foreign customers are put off when they can't call the "800" phone numbers listed. Another service 2000Charge offers is local customer support assistance to facilitate order processing.
Protection for merchants
"Here we are in Southern California," Kring said. "We understand the needs of the American market. A lot of times [merchants] are afraid of international markets." He added that they fear losing money or not knowing what they're doing. "So we can help them with all that," he said. "We know the tax laws. We have local legal representatives. We can be their international payment consultants."
Kring said his company even offers a chargeback-free option because some merchants are fearful of shipping items internationally, especially when a credit card is used. With this feature, merchants are guaranteed the funds.
ISOs have a choice of commission structures when selling alternative payments through 2000Charge, which charges a percentage with each sale. The company also said it provides online reporting tools, education and selling tips, translation, and other consulting services to assist merchants with selling online.
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