Geoswift helps companies navigate tricky Chinese payments landscape

While the process of making payments to or accepting payments from China is trickier than it is with other countries, it can easily be navigated with the right help, Geoswift’s EVP for the United States Dana Nino said.

Ms. Nino said Geoswift has a growing number of US-based clients using its cross-border payment services to process Chinese transactions so it made sense to open an American office, which is based in Pleasanton, CA. From that base, she helps clients faced with a few common situations. For example, e-commerce businesses (think along the lines of Amazon or eBay) often have to deliver thousands of low-dollar payments to Chinese recipients.

Dana Nino

“Anywhere else that is straightforward but in China it’s unique,” Ms. Nino said. “The regulatory requirements are much more stringent.”

When it comes to payment processing one size does not fit all, Ms. Nino said. That is why Geoswift established relationships with 16 different providers it can use based on individual client need. While one provider specializes in high volume another is adept at reaching rural areas.

Some companies establish a relationship with one provider for all of their needs but that is a risky strategy, Ms. Nino said. If that payment service provider is penalized or even shut down it can devastate the company with no backup plan.

“Our multiple relationships are a differentiator for us,” Ms. Nino said.

That attracts companies already operating in China, she added.

“The clients coming to us or who we go after tend to be large companies or big brand names with something going on where they are already paying or taking money and it’s not an efficient way of doing it.”

Another common situation is companies accepting payments out of China, Ms. Nino said, citing retail, travel and education as three popular scenarios. So if the Chinese consumer wants to use gateways like Alipay or WeChat Pay it is important to have one integration that accepts all popular options.

Payment service providers have seen some volatility over the past six months as regulators have changed the requirements for volume payments heading to China, Ms. Nino said. Where those making payments used to have to fill in 15 fields of information they now have to complete more than 30 to appease authorities worried about, for example, 20 gambling-related payments (not allowed) out of a batch of 10,000 e-commerce transactions (allowed).

“There has to be a flexibility based on the nature of our business,” Ms. Nino explained. “If regulators clearly understand all of the due diligence Geoswift does on our clients and we show them and demonstrate our perspective on data management it helps a lot.”

So far 2018 is shaping up to be a banner year for Geoswift as they work to add clients and deepen their service offerings, Ms. Nino said, while adding they are always looking at how to improve the customer experience and educate regulators.

“Our clients are concerned about delays. They usually have strict guidelines where they have to get money in a specific amount of time. If regulators impose extra requirements that can hold up payments.

“We’re concerned about streamlining the process.”