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Globetrotting Payments

Independent Banker – By Mike Massaro

A new cohort of foreign travelers relies on international payments

The business of providing foreign exchange transactions is changing to meet growing demand from global citizens, a growing group increasingly living abroad for extended periods outside their home countries. Teenagers and adults coming legally to the United States every year include an estimated 850,000 people pursuing their college education, 500,000 patients seeking health-care treatments and many others seeking various lifestyle opportunities to better themselves.

One important way for community banks to serve the financial needs of this fast-growing consumer segment is to make it easier for them to send and receive foreign exchange and cross-border payments.

Three key foreign-exchange service capabilities will be important to serving these global citizens:

• Easier access. Global citizens have a strong preference for digital and mobile channels.
• Pricing visibility and cost transparency. These consumers want to know what they are paying for foreign exchange and that they are not being taken advantage of. They want a chance to compare transaction costs and fees. They also want to know when their payment has been received.
• Demand for related support services. Ancillary support services—such as 24-hour access to service, multilingual capabilities and multichannel options such as phone, email, text and social media—are essential to support a customer base located in different regions and time zones around the world.

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