Many online businesses operate in multiple countries and accept payments in currencies other than their own country’s. Some examples of this might include:
- A Canadian business sells products online in US Dollars.
- A Dutch business sells products online in US Dollars and Euro.
Our SaaS app Doki uses Stripe to process payments. You bring your own Stripe account and connect it to Doki. As a company with a Stripe account in Canada, we currently (by default) process payments on behalf of our customers in US dollars. So how do we avoid paying the often hefty exchange fees from US dollars into our local currency? Many folks think PayPal is the only way to accomplish this, but we’ve found that it’s just as easy to use Stripe and open a US Dollar-backed account in your own country. In fact, we do this ourselves. Stripe allows you to add bank accounts for multiple currencies, so it will deposit the money in the corresponding account when you receive US funds, transaction free.
For example, imagine that I am running Canadian business with a single CAD bank account. When it receives money in CAD, it goes straight to my bank account. When I receive money in USD, I am charged the exchange fees via Stripe, and then the money goes to my bank account. Now, if I open a US dollar bank account at a Canadian bank, I can add that bank to Stripe and then when I receive USD, it now goes straight to that bank account, transaction free. As much of online business is done in USD, now you can utilize the money from that account to make other purchases for your business without exchange rate fees.
Some examples in Canada of banks that have cross-border solutions:
Check with the major financial institutions in your country to find which ones have US dollar accounts.
So can I use Stripe in YOUR_COUNTRY_NAME?
Stripe is available in 25 countries throughout the world at the time of this writing. I wouldn’t be scared away by the “Beta” tag if your country is in beta. These are production-ready systems.
For example, to use Stripe with our app Doki, you would:
- Create a Stripe account in your country by visiting https://stripe.com/global and clicking your country flag.
- Set up a US Dollars bank account in your country at a financial institution.
- Connect your US Dollars bank account to your Stripe account.
- Connect your Stripe account to Doki.
Now when you charge for your program via Doki, the funds (minus Stripe + Doki fees) will be directly deposited to your US bank account without transaction fees.
But what if I want to charge in a different currency?
Stripe accounts have a “primary” currency (which, if you’re in Europe, will probably be in Euros) and can also have additional currencies, of which you can set up bank accounts for if your Stripe account supports it. For example, going back to our Dutch example at the start of the post, as a Stripe user in the Netherlands:
- I can accept payments in any of the currencies in Group 1 and Group 2 (wow, that’s a lot!)
- My account supports bank accounts in the following currencies:
- EUR: Euro
- GBP: British Pound
- USD: United States Dollar
- DKK: Danish Krone
- NOK: Norwegian Krone
- SEK: Swedish Krona
So any time I charge in those six currencies, I pay no exchange fee and the amount goes directly to my bank account in that currency. If I charge in say “Bulgarian Lev(s)”, I would pay the exchange fee from Levs to Euros and the amount would be deposited in my EUR account (assuming I had EUR selected as my primary bank account).
In short: when you sell your products, you simply use the currency code you want to charge in and customers will be charged in that currency. Yay!
It’s not quite automated yet, but with Doki, we can configure an account to charge in a currency that the connected Stripe account supports based on its country. If you are a Doki customer (or would like to be, hello!), please review the information in “What currencies does Stripe support?” for your country’s options and to make sure your understand how exchange rate conversions work, then contact Doki support to request the change.
What about Atlas?
Stripe Atlas is also an option for international users. This is a relatively new program that is invite-only. Essentially, Stripe will set up a US business for you complete with a US bank account. When this is complete, you can run your business anywhere and accept almost any type of currency (and accept US dollars directly into your new US bank account). I’m pretty sure that Atlas is limited to larger companies with an established presence, so small fries like you and I might not qualify, but it’s always worth a shot!