How do I setup my tour agency's bank accounts in multiple countries?

I am a partner in a travel agency that is in Australia, the US, and does lots of tours in China. We need to have the ability to receive payments from customers anywhere in the world, and then have those payments deposited into either our US or Australian accounts (probably via PayPal), and soon into a China-based account. Further, we need flexibility about where we withdrawal: either in the US, Australia, or China; and the ability to wire money back and forth from any of these locations. And of course part of our goal is to avoid currency exchange charges as much as possible. Because we have no experience with this, any help is appreciated. Would definitely consider a call if you have specific and cogent expertise here. Thanks very much.



I believe that you may be over-complicating this a little. Typically, you need to have either citizenship or some other legal presence within a country to open a checking account within it. I would recommend establishing accounts in your own country first and then using ATMs in other countries to withdraw money, as "wiring" money internationally can be expensive. If you just need to pay for expenses while abroad, look instead into using credit cards that have no foreign transactions fees such as the Capital One Venture Card. If you really need accounts in multiple countries, you will likely need to incorporate within them.

As for accepting payments in different currencies. Your best bet will probably be 2Checkout or Stripe Atlas to start. Stripe Atlas will probably have lower fees but will take more technical expertise to get up and running. Best of luck to you!

Answered 4 years ago

I’m definitely not an expert on those matters though as a small entrepreneur operating across continents this is a kind of issue I often have.

My rule of thumb is to use Paypal only for small amounts because it is usually the easiest and with a low fixed commission; but it is also the most expensive for larger amounts. My Paypal account is linked to my bank accounts in the different countries. I top up the Paypal account or withdraw from the Paypal account in the currencies of the bank account hence avoiding foreign exchanges (which are expensive via Paypal). I can give my PayMe link and receive money from a Paypal account or a credit card. I can also send to a third party Paypal account.

For larger amounts, say USD 200 to 10 000, I use the services of online foreign exchange specialists. Not all currency pairs are traded by the various online foreign exchange specialists I use. I have been pleased by the competitiveness and execution of WorldFirst and Fexco. Then using those platforms is a blessing because I can wire money onto their local account (they provided a EUR account, a USD account, a GBP account, a WST account, a FJD account, a AUD account) as if I was doing a local transfer (for no fee - EUR - or small fee - FJD), then they exchange the money into the chosen currency at the fore-quoted and agreed rate and remit onto the account I provided (either one of mines or one of a third party). For receiving money, it is the same process though it is a bit more cumbersome since I have to explain to the third party why I give them the bank account of a foreign exchange specialist and not of my business.

I hope this helps. I wish you good luck. If ever you come up with a better solution before your firm is a multinational with offices (and bank accounts) on all continents, let me know, I’m always happy to improve my processes.

Answered 4 years ago

The payments company I worked for opened bank accounts in each country using each Directors/Partners info: copy of passport, election register confirmation letter, council tax bill and electricity or gas bill less than 3 months old. It is worth checking which countries the top banks like HSBC and Citi operate in and open accounts in these countries first.

Answered 4 years ago

The advice you received is correct but lets summarize it.
1.You say you are in the U.S, and Australia so those countries are covered.
2.Any other countries should pay either through PayPal or have them pay directly to your account -in any case it is your customers responsibility to pay you.
3.If you have customers that don't have the possibility of money transfer to your account then you have to accept credit card payment from them.
4.If they don't have a bank account at all then they it is a cash transfer to you.
5.You pay to your suppliers by credit card- check which gives the best service the U.S. or Australian Bank
6.Remember better have all the money at hand and pay a bit more for bank transfers than trying to save 1%-2% but not gaining control of the 98% of the money

Answered 4 years ago


As far as I can understand your concern, I will strongly suggest you to integrate PayPal into your business system. The simple logic being that PayPal is accepted in over 190 countries and your expense will only be limited to the per transaction charges they take, which ranges between 3% to 4% and in some locations, even lesser than 3%.

Any business that works through multiple locations in terms of transaction should strongly consider PayPal because of the reliability factor (most, if not all, of your clients will be comfortable using it.) while the setup itself is not really rocket science.

Do get back in case of a query.


Answered 4 years ago

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