E-commerce growth exploded during the pandemic, but international sales can be a challenge for small online sellers that confront challenges like currency conversions or sometimes burdensome fees. Early Monday, the cross-border payments firm LianLian Global announced its Cross Border Wallet, aimed at unraveling these challenges particularly for e-commerce merchants selling to overseas buyers.
With a U.S. base in New York City, the China-based company says it has obtained licenses in all 50 states for its new wallet, which it claims will process payments faster and at less cost than conventional cash and bank transfers for U.S. merchants that sell cross-border on marketplaces such as Amazon.
Speed has become a high priority in international payments. Mastercard Inc. last year said it had integrated its Mastercard Cross-Border Services, a global push-payments platform, with the InstantPay service from Previse Ltd. And in 2016, the card network acquired VocaLink Holdings Ltd., operator of the United Kingdom’s automated clearing house and faster-payment systems, to speed transactions.
LianLian’s new wallet carries no annual fee. The transaction fee is 0.5% for currency conversion, LianLian says, though that rate can drop with higher volumes. Cross Border Wallet can handle transactions up to $1.5 million. Information was not immediately available regarding uptake so far for Cross Border Wallet, though David Messenger, executive chairman of LianLian Global says in a statement the company has seen a “positive response from U.S. businesses. Our aim is to help our U.S. customers better navigate the complexity of cross-border payments and the volatility of [foreign exchange].”
Besides payment processing, the wallet is also designed to meet capital-control policies and other regulations in local markets, which LianLian says can add to cost and complexity for small sellers trying to tap into supply-chain centers such as China and Vietnam.
LianLian Global, which is a unit of LianLian Digitech, maintains offices in a dozen countries and says it processes for 1.2 million e-commerce sellers. It holds 60 licenses globally and supports cross-border transactions for banks including Citi, Deutsche Bank, and JPMorgan Chase.