Coronavirus business Q&A
Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, we’ve been receiving questions about international payments and currency exchange from businesses big and small.
Here, our chief executive Ian Strafford-Taylor provides answers to some of the most common questions being posed by financial decision makers.
I need to make international payments for work – do I need to do anything differently given the current climate?
Over the last few weeks, there has been extreme volatility in exchange rates with movements that haven’t been seen for years including the pound hitting its lowest level against the US dollar since 1985.
In times like these it’s vital to pay close attention to exchange rates, as they can and are moving on a daily basis. This will impact the value of your currency transfer so it’s more important than ever that businesses ensure they are executing payments at the right time. It could be the difference of hundreds or thousands of pounds, which is not a risk any business wants to be taking.
While finance departments and those holding the purse strings in companies of all sizes are being cautious, payments still need to be made. It’s vital during these times that businesses make informed decisions when it comes to international payments which is why many are seeking advice.
How can my company make a payment overseas if we’re all stuck at home?
In line with government advice, finance departments and small business employees have found themselves working remotely from home, and away from other decision makers in their team.
While this may impact sign-off processes and efficiencies, the good news is you can still make payments all over the world, as we are seeing our customers do.
For a lot of businesses, the change in dynamic necessitated by government advice has highlighted the need for streamlined and efficient money management systems so that businesses can continue to run as ‘normal’ as much as they possibly can.
It’s essential I travel for work. How can I ensure I don’t get stuck without currency?
If it is essential for you, or one of your team to travel for work overseas and you/they are still able to do so amongst transport restrictions and flight cancellations, you can get a prepaid corporate card and lock in a rate for further protection from negative fluctuations in exchange rates. There's also then the added benefit of being able to use the card when you’re back in the UK.
However, if you need to use cash, ensure the provider uses fresh notes so you are minimizing the risk of contamination and beware that the buy-back rates for cash at the moment have been heavily impacted by volatile exchange rates. It’s worth noting that a lot of cash services have been suspended, our own included, in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
How can I financially support a colleague who is stuck overseas?
If you have an employee stuck oversees, international payments are the best way to provide financial support and a good way of transferring money safely across to them.
If they have an expense card you can regularly top-up their card for spending on necessities and you may want to consider their top-up limit as these are unprecedented times and employee needs are changing on a daily basis as a result.