FAQ

Import & Export

This account is valid in the below countries for euro currency transfers. You can collect payment from any of these countries using the above account.

Your account is valid for euro transfers in the below 35 European countries of the SEPA zone:

  1. The 28 member states of the European Union, including
    • The 19 states that are in the Euro zone:

      Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain.

    • The 9 states that are not in the Euro zone but can make free euro transfers in SEPA:

      Bulgaria, Croatia, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom

  2. The 4 member states of the European Free Trade Association:

    Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland

  3. Other European states:

    Monaco, San Marino, Andorra

I am from India and started an import/export business. As I came to know that all banking transactions are governed/ controlled by RBI, does B2B Pay have a permission/approval/licence or any other facilitator to do banking transactions?

We comply will all international regulations. When B2B Pay enters a market we make sure that our business model and product works within the regulatory framework including currency conversion.

B2B Pay provides a payment service for payments leaving the European market, as such we come under EU regulations for financial transactions. We do not provide any financial services or banking services such as loans or current accounts in India. our service is purely as a payment remitter to save Indian companies time and cost when collecting payment in Europe. our interaction with the RBI is limited to converting amounts to INR where we follow RBI guidelines and sending payments to India which is done via our correspondence bank in India.

When we started designing our B2B payments product we talked to a lot of exporters from all over the world and also tried to talk to a lot of importers in Europe. Talking with exporters was easy and we could see their pain. But not so with importers

We used the Finnish and German chambers of importers to try and talk to importing companies to see what kind of challenges they face for sending payments. Our advisors got in touch with top CEOs and CFOs from these companies. We wanted to talk to them to understand how much time they wasted in making international payments and how much money it was costing them.

This is a typical response we got from our representative in the chamber of commerce:

Guys, got A message from Mr XYZ during the Christmas time indicating that none of the companies he's been talking to identify this as a problem.

Your first reaction is there is no problem, so what is the issue?

The issue is that international payments are hugely expensive, so why don’t the importers see this as an issue? The answer is very simple: the importers always agree the price in Euros or US dollars so any fees relating to currency conversion and payment fees are paid for by the exporter. For example on a contract for €100k the importer will instruct their bank to pay €100k. Any fees for currency conversation and payment will be incurred by the exporter when they receive payment in their local currency.

The exporters face two problems from this arrangement:

  • There are delays in payment due to all the paperwork that is required to make international payments.
  • The currency conversion charges and transfer fees make up 3-6%, partly by the spread.

This is a hugely frustrating situation for the exporter. Most of them do not have the bargaining power to negotiate terms with the importers.

The importer is also losing out in this.

Even though importers don’t care about international payments costs, what they don’t realise is that they are also suffering due to the high fees of 3-6% for international payments

Simply speaking when an exporter makes an offer to sell goods he goes through a simple process:

price of product = cost of production + operational costs + profit margin + transaction costs (FX conversion, shipping, insurance)

Effectively exporters increase the price they charge their customers to compensate themselves for the loss they suffer from transaction fees.

Now you don’t have to be an economist to come to the conclusion that if you could reduce transaction costs most likely the exporter will keep some of these savings and pass some to their customers.

In an ideal world just by improving transaction fees on international payments importers and exporters should be better of 1.5% each. Which when you talk about billions of euros in trade is some serious saving!

Fortunately with B2B Pay's virtual bank account this ideal situation is now possible for exporters into Europe.

Sign up with B2B Pay

We are currently focused on India. All are welcomed to sign up, however we currently can't offer this service for payments from countries outside of SEPA yet. Our business is rapidly expanding and we encourage signing up now to be informed on when B2B will be available in your country.

If you are from another country, please contact us as we are keen to get to know you and the payment processes in your country and possibly offer you a custom account and be part of our trial for that particular country.

We're especially happy to hear from you if you are from the following countries:

As part of the SEPA agreement, 35 European countries agreed that payment transfers within any of these 35 countries will be treated the same as a domestic transfer. For example you can transfer money from Germany to Netherlands for free as the current domestic charges within Germany for electronic transfers is free.

We use this system by setting up your payment account in Finland which allows you to receive payment from the whole SEPA area for free. This payment account is virtual bank account, you get your individual IBAN number and the account can only be used to receive payments. As soon as payment comes in B2B Pay notifies you and sends the money to your local bank account for a fee of 1%.

This also benefits your customer, as they can transfer their payment to your virtual IBAN account with the same procedure and for the same price as a local electronic transfer which in most European countries is free!

How banking works

No. For a limited time only, registration fee for opening a virtual bank account in Europe is waived.

B2B has partnered with two prestigious financial institutions; Nordea Bank, one of the biggest and most trusted banks in the world, with headquarters in Sweden, as well as Barclays Bank, a world leader in finance.

We have received funding from the Finnish government and from investors in Finland and the United States.

Your money is handled by Nordea bank. We are controlled by the Finnish banking authority. The payment is also transferred back to your Indian bank account using the two bank system. Your money is 100% safe in the virtual bank account and while being transferred.

Your customer in Europe can make a simple SEPA payment. Euro payments in 35 European countries are handled without any fee (in most cases, or a nominal fee if there's a fee) and SEPA payments are usually settled the next business day.

As soon as the money arrives in your B2B Pay virtual IBAN account in Finland, we inform you of an incoming payment and initiate the transfer to your local bank account. And that is where you will save a lot of money!

Map of SEPA countries

Normally international transfers up to 250,000€ are handled one-by-one. This means banks have an employee process each transaction manually, which is costly and eventually ends up being charged to you through disadvantageous conversion rates. On top of that, if your customer pays you through a small local bank in Europe chances are the international payment will be handled by another bank incurring yet another fee. If you have transfers over 1 million euro it's possible to get better deals. So we pool transactions to get that better deal with our Swedish/Finnish partner bank Nordea.

As soon as you have received your IBAN number you can use it on on your invoices to European customers. When a payment arrives in your virtual bank account we will inform you and send the money to your local bank account.

Your customer in Europe can make a simple SEPA payment. Euro payments in 35 European countries are handled without any fee (in most cases, or a nominal fee if there's a fee) and SEPA payments are usually settled the next business day.

We have negotiated a deal with our Swedish/Finnish partner bank Nordea to secure our customers the best rates.

The 1% fee leaves us enough margin to build a profitable business.

Banking bureaucracy delays

Banks have many processes. There's a lot of financial regulation around customer data and making payments. Our requirements are the same as a bank but we only do one tiny part of what banks are doing. And we're much more efficient at this. We implement this faster and smarter by doing due diligence upfront, so that we can process payments as fast as possible without delays.

We are a lean startup and unlike banks, we are not saddled with huge overheads, different business streams, and complex IT infrastructure and processes.

A virtual bank account as your base in Europe

We are focused on one thing only: providing you with our better, faster and cheaper solution. We do this by creating a virtual bank account with your own European IBAN, coupled with the best currency exchange and transfer fees in the market.

We sometimes call this virtual bank account a proxy or a VPN, which gives you a virtual presence in Europe, allowing you to go around the importer's local bank and get the best currency exchange and transfer rates in the market.

You pay the 1% fee only when we transfer the payment back to your home country. The fee covers:

  • Per transactions fees which vary from €1 to €30
  • Currency conversion charges and fees
  • Maintenance of the payment account
  • Operational costs

See also How does it work

Once you receive the payment from your customer in your virtual bank account with B2B Pay, we send you a confirmation email as well as allow you to see this amount in your online account. We then transfer the amount back to your home bank account minus our fee of 1%.

When an exporter issues their payment details, they include the banking details of their home bank. For example an exporter from the United States will include their local bank details from the US and an exporter in India will do likewise with their local bank details.

When you sign up with us, you get a virtual bank account in Europe, including your own IBAN number. The account is not a bank account, but functions like one when it comes to collecting payment. When you include your B2B Pay payment details on your invoice or contract, as far as your customer is concerned it will be the same as making a local bank transfer.

B2B Pay

B2B Pay is a Fin-Tech (financial technology company) offering best rates for business transactions from Europe to rest of the world. We have partnered with Nordea bank in Finland and Barclays in London to change the way international payments are carried out, lowering the fees and processing time substantially.

Our solutions work for global exporters to Europe with a virtual bank account, which enables exporters to collect payments from their European customers.

What is the mid market rate?

The mid market rate is the mid-point between the buy and the sell prices of the two currencies to an exchange rate – what the buyer is prepared to pay and what the seller is prepared to sell for. It is also known as the interbank rate.

A genuinely applied mid market rate is universally regarded as the most transparent and accurate foreign currency exchange rate reflecting real time movements in the currency markets.

Banks and brokers habitually apply a “spread” to the mid market exchange rate, which is effectively a hidden charge that amends the quoted rate.

One of B2B Pay's objectives is transparency regarding the exchange rate. We offer companies the ability to execute trades at the mid market rate by cutting out intermediation.

An example of a mid market rate is that, if the buy rate is 2 and the sell rate is 1.5, the mid market rate would be the average of both: 1.75.

Exporters entering the world of electronic payments and Virtual Bank accounts will need to learn a lot of new terms in order to navigate successfully through to automating payment systems and unleashing the full potential of currency exchange services. More than accepting payments from customers around the world in their own currency, exporters can enjoy the benefits of being on the cutting edge of financial transactions in the electronic world.

Mid market exchange rate for exporters

For those successful exporters who enjoy a robust and intelligent POS system once removed from their own direct duties, a B2B Pay account can be more than a virtual bank account. It can assist you by automating the duties of sending out invoices and collecting fees including late charges and interest. Those who wish to export to Europe can use the financial technology available to them through a virtual banking service in order to lower costs as well as save customers exchange rate fees. Suddenly being paid in a foreign currency can be an everyday situation with your virtual bank, rather than a daunting process involving wire transfer and exchange fees. This is because B2B Pay and other virtual banks are technology based rather than relying on vaults of funds in brick and mortar buildings with hundreds of employees who need to be paid.

Mid market rate and spread

Spread

The difference between the buy and sell rates is known as a spread. Financial spreads occur in industries such as the stock markets, currencies, and other financial markets. A simple example of spread is the difference between the buy and sell price when going from one currency to another. For instance, to buy one Euro you may have to spend 1.16 USD but when you sell one euro you only get 1.10 USD. This means the spread is 0.06 USD, or 5.3%.

The mid market rate in this case would be 1.13 USD, this is also called the "real" currency rate. While it is often expressed in percentages, the spread is still a part of financial accounting and costs of business. Your company can avoid absorbing those percentage costs via a virtual bank account such as B2B Pay.

Currency Exchange

When an importer pays in their local currency through their local bank, an exporter will get the exchange rate set by that local bank. This is generally at least 2% from the mid market rate, but it can also go over 6% for many currencies (for example the Indian rupee).

Using a virtual bank account from B2B Pay the importer makes a SEPA payment inside Europe and the exchange rate is defined by B2B Pay, which will give the exporter a rate of 1% from the mid market rate.

In the world of banking, you will hear words such as IBAN, SWIFT, and BIC. A Bank Identifier Code is known as a BIC code. Another name for the same function is SWIFT, which stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. The terms are interchangeable, and a BIC or SWIFT code is an 8 to 11 character number, which identifies a specific bank anywhere in the world. It is a form of registration, and B2B Pay also has a BIC or SWIFT code in accordance with regulations of banking.

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number, which can be verified worldwide to ensure the security and legitimacy of your virtual bank account and transactions coming in and out of it. It is easy to look up the IBAN of a person with whom you may wish to do business, and ensure that the payment you receive is legitimate. There are many calculators and software tools which will allow you to convert a customer or supplier's bank account number into an IBAN. BIC can tell you the bank and origin of the country of its account.

When performing international exports and imports, these numbers are important to the financial transactions surrounding them, as well as adding a layer of security to each transaction. Here is how a BIC code is translated into numbers:

  • The first 4 digits of the number will be the Bank Code which is issued by SWIFT.
  • The next 2 digits in the numeric sequence refer to the Country Code.
  • The 7th and 8th digits provide the Location Code.

After this, an optional 3 digit number may be provided. This is the Branch Code which is set by the individual bank of issue.

Traditionally, BIC codes have been used by banks during wire transfer of funds. With new technology, this function can be performed quickly and easily via a secured Internet connection. Rather than going to a bank and filling out forms and waiting in line, a virtual bank account allows you to conduct wire transfer transactions from your own business, without leaving the building and expending valuable time in bank buildings. The savings which you can achieve with a virtual banking service such as B2B Pay can add up to as much as 80%, as technology takes over where the expense of paperwork, time, and paying for a building with employees to complete the transaction disappears.

The Indian Financial System Code (IFSC) is the eleven character coding system that is assigned by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and used within India's Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS), Comprehensive Financial Management System (CFMS), and National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT). The code is a unique identifier of each participating bank branch in the NEFT system. IFSC implementation by the RBI is in oversight of monetary policy, financial system stability, foreign exchange management, currency issuance, development, and maintenance of merchant banking for the country's state and reserve banking institutions.

A Swift Code

The IFSC code is a Swift Code, the standard classification system assigning Bank Identifier Codes (BIC) to depository and financial institutions around the globe. A BIC provides the record for transactions between institutions. All Swift codes consist of 8 or 11 characters, and enable the transfer of money between banking institutions, as well as international wire transfers.

The IFSC and other swift codes are also used in the transmission of Structured Financial Messaging System (SFMS) message exchange between banks. The IFSC code is an 11 character BIC with four (4) alphabet characters identifying the banking institution, followed by the numerical character zero (0) controlling for future use. The last six (6) characters of the BIC indicate the branch of the institution corresponding to the transaction.

IBAN Registration

In coordination with the IFSC in India, BIC record of individual bank account transactions is supported by International Bank Account Number (IBAN) system, which is the international system of account control defined under the International Standards Organization (ISO 13616-1:2007), and in correspondence with ISO 7064 check digit classification as laid forth in the official ISO IBAN registry. The IBAN assists in identifying bank accounts at the international level, and reduces risk of conscription errors in communications between institutions cross border transactions.

Locating an IFSC Code

Merchant exporters holding virtual bank accounts can use the IFSC and MICR code to trace activity of transactions and from their account. The first three (3) digits of the MICR code are the PIN code, and correspond to the postal address or city code of the bank branch submitting a transfer or payment. An IFSC code is located in account holder passbook or statement, and are printed on cheque book issued by NEFT enabled institutions.


More information

  • More information on how to locate an IFSC code is available via the Reserve Bank of India website: https://rbi.org.in/
  • See also this page on the RBI website with documents that contain IFS codes.

Normally international trade deals are agreed to in USD or EUR:

When payment is made the importer instructs their bank to make the payment.

The bank converts the amount and deposits the money into the bank account of the exporter in their country.

The effects of a bad exchange rate due to excess fees and banking charges is entirely suffered by the exporter who receives the local currency amount minus the banking and FX spread charges.

Additionally as the sending bank does not know the exporter, they have to perform a lot of time consuming checks.

In total the cost to the exporter is between 2 to 6%.

Here is a visual example:

A problem of control and incentive

Example:

A French importer agrees to pay 10,000 eur for the purchases of Smart phones from a Brazilian Manufacturer. The FX rate is 1 EUR = 10 BRL


Control

Importer receives goods and provides their Bank, instructions to make payment

96,000 BRL

4% various fees = 4000 BRL

Banking Processes:
  • Payee detail checks
  • Compliance checks
  • Currency spread charges
  • SWIFT charges
  • Transaction fees
  • Transfers 10,000 EUR

Incentive

Loss to exporter of 4,000 BRL

Recipients bank in Brazil: receives 96,000 BRL

Opening bank accounts

Currently we are only offering a virtual bank account in Europe for euros, to exporters to the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA). SEPA is the biggest free trade area in the world which encloses 500 million people.

In the future we want to also offer a payment solutions for other currencies such as USD and GBP.

You can sign up here. You will need to provide us with documentation about your business and the business beneficiaries. Once we have this information we can get the process rolling.

Sign up with B2B Pay

Open IBAN account in the UK or the Eurozone. If you're doing business internationally it can come in handy to open an IBAN account in other countries. This is possible with B2B Pay. We can do this in various currencies.

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number, which is an international banking system for bank account numbers. IBAN makes international transactions easier in many countries.

As opposed to a BIC code, which refers to a specific bank, IBAN refers to a specific bank account.
IBAN is used in all European countries (except Russia and Belarus) and dozen of non-European countries. Inside the European SEPA zone zone it's very convenient to transfer money to other countries.

IBAN makes cross border transactions a lot easier. It was initially adopted by the ECBS (European Committee for Banking Standards) to facilitate payments within the EU and later became an international standard, ISO 13616:1997. The current standard is ISO 13616:2007. As of early 2016 it's in use in 69 countries, besides Europe especially countries in the Caribbean and the Middle East use the IBAN numbering system.

Structure of IBAN numbers

An IBAN account number consists of maximum 35 alphanumerical characters and has a fixed length per country. The first two characters indicate the country code. Then there is a checksum of 2 numbers and then a national account number.

As opposed to BIC, which refers to a specific bank, IBAN refers to a specific bank account.

Within the European SEPA zone IBAN numbers are used, but also in for example Brazil.

IBAN countries 2016 map

IBAN countries in Europe, 2016

Country Length of IBAN
Albania 28
Andorra 24

Austria

20
Belgium 16
Bosnia and Herzegovina 20

Bulgaria

22

Croatia

21
Cyprus 28

Czech Republic

24

Denmark

18

How to open a bank account in Denmark

20
Faroe Islands 18

Finland

18

France

27
Georgia 22

Germany

22
Gibraltar 23

Greece

27
Greenland 18
Guernsey 22

Hungary

28
Iceland 26
Ireland 22
Isle of Man 22

Italy

27
Jersey 22
Kosovo 20

Latvia

21
Liechtenstein 21

Lithuania

20
Luxembourg 20
Macedonia 19
Malta 31
Moldova 24
Monaco 27
Montenegro 22

Netherlands

18
Norway 15

Poland

28
Portugal 25

Romania

24
San Marino 27
Serbia 22

Slovakia

24

Slovenia

19

Spain

24

Sweden

24
Switzerland 21
Ukraine 29

United Kingdom

22

Non-European IBAN countries 2016

Country Length of IBAN
Algeria 24
Angola 25
Azerbaijan 28
Bahrain 22
Benin 28
Brazil 29
British Virgin Islands 24
Burkina Faso
Burundi 16
Cameroon 27
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Congo 27
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
Egypt 27
French Guiana
French Polynesia
Gabon 27
Guadeloupe 27
Guatemala 28
Iran 26
Israel 23
Ivory Coast
Jordan 30
Kazakhstan 20
Kuwait 30
Lebanon 28
Madagascar 27
Mali 28
Martinique 27
Mauritania 27
Mauritius 30
Mozambique 25
New Caledonia
Pakistan 24
State of Palestine
Qatar 29
Réunion 27
Saint-Pierre and Miquelon
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal 28
Timor-Leste 23
Tunisia 24
Turkey 26
United Arab Emirates
Wallis and Futuna

Virtual bank accounts

With the IBAN system virtual bank accounts have become more popular. With many banks you can request additional IBAN numbers for your bank account.

Virtual accounts have also led to new innovation such as B2B Pay's European virtual bank account that lets you receive business payments for a much better fee than what a normal wire transfer would cost you - and which will include a way to automate the whole process thanks to our payments API.

Sign up with B2B Pay

Introduction by the EPC

Here's a thorough yet brief overview of IBAN by the European Payments Council, in less than 3 minutes.

image

How to open a bank account in Europe

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple European countries and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.



How to open a bank account overseas

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple countries all over the world and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.


E-Banking

B2B Pay offers a B2B payment solution for international exporters who make large direct deals with their customers in Europe. For large direct payments we are a lot cheaper and simpler than an e-commerce payment solution.

Please write to us if you know of an e-commerce payment solution which is cheaper than the one we offer.

b2b payments

Contact us for custom solutions:

Contact Us

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You will be added to a waiting list. We apologize for the inconvenience! We are switching suppliers with the goal of starting onboarding new clients in October.

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