Many visitors to the Cape and Islands are from “across the pond” or outside of the US. How do you handle international payments, including currency conversions, quickly and safely? Here are a few tips to help make the experience a positive one for all parties involved.
Granted, communicating with vacationers from another country can be more difficult, but we always recommend that property owners and managers have at least one phone conversation with potential renters prior to committing. Not only is screening your tenants a best business practice in all of your rental transactions, speaking directly with one another affords some peace of mind to both parties about the transaction. Be sure that communications are clear, for you will be far less likely to set the wrong expectation or have misunderstandings after the vacationer arrives.
Online Payment Services
More secure now than ever, online payment services like Transferwise and PayPal allow vacationers to make payments internationally. With PayPal, your renters don’t even need a PayPal account themselves to send you money. All they need is your email address. If they do have a PayPal account and have it linked to their bank account or can pay using their PayPal balance, there are no domestic transaction fees. But there will likely be fees for transactions involving a currency exchange and/or to receive payments from another country. Read more about online payment options.
Another secure payment option is to allow your tenants to set up a bank transfer or a wire transfer through an accredited bank. In both cases, you provide the vacationer with your bank’s routing and account number, or in some cases, a SWIFT or IBAN number, and the vacationer arranges the transfer through their bank. Despite concerns to the contrary, these wire transfers are very secure. Always check with your bank first, though, to be sure they accept bank-to-bank money transfers (some smaller, local banks and credit unions do not), and direct any questions about these types of transactions directly to them.
If the booking is not last-minute, traditional payment via personal or bank check is still an option, especially for vacationers from Canada. The key is to allow enough time between receipt of the check and the day the rental period begins for the funds to clear your bank. Sometimes, homeowners require checks to be sent via a global parcel shipping service instead of the postal service. This can prevent late payment due to issues with snail mail (case in point, 2012’s Canada Postal strike).
No matter how you choose to accept payments, it is wise to create your own business policy for international tenants and make it known to them as soon as they inquire. You’ll want them to know, for example, if:
- it is their responsibility to cover currency conversion rates and foreign transaction fees,
- you pay the fees but factor them into the payment schedule, or
- you eat the fees completely.
Be sure to outline any specific, additional fees in the payment schedule of your lease, including any amounts to cover currency conversion, if appropriate. Click here for other payment schedule considerations.
How do you handle international vacationers who inquire about and rent your home?