PayPal makes case for cross-border trade

PayPal Makes Case for Cross-Border Trade

PayPal shared some interesting insights into their business and how PayPal’s business continues to grow in cross-border trade.

Smaller online merchants seem to struggle to accept that cross-border trade is a viable sales growth market. They often fear issues with shipping, import taxes, language, and fraud.

But mostly those are simply perception problems and when you talk to merchants that sell internationally, you find that many are very successful at it. Actually, the frequency of problems with cross-border orders is far less than with domestic orders.

If you are one of the merchants still on the fence about selling internationally, you may want to take a look at some internal data that PayPal has shared.


Since 2003, PayPal has processed over $400 billion in CBT transactions.

In 2016 alone, the company saw more than 9.8 million active merchant accounts sell at least one item internationally. And 106 million buyers purchased at least one item from an international merchant.

The company processed payments in 25 currency with roughly 60% of the transactions processed between buyers and sellers located outside the U.S.

Just over the last 2 years, PayPal’s cross-border trade volume increased by 41%. And cross-border trade accounts now for 22% of all the company’s payment volume.

A study commissioned by PayPal across 32 markets and approximately 28,000 consumers globally provides some interesting insights into cross-border buying behavior.

You can download a copy of PayPal Cross-Border Consumer Research 2016 here.


If you are not selling internationally yet, the cross-border trade opportunity is a real sales expansion. To get started here are a few basic tips to avoid the most common issues with international sales.

  • Use PayPal as your payment processor, they do make it easy.
  • Always get a phone number for orders that you put on the shipping label.
  • Never ship to any other address but the one provided by PayPal in the payment record.
  • Make customs descriptions generic such as “Hand Bag”, “Fuel Pump”, etc. Do not use specific brands or industry terms for items in the package.
  • When communicating with the customer, always use simple English words. Stay away from slang or industry words.

As you can see, adapting cross-border trade is not really difficult. PayPal data shows it is a great opportunity for SMBs and there is no reason to fear international sales.

If you have some additional questions about cross-border trade, use the comments section below. Between our staff and our readers, we are sure someone will have an answer.


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