International payments for life science and biotech businesses

How to expand and optimise your business when working on a global scale

Top tips

The best advice on how to optimise and refine how you manage international payments and currency exposures

Currency accounts

If you expect to be receiving funds in a particular currency, say you have a buyer who is based in Europe, then it's a good idea to have a receiving account for that currency.

Having foreign currency accounts will save you the costs of having to frequently transfer small amounts, for which the bank charges are usually higher than larger value payments, as well as giving you more control over company funds.

An alternative would be to charge your buyer in your native currency, but this is effectively passing on the cost to them and thus pushing up the costs of your products and may well lose you business.

Forwards

If you intend to make a big purchase from a supplier or move a large sum of grant money at a fixed date in the future it might be a good idea to secure an exchange rate so you can plan your costs in advance.

A forward contract allows you to lock in a fixed rate for a given time in the future, at the expense of a slightly lower rate. The benefit of this being you can forecast costs more accurately and even though you take a slightly lower exchange rate at the time, you aren't exposed to volatility, which could hurt you even more come the time of transaction if you don't secure a rate.

Currency exposures

You might not think that you have any exposure to international currency, but be prepared because needing a solution at short notice can be costly.

There is also your competitors to consider - if they're benefitting from a weak currency they're effectively cutting costs, so the foreign exchange markets may be, albeit indirectly, affecting your business.

A 15% strengthening in the pound against the Euro is effectively a 15% reduction in price for any competitors that are sourcing their materials or services abroad. Something to think about at least.

Transparency

Whatever you choose to do about moving and managing your money on an international scale, make sure you know what you're paying!
Foreign exchange is now pretty much the only market where the majority of people aren't fully aware of the costs to them. There are numerous "0% commission" and "Free transfers" adverts on currency exchange sites but this is likely never the case... a business has to make money right?

It's good practice to check your rates against the mid-market rate (the one you see on the markets or sites like XE.com) to see if you're getting a good rate. If the exchange rate being offered is significantly lower that the market rate its likely your provider is making good money from you!

Currency accounts

If you expect to be receiving funds in a particular currency, say you have a buyer who is based in Europe, then it's a good idea to have a receiving account for that currency.

Having foreign currency accounts will save you the costs of having to frequently transfer small amounts, for which the bank charges are usually higher than larger value payments, as well as giving you more control over company funds.

An alternative would be to charge your buyer in your native currency, but this is effectively passing on the cost to them and thus pushing up the costs of your products and may well lose you business.

Forwards

If you intend to make a big purchase from a supplier or move a large sum of grant money at a fixed date in the future it might be a good idea to secure an exchange rate so you can plan your costs in advance.

A forward contract allows you to lock in a fixed rate for a given time in the future, at the expense of a slightly lower rate. The benefit of this being you can forecast costs more accurately and even though you take a slightly lower exchange rate at the time, you aren't exposed to volatility, which could hurt you even more come the time of transaction if you don't secure a rate.

Currency exposures

You might not think that you have any exposure to international currency, but be prepared because needing a solution at short notice can be costly.

There is also your competitors to consider - if they're benefitting from a weak currency they're effectively cutting costs, so the foreign exchange markets may be, albeit indirectly, affecting your business.

A 15% strengthening in the pound against the Euro is effectively a 15% reduction in price for any competitors that are sourcing their materials or services abroad. Something to think about at least.

Transparency

Whatever you choose to do about moving and managing your money on an international scale, make sure you know what you're paying!
Foreign exchange is now pretty much the only market where the majority of people aren't fully aware of the costs to them. There are numerous "0% commission" and "Free transfers" adverts on currency exchange sites but this is likely never the case... a business has to make money right?

It's good practice to check your rates against the mid-market rate (the one you see on the markets or sites like XE.com) to see if you're getting a good rate. If the exchange rate being offered is significantly lower that the market rate its likely your provider is making good money from you!

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“The Money Mover web application has been developed with the needs of the SME in mind”

“There’s a pressing need for better FX transfer services for SMEs.”

“The UK startup chasing a $500bn FX market TransferWise can’t address”

“Money Mover's achievement shows the tremendous business opportunities that exist for fintech entrepreneurs...”

“Startups that will help you save money on foreign currency exchange”

Your free payment review

Please provide us with the following details of a recent foreign exchange payment.

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Think you're losing money to the banks? Get the facts!

A number of life sciences firms, when considering how best to make and manage their international payments, took advantage of our free payments review.

By submitting details of previous international transfers made by your business, whether paying suppliers, funding outsourced drugs discovery or moving grant money across borders. These reviews break out all costs (exchange rate spreads, fees and charges) associated with the payment and provide the transparency that should have been available from the start.

We’re very pleased to have a growing community of life sciences businesses amongst our customer base which, since moving across to us, are typically saving £20,000 in every £1m of international payments that they make.


Read our case study of an existing life sciences customer, Sentinel Oncology, and why they chose Money Mover.

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