Making cross-border payments count

Aug 04 2020 | PayPal editorial staff

What if you could boost sales without changing your products or your website?

Payment methods matter more than you might think.

As highlighted in the 2020 PayPal Borderless Commerce Report, the way people shop online is different in every country, especially when it comes to payment methods. Keeping up with local nuances in shopper payment behavior can be a lot to keep track of. This begs the question of how your business can cater to everyone’s preferences? And whether it is worth the effort?

Research into online consumer behavior suggests that it is. In a recent study, one in five shoppers said they would abandon a cross-border purchase if their preferred payment methods were not available. 1 And 34% of respondents felt more incentivized to buy from a store outside their home country if prices were shown in their local currency.1 Moreover, digital wallets and other alternative payment methods are growing in popularity, especially among younger shoppers.

Given the somewhat impersonal nature of online retail, it’s not surprising that familiarity inspires confidence. Shoppers are significantly more likely to buy abroad if they can do so in the currency they’re accustomed to, using payment options they already know and trust.

Get paid with one click. Or is it a tap?

It’s not just payment options that make a difference. The primary devices used for shopping also vary from region to region and these need to be considered. India and China, for example, prefer apps and mobile friendly websites with 84% of their cross-border purchases coming from smartphones.1 French shoppers, on the other hand, do most of their buying via desktop.1

Cross-border customer service

Customer service is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when considering cross-border payments, but it is extremely important when dealing with customers from around the globe. In fact, one in three shoppers say that having customer support in their language is a driver on their decision to buy.1

TIP: Choose a cross-border payment partner that can provide support to all your customers, with customer support in more than a dozen languages.

Cross-border commerce doesn’t have to be complex

There’s clearly a lot to think about with cross-border payments but thankfully you don’t have to. With the right partner, you can do business in more than 100 currencies and 200 countries using a single, simple payment solution. PayPal is one of the world’s largest online payment platform with 300 million active users and multiple local payment methods1. Your customers can see fees and taxes in their local currency, including shipping. And enhanced fraud protection makes it easier to keep your customers and your business secure.

When Adva Bruner, founder of Ripple Yogawear from Israel, debuted her eco-friendly line online, she found that her biggest market – comprising 50% of sales – was the U.S., followed by Canada, Australia, the UK, and Iceland. With PayPal she found she could focus on running her business while PayPal took care of the complexities of international sales and made it easy for her customers to shop on her site.

Finally, getting paid is simple—no matter where your customers are or how they choose to pay. Don’t let customers’ preferences cost you sales. Create your cross-border strategy with PayPal as your partner and help your business grow.

To learn more about how PayPal can help your business grow internationally – and make customers feel secure – go to

1 PayPal commissioned Ipsos MORI PayPal Insights 2018. n=34,000, 31 markets. Online survey of adults (aged 18+) between March – May 2018 

Frequently asked questions.

The PayPal Developer Centre (in English only) offers support for developers who have questions about technical topics, such as APIs, PayPal product integration, or testings. You can also find useful information on the PayPal Community Forum, or contact our technical support specialists on Merchant Technical Support.

Below is a list of common topics searched for by developers: 

Account Authentication
Information about validating your visitor's PayPal account.

Encrypted Website Payments
To make online payments more secure, you can make Encrypted Website Payment buttons that rely on standard public key encryption for protection.

Identity API
PayPal offers a secure commerce Identity API that lets your customers sign in to your website using their PayPal credentials.

Instant Payment Notification
Instant Payment Notification is a message service that automatically notifies merchants of events related to PayPal transactions.

Merchants, developers, and business solution providers use Invoicing APIs to automate the creation, delivery, tracking, and reconciliation of invoices with an integrated payments solution.

Mobile SDK
Accept PayPal, credit cards and other payments methods through mobile apps.

Name-Value Pair (NVP) API
Information and support on name value pairs and NVP SDKs.

PayPal Checkout
PayPal Checkout gives your buyers a simplified and secure checkout experience that keeps them local to your website or mobile app throughout the payment process.

PayPal Sandbox Support
Information and support for users testing in the PayPal Sandbox environment.

PayPal Shopping Cart
The PayPal Shopping Cart system allows buyers to select multiple items on your website and pay for them with a single payment.

Permissions Service API
PayPal's permissions service enables you to request and obtain authorization to make API calls and take action on behalf of your customers.

The PayPal SOAP API is based on open standards known collectively as web services, which include the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Services Definition Language (WSDL), and the XML Schema Definition language (XSD).

Testing Your Apps in Sandbox
A guide for developers testing their apps in the PayPal Sandbox environment.
Website Payments Standard
You can accept credit cards online easily and offers a streamlined checkout experience to customers using mobile devices.

These could be some of the reasons why you weren't able to make a PayPal payment using your credit card:

  • Your card issuer might be having technical issues that prevent us from requesting an authorisation on your card.
  • Your card issuer might block the payment for security reason as it doesn’t fit your regular spending pattern.
  • Your card isn't activated for online payments.
  • You might have reached the sending limit of your card.
  • The network you’re using to make the payment is not secure or unstable.

To make your payment successfully, you may want to:
  • Try using a different card to make your payment again.
  • Contact your card issuer to check if your card is valid, and can be used to make online payments, or if there's any recent technical issue or restriction on your card.
  • Use a secure network to make your payment.

If you’ve tried these suggested solutions and your payment still won’t go through, please contact us for further assistance.

Other ways to pay
Alternatively, you can add a US or Singapore bank account and use it to fund your payment. Here's what you can do:

  • If there's a US bank account, you can select it as your payment method when making the payment. Please make sure to confirm this US bank account first.
  • If there's a local bank account, you need to top up your PayPal account and then pay with your PayPal balance. (UOB isn't supported.)

It's extremely important to report any suspected instances of fraud. Not only will this protect you, it will also help make the internet a safer place to do business.

Here are some types of fraudulent activity and steps to report them:

Unauthorised activity on your PayPal account

If you notice any transaction that wasn’t completed or authorised by you, report it to us immediately through the Resolution Centre. Here's how to report an unauthorised activity:

  1. Go to Resolution Centre.
  2. Click Report a problem.
  3. Select the transaction ID you want to dispute, and click Continue.
  4. Select "I want to report unauthorised activity".
  5. Follow the instructions to report the issue.

Fake PayPal emails or fake websites
If you received what looks like a scam PayPal email, or you've come across a phishing PayPal website, please report it to us by forwarding the original email or URL to Once you’ve forwarded the email to us, delete it from your inbox and don't click on any links in the email.

Learn more about how to identify a fake email. For safety, you should always log securely into your PayPal account to view your transactions.

Items not received or a potential fraudulent seller

If you sent a payment but haven't received what you paid for, or believe the seller to be fraudulent, you can file a dispute in the Resolution Centre and start communicating the issue with your seller. Here's how to file a dispute:

  1. Go to Resolution Centre.
  2. Click Report a problem.
  3. Select the transaction ID you want to dispute, and click Continue.
  4. Select "I didn't receive an item I purchased".
  5. Follow the instructions to file the dispute. 
If you can't find an agreement with the seller, you can escalate the dispute to a claim any time within 20 days of the date the dispute was opened. We’ll step in to investigate the case and decide the outcome based on evidence supplied by you and the seller.

Learn more about PayPal online security in Singapore.
If you receive an error message when trying to pay with your PayPal account, here are some possible reasons:
  • You may need to confirm the email address associated with your PayPal account.
  • You may need to resolve an issue with your credit or debit card.
  • You may need to remove a limitation for your PayPal account.
  • You may need to resolve a negative balance on your PayPal account.
  • We may need to confirm that you're the account holder. We may ask you to answer some questions or receive a text message from us.
  • The recipient can't receive payments at this time because their PayPal account is restricted or they haven't completed the account registration. If so, the recipient needs to resolve their account issues first.
Here are some tips to help you make payments successfully:
  • Add another card and use it to make your payment again.
  • Make sure your recipient's email address is entered correctly, and their account is capable of receiving your payment.
  • Contact your card issuer to check if your card is valid and can be used to make online payments, or if there is any recent technical issue or restriction on your card.
  • Use a secure network to make your payment. Avoid using a public, shared computer to process your PayPal transactions.
  • Clear your browser’s cookies and cache, and update your browser to the latest version.
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. The information in this article does not constitute legal, financial, IT, business or investment advice of any kind and is not a substitute for any professional advice. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, IT and legal advice before making any business decision.