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Payroll and Global Payments: 10 key considerations when choosing a payment provider

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11 April 2023

Written by
Chris Welch

Director of APAC at Ebury Mass Payments

Are all payments the same? Let’s take a deep dive into the unique attributes of global payroll payments and the 10 key questions you should ask when selecting a payroll payment provider.

Payroll payments and international payments broadly share the same basic similarities: money is being transferred from one country to another in different currencies, banks and/or non-bank specialist providers are instrumental in transferring funds, and FX and transfer fees are usually charged.

Payroll and salary (or wage) payments, however, are at the foundation of every economy. It underpins discretionary and non-discretionary spending, which directly impacts business activity and economic movements. People make money and they spend, invest, save, and repay debts.

Since payroll also includes taxes and other statutory obligations in the local jurisdiction, it helps provide the necessary funds for governments to influence macroeconomic conditions.

Late or missing payroll payments have a negative impact both on the employer/employee relationship and general household spending and obligations. These payment failures could result in late payment fees, interruption of services, adverse credit ratings, and potential litigation. A breakdown in payroll payments is one of the quickest ways to trivialise company culture and create discontent within the workforce.

This same level of trust is expected in the payroll service ecosystem. For example, if a business offers employer of record (EOR) services, outsourced managed payroll, expense reimbursement or pension payments, then that business’ reputation relies heavily on whether their payment service provider can successfully deliver payments on time. Failure to do so could negatively impact the business relationship and reputation.

Given the importance of ensuring that payroll payments arrive securely, on time and in full, what should businesses consider when choosing their payroll provider?

Firstly, the best partnerships are a result of two underlying principles:

  • Both companies have an aligned product offering and the service has been tailored to meet the goals of the customer.
  • Both companies share the same vision – this ‘business bond’ enables a collaborative environment that produces the best outcome.

Secondly, a network of reliable, global payment rails are required to facilitate global payroll payments. Partnering with multiple, well-capitalised liquidity providers is necessary to deliver funds efficiently – avoiding or resolving any delays and rejections – and to provide reliable access to international currencies.

10 key questions to ask when choosing a payroll payment provider:

  1. How does the payment provider customise their payroll solution?
  2. What percentage of their operation and support staff are dedicated to payroll payments?
  3. Does your payment provider have multiple corridors (payment rails) to ensure payments are delivered in the most efficient manner (local settlement), or are you limited to a single set of payment rails?
  4. Is your service offering aligned with the core offering of your payment provider?
  5. If you are using a third party to manage employee and/or contractor payment calculations, and provide funds for payments, do they have the correct licensing to handle client money for payments to individuals? Additionally, if they are using a fourth party to make payments, what are their licensing credentials and your level of acceptable risk to AML exposure?
  6. How does the service provider mitigate your exposure to foreign exchange volatility?
  7. In case of incorrect payment details or a delayed payment, what is the payment provider’s response time to help resolve the issue?
  8. What is your level of counterparty risk with your payment provider? Do you have access to alternative payment delivery options if they fail to make your payments?
  9. Are payroll funds held in segregated, ring-fenced accounts, or are they commingled with other assets exposed to the rest of the business?
  10. What is their commitment to AML and compliance screening? Is your company protected by a robust screening infrastructure?


📧 Learn more about Ebury Mass Payments or to speak with an expert to discuss the right payroll solution for your business, contact us at [email protected].

The information provided herein is general in nature and should not be construed as financial or investment advice. The information provided here is not legally binding. The information, data or views expressed here is for the exclusive use of the recipient and is subject to changes without any notice. You may ask the support team or your dedicated relationship manager to provide additional information regarding Ebury products.