Cracking The Walls: Getting USA Banking For Global Ecommerce Sellers with Travis Price

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Ecommerce, Podcast0 Comments

In today’s episode, we’re talking about America, US banking for non Americans for the international community or for e-commerce sellers. Our guest for today is the head of e-commerce growth.

Travis Price is a very talented guy who has built up his own Amazon and e-commerce business. We give some really good insights and we talk about some USA banking strategies and of course their service and how they can help you.  Let’s tune in.

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Why USA?

    Why people are even registering in USA for ecomm

  • Traditional banks requirements

  • Why it is so hard for non US people to get US banking

  • Current cross border payment options - payoneers, etc

  • How Mercury works

  • Mike's experience using it

  • How to leverage this for saving money and for growing your biz

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Travis Price’s VIP Page
√ Visit our GFA partner – Mercury– for US banking solutons for your ecommerce businesss

Episode Length 48:38

Thank you so much, Travis. It was an amazing show. I really appreciate Travis giving us some tips and insights of course, about what they’re doing at mercury, which I think is going to go through hyper-growth.  I hope everybody listening in got as much out of it. 

Download Options

Show Transcript


[00:00:00] Episode 343 of Global from Asia podcast, Chinese new year’s coming. We’re talking about America, US banking for non Americans for the international community or for e-commerce sellers. Even if you’re American, everybody gets a benefit today. We’re going to have a good little discussion about US banking the way it may be should have always been less tuned in.

[00:00:24] Welcome to the Global from Asia podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down, into straight up actionable advice. And now your host, Michael Michelini. How does my hair look still getting used to the video? You know, I think I, at least I hope most of you are listening and not watching, but we try to get it out on

[00:00:47] The YouTube or video podcast of iTunes. And can I get, I’m getting old, I’m going to be 40 years old in April, can you believe that? And it’s been almost a year, I’ve been locked down here in Shenyang, China, eating some dumplings, prepare for Chinese new year, as I said, in a little preview there.

[00:01:11] That was one year ago, the lockdown started in China. And, I remember that I didn’t had any idea. Should I go back? Should I not? I was in Manila, Philippines, and I finally made it back in March and, you know, lucky I made it back with all my family. Many of my friends are separated. There has been a lot of trauma.

[00:01:34] I’m sure a lot of you are hearing it or experiencing it. And I really, from bottom of my heart send you the best for your life, personal business, family, and loved ones has been making us all change what we’re doing. Maybe the show will help change you or improve you. American banking, you know, We started to show about Hong Kong banking or Hong Kong companies.

[00:01:59] Now we’re talking about US banking and US companies. But we’re global. Right? So a lot of the tables have turned late. We’ve got a lot of traffic on the site. People looking for US banking solution as non Americans and especially in a COVID world, they can’t just fly to JP Morgan chase and walk in and throw down their passport, get a bank.

[00:02:18] It was never that easy, but it was even harder, but there’s a amazing tech startup that has cracked the code, Mercury and they’re actually supporting the show. So they’re, they’re a partner. We have this GFA partner program for companies that want to be super fans of what we do and they are one of them.

[00:02:35] So I want to bring on Travis Price. He’s the head of e-commerce growth, very talented guy. He’s, he’s also built up his own Amazon business and e-commerce business. We give some really good insights and we talk about some USA banking strategies and of course their service and how they can help you. And, I, after the show, I’m going to talk about my experience.

[00:02:55] I have a Mercury account. I partnered with a non-American. I couldn’t get a bank America account. Can you believe that? So I had to use them. So I’ll share that we also have a video review on, where I wrote a step-by-step guide of how I went through the process, gave some tips in your application and some cash back bonuses.

[00:03:17] So without further ado, let’s tune into the show with Travis Price e-commerce growth at mercury. Let’s do this. So we’re doing interview with Mercury, but they’re also our sponsor and support this show. So I just wanna make sure there to make sure you check them out. If you want to use our special link, you’ll get a little bit of a special landing page with a cash bonus for certain usage, no additional fees to you.

[00:03:42] And he also helps us out here to show And they’ll take care of you. Hope to see you there. And thanks again for tuning into this show and supporting our partners, GFA partners. All right. Thank you everybody for choosing to download, listen, and watch, or most likely listen to our next podcast.

[00:04:06] This is always a hot topic. US company, US banking for your e-commerce business. It’s a very important thing, especially obviously new sellers, but even in current sellers. You know, Structure and banking, you know, there’s a lot of opportunity to save money or even make more money. So I’m really happy to have on the show with us Travis Price, e-commerce

[00:04:29] Thanks for coming on Travis. Yeah. Happy to be here, Mike. Thanks for having me. My pleasure. We’ve been chatting the last couple of months and, and preparing for this and some other things. So. It’s great to, it’s great to have you, do you want to give a little bit of background about yourself and, and, and what you’ve done.

[00:04:49] Sure. Sure. No problem. And just first off, want to say, I’ve had a great time in your community just in the few months that I’ve been a member. I made some fantastic relationships, so really appreciate, you know, what you’re doing. Keep rocking. I love this whole setup. Yeah. So a little bit of background on me about it.

[00:05:07] Six years ago, I invented and patented a Christmas stocking that dispenses wine. Most people just know it as the wine stocking it’s called Santa’s flask. It ended up going viral and becoming a number one bestseller on Amazon for five years in their drinking flasks category. So that was sort of my first foray into e-commerce and entrepreneurship in general.

[00:05:29] And luckily I had, you know, quite a bit of luck and had a good success with the first one, but I learned a ton. I made some mistakes later on trying to start other companies and businesses and had some other successes. But I really ended up finding a really great group of sort of entrepreneurs at

[00:05:49] So myself and only about six other people, we sort of started this incubator within wish, which was a program to Basically just create and launch new business units, new ideas, almost like a, you know, like a startup incubator, but within a company. So we, one of our projects did really well. I was the wish local pickup program.

[00:06:14] So I basically realize, you know, maybe we won’t be able to compete with Amazon on their fulfillment warehouse, part of the business, instead of going out, buying, you know, a bunch of real estate building these warehouses. Let’s just partner with local brick and mortar retailers. And let’s see if they’re open to us, putting some product in there in the back of their store.

[00:06:36] And then we can send them consumers as foot traffic, into their store to pick up a product in the hopes that they would buy something from that store while they’re in the store waiting to pick up the product. It was sort of this, like win-win part that we came up with and we tested it in a hundred locations globally about, Oh, I don’t know, a little over two years ago.

[00:07:00] And we saw just, just like really great traction and both parties were really liking the service. After we launched the first a hundred stores, we started to see a lot of traction and demand from both parties, right? So the store owners and the wish consumers that were going into the stores to pick up the products.

[00:07:18] And so we rolled it out to 36,000 locations across three continents in about 12 months. So it was like hypergrowth. We hired over a hundred people and we, we built a really fantastic business that, that helped a lot of folks out. I wish I, and, and, and just brick and mortar retail, really. So. That was a fantastic opportunity.

[00:07:41] And I learned so much about cross-border e-commerce cross-border trade, et cetera. And I was just kind of chatting with some of the folks over at mercury. And I decided to, to go, you know, start on this new adventure with, with mercury. So I’m now leading e-commerce growth here, and we’re basically building, you know, a bank that’s for startups, technology companies, and e-commerce companies.

[00:08:04] But we have certainly found, you know, product market fit with the, the foreign e-commerce entrepreneur who, especially during COVID, it’s very hard to travel to the U S to, to set up a bank account. So yeah, that’s, that’s sort of me in a nutshell. Yeah, no, I agree. I mean, I’m nodding my head up and down. I mean, I, I, yeah, I felt I’ve.

[00:08:24] I heard of you guys before we even talking and, and yeah, I see the huge opportunity because international sellers, which was let’s maybe use that as a good segue into the, into the topic is, you know, everybody’s going into the U S I mean, one is of course selling into the U S but I think. A long time ago, people like, you know, you’ve also worked at wish or, you know, you worked with Chinese sellers or international sellers.

[00:08:50] A lot of times people didn’t didn’t have a us company or a U S bank. I think the trends are changing and more and more over the last few years have been opening up US companies and US banks, even though they might actually not even really need to. I don’t know if that’s something you’ve seen or noticed, but I’ve definitely felt the trend of registering US companies and 

[00:09:11] US financial solutions. Is that something you’ve also been seeing? Yeah, it is. And I’ve done a little bit of research on this. I think it’s because, you know, there are a lot of sellers on Amazon that are, that are wanting to sell on Amazon US, but are located internationally. And I think it just makes the whole process a lot smoother if they set up a U S corporation.

[00:09:34] So I kind of went through and was looking at some of the largest sellers on Amazon that You know, we’re a, we’re traditionally sort of located in China and a lot of them had the US corporation and all set up. So I’ve also heard that the, the, the government in the US that, that grants, the EIN numbers is just totally swamped with applications.

[00:09:53] So I think that this is a trend that we’re seeing more of, you know, it’s, it’s really important if you’re selling on e-commerce us, you know, marketplaces and you’re located abroad to be able to. To get those payments secure, safe, secure, and quickly. And so I think this is one of the best ways to go about, you know, connecting to the various payment processors.

[00:10:15] For sure. For sure. Yeah. Some other similar insights I’ve seen. I mean, I think, I think it’s both policies as well as money. I think if you’re really becoming a large seller, you want actually register in the US because even just the banking fees alone, if you can get. You know, which we’ll talk about some solutions and of course mercury, but we, you know, even with traditional banks or others, you’re going to save more money, at least on the transaction fees.

[00:10:39] I mean, I know there’s taxes and other upkeep, but as far as the transactions, usually if you do enter cross border transactions, especially on a B2C level, you’re going to pay a much higher transaction fee between either PayPal or even Stripe. It’s more expensive for overseas versus a US-based Stripe or these other.

[00:11:00] Others. See, you know, if you’re doing high volume, the transaction cost is going to be much higher internationally than if you have a domestic US company. So for sure, I don’t think we realize that, but that that’s something most people learn as they grow. Right. I think. Yeah. And I think one thing that I’ve also seen, and by no means, am I an accountant, but you know, if you are selling on Amazon US and you’re selling to.

[00:11:26] You know, let’s call it 10 different States and you have to pay sales tax in all of those States, you know, and again, I’m not an accountant, but I believe that you need to do that. It’s quite difficult to pay it, the sales tax from like a virtual account or an account located abroad. So that’s also one value add that we’ve sort of seen with our service and across our clients.

[00:11:47] Great. Yeah. That’s I think that’s also kind of a reaction, even in Europe with the VAT, you know, a lot of back in the old days. Cross-border sellers just didn’t care and didn’t listen, or didn’t worry about sales tax or VAT, at least from what I’ve been seeing in the marketplace, this kind of trend for, you know, non-resident founders to create us entities and us bank accounts, just so that they’re, uh, better equipped to, you know, integrate with payment processing providers, to integrate with marketplaces, to integrate.

[00:12:21] Or to pay their taxes iiin the States, if, if their accountant advises, they do that. So I think, you know, that is a trend that we’re seeing, especially on Amazon, but I, I can’t speak for, for really many of the other marketplaces. True. True. Well, obviously Amazon dominant force here, so, so, okay. I think I want at least talk about States.

[00:12:42] I know neither of us are really comfortable to advise a state, but I think what I’ve learned to go from Asia when we started so long ago is company. Opening a company anywhere, whether it’s US, Hong Kong, even China, you know, or most places is somewhat straightforward but banking is always the challenge.

[00:13:01] But as far as the U S when people do register, they, the first thing you need to choose, there’s a couple things you can choose. One is what state, because there’s 50 States, at least I believe is 50. 51 or 50, 50 States. I think still I’m kind of tripping on my word there, but I think it’s 50 States.

[00:13:21] I don’t know if there has been adding 40 plus. Okay. Okay. All right. Well, let’s just say there’s States in the U S and people don’t read a lot of international, you know, people don’t know that are so aware, but the way you open a company is you pick your state because actually you could do all of the States if you wanted, or maybe even have to, it depends on how big you become or how you operate, but it usually just need one state to start.

[00:13:49] Obviously the most common people always think of is Delaware, which is still a most common solution. I think another one people talk about is Wyoming. I think Wyoming is brought up a lot because it’s a relatively low fees, low upkeep, and also some extra privacy. I believe some of the naming is not shown as much for those that don’t want maybe their name.

[00:14:12] I think there’s certain information, I’m not sure of, but I actually just went through the process again. I’m starting another Amazon business. I’m using mercury as well. I picked Florida because I’ve done Delaware before, but I picked Florida because it’s a little bit more convenient for me and my family’s there and I have accountants and people I know there.

[00:14:33] So it was just a little bit easier for me, but. Yeah. I mean, picking the state is pretty straightforward. You know, you, then you would just, you could do a lot, most States I think, do it online now. Oracle agent. Right. What are your experiences with, with someone? I think the majority of folks that I interface with either incorporated in Delaware or Wyoming, I don’t know the [00:15:00] exact reasons why I think you’re correct in that it has to do with privacy, probably lower taxes, as well as something along those lines.

[00:15:06] Probably pretty easy to set up relative to for instance, maybe California or. Say it like that, but you know, that’s, that’s one side. The other is I, I don’t really know the fees associated with, with the various States. I know that in California, I pay like $800 a year for a LLC. I don’t know if you’ve experienced that same fee in Florida, or if it’s deeper 300, three or 400.

[00:15:33] So I think some States are a lot cheaper for instance, in like, you know, your California’s of the, of the, of the States. So that might be a factor as well. And then, you know, third, there are, you know, incorporators, so companies that help with, with this sort of thing to, to help you incorporate, if, if you need help, there’s even an online incorporators, you can literally go to a website, click on a link and it costs like 50, $50 or something like that, just to have them do it for you.

[00:15:59] So it’s really not hard at all to, like you said, you know, sort of set up a us entity, whether that be an LLC, a C Corp or an S Corp, but where it really becomes difficult and where people run into trouble is creating that, that us bank account from abroad. So, yeah, which is what we’ll focus on today. But I think most people that go through the process, they learn that they’re like I opened a company and then.

[00:16:25] They think it’s actually becomes dependent a book cause some way seen with Hong Kong, Hong Kong banks are so hard now, you know, but getting a company is pretty easy. So a lot of people are registering US companies or us or Hong Kong companies or companies in other countries, but they don’t get a bank account.

[00:16:41] And it’s almost like, what can I do with a company without a bank? Right. Basically the bank is business, right? Like I need to receive. Money and send money. Like that’s what a business is. It’s like, but registering a company is just like, it’s like having a baby. It’s like another entity, right? You are creating a separate entity.

[00:17:00] You mentioned EIN earlier, which is employee identification number, which means like tax ID, basically. That’s your company ID. In the U S and the federal level. So yeah, you can have a TA, you become a company, but you don’t have the ability to receive money or send money without a bank. Right. So let’s, yeah, I think.

[00:17:24] You know, I think we just explained to traditional banks, you know, actually we have a pretty hot blog post, I think, you know, on global from Asia about us banking and people think they can get a chase bank online, you know, or they can get like a bank America, you know, or they can get these, especially as a non US person.

[00:17:40] It’s very hard. Right. Or do you want to. Give us some of the traditional banking flow or requirements or experiences. Yeah. I mean, so if you think about traditional banking for, you know, I dunno the past a hundred years, if you wanted to create a business account, you would first, you know, set up your entity.

[00:17:59] Like we talked about you would get your EIN and then you would come to the, to the actual physical bank branch with your mountain of paperwork and your identification documents, and you would say, Hey, this is the business that I want to open, you know, can you create an account for me? And you’d go through this whole process where they would look over all your documentation.

[00:18:18] They would try to, you know, understand if you’re doing some sort of money laundering or selling illegal products. And, you know, they might not even accept your business at all. And this process might happen, you know, on the spot. But typically it would just take like, About three, that three to seven days, you know, for them to even get back with you with an answer.

[00:18:39] So it was kind of a ridiculous process. And just the fact that you, you had to like go into a physical branch when you know, we’re living in the year 2021, everything’s done online. I can, you know, pretty much do everything else online. Why do I have to go into a bank to do something as simple as this.

[00:18:55] And so now we’re sort of seeing like the rise of, of what’s called like neobanks, which is just like new banks, right? So these banks that are like mercury that are sort of digital first that are trying to serve the needs of modern businesses, businesses that exist, you know, in. In the digital space that are using digital products, even if they’re selling physical products.

[00:19:17] So that’s really where we’re re we realized there was an opportunity as you know, even, even just, if you look at the banking industry as a whole, if we take a step back, you know, there are a lot of different consumer banks that you can create an account online and get set up pretty easily like that. But there was not a whole lot of business banks that you can do that.

[00:19:40] And per your point, you know, People wanted and demanded that sort of service and even thought that they could do it online. You know, I get chase for example, because it just made intuitive sense, but that wasn’t, it’s not really the case. There’s only a handful of sort of neobanks for, for businesses. And so we’re excited to be in this space and we’re excited to, to help, to help folks create accounts.

[00:20:03] But yeah, I think that sort of paints the picture of where we were and where we are now and where we’re going. So. Sure. Yeah. First time I heard that word neobank honestly, I mean, I think of the cryptocurrency Neo or something, but, or a matrix view, but yeah, I mean, traditional banks are. I just think we do have to bring it up though, just for a completeness.

[00:20:29] Like I, American US citizens can register a, a US bank or some of them online. You know, if you are a US person, it is, there are online application processes for like bank America and others. But actually, I didn’t even work for me as an American, not because of me, but I had a foreign partner. So I did try to apply for bank of America online, which has worked for me in previous businesses.

[00:20:55] But when I said I had foreign partners, I don’t know what the percentage amount of foreign ownership was, but when I, but what my point was, it didn’t work for me even. So it says, Oh, what it says is you need to come into a bank branch. And I’m like, I called them up. Right. And I’m like, Hey, make America, um, I’m in China, I’m in China person and my business partner is European, but he’s in Thailand and is COVID and they’re like, sorry, you have to.

[00:21:29] That’s our policy, you know, that’s our policy and that it’s totally ridiculous. Like in this day and age too, to have such restrictions on foreign founders and foreign business owners, like we can pretty much verify anything we need to verify over the internet nowadays. So I think that’s just sort of, you know, A legacy, you know, thing that’s, that’s going to be quickly disrupted and is being disrupted, right?

[00:21:57] Yeah, for sure. I mean, it’s almost a little bit, it’s a little bit embarrassed, embarrassing in a way for America, supposedly to be open to immigrants and international people, but there. Definitely some challenges for, for, for non-Americans. Well, but we do have to say America is pretty open already, but, but you know, comparatively speaking to most other countries, but, but yeah, so let’s also touch on, I know listeners are aware of these other there’s others that have been around quite a while.

[00:22:27] Like we all think of Payoneer we all think of these payment companies, but. Do you want to define where they fit in this kind of banking online and traditional spectrum? Yeah. Happy to, to, to talk through sort of the differences between like a real us bank account, such as mercury or some other competitors and, and sort of these virtual accounts.

[00:22:50] I think that. The virtual accounts do serve a purpose. I, by no means and, and advocate, and you know, that you switched from pioneer to like a mercury, but they’re, there are some reasons why you might want to, or at least know about mercury are these, these sort of real physical bank accounts and the advantages of having one compared to the sort of a money transfer service.

[00:23:12] So, You know, the thing you have to realize is that money transfer money transmitters. So these money transfer services, Payoneer TransferWise, et cetera, are really they’re virtual bank accounts. And so they’re typically not insured by the FTC, which you get with a real bank account. They typically, in my opinion, Are not as secure.

[00:23:35] So if I’m, I am a business owner and I, I have an account, you know, with the U S bank, I would rather have my money in a physical bank than in an E wallet, for instance, because I mean, you can almost equate it to, you know, as an extreme example, like cryptocurrency. If, if I don’t want to keep my cryptocurrency on the exchange, I want to put it like on a hard drive in the, you know, [00:24:00] so that’s sort of like the, the comparison I make, but so I think for security reasons, it makes more sense to have, you know, your funds in the U S bank as well.

[00:24:07] And then there’s just a couple other things. There’s a lot of fees associated with, with virtual accounts. So for instance, if you want to receive disbursements from your Amazon account into your virtual account, typically they’ll charge you a fee for receiving USD. And if you just have a USD dominated bank account, obviously there’s no fees.

[00:24:27] The other thing is, you know, when you want to transfer to your, your funds to your actual bank account and, and. You know, whatever home country you may be in. You’re also going to get hit with a percentage based fee, anywhere from like 0.5% to 3%. No matter the, the, the amount of the transactions. So those that can really stack up, right.

[00:24:49] If you’re doing, you know, a hundred thousand dollars in revenue a month on Amazon, and, and you’re transferring that to your bank account, I mean, those fees really add up. And so. It’s much better, in my opinion, just to do, you know, a wire transfer, you know, at at a fixed cost. Obviously you don’t get immediate access to those funds.

[00:25:09] So that, that is one way where, you know, if you want, if you need immediate access, you know, to those funds, it might be better to go with like a money transfer service provider. If you value sort of speed over. Over I’m saving some money. So with their money transfer services that you can have your funds, like typically within, I think one to four hours with a traditional bank and international wire transfer takes anywhere from one to three days.

[00:25:34] So that’s one thing to consider, but yeah, I mean, you know, there, there are obviously some limitations to a us bank account, including, you know, the ability to hold multiple currencies. So. You know, with some of these money transmitted mentor services and E wallets, you can hold, you know, Chinese currency, British pounds, you know, USD.

[00:25:55] However, at mercury, we are looking into offering that in the future. So that’s something to look out for, but for now that is a differentiator. So I would say, you know, security fees, a couple other things we talked about. I think actually one other thing I want to bring up is debit and credit cards. So the, so like with, with these money transmitters, you can, I think some of them do have debit cards, debit card cards.

[00:26:27] But I think that they charge a fee for them and there’s a percentage based fee for using them. And you can only use them in certain geographies. So I think there’s a lot of limitations to those cards, as opposed to, if you have, you know, a debit or credit card issued by a US bank, you can pretty much, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to use it anywhere.

[00:26:46] And you’re probably going to pay low fees and potentially even get points on it. So I think that’s a big differentiator as well. So, you know, right now at mercury, we just have the debit cards, but we also have virtual debit cards, which is interesting. And there’s no fees for those. And we’re coming out with a credit card this year.

[00:27:04] Oh wow. Credit card too. Yeah. So you just. That was just a whole bunch of information. I’ll try to, I’ll try to read iterator simplifier. So yeah, I mean, I think a lot of these, you know, crystal brain was paying here, but there’s a bunch of others and what they are is virtual banking or online banks or wallets.

[00:27:23] So they have sub-accounts under their accounts and what they, I think, of course they still need a license to do that. Not anybody can just do that, but they somehow have a way to get like, Sub account numbers under their main bank account in the U S or other countries. And then they receive funds usually to that main account.

[00:27:43] And then they allocate it to the sub-account. So like if 10 of us had excel account, somebody sends him money, whether it’s Amazon or whoever it goes to their main account, they would then say, whose account sub-account is this? And then they would issue it to your account. And then they make money. I mean, everyone has to make money, but they make money from.

[00:28:03] They have certain fees for maybe receiving that or sending that in the nails. I think the main fee they make is that the foreign exchange fee, when you send, they almost require you to exchange it when you take it out. So you take it out to, you know, your China bank, your Hong Kong bank or your overseas bank.

[00:28:22] They usually don’t allow you. To put it in the same currency. They usually in my experience, maybe I’m wrong and there’s different, but that’s usually where they make their money. Is that exchange, which you say could be anywhere from like a half percent to 3%. Just so people heard that that’s so that’s where people can start saving money is if you actually go ahead and open a US company and get a traditional.

[00:28:43] US bank. So I’m just checking my brief outline. I want to share about my experience using it too. I think I can do my experience in the outro. Like maybe, maybe I’ll do that outside of here at the end. Okay, go ahead. Sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to bring up one point that, that I just recalled. So I spoken with a lot of folks in India, Turkey and in China.

[00:29:08] And many of them are saying that it’s really hard for them to integrate with the e-commerce marketplaces in the US or with the payment service providers like Stripe PayPal, and then on the marketplace side, like Amazon Walmart, if they have a virtual account, I guess the, those companies like are really not as open to virtual accounts as they are to real physical bank accounts.

[00:29:32] So I think that’s, that’s one thing to consider, you know, if you’re having issues, there is a workaround, but. I think a lot of people don’t realize, you know, that they can create an account remotely. So just wanted to all that out as well. Okay. No, thanks. Yeah. I mean, I think a lot of people, I mean, I, like I said, we have a pretty top, one of our top blogs is about US banking for non-Americans and there is a lot of confusion and non misunderstandings and assumptions.

[00:29:58] And so, yeah, hopefully it is, this interview is helping, I think it is so far for sure. And then the debit cards is definitely a big, big benefit. And credit cards is even more amazing. I didn’t know. You guys were even working on that. So let’s, let’s talk about the process. I also have a pretty good review play page.

[00:30:17] I wrote up my experiences with screenshots and I have a separate video too. People can check out, but you know, I think the first one is really amazing is. There no fee to apply. Right? I mean, it’s almost kind of crazy because it must be good. I know sometimes I’ve talked to you in your, some of your other team members.

[00:30:34] I know you get overloaded with applications, but you know, obviously it’s pretty amazing. There’s no fee to apply, right? Yeah. So there’s no fee to apply and we don’t require any sort of minimum balance. So we’re pretty open to receiving, you know, any anyone can apply. I will say that we, we do have a large influx of applications coming in currently.

[00:30:58] However, we are hiring and we’re looking to triple our support staff. So we we’ve already gotten our, our sort of onboarding time down from, I believe it was a couple of, it was like, It’s five to seven days down to 24 hours. Now it’s 24 to 48 hours. So we’re working hard on that, but yeah, I mean, really the only restrictions we have is if you’re, you know, selling like marijuana or pornography, or you’re clearly a money launderer that’s, you know, like on some lists.

[00:31:29] So otherwise we’re totally open to people applying. Yeah. Like you said, No opening account fees, you know? No, no, no minimum balances. So yeah. Yeah. And then the process is pretty fast. And then, so it lets me just clarify more about the product, about the bank, the offer. So it’s a re you know, you, I think you said it once or twice in the interview, I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but you’re calling it like a real, that’s a real bank, right?

[00:31:57] Like, do you want to, I don’t know how you explain what it exactly is. Yeah. Yeah. So, so we partnered with evolve bank trust. They’re like a 99 year old institution in the United States. So they’re sort of the, the real partner bank here and we’re sort of the software layer on top. So we have built this sort of really slick product that

[00:32:19] Really resembles more of like a SAS product and it does a bank, but it is, you know, fully partnered with involved bank and trust. So you do get that real US bank account and all the benefits of that, even though, you know, the product almost feels like an E-wallet account, but yeah, I mean, yeah. Behind the login.

[00:32:38] You know, you’ll notice that there’s integrations with, you know, Stripe, PayPal, Amazon Shopify, all the major payment processors, all the accounting software, you know, that you use QuickBooks zero pilot and just like a whole host of sort of features that. You would really expect in, in, you know, modern banking, but you don’t really get if you’re using like a Chase or Wells Fargo.

[00:33:00] So for instance, super easy to search transactions. Like I remember when I was banking with Wells and I needed to look up the transaction, like the search functionality was terrible. And only went like, I don’t know, six months. And then you had to like call to get more. It was so weird. So we’ve made that, that whole thing face just a lot smoother and just designed a lot better.

[00:33:25] Yeah. Other than that, you know, you can send international and domestic wires from your laptop. So that’s a huge plus, especially for folks that are, you know, more nomadic. Yeah, I was traveling quite a bit, you know, when I sort of started on my entrepreneurial journey and I would always have to come back to the U S to send a wire transfer to my suppliers in China.

[00:33:47] I thought that was ridiculous. So we’ve, we’ve removed things like that. We’ve really just kind of looked at the banking experience, you know, from the ground up and tried to create a product that’s 10 X, that experience and. We spent many years actually building it for sure. I mean it’s yeah. I mean, I’m a user and it’s totally like online.

[00:34:08] Yeah. Very like, yeah. Like modern, not like what you normally expect in and you can. Just I’ll talk about the debit cards. So you can issue a physical card or a virtual card and the virtual card. I actually haven’t used too much. I think I had just had my physical card, but the virtual card is awesome because you could give, have limits so you could kind of use it for it.

[00:34:32] Either. I actually don’t want to mess it up. I don’t want to say it wrong, but could I issue this? I can issue once in my staff, right? Yeah. You can issue up to 20 virtual cards within your account. And so you can issue those cards to different staff members, team members, and you can even set permissions and securities around.

[00:34:52] What pages certain staff members can see and cannot see, maybe you don’t want them seeing, you know, your total balance or access to that or whatnot, and just, you want them to have access to the virtual card that’s capped at, you know, a thousand dollars spend a day or something like that. What’s also really cool about the virtual card that our clients really enjoy.

[00:35:11] And that I personally also use is that. You can create that virtual card instantly and start using it, you know, for your operational expenses, you don’t have to wait around anymore for a physical card to come in. The mail takes three to four weeks to get to get that if you’re located abroad. So I think that’s a big innovation as well.

[00:35:32] It’s hilarious too. For me, I get the physical card and I’ll see it out here. I usually have of somebody in the U S take a picture of it or type it out. You never actually get the physical card. Like for me, like how many years? 14 years I go back to see my parents, you know, in the U S, they’ll give me the mail and there’ll be a card that still has the sticker on it.

[00:35:58] That’s already expired because it’s like five years old. Damn right. I’ve never activated. I’ve not, you know, like who uses it, especially now with lockdowns everybody’s online. Like, yeah. So it’s really awesome that, uh, there’s these virtual cards. Absolutely. Another, another thing. And a question I had for you is like, do, is there like Apple pay?

[00:36:22] Do you use Apple pay in China or any sort of like, you know, which are alley pay basically. But they’re all like, which is pretty cool. I think. Great here. But there is, I think even Apple pay has a lot of Apple users in China. Gotcha. Yeah. Cause that’s another great use case. And I use, I use mercury for that use case as well.

[00:36:43] Just like load on my virtual card on my phone instantaneously. Okay. I can now go. Made these purchases in person as well, like from my phone, it just makes sense. You know? All right. And let’s see, I guess we’re going to wrap up, but you know, if we want to talk about some of the benefits, of course we are a, we are a partner with mercury is really a pleasure to have mercury, you know, support in the community and any you’re joined in our, our membership, which is great.

[00:37:12] So we do have an affiliate link or a partner link. Which has given bullet benefits for everybody. There’s a, maybe I won’t say the exact amount because it might change. The show is evergreen. We get people listening to shows here as an advance there’s later, but I think there’ll always be some kind of little bonus for a.

[00:37:30] For both sides. So if you sign up with, uh, gold, there, there is a bonus. If you spend a certain amount, there’s some requirements, of course, get the account activated and actually use it and make some certain amount of spending on the card. And then. I think Travis, you even have some VIP benefits or, you know, there’s a tea club or some other things, you know, for, even for bigger users.

[00:37:53] Do you want to share? Yeah. So as you sort of touched on with the, you know, no fees to create an account, we actually don’t have any fees at mercury except for wire transfers. So we typically charge $5 for domestic wires and $20 for international wires, no matter what the amount may be. So again, not percentage-based just a single value.

[00:38:14] However we do have for premium users. That’s something called the tea room, which is a free international wire transfers and free domestic wire transfers. So yeah, if, if folks in your community would like to speak with me about that, just shoot me an email. I would be happy to discuss that further, but the tea rooms awesome.

[00:38:34] You get, you know, we, we deliver a really nice tea. We actually give tea too, which is crazy. Yeah. That’s why it’s sort of called the tea room. And the very high quality tea as well. So you get the free banking experience and free tea. It’s awesome. Yeah, of course he got, gotta be, you know, a high volume user, right?

[00:38:55] So the requirements. But they can talk. Of course, if they fear they wreck, you know, I think like what is a million dollar turnover a year or something like depends I guess, on a case. Yeah. The current requirement is that you deposit $250,000 with mercury, however, That could change in the future. Yeah. I know it’s hard to say exact numbers on the interview, but, but this is awesome.

[00:39:20] Trying to scan. Thanks for supporting. I’m going to do my story of how I use, I think, in the outro for the people. So we can save some time in the interview, but I’ll talk about my experiences with it after which has been very positive so far. Yeah. And just for the record, you know, we used it. I wasn’t even scared.

[00:39:36] Like you, you know, I was even scared to you because Amazon seller central, you know, getting an account is so nerve wracking. They want the bank statement and I’m like, actually Travis even helped me in an email, you know, to find it in there. I didn’t know if it would work, you know, it was a brand new account.

[00:39:53] Brand new bank, but it w it went through, so I hope others get it too, but yeah, I mean, this is my only US bank solution for my current Amazon business. So it’s really awesome with everything. So, so thanks everything mercury doing so. Yeah, appreciate it and appreciate the kind words. And I’m really happy.

[00:40:14] We’re able to help you and, and, you know, folks like you, especially during, during lockdown that are in whatever country or locale they may be, and really just can’t even get here. So it’s, it’s, it’s really exciting. And to be able to, to help so many people. Okay. And then I just want to also take a little clip of some of our mastermind.

[00:40:35] We’d had two sessions. I just kind of grabbed my camera while we did one of them and just recorded. And we have a really cool featured member, Zac Zheng, who is giving us a little bit of insight as he’s going through some things with his business. And we were. We were talking to him about it. And, this is just some of the excitement that’s happening there.

[00:40:54] I’m working on a shop idea previously, I come from a web development background and I was researching with a friend how to create tools for shopping, similar to shooting 10 or jungle Scouts for Amazon shopping for basically research the partnership has some more fizzles or it hasn’t crashed. Decided not to continue or we, so right now I’m kind of researching what to continue with.

[00:41:22] I might go back to doing.  I’m going the distance from Amazon is great that I’ve got access to this community. What everyone’s doing in commons. That I can bounce ideas off and maybe do some things that could hopefully help this community. We just finished up our first batch of my, for February. We got another one on the 16th that was Zac Zheng.

[00:41:48] He’s working on a software project, which I didn’t even know. He let me record, you know, we don’t record all the masterminds, but he’s really, really amazing in the community. And he’s building a software project, but it seems like there was a little bit on the. Difference with their partnership, which I just heard on this exact recording, but that’s what this mastermind is all about.

[00:42:06] And he’s, he’s still staying positive and we’re going to, we’re going to do like a little session for him soon where people can get to know him. Maybe he can find a partner in this community, but be great to get more people like you involved. Go off measure membership. GFA. VIP has hope to see you. The next one cause we’re 16, 20, 21.

[00:42:31] Thank you so much, Travis. I hope everybody enjoyed some internet connection. I was like, I’m like holding my phone at the window when we’re doing our best here in deep, deep, deep North China here freezing cold. But I thought it was an amazing show. I really appreciate Travis giving us some tips and insights of course, about what they’re doing at mercury, which I think is going to go through hyper-growth and, you know, just in general about S business, U S banking strategies, things like that.

[00:43:00] I hope you got as much out of it. As I did. I sat in the show. I wasn’t talking about my experience. I also have a video. I said it, You can check that out, but I want to maybe give some my own experiences. So I’ve been kind of dropping the hints or dropping it. I’m opening up another Amazon brand, or I don’t even want to Amazon, right?

[00:43:21] E-commerce brand in the bar products, niche, still not prepared to make it totally public on the podcast. We’re talking about this in our masterminds though. And the brand and the process, if you want to get on the inside there. But I thought you, you got a big America. I used to do bank of America online as a US citizen, and I could get it, but we have non-American partners.

[00:43:46] So they said no, or they didn’t say no. They said you and that American dude, y’all just come on in walking to one of our branches here in America. And, we wanna shake your hand and do business together. I’m like, well, I’m in China and he’s in Thailand. And she’s like, well, I’m sorry, sir, but that’s our policy.

[00:44:11] You got to come in here and schedule appointment. Like it’s, COVID the world’s locked down. There’s no flights. I’m sorry, sir. That’s our policy. No, have a good day, sir. I’m like, all right, you’re really nice, but that’s not helping me anyway. That’s what I, luckily I had, I wanted to work with mercury anyways.

[00:44:30] I had heard of them and,we’re working together now and they’re supporting the show and I went through the whole process as a normal user and it’s super smooth. I mean, it’s like the way banking probably always should have been. And I don’t think it’s just for non-Americans. I think Americans can and should use this too.

[00:44:48] I mean, it’s got physical cards, virtual cards, you know, it’s totally online. You get like, you know, I think text alerts or email alerts, basically. It’s like a way I believe a bank should be. You can see all your transaction history. You can, it’s got nice little chart dashboard. Yeah. it’s built for tech people, e-commerce people, and they’ve noticed tons of people all around the world are opening these accounts and they can legitimately do it.

[00:45:11] I’ll have to say sometimes there was some kind of gray ways. People did bank accounts in the U S before anywhere else, but this is totally legit. And, uh, I’ve been using them like pain or Amazon. I use them to verify our Amazon account, you know, the scary seller central approval process. I sent him a statement, downloaded it from their website, uploaded it with my other crap and a parade to the Amazon gods to give me an account to allow me to sell.

[00:45:39] And, it worked, there was no question, not, not even no clarification or request. So. Hope it works for you like that, but it was pretty amazing. I’m used to getting some seller central support, some painful requests for some other documents, but it worked and I didn’t have to go back. You know, I could stay here in Shenyang, China freezing cold.

[00:46:03] Did it all over this winter. So. You know, and there’s no application fee. Plus if you use our global from link, you can get up to, I don’t want to say how much, but in a hundred dollars bonus, of course, you’ve got to spend right. Use the account. They’re not selling you to just going to apply and get free money.

[00:46:20] And then we get something too. So. It’s win-win for both of us and there’s no application fee and it’s unbelievable. I mean, people used to pay hundreds and thousands of dollars for online banks. I mean, regular banks, you know, get connections to bankers, et cetera, et cetera. So, I mean, it seems like a no brainer.

[00:46:38] I think if you have a bank account already, why not get another one? You know, it’s always good to have backup. We’ve seen it in Hong Kong too, you know, there’s these online banking solutions there too, but,it does seem like U S business is getting ahead, uh, with these kinds of solutions and, uh, online and, uh, social weird world.

[00:46:57] We’ve kind of like flipped around. We used to help people count to Asia. Now we’re helping Asia. People are foreign people go to the U S but that’s where we go both ways. And we’re going to keep on going. So I just want to say thank you for. Listening to this whole show. I noticed club house I’m on clubhouse.

[00:47:16] My last name is my username, but I was talking to him, another friend, I won’t say his name and other active person, the community. And he’s just like, I got kids I’m busy. I don’t really want to be hanging out on a calls, but I’ve had some great goals, actually a little bit about more internet marketing but I’m on there.

[00:47:35] I know everybody’s asking me if I’m on clubhouse, but yeah. Clubhouse looks like a cool app. I know the whole world’s going on clubhouse and I hang out for some calls too. So, my last name is my user ID. Feel free to find me there. All right, that’s it for this week’s show. See you in a couple of weeks.

[00:47:53] And if you are a super fan or supporter, our GFA, VIP members see you next Tuesday and Wednesday, we have two different time slots and it’s pretty awesome. I mean, I actually, I’m really enjoying it to know some of our, some our core members and we’re, we’re adding some clips in these shows. So you get to know some of them that’s it for today.

[00:48:11] Again, the URL is Thanks for. Tuning in bye-bye. To get more info about running an international business, please visit our website at That’s Also be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.

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Tags: asia, banking, business, china, e-commerce, ecommerce, entrepreneur, FBA, guide, tips

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