As global trade expands, so do companies' global payments. That can be challenging given the complexities involved in making payments to recipients in other countries, including differences in payment systems, formats, and regulations, as well as different currencies. But banks and other payments providers are working to make paying globally easier for corporates.

"Payment schemes are generally geared domestically," said Ather Williams, head of global payments in Global Transaction Services at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "There are different payment formatting requirements with each payment scheme."

Given the differences in formats, "a lot of information gets dropped on the floor on the way, and that becomes a reconciliation problem for the beneficiary," Williams said. "And if [the payment] is high-value and has to bounce through a series of correspondent banks, the beneficiary may not receive the full amount because of fees or taxes.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.