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eBay Inc. is the textbook definition of “multinational.” The online platform connects buyers and sellers of all kinds of goods, across more than 190 markets.

It also collects payments on behalf of sellers around the world. When someone sells an item on ebay.com, the transaction is processed by eBay. Then eBay distributes the sales price to the seller, less credit card or other payment processing charges and whatever fees the seller owes eBay for the transaction. This managed payments strategy gives eBay responsibility for safeguarding funds due to sellers in certain jurisdictions.

“We have millions of sellers globally and facilitate a significant number of transactions every day,” explains Alan Kubitz, senior manager of global risk and insurance for eBay. “So, at any point in time, eBay is holding money for many thousands of sellers—from individuals to small businesses to global corporations. These seller funds have to be held in a ‘for benefit of,’ or FBO, account that is separate from our operating accounts, or else they must be safeguarded in a method that complies with local regulations.”

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Meg Waters

Meg Waters is the editor in chief of Treasury & Risk. She is the former editor in chief of BPM Magazine and the former managing editor of Business Finance.

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