PayPal, a global digital payments company, has introduced an automated process for receiving Foreign Inward Remittance Advice (FIRA) — a key document for Indian MSME exporters and freelancers that establishes proof of receipt of export proceeds in foreign currency from outside the country.
At zero-cost, merchants will now be able to download their monthly digital FIRA issued by the bank, by simply logging into their PayPal account. This FIRA was otherwise coming at a cost close to ₹2,000 for every 20 international transactions. This initiative is aimed at empowering Indian MSME exporters to seamlessly grow their business internationally.
“When we help the exporters, we help ourselves. Through this FIRA automation, our merchants get a better experience. We are hoping this will be one of things that will help us attract new exporters. It helps our existing base and in acquiring new exporters as well,” Nath Parameshwaran, Director, Corporate Affairs, PayPal India told BusinessLine.
He highlighted that the pandemic has significantly accelerated digital adoption especially amongst small sellers and freelancers. At zero-cost, digital FIRA process not only reduces time, saves money and removes friction but also eliminates the need to visit branches and thereby reducing the chances of the Covid-19 infection, he added.
This has eliminated a huge number of steps for the MSME exporter and freelancers who are using PayPal. In 2020, despite the pandemic headwinds, PayPal enabled exports worth ₹10,000 crore for 3.6 lakh small exporters with a majority driven by tribal, artisan and women led enterprises, according to Parameswaran.
What is FIRA?
Foreign Inward Remittance Advice (FIRA) is a document that acts as a proof for all inward remittances and payments received from abroad. This is issued by banks in India and is required by exporters of all sizes individual or a business, such as a limited company, partnership firm, sole proprietorship firm etc.
Previously, Indian sellers and freelancers had to send a manual request to PayPal’s partner bank and also pay a fee for the service. The bank would then issue FIRA as a physical statement which could take up to 10 days and required the seller to visit the bank to collect the same.
This latest PayPal initiative comes on the heels of its partnership last month with FlexiLoans.com, a digital lending platform, to provide freelancers, women entrepreneurs, sole proprietors in MSMEs with collateral free business loans.