If you are a freelancer who works online in freelancing websites like Elance and Upwork (oDesk), you certainly have scratched your head deciding on a payment processor or withdrawal option. After working the hours and getting paid, there is this issue of deciding which method of payment to use. Freelancing websites support the popular processors which are Payoneer, PayPal, Wire Transfer (Bank Withdrawals) and Skrill.
Each of these individual payment processors come with their own fees. The charges are in addendum to the payment cut that freelancing websites take. While withdrawing there might be an additional charge applicable to process the payment by the online jobs website. Finally, there might be additional fees charged by the local banks or ATMS on our end.
Since we are bombarded by different types of fees at every intermediary, it is necessary to look at them in great detail. A single payment processor is not always the best choice. The choice depends on the amount that you are trying to withdraw. So in this post, I compare Payoneer vs. PayPal vs. Bank Wire vs. Skrill.
Payoneer is the most popular payment processor in the freelancing world. It issues a free international MasterCard and also assigns a US bank account for its users. The Payoneer account can be connected to websites and payment can be processed via this intermediary. After the balance is transferred from a freelancing website to Payoneer, it can be easily withdrawn using a Payoneer International MasterCard. The card can be inserted into ATMs supporting MasterCard for instant withdrawal.
Payoneer MasterCard is good for withdrawing funds around $100 to $350 USD. There are different types of fees that Payoneer deducts:
Monthly fees ($1 to $3) or annual subscription fees ($29.95) depending upon where you signed up from.
Per transaction fees: ($3 to $3.15) + (1.8% to 3%) foreign transaction fees, since you get funds in your local currency.
Bank ATM Fees: Depends on your bank.
Note that there are additional fees if you are interested in instantly loading your Payoneer account. You can wait around 2 days to gain access to the funds in Payoneer for free.
You might be interested in: Figuring out Payoneer ATM Withdrawal Fees.
PayPal is the most widely used payment processor in many countries. However, it isn’t available for all countries to receive payments. This processor has some strict rules and users complain a lot about getting their funds locked in. In countries like India there are strict rules set by RBI related to withdrawals. Users also complain about the exchange rate provided by PayPal.
So, use PayPal with caution. It doesn’t have the yearly fees. Its bank withdrawal fees depend upon where you live. For countries like US and Canada there aren’t any bank withdrawal fees. But for countries like India, converting funds from USD to INR and transferring funds from PayPal to Bank can cost you. There might also be additional charges added by your local bank.
See this page to find out the PayPal’s bank withdrawal fees for your country.
But note that PayPal is widely accepted and moving balance from Elance to PayPal is free while Upwork charges $1 USD only. Withdraw to PayPal if you plan to spend the money online. It can be used to purchase hosts, domains for example.
There are usually two types of bank wire transfers—local currency transfer and USD transfer.
Bank Withdrawal in Local Currency: In Elance, one bank withdrawal in local currency per month is free. But the exchange rate is not that good. However, transferring funds using this method is good if the amount is between 400 to 600 USD.
USD Bank Transfer: This type of transfer costs $25 for processing in Elance and $30 in Upwork (odesk). The exchange rate is good in this withdrawal method. When the amount to transfer is high, USD bank transfer becomes profitable despite the fees. Use this method when the amount is over 750 USD.
Local banks might charge an inward remittance fee.
Input your account details, SWIFT or IBAN codes correctly. Always double check.
Skrill is also a good option as long as the account is a personal account. But users have complained their accounts being converted into merchant account after withdrawing funds from freelancing websites. Skrill merchant account fees are a bit high.
For example: Non-European merchants will incur a fee of 3.90% + €0.35 for receiving funds. There’s also a conditional gateway usage fee of €19.95 per month. For withdrawing to a local bank there’s a €1.80 fee and you will have to except a local bank’s inward remittance fee as well.
For personal accounts, Skrill works great. The exchange rate is fine and personal account fees are comparatively low. For withdrawing to a bank internationally via SWIFT, the fee amounts to GBP 2.16 or EUR 2.95 plus the local bank’s remittance receiving charge.
Hence, Skrill is good as long as you have a personal account. If it is converted into a merchant account— which happens automatically—move away from Skrill.
There isn’t a single method that suits the payment needs for all the countries and amount. It depends upon how much you want to withdraw and in which country you have your bank account. In my experience:
USD 100 or lower to 350: Use Payoneer.
USD 400 to 600: Use local currency bank transfer
USD 750+: Use USD bank transfer.
For spending funds online: Use PayPal
If you have a personal account (NOT Merchant Account): Try Skrill