How to use a Payoneer Debit Card in India

Odesk Payoneer Debit Card
Odesk Payoneer Debit Card

I've been working with oDesk for almost two years, and got started with Guru dot com just last week. And somehow the dream of making a decent living from the comfort of my home has been struck down again and again by Paypal, one of the most popular forms of payment on the internet.

Somehow this has been the bane of my life since January 2009, wondering if the payments will drop into my bank account at HDFC which is a damn good Indian bank, comparable to banks across the world.

Not only has been really annoying, frustrating and so on and so forth causing me to wonder whether I made a good choice by moving away from Instructional Design to freelance writing, I'm still confused as to whether Paypal will finally resolve its issues that it currently has with Indian banks at the moment.

However, Odesk, being as cool as it is... sent out a group mailer for independent contractors in India to take another payment option called Payoneer, by waiving off the $ 10 fee.

I took this chance instead of waiting around like I have for the past couple of years.Of course, which worked out for the better. Here are some steps if you are struggling with payment from Paypal too (just try it!!):

STEP 1: You have to apply for a Payoneer card, through whichever freelance service you use. and you'll get the card about 15 to 20 days later, not unless you live under a rock!

STEP 2: You have to go to your account (which you should have created earlier) at the Payoneer website, and enter the card number (that you have received) as well as a four digit PIN of your choice. Keep that PIN safe!

STEP 3: Next, transfer the money from your freelance service to Payoneer by selecting the appropriate payment method, for which you might incur a $2 fee depending on which site you use. (I transfer it from Odesk to Payoneer)

STEP 4: Once the funds appear in your Payoneer account (almost immediately!), proceed to load it on to your card. Now there are two options here, the first of which being loading the money onto your card (which will cost you about $ 2.50) within two hours or the second option which will load the money onto your card in two business days with no transaction fee.

The next set of steps include withdrawing money from an ATM in India.

Background: For some reason, I trust ICICI as a bank even though I don't have an account, and continue to loathe the nationalized banks (such as SBI, SBH, PNB and so on and so forth). Personally, I feel they're in the dark ages.

Anyway, this is what I did, to receive funds accordingly. I first made sure that the money was indeed loaded on to the card, by checking the balance (in dollars) at my Payoneer account.

STEP ONE: I found the nearest ICICI ATM which had a facility where the machine ONLY required you to swipe and remove the card immediately. Don't use ATMs that take in your card, as it might not give it back to you if there are some issues with transactions.

STEP TWO: Once you swipe the card, select the 'Current' option, and NOT the Savings account option. You'll lose 90 cents every time you do this...

STEP THREE: Enter the PIN (you selected) and the amount of money that you'd like to withdraw.

STEP FOUR: You'll receive the money promptly. Enjoy!

NOTE 1: A transaction fee of $ 2.15 (roughly about Rs. 120) is charged for every transaction, so ensure that the withdrawals you make is a sizeable one, perhaps keeping the number of transactions a month to about 2-3... which is how much a bank would charge you in service fees anyway etc.

NOTE 2: Also note that a one-time charge ONLY of roughly $9 to $13 (about Rs. 650) will be withdrawn from your account for the first transaction.

NOTE 3: Please also remember that for using this card, the bank charges you about $4 a month, and I consider it to be minimal as I don't have to consistently worry about maintaining a balance, as I'm a big and erratic spender ;)

For those with doubts about switching to Payoneer, don't harbor any... it works very well, only if you follow these steps properly in India. Good luck and more money to you...

PS: Thanks Odesk.

Payoneer India Update - We're stuck with Paypal now

For Odeskers who have recently read this article, you'll find that it is obsolete, in terms of information as Payoneer has stopped its services in India, probably due to policies of the Reserve Bank of India.

Yes, we're stuck with Paypal now. If and when Payoneer resumes its services, this can still be used as a guide.

Read here to find out more about Payoneer India problems and a possible resolution, if possible, in the future.

Thank you all.

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Comments 40 comments

Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

Dan - thank you. I was going to do the wait-and-watch thing with PayPal (I'm sure they'll sort things out eventually). Guru has been sending out emails about Payoneer as well but I was a bit hesitant to sign up as I hadn't heard of it. Thank you for that detailed step by step guide. I'll go check it out :)

danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 6 years ago from Bangalore Author

You're welcome. What I'm doing is moving 30% of my money for daily expenditure while doing the wait and watch thing with Paypal. But I've had too many frustrating experiences with Paypal... enough to make me want to drop the payment method and try Xoom as well. But there's a time and place, I guess.

Mahendra 6 years ago

Great information. I was looking for it

Rajeshkannan MJ 6 years ago


I was not aware about it and i used "savings" option while receiving money. The atm gave money, However , is this a problem?

Balaji 6 years ago

When I tried withdrawing money using my new Payoneer card from a HDFC bank ATM, I was allowed to withdraw only Rs. 10k which is the daily limit fixed for non-HDFC bank debit cards.

What is your experience in this?

Thanks in advance for your reply

danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 6 years ago from Bangalore Author

I've withdrawn amounts of 3 to 4 k through Payoneer, so no experience with 10 k. Moreover since Paypal has resumed transactions in India, most of the payments have now been redirected to my bank account directly.


deepesh 6 years ago

hi ,

i am new user of payoneer and have got some funds loaded to it.

My question is that when i go to withdraw funds from the Bank ATM , does it give me option to withdraw money in terms of dollars and then it converts them to Rupees?

And in case if it does not give the option to withdraw money in terms of dollars then how do i know the amount i can withdraw in terms of rupees as they are some fees associated with every transaction as well as i do not know exactly about the currency exchange rates they are going to follow.

Arul 6 years ago

I just used SBI and it works very well too..The limits in ICICI are higher and they have more cash in their ATM's.So if you want to withdraw more than 20k you need to go for ICICI

Ashish 6 years ago

Hi Danniel,

Can you also comment on the legality involved in withdrawing money from the bank ATM. I use standard Chartered bank to withdraw money. Need to know how to bring it to the knowledge of the government of India.


Ranjana 6 years ago


Pls clear one point. I am also using odesk .when we load money in payoneer card they provide full value of dollar or deduct like paypal deduct 1.5 per dollar.


danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 6 years ago from Bangalore Author

Ranjana, they deduct an amount of $ 2 when you are transferring the money to your Payoneer accnt, and the minimum withdrawal limit is $ 20. So if you are trying to transfer some money below $ 20, then it won't allow you to.

Ashish, I'm not sure about how one can bring it to the knowledge of the Indian Government.

Deepesh, you have to use and estimate the amount of money (in rupees) you have, and make a withdrawal according to that.

Ashish 6 years ago

Hi Daniel,

can you then tell us how to pay taxes for the money which is over and above our regular income. For me its odesk from which i make some small sum of money to cover my regular expenses?


danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 6 years ago from Bangalore Author

Ashish, I had the same question until some time ago. Since your full time job already hires an accountant that deducts tax at source... that part is taken care of.

In chatting with an experienced friend of mine, she suggested that I personally visit an IT officer and declare IT returns for the freelance work completed during the year (separate from the full time work that one is doing). Of course, you use the same PAN number.

That's the only choice we have other than hiring the services of an accountant.

shylesh.K.Chandroth 6 years ago


Thanks for giving valuable information in a good manner.


Senthil 6 years ago


Please clarify on the maximum withdrawal limit when withdrawing from a Payoneer card.

Is there any bank's ATM that allows withdrawal of more than 10,000 Rs.

As far as I know most banks ATM cap the max withdrawal limit to 10,000 Rs for other bank's cards.

Will be getting my payoneer card in a week now.

More money to y'all

danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 6 years ago from Bangalore Author

Thanks Shylesh and Senthil, I don't have that information, buddy.

Susmita S. 6 years ago

Does Odesk charges $20 for every withdrawal an addition with $2?

danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 6 years ago from Bangalore Author

yes, sushmita.

Susmita S. 6 years ago

Thanks for all the valuable informations.

From where shall I get the pin number? Does Payoneer send it ? Or I have to give it by myself while activating the card ?

I have received the card with a stamp of Shilong on its envelope and an Indian postal stamp. Is there anything wrong?

Ramesh 6 years ago

Payoneer blocked the account for Indian users according to the mail I received today. Is there any way to withdraw my funds? I have not used my card on ATM. So far I was using it on merchandise only :(

danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 6 years ago from Bangalore Author


They ask you to enter a PIN number for yourself when you login to Payoneer dot com. That's where i got the Payoneer card as well - frm an address in Shillong.

@ Ramesh

I use it for online purchases so it doesn't bother me that much anyways... you can receive payments via paypal or moneybookers to your bank account. so try that if you need the money real bad.

Prakash 5 years ago

Hi, thanks for this insightful article. However, I have few doubts. Can I use this card for purchasing goods online? OK that the bank will charge for using this card – every month or only when using it?

Payoneer 5 years ago

@Ramesh Hi - sorry it took us so long to get back to you here. Due to instructions from the Indian local banking authorities, Payoneer Prepaid MasterCard cards cannot be offered to applicants in India at the moment. We are working very hard to find other solutions for our Indian users. You have probably contacted our customer support, but you can still access your funds. Just in case you haven't, contact us at and we will get back to you quickly.

@Prakash You can use the Payoneer card to purchase goods online at any website that accepts Mastercard cards, or you can use the card to withdraw funds from any ATM. However, as was stated here, there is a problem with India at the moment that we are working hard to resolve this issue, and we would be more than happy to talk to you about your options.

@danielchakraborty This is a really great hub - thanks! :-):-)

danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 5 years ago from Bangalore Author

@Payoneer You guys saved my ass during the Paypal debacle last year. And which was why I wanted to write this article for those facing a similar problem. Please answer these questions for everyone. And if there's anything else, let me know. Thanks.

Payoneer 5 years ago

@Danielchakraborty I'm happy we were able to help! Are there any questions I missed here? We do have solutions for you right now - even with the problems with India right now, you can still receive payments. Feel free to contact us and we will send you the information (too long to write on someone else's Website).

danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 5 years ago from Bangalore Author

@Payoneer if you'd like for me to write a fresh article on these new 'solutions' keeping in mind the restrictions for Payoneer in India at the moment, you can get in touch with me at and I'll be glad to assist!

Rudra profile image

Rudra 5 years ago

I also need to get one of these cards. What is the best card for paypal payments in India.

danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 5 years ago from Bangalore Author

@ Rudra If you work for online freelance writing organizations such as Odesk or Guru or even Elance, they'll allow you to apply for this card which you should receive in about 15 days or so.

For paypal, i've linked my HDFC bank account to Paypal, and it has been working ok. ICICI is fine among several others as well.

Richy 5 years ago

payoneer card is now not working in india i think.

Rubaii Saleh 4 years ago

trying to send a request through their website by oDesk, but India is not being shown in the country list. why??? what can i do now?? help plssssssss.

danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 4 years ago from Bangalore Author

right... for sometime now

danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 4 years ago from Bangalore Author

they've closed it for India for the moment... and it's been about 4-5 months now

TP 4 years ago

Is it possible to withdraw the money loaded onto the Payoneer card into a local bank savings account in India. In other words tie up the payoneer card with a bank account in India? Kindly clarify

mehul 4 years ago


if i am transferring around 700$ from odesk to paypal and from paypal to my local bank (hdfc). how much i will be charged.

danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 4 years ago from Bangalore Author

@mehul - you can do that but there's also a direct transfer to your hdfc account from odesk itself. however, i'm not sure about how much they charge. check with odesk. as for the method you use, only paypal will withdraw about 1-2 percent of the amount that drops into your account by default - if you have a personal account.

monicamelendez profile image

monicamelendez 4 years ago from Salt Lake City

Very interesting that PayPal won't help you guys out. I personally think it's ridiculous.

Banna 3 years ago

Now this all solved, Now odesk and Elance have NEFT transfer method

elance transfer/month free odesk about 1.99$/Transfer there is no charge at bank.

Thank YOU


Suchitra 3 years ago

Hi Daniel,

Is it still possible to order a payoneer card from India? If not, any alternate solution ?

atulnarang profile image

atulnarang 2 years ago from New Delhi

This method no longer works, sadly. It has been a long time since a ban has been put on Payoneer.

Link to Bring Payoneer back to India Facebook Page -

Vidit Kothari 22 months ago

Payoneer, one of the most beloved Payment service for Freelancers is now in India. To my luck it turned up just after a week since I started freelancing. I think you should definitely try it:

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