Payoneer: The Doorway to Earning a Better Income Online
Some time ago I wrote about many of the obstacles presented to people in the business of earning an income online, particularly when they reside outside of the United States. It was suggested to me on that very article in the comments section that I should try Payoneer. I made a note of it and promptly forgot about it over the months, as one often does.
For years, PayPal has always been the standard when it comes to merchant accounts. Whether it’s buying things online, selling items, or receiving payments – PayPal is a must.
But let me tell you, I have struggled to get a PayPal account linked to my bank account over the years. I was given a debit card with my bank account and that debit card never worked when trying to link my bank account with PayPal. I was issued two more over the years and neither of those worked, despite one of them being a chip and pin card which I was assured would work and could be used with PayPal. Whoever said that was wrong or at least grossly misinformed. Actually come to think of it, it was someone at the bank. “Credit card or cheque card” was the final response I got from someone else at my bank who seemed to know what they were talking about, and that was that.
And because of the nature of my main income sources – mainly freelancing and affiliate programs, coupled together with a few survey panels that really pay, I would likely be turned down if I applied for a credit card or even a cheque card because it’s too high risk for the bank.
So I pretty much gave up on the idea, until recently when the name “Payoneer” came up again and I decided to finally look into it.
"Because of the nature of my main income sources, I would likely be turned down if I applied for a credit card because it’s too high risk for the bank."
Payoneer provides a number of services that would typically be provided by a bank account. It lets you receive funds and it lets you buy items. But it isn’t a bank. It offers a service called the US Payment service which provides a crucial solution for those who don’t have a bank account based in the United States: it lets you receive payments from companies who only offer direct deposits to US customers. Take Amazon for example: Amazon has three payout methods, namely: cheque, direct deposit, and gift card.
Payout via cheque is the hardest because of the $100 payout threshold. To reach it, especially on a regular basis, you need to become quite the salesperson, and know all the ins and outs of affiliate marketing, needless to say.
Getting an Amazon voucher as payment is practically useless if you live abroad, because buying anything from Amazon if you live outside the first world is going to cause you a lot of agony.
The South African Post Office was blacklisted by Amazon years ago, but apparently one can still receive items, but you have to pay more and have items delivered by courier. And you have to go to the pains of registering as an importer. That and there are shipping fees and import duties, VAT, etc. to consider as well. Most of the items that I might be interested aren't even available for international shipping anyway.
So then you might consider buying digital goods from Amazon instead. But one thing I do know and that is that purchasing digital products, like games, apps or eBooks and the like is out, seeing as these are open only to US citizens with a US mailing address.
People outside the US often work around this by providing real US mailing addresses belonging to someone else, but this is fraud and therefore a criminal offence. Even then, there are services which let you apply for “real” US mailing addresses which don’t really exist in the usual sense, but are probably more akin to a P.O. box. So items that are shipped to this address are then typically shipped anywhere in the world (this obviously doesn’t apply in the case of digital purchases).
But the kicker is that you can't use gift cards to purchase these items anyway. You must have a credit card issued by a bank in the US.
"Payoneer aids people in making money online. It also works together with PayPal while effectively serving as an alternative at the same time."
On top of all that, maybe I don’t want to buy anything at Amazon. Maybe I want money that I can spend and/or save as I wish?
This is where the direct deposit option comes in. It’s useful for those who have trouble reaching the cheque payout threshold, and want to save themselves the bother of waiting for a cheque in the mail (which may never arrive), and going to the bank to deposit it.
The payout threshold is lower, at $10, but as alluded to earlier on, it is only open to those with a US bank account. This was a problem for me, until I discovered Payoneer for myself. The US Payment service allows you to have the Amazon funds deposited into your Payoneer account. Now, this essentially kills two birds with one stone – because Payoneer issues Mastercard debit cards on application (more on this later) to virtually anywhere in the world, and these can be used at ATMs, at checkout points, and can even be used to buy things online – and the best thing about it is that you don’t even need a bank account!
But getting back to that second bird I spoke of earlier that needed killing – a Payoneer debit card can be used to link a bank account with PayPal, which opens up another payment channel to you – very useful for affiliate programs and websites that do not offer a cheque payout option. But the debit card needs funds on it to work, and that’s where the Amazon payment (or payment from another affiliate program supported by Payoneer) comes in. Of course in a country like SA you need to upgrade your PayPal account to a merchant account in order to receive funds. The free one apparently won't do.
And another great thing about Payoneer is that it is not as heavily regulated by the banks like PayPal – and I’m particularly referring to SA here. There was a mandate issued by the South African Reserve Bank regarding PayPal, where all funds received into a PayPal account must be withdrawn to an SA bank account within 30 days. So there is no receiving funds and spending it right out of your PayPal account. This is not the case with Payoneer, at least for now anyway.
So, in short, Payoneer aids people in making money online. It also works together with PayPal while effectively serving as an alternative at the same time. There are many affiliate programs and websites online which support payments into a Payoneer account, and practically any shop online will accept the Payoneer issued debit card, as long as there are funds on it, seeing as it is a Mastercard.
The only downfalls I can think of is that the only other way to fund a Payoneer account/card other than working for affiliate programs that support it and pay into it, is to load it with a credit card – and if you don’t have one of those right away, then that does present a bit of a problem. But the ability to link your bank account with PayPal with a Payoneer card pretty much circumvents that issue, I would think.
As I alluded to earlier, you also have to apply for a Payoneer card, and that has to be done through a partner website, like freelancer.com. It can't be done through Payoneer directly. If granted you will receive your card and you can then use that card with any partner that pays out via Payoneer.
The fees with Payoneer are also quite steep, especially if you live outside the USA. The activation fee for your issued card alone is rather ridiculous at $20 (more than R200), but this can be lower depending on which partner issues you the card. The monthly account fees are also quite high, at $3, which is over R30 – about three times what I pay in account fees with my local bank. Withdrawal fees at an ATM are also high, and using a Payoneer card at a local checkout point isn't really recommended seeing as the currency on the card will likely be in dollars if you've received payment via the US Payment Service. The fees are lower if you buy things that match the currency of the funds on the card.
The minimum withdrawal limit is $500, so you need at least that amount in your Payoneer account in order to withdraw to a local bank account, so this presents a problem if you have less than that, because that money is going to get eaten away by those monthly account fees. My advice here would be to let your earnings on a website cook for a while by initiating a manual hold – preferably let it get to at least $500 or more, and then get paid into Payoneer, and then withdraw those funds to your bank account.
So there are some drawbacks, but it's still worth considering if you're serious about making money online. With a Payoneer card, I can link my bank account with PayPal if I want, or I could just get paid straight into Payoneer and withdraw that money to my account. If I opt for the PayPal route, I can even activate the HubPages Earnings program if I so wish and hopefully do better with Amazon sales using the Amazon Program due to a potential higher commission tier. And on top of that, I could actually get paid via the one earning method that has eluded me for several years on HubPages – the eBay Program.
For me, the half-decade long struggle with PayPal could finally be nearing an end.
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© 2014 Anti-Valentine
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