How to best receive online earnings living outside the United States

I have recently become frustrated with the many fees involved in receiving earnings from stock photography or other online ventures. In addition to the many fees and costs of having an online payment solution there are also poor conversion rates for international users. The fees and rates vary between each company so I have decided to gather all the information in one place to make the costs easy to view.

Payment methods

  paypal_logo moneybookers payoneer
Receive Funds free free free
Currency Conversion (amount above current exchange rate) 2.50% 1.99% 2.20%
Withdrawal Fee free if withdrawal is over $100 Withdraw money via bank transfer: € 1.80 flat fee (USD 2.63) ATM withdrawal outside USA – USD $2.15, inside USA USD$1.35
Account Upkeep Fee free free $2.00/month

Using this information, if we were to get as little as $1000/month the costs for getting the funds into a foreign bank account are as follows
Paypal
Payment: $1,000
Receive Funds: $0
Conversion to local currency: -$25
Withdrawal fee: $0
Monthly Maintenance fee: $0
Remaining funds: $975

MoneyBookers
Payment: $1,000
Receive Funds: $0
Conversion to local currency: -$19.90
Withdrawal fee: -$2.63
Monthly Maintenance fee: $0
Remaining funds: $977.47

Payoneer
Payment: $1,000
Receive Funds: $0
Conversion to local currency: -$22.00
Withdrawal fee: -$2.15
Monthly Maintenance fee: -$2.00
Remaining funds: $973.85

If we change the amount we receive each month to $5000
Paypal
Payment: $5,000
Receive Funds: $0
Conversion to local currency: -$125
Withdrawal fee: $0

Monthly Maintenance fee: $0
Remaining funds: $4875

MoneyBookers
Payment: $5,000
Receive Funds: $0
Conversion to local currency: -$99.50
Withdrawal fee: -$2.63
Monthly Maintenance fee: $0
Remaining funds: $4897.87

Payoneer
Payment: $5,000
Receive Funds: $0
Conversion to local currency: -$110.00
Withdrawal fee: -$2.15
Monthly Maintenance fee: -$2.00
Remaining funds: $4885.85

Edit:  For Canadians, RBC has a good option which was brought to my attention by user kingjon.

A red maple Leaf with white Glow

For those of you who are Canadian and want to leave your Paypal earnings in US dollars, there is a simple solution. You can open a RBC Bank account (from any RBC branch in Canada). The account is in a US bank so you can request payment in US dollars (instead of paypal converting to Canadian dollars). This is not the same as having a US dollar account in a Canadian bank (I don’t believe these work because paypal would recognize the transit numbers as Canadian). I travel to the US often and this is the perfect solution for me. I have a bank card and can access my US dollars at any time. I also opened a Canadian US currency RBC account so I could transfer funds back and forth (through PC banking). The US account is called a Centura account if anyone’s interested.

You should be aware that there is a $3.50/month charge on the Centura account if your balance is less than 700$ (this may have changed – you should confirm). I selected the pay per use account in Canada since I don’t expect to have many transactions.
[How Canadians can get Paypal to pay out in US dollars]

Conclusion
Which option is best is up to the individual and where you get / spend your money. Paypal is by far the most widely accepted as a payment method and supported by all the microstock sites. MoneyBookers is the cheapest of the options but only supported by a number of sites. I currently use Paypal and will continue with them as the difference between them and MoneyBookers is nominal. The simplicity of only having one account and one that is widely accepted is worth the extra cost of currency conversion.

Payoneer definitely has a unique offering as you receive a card which can be used anywhere in stores or online. If you make a lot of purchases online (at sites that don’t accept paypal) this can be useful. The $2.00 monthly fee, however, discourages me from signing up.

I had originally thought that MoneyBookers allowed the user to withdraw USD to a foreign bank account using USD as it’s currency. Their website is a little misleading on the subject. I have since found out that neither Paypal or MoneyBookers allow this – both requiring you to withdraw funds from your account in your local currency. The only option I can think of, if you want to take your money out of the online payment service and put it into a bank / savings / investment account is to open such an account in the United States. Perhaps more on this process in the future.

MoneyBookers fees – direct link.

PayPal fees – direct link.

Payoneer fees – direct link only available for registered users.

[Discussion on MicrostockGroup]

About The Author:

Tyler Olson works as a microstock photographer who also runs the MicrostockGroup forum and blog. Being so closely involved in the microstock community as a submitter, forum moderator and blogger, Tyler is able to keep updated in the constantly changing microstock marketplace.
http://www.simplefoto.com
Posted on October 5th, 2009 in Tips / Tutorials | tags: , , , , , , , ,
  • Lisa

    Payonner’s conversion fee can go over 4% nowadays. They aren’t transparent as PayPal.