Finances in a foreign country can be awkward. Since I don’t go back to Canada much, I need something that I can manage from here. On top of that, I often need a method of payment in the US so that I can receive direct deposits from places like Amazon. Not being American was a bit of an issue when it came to that side of things. The alternatives were to have checks sent to my mom and have her deposit them and do an international bank transfer or to have a check sent here and probably get lost. Either way, fees were a pain.
I read about Payoneer a while back and it sounded like a decent idea, but I figured it was just a scam. Then, just over a year ago, I found some more info on the Kindle Boards about the company. They had a representative who answered everyone’s questions very quickly and even handled some customer issues right there on the forum. I was impressed by the level of service, so I looked into the card.
Basically, Payoneer gives you a US bank account. You get a Mastercard card that works like a credit card in stores, but it is essentially a debit card, pulling funds from your Payoneer account. You can withdraw from ATMs, as well, though the exchange rate isn’t as great if you do that.
For me, this works very well. I have a Canadian Paypal account where some websites pay me. I used to transfer this money to my Canadian bank account and then my mom had to transfer it to my bank here in Guatemala. A pain in the neck and useless for anything less than $200-300. Now I can simply pass the money directly to my Payoneer card. It’s usually there within a couple of days. Direct deposits from Amazon’s affiliate program seem to go through right away.
Now for the downsides. They take a flat 10% of the money (as well as a small annual fee). This ends up being less than my fees if I were to do all the transfers and exchange rates, so it’s worth it. Also, it’s the same for small amounts of money. If I pay $25 for every $100 check that I deposit here or $40 for a transfer, I will only pay $10 to move money to my card. Obviously a better deal, particularly since I don’t usually have that much to transfer.
The other downside is that Visa is the card of choice in Guatemala. So it can be tough sometimes to find places that will take Mastercard. In those instances, I will take money out of an ATM instead. That works fine for the market, etc.
Payoneer will ship around the world and right now they are offering $25 to anyone who signs up for the card and loads it with their first $100. If you’re looking for an alternative to other cards, you might want to check this one out.
Disclaimer: If you do sign up through my link and get your free $25, I get some cash, too. However, I’ve tried to be completely honest in this review.