Jamaicans who use PayPal as an income stream have only one option to transfer this money to Jamaica – by requesting a cheque from PayPal and depositing it at a local bank. This process is long and tedious and, quite frankly, ridiculous in this modern age.
I was recently introduced to Payoneer – a great way to get my money in a much shorter time, so I decided to share it with everyone. It’s super easy to get and comes at a very low cost, compared to the benefits.
The 81 Day Wait (The Old Way)
Yes, 81 days. That’s how long it usually takes to get access to your money earned on PayPal when using commercial banks in Jamaica. After requesting a cheque at a cost of US$5.00 , which is usually approved within 4-6 business days, it takes a maximum of 45 days for the cheque to be mailed to you. It then takes the bank 31 days to cash an international cheque, which must be deposited into an account.
If you don’t have a bank account, no luck. Along with the long wait comes the unreliability of our postal system and the fact that PayPal charges an additional US$15 and 7 business days to cancel a cheque and put the money back into your account if it doesn’t arrive. NICE!
How would you like to bring that 81 day wait down to 3 days? This is where Payoneer comes in.
Payoneer is an Internet-based financial services business that allows users to transfer money and receive payments through re-loadable prepaid MasterCard debit cards. (Source: Wikipedia)
Payoneer caters specifically to non-US residents to enable them to receive money from US companies. Their cards enable you to receive direct payments from clients, receive money earn through affiliate companies and transfer money between cards, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll be focusing on their US Payment Service and how it fits in with PayPal.
The US Payment Service provides you with a US account and routing number, which can be used to receive payments from US companies that you are working with. Payments received to your US Payment Service account will be loaded to your Payoneer card.
How To Set It Up – 5 Easy Steps
Step 1 – Sign up for your Payoneer account at the link below. (That’s an affiliate link that gives us both $25 when you load your first $100 to your card). They will then review the information provided. Once your application is approved, Payoneer will mail you a MasterCard prepaid debit card. They will also provide and estimated date of arrival (about a month’s time) and this is usually accurate.
Step 2 – You will get an email requesting confirmation of your identity using a scan/photograph of your passport, driver’s license or national ID. Go ahead and fill those in. Without it, you will not be able to use the US Payment Service.
Step 3 – Once you get the card, activate it by logging into your account and inputting the card information and PIN.
Step 4 – Log into PayPal (I’m assuming you already have an account, if not, set one up), click on ‘Profile’, select ‘Add/Edit Bank Account’. Input the information from the US Payment Profile page of your Payoneer account (bank name, account number, routing number and account type). PayPal has indicated that they sometimes have some issues here, so if it doesn’t go through, don’t panic, just call PayPal and a customer service agent will help you.Important note: PayPal doesn’t play nicely with Payoneer, so when you call, just tell them you’re adding a Bank of America account, not a Payoneer one. (It won’t work otherwise!)
Step 5 – Initiate a transfer from PayPal to Payoneer. You will get a notification from PayPal once the transfer has been made, typically after 2-3 days. That’s it! Your money is now on your card, which can be used at any ATM or point-of-sale location which accepts MasterCard worldwide.
Setup is free. There are no costs to apply or receive your card.
There is an annual fee of US$29.95 deducted from the available balance each year. You should expect the first deduction to be made from your first transfer.
A fee of 1% of the payment amount is charged for each transfer from PayPal. You will not have to pay the above-mentioned US$5.00 to PayPal since bank account transfers are free, unlike cheque requests.
ATM withdrawals cost US$3.15 per transaction, along with the relevant local ATM fees and currency conversion fees. You will have to check with each bank individually for these. I’ve consistently used NCB ATMs without any trouble or additional fees, so that’s the one I recommend.
Point-of-sale transactions (swiping your card) are free, however currency conversion charges up to 3% may apply. (This is determined by MasterCard but I’m not sure how, if anyone can help, please leave a comment with details.)
Other Things You Need to Know
You don’t need a local or international bank account to use Payoneer.
You can use your Jamaican address for registration and billing and for your PayPal account. No masking necessary.
The card is not a credit card! If you try to use it at an ATM without money on it, the machine may eat your card. There are also charges for checking balances and declined transactions at ATMs.
You can use your Payoneer card to buy things online just like you would use a credit card. Payoneer advises against using it for free trials, however, because if the trial period lapses and your card is charged, you are liable for that payment.
There are no extra fees or charges for your card being inactive so I suggest you get it before you need it!
Get more Payoneer FAQs here.
Tips for Minimizing Costs
Use the card directly (point-of-sale) as much as possible, rather than withdrawing cash. Although currency conversion charges are deducted in both instances, you will be eliminating withdrawal fees.
Select your ATM carefully since charges vary by bank. Use dual currency ATMs and then convert US cash to Jamaican at a cambio.
Withdraw the maximum amount you can whenever you use an ATM since it the charge is a flat fee. This amount will be determined by the amount of money on your card, the ATM limit, or your card limit, whichever is lower.
If you have any experiences with using Payoneer, please share in the comments! Let’s work together to break the mould of extravagant charges and long wait times to get OUR money!