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International Payments - Alternatives to PayPal?

I'm unhappy with PayPal's fraud protection and customer service.



1:54 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm having massive trouble with PayPal and its fraud protection process (if you can call it so).

I used PayPal to send an invoice to an international client for consulting services, more than a week ago. The client paid the down payment within a few minutes. Great! I started to work.

However, PayPal did feel uneasy about this payment and thought it might be unauthorized. They blocked the funds and started investigating. After giving them some information to their questions, they logged a single status and went off to investigate. Nothing from PayPal to me since then. I know they contacted the buyer and have received the documentation they requested two days ago. But no release of the funds. I have no direct ability to request and update of the complaint case. BAD! I have written through the "Contact Us" channel, no reaction, not even an automated confirmation. BAD, BAD!

I appreciate that PayPal is looking out for my interests and wants to protect me from fraud. But I have no patients for blocking the business I'm engaging, and payments are a vital part of this. I was due to deliver first results yesterday, but I won't before payment is secured.

So my question, what are the alternatives to PayPal for international payments?

Is Google Checkout more responsive?

I look forward to your answers



2:00 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Why don't you give your client your bank account details and have the money transfered to your bank account?


2:11 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

because it is prohibitively expensive to pay across international borders this way, not to mention the calculations of exchange rates and the extra fees (hidden in the exchange rate). And it takes weeks, until you know the results. Did I mention, I wanted to deliver results with in one week?



4:55 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

it is prohibitively expensive to pay across international borders this way

It is if you're talking about small payments of just a few hundred dollars. But more than $2000 and it it's usually cheaper, when you factor in PayPal's fees. A wire fee is usually $10-20 on either side, and that's a max of 2% for a $2000 transfer. (The higher the amount, the lower the percentage.)

calculations of exchange rates

Simple math.

extra fees (hidden in the exchange rate).

You specify payment in dollars. Any currency exchange issues are up to the sender. Besides, these 2 issues are factored into payments with PayPal anyway.

it takes weeks, until you know the results.

Huh? Wire transfers are almost always same-day. You'd certainly know within 1 week that you received the money.

[edited by: LifeinAsia at 4:57 pm (utc) on Mar. 5, 2008]


5:01 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I do international bank-transfers very often. It is rather easy and quick these days. You don't have to do any exchange calculations at all and the fees are moderate. Actually less than a credit card payment with Paypal costs.

The client simply tells the bank the amount in the currency you have agreed on, for example 500$ and who will pay for the fees. Usually there are three options:

- BEN: Benificary pays all the fees
- SHARE: Everybody pays his own fees
- OUR: All charges are paid by the ordering customers, benificary receives full amount.

So just tell your client to make an "OUR" bank-transfer of x$ to your bank-account and you will usually have the money within 2-4 days. Probably even quicker.

And with Paypal you will always be the one ending up with paying the fees. And with the low dollar your international clients are saving so much money they should be able to cope with the fees involved in the bank transfer.

Out of curiosity I checked my banks fees. Germany to US would be for example:
100,00 USD: 0.00 EUR fees
100 USD to 2500 USD: 7.90 EUR
2500 USD to 5000 USD: 11.90 EUR
more than 5000 USD: 15.80 EUR

All you need is the SWIFT code for your bank.


6:48 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The one advantage of using PayPal is that you can see immediately if your client has paid. International wire transfers sometimes take 3-5 days to show up in my account.

When I do consulting work, my clients usually want me to start right away and with PayPal I know the money is there. (Knock on wood - I haven't had any issues, yet.)

The only alternative I see, are real credit card merchant accounts. But that gets a bit expensive when you don't have a lot of payments per month.


10:37 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for the answers. I'm impressed, that bank international transfers work so well for you. When I tried to do some of these US --> Germany they where a pain in the bud and I paid fees on both ends and got lousy exchange rates. So I considered them expensive. But you are right, I don't care if the customer shoulders them. May be I should rethink.

Anyone having experience with Google Checkout? I'd like to hear the story on that side.



4:42 pm on Mar 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I use moneybookers to pay our contractors in Russia and Poland or in any country where Paypal doesn't work.
The fees are low and I haven't had any problems so far with them.
The country I have the most problems with is Venezuela as they seem to be shutting down everybody's online accounts there. The only way I can send money to Venezuela is through epassporte who use a weird Visa card type scheme.


6:19 pm on Apr 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Don't forget, when push comes to shove, that Western Union will transfer pretty well any amount to anyone anywhere. Majority of our cutomers want to pay by CC as it gives them some protection - direct transfer is good for us (no fees).

That said, we do still use PayPal for all our cross currency charging (we're based in Spain (euro) but sell primarlily to UK (pounds) and Denmark (crown) and Ireland (euro). You pay for CC processing with whoever you use, but simply have to factor it in to your margins.


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