Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How to use a Payoneer Debit Card in India

I've been working with Odesk for almost two years, and got started with Guru dot com just last week. And somehow the dream of making a decent living from the comfort of my home has been struck down again and again by Paypal, one of the most popular forms of payment on the internet.

Somehow this has been the bane of my life since January 2009, wondering if the payments will drop into my bank account at HDFC which is a damn good Indian bank, comparable to banks across the world.
Not only has been really annoying, frustrating and so on and so forth causing me to wonder whether I made a good choice by moving away from Instructional Design  to freelance writing, I'm still confused as to whether Paypal will finally resolve its issues that it currently has with Indian banks at the moment.

However, Odesk, being as cool as it is... sent out a group mailer for independent contractors in India to take another payment option called Payoneer, by waiving off the $ 10 fee.
I took this chance instead of waiting around like I have for the past couple of years.Of course, which worked out for the better. Here are some steps if you are struggling with payment from Paypal too (just try it!!):

STEP 1: You have to apply for a Payoneer card, through whichever freelance service you use. and you'll get the card about 15 to 20 days later, not unless you live under a rock!

STEP 2: You have to go to your account (which you should have created earlier) at the Payoneer website, and enter the card number (that you have received) as well as a four digit PIN of your choice. Keep that PIN safe!

STEP 3: Next, transfer the money from your freelance service to Payoneer by selecting the appropriate payment method, for which you might incur a $2 fee depending on which site you use. (I transfer it from Odesk to Payoneer)

STEP 4: Once the funds appear in your Payoneer account (almost immediately!), proceed to load it on to your card. Now there are two options here, the first of which being loading the money onto your card (which will cost you about $ 2.50) within two hours or the second option which will load the money onto your card in two business days with no transaction fee.

The next set of steps include withdrawing money from an ATM in India.

Background: For some reason, I trust ICICI as a bank even though I don't have an account, and continue to loathe the nationalized banks (such as SBI, SBH, PNB and so on and so forth). Personally, I feel they're in the dark ages.

Anyways, this is what I did, to receive funds accordingly. I first made sure that the money was indeed loaded on to the card, by checking the balance (in dollars) at my Payoneer account.

STEP ONE: I found the nearest ICICI ATM which had an facility where the machine ONLY required you to swipe and remove the card immediately. Don't use ATMs that take in your card, as it might not give it back to you if there are some issues with transactions.

STEP TWO: Once you swipe the card, select the 'Current' option, and NOT the Savings account option. You'll lose 90 cents every time you do this...

STEP THREE: Enter the PIN (you selected) and the amount of money that you'd like to withdraw.

STEP FOUR: You'll receive the money promptly. Enjoy!

NOTE 1: A transaction fee of $ 2.15 (roughly about Rs. 120) is charged for every transaction, so ensure that the withdrawals you make is a sizeable one, perhaps keeping the number of transactions a month to about 2-3... which is how much a bank would charge you in service fees anyways etc.

NOTE 2: Also note that a one-time charge ONLY of roughly $9 to $13 (about Rs. 650) will be withdrawn from your account for the first transaction.

NOTE 3: Please also remember that for using this card, the bank charges you about $4 a month, and I consider it to be minimal as I don't have to consistently worry about maintaining a balance, as I'm a big and erratic spender ;)

For those with doubts about switching to Payoneer, don't harbor any... it works very well, only if you follow these steps properly in India. Good luck and more money to you...

PS: Thanks Odesk.


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