How to indicate and ask for Paypal/transfer fees to be paid?
Thread poster: Anna Muntean Stacanova

Anna Muntean Stacanova
United States
Local time: 15:16
Russian to English
+ ...
Dec 22, 2009


Up till now I never came to Money matters forum and have always paid my Paypal fees by myself.

I would like to stop and either to share it with the agency 50% -50% or let it be paid by the agency, since it seems other translators practice it.

My question is when and how do I let the agency know about it in a 'no bad surprise" manner?

I am asking because I Hate, somebody hiding additional fees and revealing them at the last moment and make you pay. That is why I would not want to do it myself.

Do I tell then when I sent the invoice about the Paypal 3.8% fee, and include that in the invoice as "Total'?

Do I tell them before I start working with them and give them my quote?

I would appreciate your advice. Thanks a lot! icon_smile.gif


Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:16
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Two alternatives Dec 22, 2009

As I see it, you can handle this one of two ways. First of course, you have to find out what the fees are in a given circumstance. I think that the commission varies depending on whether the transfer is within the US or international. PayPal also appears to charge an additional fee for transfering from one currency to another.

Simply *build in the fee* (or half of it, if you want to split it 50/50) to whatever you are charging the client (and, if you like, then offer a discount to them for paying you via some form that doesn't involve the PayPal commission). The advantage of this approach is that the client doesn't feel like they are paying any extra/unnecessary fee.

Assess the fee (or half of it) as a separate itemized charge on the final bill, and let the client know you will be doing this beforehand.


Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:16
Member (2009)
French to English
Raise rates? Dec 23, 2009

I recently had a client pay with paypal via credit card which incurred a fee. I had decided to just eat the difference as I would like to do more business with this client. However when I did the math, I discovered that my recent rate increase of just .01 USD had completely taken care of the fee and even left me with a bit extra.


Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:16
French to English
+ ...
What's so special about Paypal fees? Dec 23, 2009

You need to set your pricing to make sure that, once you've deducted tax and oher business expenses, you make enough money to be worthwhile.

Paypal / bank transfer fees are part of those business expenses (unfortunately, banks and Paypal like us are providing a service and they charge for it...). So are heating your studio, using electricity to make requiste cups of coffee, getting a takeaway when a close deadline means you don't have time to cook, paying the subscription fee for your antivirus software etc etc.

Out of all these various expenses incurred while doing the job, I don't quite see the logic of singling out Paypal/transfer fees. Why would you itemise those but not cups of coffee / bus fairs to the library incurred while doing the translation...?

That said, when I outsource work myself, I'll happily pay Paypal fees/bank transfer fees if somebody specifically asks. In all honesty, I think it's a bit petty-- on an average job, you're probably talking about the price of a glass of wine-- but I don't care that much to argue about it.

[Edited at 2009-12-23 06:32 GMT]


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:16
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Indicate it on your quote, and be lenient about it Dec 23, 2009

Ina Muntean Stacanova wrote:
I would like to stop and either to share it with the agency 50% -50% or let it be paid by the agency, since it seems other translators practice it. ... Or I tell then when I sent the invoice about the Paypal 3.8% fee, and include that in the invoice as "Total'?

I would mention it in the quote up-front, as a line item. For example: "I'll gladly do the translation for USD 2000 (that's USD 0.15 per source word, plus 1.9% for half of the PayPal fee)."

You'll find clients who say that they don't want to pay the PayPal fee, and when you get such replies, be prepared to drop the 1.9% for those clients. But I suspect that most clients would not have a problem with it since they work on a fixed budget, and if your quote is within budget, then it doesn't matter if there is TWO PERCENT extra included in it.

My personal opinion is that the PayPal charges are part of the cost of doing business, and a client should only be expected to pay for money transfer fees if he prefers to use a more expensive method than the method that you prefer.


Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:16
German to English
+ ...
When I am lazy... Dec 23, 2009

When I am lazy and do not want to walk the extra two blocks, I sometimes withdraw money from the teller machine at the bank around the corner, which costs me 4 EUR (it is free if I withdraw the money at my bank).

If I go to a store and buy some milk and bread for 5 EUR, I cannot give the cashier 1 EUR and say, "It cost me 4 EUR to get this money to you." I have to make sure the cashier gets no less than 5 EUR.

EDITED: If it is an expense that is charged to me by my banking institution (e.g., for the convenience of using their services), then I think I should bear that charge, just as I think the paying party should bear its own costs of getting the money to me. It is, after all, a business expense that can usually be written off taxes.


[Edited at 2009-12-23 10:43 GMT]


Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
I make them appear in the Purchase Order Dec 23, 2009

At the bottom of the PO I state all the payment possibilities: wire, check... (they depend on the client's country), and PayPal, with a credit card. "If you prefer PayPal an extra fee of 3% applies". Between brackets the amount.

This way the client knows the conditions beforehand and is free to accept this way or the others, which are at no cost for me, so they make a difference.

I chose 3% because I want to share the expenses, but the amount of nearly 4% is not the only one I have when accepting PayPal. I have to add the cost of withdrawal or converting currencies.

The way I see it: Americans prefer PayPal (compared to clients in Europe for instance) because it's easy and confortable and Bank wires are expensive.
Within the Euro zone, Bank fees are low, banks are efficient, clients are not looking forward to spend money in something they wouldn't otherwise.
The best is to let the choice to the client.

I agree that banks or similar can't be expected to work for free, but we do have to take into account all our fees. Of course they could be built-in with the per word rate, but this could seem less competitive when compared to another translator.



Local time: 15:16
Member (2009)
German to Korean
+ ...
helpful... Dec 24, 2009

Thanks for your posting!!!


United Kingdom
Local time: 03:16
English to Chinese
+ ...
thank you for posting :) Dec 25, 2009

I am considering the same question too, thank you for posting.icon_smile.gif
Merry Christmas!


Anna Muntean Stacanova
United States
Local time: 15:16
Russian to English
+ ...
Happy New Year!!! Jan 4, 2010

Thank you very much for your answers. Very usefulicon_smile.gif


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