Who usually covers the transaction costs? Translator or agency?
Thread poster: Sarah McDowell

Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:58
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
Apr 12, 2012

Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum and relatively new to translation. What is the usual procedure when an agency is paying you through PayPal? Who covers these costs?

I thought the agency told me they were going to pay for the transaction fees but now they said they are not and that translators usually incur these fees themselves. I don't think this is fair for us as translators.

Is there a better way of sending and receiving money over the Internet other than PayPal?

Thanks!


 

Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 07:58
German to English
+ ...
Written proof? Apr 12, 2012

Do you you have an e-mail, or anything else in writing which states that the agency is going to assume the costs of sending you your translation fee via Paypal (or any other means)? If so, I would insist that they stick to their word. Failing that, you may wish to insist on adding a sum roughly equivalent to the cost of the transaction to your invoice.

None of my clients over the years, and certainly none of my current clients expect me to cover any transaction costs.

I had one fairly regular client who sent me a payment via Paypal which had the transaction costs deducted. I let it go, but the next time he asked for a quotation, I simply stated the rate per word and the total *net* of charges, and the next payment arrived exactly in the amount of my invoice, and not a penny less.

That client is in the USA. I live in Portugal. I seem to recall those living in Canada do have some slight complication with Paypal transactions depending on the location of the payer; perhaps some of our Canadian colleagues can enlighten you.

The point is that it really depends where your clients are in relation to you. For example, it makes sense for clients in Europe to make payments directly into my (European) current banking account (minimal charges on their side, none on mine), whereas if my USA client did that, there would be hardly anything left for me after the banks had had a go at it!


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:58
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Try living outside Euroland Apr 12, 2012

Allison Wright wrote:

.....it makes sense for clients in Europe to make payments directly into my (European) current banking account (minimal charges on their side, none on mine), whereas if my USA client did that, there would be hardly anything left for me after the banks had had a go at it!


Every time a client in Euroland pays me by bank transfer, my bank (Natwest) converts the Euro into GBP at a punitive exchange rate and then also deducts GBP 10 as a "transaction charge".

There's nothing I can do about this and believe me, I've looked into other banks and they also rip off their customers, especially on the exchange rate. And I can't avoid these charges by getting paid into a Euro account. I need the GBP to eat, pay the bills, etc.

Paypal is the worst - they don't just deduct a fixed charge (as Natwest does); they deduct a charge that's a proportion of the amount you're being paid. So the more you get, the more they take. And of course, they too apply their own "creative" exchange rate. Added to which I've heard some very scary things about PayPal blocking people's accounts for no good reason, thereby generating nightmares. So I've closed down my PP account. Or at least voided it, although they insist on reminding me that it still exists. There seems no final way out - and they have all my bank details ! With Moneybookers it's the same story.

Oh and I forgot to add: I also need to try and keep my rates competitive with those charged by Euroland translators. Bank transfer is the least worst option for me. I don't like it but as the Italians say, I have to "take it in the teeth".

Sympathy please

icon_frown.gificon_frown.gificon_frown.gif

[Edited at 2012-04-12 19:33 GMT]


 

Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:58
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Apr 13, 2012

Allison Wright wrote:

Do you you have an e-mail, or anything else in writing which states that the agency is going to assume the costs of sending you your translation fee via Paypal (or any other means)? If so, I would insist that they stick to their word. Failing that, you may wish to insist on adding a sum roughly equivalent to the cost of the transaction to your invoice.


Thanks for your reply! No, I don't have any e-mail stating they would cover the transaction fees. Just a Skype message. But I don't think that's enough to make them stick to their word.

I am trying to look for an alternative to paypal.

How is Moneybookers?

Thanks,
S


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:58
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Sympathy Apr 14, 2012

Tom in London wrote:


Paypal is the worst - they don't just deduct a fixed charge (as Natwest does); they deduct a charge that's a proportion of the amount you're being paid. So the more you get, the more they take. And of course, they too apply their own "creative" exchange rate. Added to which I've heard some very scary things about PayPal blocking people's accounts for no good reason, thereby generating nightmares. So I've closed down my PP account. Or at least voided it, although they insist on reminding me that it still exists. There seems no final way out - and they have all my bank details ! With Moneybookers it's the same story.

Oh and I forgot to add: I also need to try and keep my rates competitive with those charged by Euroland translators. Bank transfer is the least worst option for me. I don't like it but as the Italians say, I have to "take it in the teeth".

Sympathy please

icon_frown.gificon_frown.gificon_frown.gif

[Edited at 2012-04-12 19:33 GMT]


Here's your sympathy, Tom.icon_smile.gif

The German banks are the same. I once received a USD check for a rather small amount. When I tried to hand it in to my bank, it turned out that the bank fees more than doubled the check's value.icon_eek.gif Back then I used PayPal and got to keep about 97.5 % of the check's value.

Sympathy # 2

Last week I received a USD payment from a client into my PayPal account (this client uses only PayPal, but will not cover at least part of the fees) and I couldn't believe the fee PayPal charged me, more than 5.6 % - which resulted in more than what I charge for 3 hours worth of work. That day the exchange rate was in my favor, so to speak, but PayPal decided to use some "fictitious" rate so that I ended up with several hours of working for free.icon_frown.gif

So the sympathy should go out to the banks. They must be so poor that they have to charge such hefty fees.icon_razz.gif


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:58
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Sudden surprise Apr 14, 2012

My bank must be reading these threads- I've just received a bank draft from Italy and *nothing* was taken off it ! First time ever !

 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:58
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Try HSBC Apr 14, 2012

Tom,
My clients in Euroland pay me by transfer to my current account at a branch of HSBC in the UK and I don't pay any charges - I get the full euro amount converted into Sterling. The rate varies slightly but seems to have been in my favour for some time. Maybe you should talk to your UK bank - or open an account at HSBC?
Best of luck,
Jenny


[Edited at 2012-04-14 18:16 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:58
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Hmmm Apr 14, 2012

Jenny Forbes wrote:

Tom,
My clients in Euroland pay me by transfer to my current account at a branch of HSBC in the UK and I don't pay any charges - I get the full euro amount converted into Sterling. The rate varies slightly but seems to have been in my favour for some time. Maybe you should talk to your UK bank - or open an account at HSBC?
Best of luck,
Jenny


[Edited at 2012-04-14 18:16 GMT]


THanks Jenny - I looked into this before and as I recall, discovered that the way HSBC made money on each transaction was by manipulating the exchange rate - but I'll look into it again because I think there may be recent new EU rules on bank transfers.

On the payment I received today the only exchange rate mentioned was that of the sender in Italy: 0.808584

Which seemed OK to me....

[Edited at 2012-04-14 21:19 GMT]


 


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