Payment from foreign clients and transfer fees - feedback needed
Thread poster: Katrien De Clercq

Katrien De Clercq  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:12
Member (2006)
French to Dutch
+ ...
May 11, 2012


I just wanted to ask what your experience was with payments from foreign clients.

Most of my clients pay me via bankwire, others via PayPal. But if I receive my payments via bankwire, clients start to charge me for that as well. That's something I have never seen in the past. PayPal also charges 3%. I have to say that I'm getting tired of this. We already have to reduce our rates but if on top of that we lose money for paying us I don't know where it will end. Does anyone see a solution? And what about MoneyBookers? Is that cheaper than PayPal? If it goes on like this, I might as well stop translating...


Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:12
English to Dutch
+ ...
Put your foot down May 11, 2012

There are two situations: within EU and outside. Within, I only accept payment by bank transfer, which is free (as the EU does not allow charges for bank transfers between European companies). Outside, I accept PayPal for relatively small amounts and bank transfer for large amounts (as PayPal takes a percentage, while banks take a flat rate - for large amounts, the flat rate is less than the PayPal percentage). If clients propose that I pay THEIR part of the charges, I flatly refuse. I can't recall a client ever having declined to work with me on that basis. And if they would, they would have been a bad client anyway.


Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:12
English to French
Charge non-EU customers more May 11, 2012

Paypal takes 3.9% +EUR0.35 on US/Canada payments in euros. My latest payment worth a bit short of EUR500 cost me a bit less than EUR20. Nearly half an hour worth of my time gross.

From my experience, wire transfers from US/Canada cost EUR20-50. Depending on the banks trading, you can lose bank fees on your side without any control from the payer, even when they pay their own fees. The benefit with wire transfers is that the fee is usually fixed, so this means of payment should be preferred for high amounts compared to Paypal.

My policy is to charge those customers more (5-10%) and I NEVER accept any one-off or new non-EU customer order below EUR500.

Since business with the US/Canada is already thin because of the adverse exchange rate, there is not much to lose if you don't get any new customers from the other side of the pond. There is enough business in the EU proper without taking any risk dealing with remote non-EU countries.

I have never dealt with far-east/south-Am clients, but I suppose we face the same kind of racket from banks. I see strictly no point in making them richer with my money.



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Payment from foreign clients and transfer fees - feedback needed

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