How do you handle bank fees with your clients?
Thread poster: Mansur Kabirov

Mansur Kabirov
Local time: 12:42
Tajik to English
+ ...
Jul 24, 2012

Hi!

I guess anyone here had this issue with a client at least once.
Once I submitted an invoice to a Lithuanian agency claiming 100, and received only 75 at my bank account. The other time the amount was 446 while I received 404.

How do you guys handle the bank fees with your clients? Do you ask them to pay the fees, or it is just another expense for us to bear?


 

János Untener  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 09:42
Member (2010)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
split Jul 24, 2012

Hi Mansur,

Overseas bank transfer fees are often quite high (at least usd50 I think) so I choose paypal in these cases.

In case of an EU agency (because of the lower fees, as I am in the EU) I usually ask for a wire transfer. In most of the cases it is the agency who bears the costs of the bank transfer. However, I am occasionally asked by the sender (agency) to split the sender's fee 50-50%. I always agree to that, it is rarely more than €5 so not a big deal.
You should not agree to fully cover the sender's fees (and how would you know how much that is...)

I see that in your case you lost 25% the first and more than 10% the second time, which is obviously a lot,
and probably not what you though you would/should get.
The best you can do from now on is to discuss these details with the agency in advance.

J


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:42
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two ideas Jul 24, 2012

Mansur Kabirov wrote:
How do you guys handle the bank fees with your clients? Do you ask them to pay the fees, or it is just another expense for us to bear?


The general rule (though by no means law) is that the paying party pays his own bank's costs, so that the amount that is sent from his bank to you is the exact amount that you had invoiced for. If a client wants to deduct money for his own bankings fees, it has to be agreed by you beforehand (I have one client that deducts money because I don't want to use his preferred payment method).

Don't forget that there are often intermediary banks involved in international money transfers, and not only have neither you nor your client any control over which intermediary bank is used, but you are often not able to find out which banks were used. And those banks charge fees. This often happens if there is no direct link between your client's bank and your bank. And different banks may be used on different occasions, which would explain why the banking fees aren't always the same.



[Edited at 2012-07-24 14:05 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Always check up-front Jul 24, 2012

You don't say which bank levied these charges (sending, intermediary, receiving), but unless your client accepts all the charges (unfortunately this would be rare) there will always be a risk of some charges. The amounts you give would be abnormal for any of the banks in my countries, I believe, but you always need to check with your bank. I have 4 banks and the two in the same country charge very different amounts.

Sheila


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:42
Member (2008)
French to English
Payment costs Jul 24, 2012

Mansur Kabirov wrote:

Hi!

I guess anyone here had this issue with a client at least once.
Once I submitted an invoice to a Lithuanian agency claiming 100, and received only 75 at my bank account. The other time the amount was 446 while I received 404.

How do you guys handle the bank fees with your clients? Do you ask them to pay the fees, or it is just another expense for us to bear?


It unfortunately often ends up being another expense to bear. From the client's perspective, they paid the amount charged.

I ask my clients to pay by PayPal for amounts under 400 Euros and most comply, sometimes with a few reminders. That helps keep the costs down.


 

Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 10:42
English to Russian
+ ...
I pay only my bank fees Jul 24, 2012

I should receive at my account exactly the invoiced sum. In all my invoices the following is clearly stated :

In all cases, the customer bears all money transfer fees. I pay only my bank fees and PayPal/Moneybookers’ fees.

I don't accept any other options.

NK_TC_Logo_30x31.png

[Edited at 2012-07-24 16:28 GMT]


 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 08:42
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Split Jul 24, 2012

To my knowledge, EU banks are obliged to split the bank fees for both parties involved. I confess, I havent't checked the legislation myself, but I've been already told about this by several banks in different countries and have no reason for thinking it's not true. The other day, I asked my client company to undertake the bank fees, for my charge did not include thereof, and the chief accountant explained they just can't do that. It is not so important when the transaction is within the euro zone, but when one party is a non-euro member-state (e.g., Lithuania), bank fees may be rather significant. We found another solution but not every company is so open.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
No obligation Jul 24, 2012

Inga Petkelyte wrote:

To my knowledge, EU banks are obliged to split the bank fees for both parties involved.

There is no obligation to do anything of the sort, AFAIK. However, that is the "default" arrangement if none other is specified.

Sheila


 

Jean Chao  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:42
English to Chinese
+ ...
What if an agency stops paying "small jobs" (under GBP50) via Paypal? Jul 25, 2012

One UK agency recently told me that they'd stop paying jobs with the fee more than 50GBP via Paypal. They gave me a job with a budget of 65GBP (The receiving cost from my bank is $15). Their accounting department suggests that "...should you have small jobs that you would like to accumulate please feel free to do so as long as you don't compile more than 10 jobs in one invoice, this will save you bank transfer fees." I haven't worked with them long enough to know how frequent the job assignments would be. Who knows? It might take me one year to accumulate to a total of USD600 (or Euro 400 as John's rule of thumb).

My question is that although I might not need that money for a long period of time, why should I loan them this money for free to save my bank cost? Does this show they might be experiencing some financial difficulties?

They do have some interesting jobs sometimes. Any suggestions as how to handle such a situation are highly appreciated.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:42
Member (2008)
French to English
MonayBookers is one alternative Jul 25, 2012

I have a few European clients who say they have no other way than to pay small jobs than by bank transfer. For these, I ask them to pay via MoneyBookers, which has a fairly low cost to send the money on, I think less than $10 in total. It's a bit more complicated thatn PayPal, but seems to work for me.

 

Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:42
Member
English to German
eChecks via PayPal Jul 25, 2012

A US client recently paid me with an eCheck via PayPal. They charged me 2.9 % plus USD 0.30 for this transaction. That really hurt…

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:42
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
On "accumulating" invoices Jul 25, 2012

Jean@LA wrote:
Their accounting department suggests that "...should you have small jobs that you would like to accumulate please feel free to do so as long as you don't compile more than 10 jobs in one invoice, this will save you bank transfer fees."


I'll assume that they really meant "...should you have small jobs that you would like to accumulate, [to] save you bank transfer fees, please feel free to do so as long as you don't compile more than 10 jobs in one invoice..." because otherwise I don't quite get their logic.

Check with your country's tax laws if there is a requirement about how long you may wait after completing the job before submitting the invoice.

Also, I would think that unless your country's tax laws say otherwise, nothing prevents you from stipulating a later payment date on your invoices, so it's not necessary to put all the jobs onto a single invoice -- simply decide what is the latest accumulation date and put that date on the individual jobs' invoices as the payment due date. Then don't forget to remind their accounts department that your invoices are due, when that date arrives.


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:42
Member
English to French
bank transfers between continents are bound to cost Jul 25, 2012

Whatever the deal with you and the overseas customer, it is very likely that you will lose money (intermediary banks, receiving bank, exchange rate, etc.).

I suggest that e.g. Asian/American/European translators raise their rates to factor in bank fees when they quote for e.g. European/Asian/American prospects outside their continents and have a min fee of a few hundred £/$/€.

I have never quite understood why translators would quote on 500- or 1000-word jobs from customers at the other end of the world (or even between mainland Europe and the UK) at their regular rates. They would just feed banks, not even themselves.

Paypal is ok for small amounts, but 4% very quickly hurts when you reach a few hundreds or thousands.

The OP loses 10% on bank fees? He should raise his rates by that proportion.
I receive money through Paypal from a Northam customer, I lose 4% on every transaction, hence a higher rate to them. I received money from the US that was short of $50. Even on a $2000 bill it's 4% again.

Bottom line: You go global? raise your rates and don't take on any job worth less than $/£/€ x00.00 (x>1)!

Philippe


 

Jean Chao  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:42
English to Chinese
+ ...
Thanks, Samual and Philippe, John for the great suggestions Jul 25, 2012

Following up on the 65GBP job, the latest is that this UK agency is willing to cover the receiving cost of USD$15 for my local Morgan Chase bank (I'm based in US). However, I'm reminding them of the possible intermediary bank cost of US$25+ for this 65GBP job. Let's see what they'll have to say about how they'd like to handle this transcreation job, which is usually harder for them to find an alternative translator passing their rigorous test requirements and with business and financial background.

Philippe did bring up a great suggestion of increasing my regular quote by at least 10% for regular word-count type of job coming from another continent, which I'll definitely follow in the future. For this project-based type of transcreation job, as you can see, 10% is only about USD$10, which is not even enough for my receiving bank cost. For this type of job, I guess I'll just have to negotiate case-by-case until I see a good business deal.

Also, almost forgot to thank John for Moneybooker suggestion. I'm not sure if they'd go for that after they decided not to go through Paypal, but I'll look into that.

[Edited at 2012-07-25 20:30 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-07-25 23:40 GMT]


 


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