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Payment from client in Europe when living in the US
Thread poster: Alexander Hartmann

Alexander Hartmann  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:42
Italian to German
+ ...
Apr 27, 2016

Hey guys,

first let me say I am sure there are hundreds of suggestions already in the system but I am afraid I cannot seem to find any...

Who of you has experience with and/or suggestions for receiving payment from clients in Europe while you live in the US?
Do you have bank accounts in Europe? Do you use checks? Tell me


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
We rarely use cheques over here Apr 27, 2016

Alexander Hartmann wrote:
Who of you has experience with and/or suggestions for receiving payment from clients in Europe while you live in the US?
Do you have bank accounts in Europe? Do you use checks?

I can't help from that direction as I've never even visited the US. But I live in Europe and have clients all over the world, including there. Very few places in Europe still use cheques so I doubt that a client will want to send you one. In some countries they are quite simply unobtainable. The most frequent form of payment within Europe is by inter-bank transfer, aka wire transfer. Most of us (freelancers and clients alike) can kick off transfers from our desks, and there's often no charge at all, hence it's the preferred method for most people. But there's PayPal and similar systems too in common use.

I have bank accounts here in Spain and also in the UK (sterling) and France from when I lived in those countries. However, it's extremely difficult nowadays to set up an account if you don't actually live there - and the rules are getting tougher every day. It would probably make more sense for you to set up a euro account locally if such a thing is possible. Basically, you need to weigh up the pros and cons of the various payment methods and currencies. You need to be as flexible as possible for your clients, but you have to set the rules and make sure you don't lose out.


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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:42
English to French
+ ...
US banking system is different Apr 27, 2016

The US banking system is different from the European one. Hasn't this been stated in these forums ad nauseam?

Me, I am not accepting European clients, because wire transfers take forever to be credited to my account (forever = several weeks) and, usually, achieving that requires tedious and time-consuming investigation to figure out where the transfer is hanging. Then, both banks take their cuts (my bank, a huge US-based subper bank, siphons off $50 from international wire transfers).

Checks? For heavens sake. Cashing a European check used to take about 3 months, with huge cuts taken by my bank, there also.

PayPal sucks up 7% banking charges AND won't let me transfer more than $300/week into my checking account, since I don't have a PayPal credit card.

So, yes, in effect, I am boycotting European businesses.

Good luck.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:42
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
A suggestion Apr 27, 2016

Alexander Hartmann wrote:
Who of you [have] suggestions for receiving payment from clients in Europe while you live in the US?


Option 1: Get your clients to use e.g. PayPal or Skrill, and then simply download your money to your US bank account as soon as it arrives.

Option 2: Get your clients to use e.g. Transferwise to transfer money directly into your US bank account.

Option 3: Let your clients pay into your EU bank account, and then regularly withdraw money from your EU bank account using your ATM card in the US.

Example: I was told by my EU bank that they don't do fund transfers to outside the EU, except for large, once-off amounts (e.g. EUR 50 000), and that involves filling in a lot of forms each time. My ZA bank told me a similar story about transferring funds from ZA to the EU. I've investigated a variety of methods, and the cheapest method of transferring money from my ZA bank account into my EU bank account is by withdrawing it at an EU ATM, and depositing the money manually into my EU bank account. Costs: ZA bank charges EUR 10 for receiving funds from outside ZA, ZA bank charges EUR 5 per ATM withdrawal from outside ZA, and EU bank charges EUR 6 per deposit. So, if e.g. an NA client pays EUR 1000 into my ZA bank account, I lose EUR 21 in fees getting it into my EU bank account. If the NA client had used PayPal, and I downloaded the money from PayPal into my EU bank account, it would have cost me EUR 29, but PayPal is easier to use.

I'm not sure what are the cost implications of manually depositing money in the US.

You can also transfer money via e.g. Western Union or similar services, but that requires that the money gets picked up by someone on the other end, in person.

Sheila Wilson wrote:
The most frequent form of payment within Europe is by inter-bank transfer, aka wire transfer. ... there's often no charge at all.


Yes, if I understand correctly, EU banks are allowed to charge for transfers with the EU, but they're not allowed to charge *more* for such transfers than they charge for local transfers. Just be careful with the word "wire transfer" in the US... where it can mean something more expensive than what it means in the EU.

JL01 wrote:
PayPal sucks up 7% banking charges AND won't let me transfer more than $300/week into my checking account, since I don't have a PayPal credit card.


I feel for you. My EU bank charges nothing for downloading money from PayPal, and I can download amounts approaching EUR 10 000 (even though I don't have a PayPal credit card). My EU bank does, however, charge a monthly fee that includes the "free" services (but PayPal downloads do not incur additional fees above that).

What's more, the USD is a lot stronger now than it used to be (against EUR), so your prices would be under pressure anyway if you did try to enter the EU market now.

[Edited at 2016-04-27 18:43 GMT]


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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:42
English to French
+ ...
Do you actually live in the USA? Apr 27, 2016

... since your post states you live in Germany. If you live here, you should know how difficult - and costly - receiving money from Europe is.

Bank transfer (wire or otherwise) is practically not used in the USA. Employees are paid with a check, weekly, bi-monthly or monthly. Pensions are paid by check sent in the mail. EVERYTHING is done by check, for crying out loud.

Europe residents and recent immigrants can complain, moan and whine all day long, the US system is what it is.

When people (read: immigrants sending money home) want to transfer money home, they use Western Union or something like that, not a bank.

When was the last time I heard from a business acquaintance, a friend, a relative, or a customer the words "I am sending money by bank transfer" in the last 25 years I have lived in the USA: NEVER. Why would anyone send money at cost when a check is free?


Alexander Hartmann wrote:

[snip]

Who of you has experience with and/or suggestions for receiving payment from clients in Europe while you live in the US?
Do you have bank accounts in Europe? Do you use checks? Tell me



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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:42
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Wire transfer Apr 27, 2016

I've never had problems receiving payment by wire transfer from Europe. It takes a few days and my bank charges me $15. I use Paypal for small amounts.

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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:42
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Paying without checks Apr 27, 2016

JL01 wrote:

Bank transfer (wire or otherwise) is practically not used in the USA. Employees are paid with a check, weekly, bi-monthly or monthly. Pensions are paid by check sent in the mail. EVERYTHING is done by check, for crying out loud.


Ever hear of 'direct deposit' and 'automatic bill payment'?


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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:42
English to French
+ ...
Yes, but Apr 27, 2016

I've never met anyone using those.

Michele Fauble wrote:


Ever hear of 'direct deposit' and 'automatic bill payment'?


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:42
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Payment in USA Apr 27, 2016

Over 60% of employees receive their pay through direct deposit. Automatic bill payment is becoming increasingly popular. All federal benefits, e.g. Social Security pensions, are paid electronically.

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Alexander Hartmann  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:42
Italian to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks ... Apr 27, 2016

... everyone for your replies.

I am currently moving from Germany to the US.

As for now, my solution is to use a German credit card at the ATM for the transfer by essentially buying USD. I was wondering if the German card could be skipped but it looks like I'll keep it that way.

Thanks again!


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Elizabeth Faracini  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:42
Member (2010)
Italian to English
+ ...
Bank transfer Apr 27, 2016

One option you might consider is keeping your account in Germany (if your bank will allow this) and opening an account in the US as well. Your European clients can continue making transfers to your German account, and you can then make international bank transfers from that account to your US account as often as you like (again, provided this is an option for your type of account).

Personally, I have my European clients make transfers to my US account each month. My bank charges fees of either $10 or $18 per international wire transfer, depending on how the transfer is made. For larger payments, this is not a big deal for me, and I can deduct these fees from my income as business expenses. Sometimes I'll have a European client defer one month's payment if it is not very large and combine it with the next month's payment to save on fees.


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MK2010  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:42
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...
Exactly Apr 28, 2016

Michele Fauble wrote:

I've never had problems receiving payment by wire transfer from Europe. It takes a few days and my bank charges me $15. I use Paypal for small amounts.


I agree word for word, same exact situation with me. And as Elizabeth mentions above, for wire transfers, you can always wait and combine invoices so as not to have pay the fee needlessly.


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 15:42
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
USA Apr 28, 2016

Bank transfer (wire or otherwise) is practically not used in the USA

Bank transfer (wire or otherwise) is practically not used in the USA. Employees are paid with a check, weekly, bi-monthly or monthly. Pensions are paid by check sent in the mail. EVERYTHING is done by check, for crying out loud.

I don't know which part of the US you live in (or which century), but when I was a student I always received my pay working on-campus directly into my bank account. Refunds from my student accounts were also deposited directly into my bank account.

PayPal sucks up 7% banking charges AND won't let me transfer more than $300/week into my checking account, since I don't have a PayPal credit card.

You don't need a Paypal credit card, you just need to go through a verification process which takes maybe a few minutes.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:42
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Why a credit card? Apr 28, 2016

Alexander Hartmann wrote:
As for now, my solution is to use a German credit card at the ATM for the transfer by essentially buying USD. I was wondering if the German card could be skipped but it looks like I'll keep it that way.


Why do you use the credit card? Is it cheaper than using a debit card at an ATM in the US?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:42
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Direct deposit and ordinary people Apr 28, 2016

Lincoln Hui wrote:
When I was a student I always received my pay working on-campus directly into my bank account. Refunds from my student accounts were also deposited directly into my bank account.


Yes, but those are "direct deposits", and in the US (if I understand correctly), direct deposits is only an option for large companies making payments to a large number of people, due to the complexity of setting it up. It is not used by ordinary people to make occasional payments.


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Payment from client in Europe when living in the US

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