Paypal or Bank Transfer - which is more economical option?
Thread poster: golf264

golf264  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:08
English to Dutch
+ ...
Feb 7

It's been already many years since I used Paypal - maybe well 10 years. Back in the day they charged exorbitant rates, something like $30 I can remember for a transaction of $180. But is this still the case? I see many clients offer Paypal, and their system appears more popular and simplified.

Recently I had a bank wire transfer come in (as they call it in the United States) and the bank charged me $18 for an amount of $70, which is not cheap. 😭 Of course, it has to do with the fact it is an American bank, (international deposit, huh, what is that? 😂) and it is coming from Europe.

But I am inclined to consider other options because of it, short of opening a European bank account as an American (can I do that?)

Any suggestions?


Harvey Utech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:08
German to English
PayPal and a German bank account Feb 7

For what it's worth--

I work for one US agency who pays me via Payoneer, a competitor of PayPal. It costs me 2% of my earnings every time I transfer the money to my US bank. That 2% always pains me but it is not as bad as the situation you describe.

I work for another European agency that pays me the full amount earned via PayPal and charges me no service charge. I am assuming they absorb the PayPal fee which I believe is somewhere around 4%. I love this and as a result, the agency itself. (They also give me other reasons to love them.)

Finally, while living, teaching and translating in Germany for 8 years until 2012, I had an account at a German "Volksbank". When I moved back to the States, I held on to the account and now, when I have a European client, I direct their payment to that account. Then, I periodically ask the German bank to transfer the money to my American bank account. There is a nominal fee (put there by the American bank, i am told) but nothing disturbing. (On the other hand, currency conversion can generate surprises, both positive and negative but there is nothing one can do about that.) So if you can find a way to do it, opening a foreign bank account may be a good solution for you.

Hope that helps--



Marisa Condurso de Nohara  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:08
English to Spanish
+ ...
Also searching cheaper option in Argentina Feb 7

I used to turn to Paypal many years ago to collect minimum charges or small pieces of translation. As a US-bank account was not an option for me, I used to withdraw funds by means of a Paypal check and then make it cash at an Argentine bank either in the local currency or in dollars. As far as I remember, Paypal charged US$ 3 to receive the payment and then US$ 11 to send you a check. Finally, the local bank charged %2 to pay you in cash. I have no news from Paypal having changed these fees, but it may be different for US citizens/residents.

Bank transfers have always been expensive (I pay a minimum bank fee around US$/Eur 25 or 2% for higher amounts), but they have proved effective to receive payments of large- or medium-size translation projects. These are definitely not an option to collect small projects. That's why I am trying to get back to Paypal, and as I read your post, I felt that sharing the fees I used to pay could be another piece of information to take into account to make your decision.

Hope it helps.


Marissa Aguayo Gavilano  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2016)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Transferwise? Feb 7

Have you checked if you can open a Borderless account with Transferwise? That way you would have a bank account in Germany and your European clients can make SEPA transfers into it. Then, within Transferwise, you can exchange into USD and send the money to your US account.


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Paypal or Bank Transfer - which is more economical option?

Advanced search

WordFinder Unlimited
For clarity and excellence

WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2019 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running, helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features, ensures new

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search