PayPal rates and payments in USD for a EU-based translator
Thread poster: Jasna Čakarun

Jasna Čakarun
Spain
Local time: 12:13
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Jul 6

Hello all,

I am a translator doing regular work with the largest translation company based in the US. They pay in USD only; however, I am based in Spain and use euros (likewise, I do not have a US account or acquaintances in the US to help me out).
The problem is that I do quite a lot of work for them, and the combination of exchange rates, bank fees, agency fees and PayPal Merchant rates is taking an unreasonably large chunk out of my earnings. I factored this in before starting business, but the current numbers are way, way too high.

Is anyone in the same boat by any chance, or used to be and has some valuable advice?

It occurred to me to check if anyone is paid in euros but wants dollars and then operate through an escrow service, but I am obviously less inclined to get strangers involved.

But, again, desperate times.

Many thanks in advance for everyone's help, I appreciate your advice.

All the best!


 

James Heppe-Smith  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:13
Member (2010)
German to English

Moderator of this forum
Possible service Jul 6

I was quite impressed with the service provided by Transferwise. They offer you USD, GBP and Euro accounts with account details in Germany, UK and USA to allow you to accept the various currencies. They do charge fees to transfer the money / withdraw it, but I think this is much less than those charged by PayPal.

There are other similar service providers out there, but Transferwise is the only one I have any direct personal knowledge of.

Edit to add: They also now offer a Mastercard debit card which you can use to access the funds on your account. Again, not checked it out, but seems to be free to get.

Hope this helps,
James

[Edited at 2018-07-06 10:08 GMT]


 

Christophe Delaunay  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:13
Spanish to French
+ ...
Have you ever thought... Jul 6

of sharing the cost with your client? Or even having them to pay for all the fees? When I buy a service out of Europe, I am the one paying for the extra costs.

Philippe Etienne
 

Jasna Čakarun
Spain
Local time: 12:13
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Agency will only transfer to PayPal Jul 6

Hi guys,

thanks so much for your input, but the agency only offers these options, and they will most certainly NOT pay the fees themselves:

- transfer to PayPal (they take 10 USD, Paypal takes 2.9 %, if I want to transfer it to my bank account there's also the exchange rate)
- transfers to my bank account (they take 20 USD, the bank takes some commission, plus exchange rate)
- cheque (the bank takes about 20 USD, plus exchange rate).

All in all, not great. I am sitting by watching my money go out the window, as it were. I would rather not think how this translates into the actual rate per word I end up working for... oh no, I just did.

Thanks again!

[Edited at 2018-07-06 10:43 GMT]


 

James Heppe-Smith  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:13
Member (2010)
German to English

Moderator of this forum
Not sure about the outsourcer's charging scheme Jul 6

So, if I understand this correctly, they charge you for all the methods of paying you your fees?

Do they charge for a direct transfer to a USD bank account in a US bank (with the associated sort codes etc.)?

If not, then transferwise is probably an option - you get a US-based bank account in your name which links to you.

Personally, if I was being charged to access my money (in this scope), I would probably reconsider working for them.

Kind regards,
James


Marissa Aguayo Gavilano
 

Marissa Aguayo Gavilano  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2016)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Reconsider Jul 6

Why are they charging you to pay you??? If they incur any charges they should pay for them and factor that into what they charge their clients. I wouldn't accept such practices.

Sheila Wilson
Philippe Etienne
Tina Vonhof
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:13
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My suggestions Jul 6

1. Raise your rates for that client in order to cover the cost; that’s what I did with some of my Canadian and American clients after long negotiations.
2. Ask your bank if it is possible to open an USD account. Some years ago when I lived in Belgium my bank (ING) proposed that in order to have less transfer costs. I had to wait for a favorable exchange rate to transfer the amount to my main account. I closed that account when I moved to Portugal. A few online banks in Portugal offer USD accounts; I suppose the same happens in Spain…
3. As others have said, share the cost with your client (50-50).
4. Because of this, I’ve add a note to my invoices saying: Payments are to be made in Euro, net of all bank charges, within xx days to our account on Bank xxx

Regards,

Teresa


 

Jasna Čakarun
Spain
Local time: 12:13
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'll look into TW Jul 6

Hi James,
many thanks for your suggestion - I can look into it, but I don't know whether I'd be able to just open a US account. That would still leave the dollars to euros issues, and they would still charge 20 USD in any case, although the latter is not all that problematic. The issue is that I will end up paying some insane amount of money to Paypal, and then exchange rates on top of that (or just exchange rates if I opt for the bank transfer).

The only option they offer where they charge nothing is by cheque, which means I pay the bank fee (about 20 USD to cash any check from the US, plus exchange rate).

That is why I was giving a thought to finding someone who is paid in euros but wants dollars, but of course that is a different story.



James Heppe-Smith wrote:

So, if I understand this correctly, they charge you for all the methods of paying you your fees?

Do they charge for a direct transfer to a USD bank account in a US bank (with the associated sort codes etc.)?

If not, then transferwise is probably an option - you get a US-based bank account in your name which links to you.

Personally, if I was being charged to access my money (in this scope), I would probably reconsider working for them.

Kind regards,
James


 

Jasna Čakarun
Spain
Local time: 12:13
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A bit challenging Jul 6

Hi Teresa,

thank you for your suggestions, I'll look into all of them, although as I mentioned, we are talking about the world's largest company with a very firm 'we only pay USD, these are our terms' policy. I can't just say 'no, pay me in euros/my rates have just gone up 50%, pay me this much', and expect them to comply. I can of course just not work with them, but they are currently my only provider and pay me way more than any other agency, so the situation is not as simple as all that unfortunately.

Teresa Borges wrote:


1. Raise your rates for that client in order to cover the cost; that’s what I did with some of my Canadian and American clients after long negotiations.
2. Ask your bank if it is possible to open an USD account. Some years ago when I lived in Belgium my bank (ING) proposed that in order to have less transfer costs. I had to wait for a favorable exchange rate to transfer the amount to my main account. I closed that account when I moved to Portugal. A few online banks in Portugal offer USD accounts; I suppose the same happens in Spain…
3. As others have said, share the cost with your client (50-50).
4. Because of this, I’ve add a note to my invoices saying: Payments are to be made in Euro, net of all bank charges, within xx days to our account on Bank xxx

Regards,

Teresa


[Edited at 2018-07-06 10:39 GMT]


 

James Heppe-Smith  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:13
Member (2010)
German to English

Moderator of this forum
TW / Business T&C Jul 6

Jasna Čakarun wrote:

Hi James,
many thanks for your suggestion - I can look into it, but I don't know whether I'd be able to just open a US account. That would still leave the dollars to euros issues, and they would still charge 20 USD in any case, although the latter is not all that problematic. The issue is that I will end up paying some insane amount of money to Paypal, and then exchange rates on top of that (or just exchange rates if I opt for the bank transfer).

The only option they offer where they charge nothing is by cheque, which means I pay the bank fee (about 20 USD to cash any check from the US, plus exchange rate).

That is why I was giving a thought to finding someone who is paid in euros but wants dollars, but of course that is a different story.


You can, if I recall correctly, open the account with USD, GBP, EUR, AUD based accounts - each of which give you a "local" bank account number etc. I also seem to recall that you do not have to have all of them, but as they are free, I got all but the AUD/Australian one as I have no clients (currently) in Australia!

I have not bothered with the mastercard they offer yet, rather transfer to my German bank account in Euros as/when I need/want to, but have applied for a mastercard today (after I went to check my account there and noticed it was now available!). I have, however, had no problems with US-based clients transferring my payment in USD to my USA-based account. I invoice in USD, EUR and GBP depending on the client's location and preferences. When I have had a (large) transfer from the USA directly to my German bank account in the past, we split charges - i.e. they were responsible for charges at their end, I was responsible for charges at my end. However, this also seemed to be quite expensive, although still cheaper than PayPal from my brief experience with that particular organisation.

With regards to terms and conditions, I was always firmly of the opinion that the freelancer/translator (or other entity providing the services) was the one who set the bar? I do not know the outsourcer you are referring to, nor should we mention their name on here, but I suspect they are using "bully-boy" tactics to impose their business model on their service providers. I personally would not work for such a client, unless we had negotiated such terms in advance of any work.

Last para just my tuppence worth.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:13
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Jasna Jul 6

I do understand your problem but in every other case that I know of it is the seller who sets the payment terms and not the buyer…

Sheila Wilson
Thayenga
 

Jose Ruivo  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:13
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Largest translation company based in the US... Jul 6

I have been in your shoes, and I have stoped working for them, specially since they started sending automated notifications of jobs you ned to run to get first than you colleagues, and you need accept their rates for that job, despite they knowing that you charge diferent rates.

It's all in the begining of your message already: they are the "largest translation company based in the US", so they have plenty of translators willing to work for them, therefore they dictate the rules. You need to constantly keep looking for better clients.

Good luck,
José Ruivo


Vi Pukite
 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 04:13
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Are you saying... Jul 6

Jasna Čakarun wrote:

Hi guys,

thanks so much for your input, but the agency only offers these options, and they will most certainly NOT pay the fees themselves:

- transfer to PayPal (they take 10 USD, Paypal takes 2.9 %, if I want to transfer it to my bank account there's also the exchange rate)
- transfers to my bank account (they take 20 USD, the bank takes some commission, plus exchange rate)
- cheque (the bank takes about 20 USD, plus exchange rate).

All in all, not great. I am sitting by watching my money go out the window, as it were. I would rather not think how this translates into the actual rate per word I end up working for... oh no, I just did.

Thanks again!

[Edited at 2018-07-06 10:43 GMT]


Are you saying that the agency charges you 10 USD to transfer their money to PayPal? From their bank? If they insist on paying via PP, then they should also be receiving money from their end-clients on PP, otherwise the system makes no sense. In no way should you be responsible for how they get their money into PP.

Then you pay PP 2.9% and if you want to download the money to your bank, you pay PP an additional percentage to convert the USD into Euros. Those are fees you have to live with. They automatically convert it to the currency in your country, wherever you bank is. I don't see how getting a USD account, if at all possible, would help much because then you would have to pay possibly more fees to get the money transferred between that bank and yours.

I don't know how it is in other countries but I can declare all those fees as business expenses on my tax return. It is a loss from the amount I would otherwise have earned, right? At first I wasn't aware of that but my accountant pointed it out. Maybe that is something you can look into as well.


Olga Koepping
 


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


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

PayPal rates and payments in USD for a EU-based translator

Advanced search







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 and helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features.

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2019
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2019 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2019 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search