Which bank account details are safe to give a new client?
Thread poster: alexbotti

alexbotti
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:56
French to English
+ ...
Jan 13

Hello all,
I'm a translator based in the UK, mainly working with European and US clients.
When setting up with a potential new client, it can be difficult to decide which payment method to use. I prefer using bank transfer and haven't had any problems with this so far. Usually, all the client needs is the sort code and account number; in some cases, the IBAN number as well.
I was recently contacted by a new Russian translation agency and we are at the payment method discussio
... See more
Hello all,
I'm a translator based in the UK, mainly working with European and US clients.
When setting up with a potential new client, it can be difficult to decide which payment method to use. I prefer using bank transfer and haven't had any problems with this so far. Usually, all the client needs is the sort code and account number; in some cases, the IBAN number as well.
I was recently contacted by a new Russian translation agency and we are at the payment method discussion point (I haven't done any translation work for them yet). They insist they need my card number along with my sort code and account number, which I find a bit suspicious. No other client has ever asked for this. What is your opinion on this? Is this a scam?
The client has offered other methods of payment, saying they "understand I may not want to give them my card number" (they suggested Skrill, Western Union, SmartCat, and others I am not familiar with). This is my first time dealing with a Russian agency; perhaps they have other regulations?
Any advice would be highly appreciated.
Many thanks!
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:56
Member (2008)
Italian to English
None... Jan 13

Always tell a new client that your bank details will be given on your invoice.

In my opinion you should never give your bank details to anyone until you are invoicing them for completed work. At that stage you should include your bank details on the invoice.

For non-EU clients I have found that PayPal works quite well, once you have set it up. I prefer direct bank transfer but some countries can't do that (and for those in the UK there is a BIG QUESTION as to whether b
... See more
Always tell a new client that your bank details will be given on your invoice.

In my opinion you should never give your bank details to anyone until you are invoicing them for completed work. At that stage you should include your bank details on the invoice.

For non-EU clients I have found that PayPal works quite well, once you have set it up. I prefer direct bank transfer but some countries can't do that (and for those in the UK there is a BIG QUESTION as to whether bank transfers will be possible after 01 Jan 2021, because of Brexit).




[Edited at 2020-01-13 10:04 GMT]
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Christine Andersen
Robert Rietvelt
Teresa Borges
IrinaN
Kevin Fulton
Laurent Mercky
Philip Lees
 

Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 07:56
Member
English to Russian
+ ...
Bank transfers from Russia Jan 13

Any regular translation agency in Russia should not have any problem paying by wire transfer.

I would recommend not giving your card details to them. Better still, double-check whether they are legitimate.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:56
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
@Alex Jan 13

alexbotti wrote:
They insist they need my card number along with my sort code and account number. No other client has ever asked for this.


Different banks and different countries may require additional information for doing a SWIFT transfer. This page is one example of the type of information you get when you google for this:

https://www.b2bpay.co/swift-bank-transfer

In some countries, you may need to specify the account type, or the branch number, or the branch street address, or the bank's head office's street address, or any number of additional pieces of information.

That said, the number on the card is usually not something that the client's bank can do anything with, unless the number on the card is the same as the account number (it's not always the case). The card may also contain an additional number which identifies the card itself (not the account), and that number is sometimes asked when you may online payments, so I would not give that number to anyone who wants to pay *me*.

The client has offered other methods of payment, saying they "understand I may not want to give them my card number" (they suggested Skrill, Western Union, SmartCat, and others I am not familiar with).


In that case, I suggest you choose one of those options. In my experience, Skrill works fine but the account verification procedures can be lengthy, Western Union pays out in person (i.e. you have to travel to a city where there is a Western Union branch, and then get your money from a Western Union counter, which may be an ordinary store, after presenting your ID and a whole bunch of personal information), and SmartCat (not to be confused with Smart2Pay) appears to pay with very little unusual information required.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 05:56
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Alex Jan 13

I've never worked with Russian agencies. I work mostly with EU countries but I also have clients from non-EU countries. Some say that Transferwise (https://transferwise.com/pt) is cheaper and easier to use than other methods of payments.

Philip Lees
 

alexbotti
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:56
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
great advice! Jan 13

Many thanks to you all!
It seems most agree that the information requested by the client is unusual, so that confirms my suspicions. I'll have a look through all the payment transfer options you've mentioned to compare them for future cases. But I think that in this case I will avoid working with this client, since I'm feeling so uncomfortable about it.
Many thanks, Tom, for your tip on invoicing. I will certainly use that approach from now on (only providing bank details on the act
... See more
Many thanks to you all!
It seems most agree that the information requested by the client is unusual, so that confirms my suspicions. I'll have a look through all the payment transfer options you've mentioned to compare them for future cases. But I think that in this case I will avoid working with this client, since I'm feeling so uncomfortable about it.
Many thanks, Tom, for your tip on invoicing. I will certainly use that approach from now on (only providing bank details on the actual invoice form). And also for that point about Brexit; that alone is quite a lot to think about! Thank you, Vladimir, for your confirmation about Russian agencies; I did find it strange that they would ask for something different from other agencies I've worked with. And thank you, Samuel, it's true that each client will probably ask for different information. Teresa, thank you as well for your tip on Transferwise; I will certainly look into it to compare with the other options mentioned.
I'm very grateful for all your help and for the feeling of support from the translator community
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:56
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Western Union worked well for my Russia-based client and me Jan 13

If it's likely to be a one-off or occasional client and you live near to a WU point, you shouldn't discount that as an idea. My client in Russia had problems finding a way to pay that wasn't extortionate at her end. She sent me a password; I went into town and presented myself to the little Moroccan grocer's that had a WU sign outside; I gave them the password; and they promptly started counting out the cash. It was strange, and of course not suitable if you're talking thousands of euros/pounds,... See more
If it's likely to be a one-off or occasional client and you live near to a WU point, you shouldn't discount that as an idea. My client in Russia had problems finding a way to pay that wasn't extortionate at her end. She sent me a password; I went into town and presented myself to the little Moroccan grocer's that had a WU sign outside; I gave them the password; and they promptly started counting out the cash. It was strange, and of course not suitable if you're talking thousands of euros/pounds, but it worked well.Collapse


 

Laurent Mercky
France
Local time: 06:56
Member (2019)
Chinese to French
+ ...
not so risky Jan 13

Hi
Theoritically, your banking info can't be used for any purpose other than money transfer TO your account.
It's not a credit card number, which is way riskier.
However, indeed, do not give your info to anyone, it's better.


 

Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 07:56
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Only IBAN Jan 14

alexbotti wrote:
Usually, all the client needs is the sort code and account number; in some cases, the IBAN number as well.


In fact, all the client needs is the IBAN code and the name of the account holder. All the other information (sort code = branch code, account number, etc.) is included in the IBAN code. You can see this by putting a valid IBAN code through this helpful website:

https://www.iban.com/

Notice the uncanny resemblance between the URL and the service it provides.

However, as I know from personal experience, there are accountants and bank staff, in both the UK and Greece, who do not know this. I have had a UK bank reject a payment from a client there who provided only the IBAN, on the spurious basis that it was "a foreign account". You can imagine how this pleased me.


 

Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 07:56
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Transferwise Jan 14

Teresa Borges wrote:
Some say that Transferwise (https://transferwise.com/pt) is cheaper and easier to use than other methods of payments.


I have been using Transferwise on a regular basis for several years now and I have found it entirely satisfactory. The "/pt" at the end of the URL is not necessary, though (unless you're in Portugal, I suppose).


 


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