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Payoneer or Skrill

Active Member
April R Member Since: Mar 24, 2015

Hi everyone,


We all know that holidays are coming and whenever it's holiday in US/Phils, it causes delay in our payments if we are using local bank transfer or even paypal.

I heard that with Skrill or payoneer, after withdrawal from upwork, it will only take few minutes/hours.

Funds will be available in your card and you can withdraw your money from atm counter same day.

Is this true? any delays in payment during holidays?



Frequent Visitor
Jonathan Patrick L Member Since: Jan 26, 2016

Payoneer pays during Holidays -- the only time they had a hiccup was during New Year's but I've received payments on Christmas Day, Holy Thursday, etc. from Payoneer.


The other thing: Payoneer's FX conversion rates are MUCH higher than Upwork/oDesk's. I don't think they (Upwork/oDesk) are being entirely honest with us about it either. I suspect they have a share in the conversion rate with their correspondent bank in the same way that the Western Union licensed agent gets a cut when you opt for Peso Conversion.


The reason I know this is I transfer money on the same day each week from Payoneer and Upwork. Payoneer's rate is usually 35-centavos higher -- but they're sending it to the same bank. Sometimes it's even 50-centavos higher. To make it more concrete: a 50-centavo difference translates into 500 pesos for every thousand dollars. Remember that the Bank's FX rate is already around 1.00 to 1.50 Peso LOWER than the prevailing market rate. You can easily verify this by going to a money changer. 


So you're out nearly 2 bucks per dollar when you use Upwork/oDesk's transfer mechanism.


I also get my funds from Payoneer a lot earlier -- I've had a situation where I got paid an hour after I received their confirmation email. They're solid in my books. 


Generally, I'm pretty happy with Upwork but when it comes to Money Transfers and local currency conversion, they're not quite first class (i.e. frequent delays, inconsistent payment times, low FX rate). 

Active Member
Jose Francisco Ste R Member Since: Oct 20, 2010

Hi Jonathan,


"Payoneer's rate is usually 35-centavos higher -- but they're sending it to the same bank." Can you clarify on this? I haven't tried Payoneer and I still have to know how it works so I'm not sure what sending to the same bank mean. Is it a disadvantage?


I've always wanted get info of this kind where you get to withdraw a portion of your earnings to 2 or more different routes on the same date. Just to find out the exchange rate differences. Have you in any chance tried chanelling your withdrawal through paypal eon? 


Great info you got here!

Frequent Visitor
Jonathan Patrick L Member Since: Jan 26, 2016

Yes, it's definitely a disadvantage. oDesk's USD-PHP conversion rate is lower so, if you're letting them convert your dollar earnings for you, you're getting less Pesos than you would if you'd just sent yourself dollars to your dollar account (assuming you have one -- and assuming your bank doesn't charge you an inward remittance fee -- banks like BPI, Citibank and BDO charge something like 20 to 30 bucks). 


Anyway, as an example, let's use today's rate:


I just sent myself some money via Payoneer. They emailed me confirming that they would be sending it at the equivalent of USD1.00 to PhP47.07.


oDesk's rate as of this morning, when I sent myself some money through its transfer system, was 46.692. Same beneficiary bank account as my Payoneer transfer. 


That's nearly a 40-centavo difference for every dollar. Of course, it can get higher since oDesk confirms the rate around 8AM ET but those instances are rare. I would say that oDesk's rate generally gets worse between the morning and evening unless USD-PHP weakens signficantly during trading on the day you initiated a transfer.  


I've used PayPal too. It's a little bit better -- around 5-10 centavos ahead of oDesk's rate on the same day. By the way, your transfer amount has nothing to do with it -- sending a bigger amount won't get you a more favorable rate. 


In general, I've noticed that oDesk's rate is around 1.00 to 1.25 less than the bank's mid-rate. Payoneer's is about 70 to 80 centavos less. 


I'm surprised no one has brought it up, actually. 


Active Member
Jose Francisco Ste R Member Since: Oct 20, 2010

Hey Jonathan,


Once more, thanks for sharing your valuable experience and analysis. I must admit some details are a bit technical for me to understand or digest at the moment Smiley Very Happy. Info like this helps make better decisions and more options to choose from. Your profile says it all no wonder!



Thumbs up!

Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014

Hi Jonathan,


If I understand correctly, you are comparing wire transfer withdrawals to Payoneer withdrawals?


Note that the difference in exchange rates is not something Upwork can control. When a bank converts a wire, they will mark up the interbank rate to buy or sell a currency. Online calculators will not take into consideration the mark up that is applied. Since rates constantly change throughout any given day, the rate you received is the rate offered by our bank at the time your specific wire was processed.


I hope this clarifies the subject.

Frequent Visitor
Jonathan Patrick L Member Since: Jan 26, 2016

I'm comparing oDesk sending money to my local bank account (they call it Local Funds Transfer) with Payoneer doing the same thing. I'm not talking about withdrawing to Payoneer vs. withdrawing to my bank account. 


For your information: banks in Manila have a static 'board' rate that they offer each day for correspondent bank-type transactions of the sort that oDesk and Payoneer (or PayPal for that matter) provide. These are processed through their automated systems and are not passed through their wholesale desks.


It's not a market bid rate. The rate is typcially well below (around 2 to 2.5%) the prevailing market rate (or even the settlement rate, which is the weigthed average of 'done' rates in the market). 


oDesk's rate is consistently lower than Payoneer's rate even when they're coursed through the same bank. As I mentioned, it works out to around 0.5% lower for transactions effected on the same day. It is standard industry practice to share a portion of that difference (the 2 to 2.5% I mentioned) between the intermediary parties in lieu of sharing an inward remittance charge. What that sharing ratio is depends on the negotiation between parties.


I know this for a fact because I've been working in the financial industry for 20 years now. 


Something is clearly going on with the way oDesk processes local fund transfers. I don't know what it is or whether they have arrangements with their local correspondent bank (it's Standard Chartered, by the way) or not but I think they should become more transparent about why the rate is so low compared to the market rate. It can't just be "that's the market rate." Anyone with an internet connection and access to any number of financial sites can tell you that's just not true. 


Frankly, I don't mind if they take a cut -- it's standard practice and it's actually cheaper than a telegraphic transfer charge (which is around 3% of the amount remitted). Heck, even a non-bank like Western Union does it through its internal system (and that's on top of the actual money transfer charge) -- but I would certainly like to know about it. As it stands, the rates that Upwork/oDesk provide everytime I make a local funds withdrawal always elicit a smile because they're really much too low. 

Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015

Hi Jonathan,


I am not sure why our conversion rates are lower for LFT than other companies. I'm glad this is working out to your advantage. Thanks for sharing this information, other freelancers in the Philippines may find this information useful.