Payoneer vs Paypal vs Wire Transfer vs Western Union: How to Pay Anyone in Any Country

send money overseas

If you’ve been hiring staff around the world, have you encountered the problem of how to actually pay them?

Many companies use our software Time Doctor to track time for people working from home on countries like the Philippines, India, Russia or Ukraine. These companies also are looking for an easy way to pay these contractors that are working from home.

This article is written for the situation where you have someone working from home in a foreign country and you need to pay them. If you are sending money to a friend or relative some of this advice will still apply, but the focus of the review is for paying people working from home all around the world.

Update – new method that is lower cost than most of the transfer methods mentioned in the article:

Wise, formerly TransferWise – This company doesn’t charge any hidden currency conversion fees, and instead they charge a fixed fee of 0.5% in the UK or Europe or 1% from the US.

Which method should you choose?

Western Union

Western Union

Western Union has a very wide reach and often considered to be a high cost option, but they are not necessarily high cost in comparison with PayPal. They have a fairly straight-forward online transfer process, and the fees are not too exorbitant when sending from the US. Western Union is a great option if your recipient does not have a bank account, but it’s not a convenient option for the recipient to need to collect the money in cash for each transfer made.



PayPal works reasonably well for countries such as the Philippines, but it’s not a great option for Russia or Ukraine for example. The fees for PayPal are much lower if the transaction is considered a transfer to a friend or family member. PayPal is a fairly low cost option when money is transferred within the US, but the costs go up significantly for international transactions. PayPal also have a less expensive mass payments option for businesses that are paying several people at the same time.

As the platform divides different types of payments into categories as well as offering various options to make transactions it is important to understand how PayPal works before you get started.


Payoneer is a good option for transferring money if you can get a relationship with them. They have the ability to send out a debit card which allows the user to withdraw money from an ATM machine wherever they are located. Payoneer is only available through selected partners.

For example Upwork (formerly oDesk), and Elance all have a relationship with Payoneer to send and receive payments. Payoneer has minimal fees for partners, there are some fees for the recipient for withdrawal from ATMs and for each load onto their card. If you have a large number of employees you might be able to get a business relationship with them.

Other options:



Xoom is a lower cost method of sending money to over 30 different countries however they have banned commercial payments from businesses to workers so this is not an option. is a low cost option for sending money from a US bank account to the Philippines. Costs only $4.99 per transfer (plus currency conversion).


OrbitRemit is a low cost option for sending money from the UK. Costs £5 for transfers up to £200 and £7 for transfers over this amount.


RemitHome is an option for sending money from the US to the Philippines and costs $10 per transfer (plus currency conversion).


Skrill, formerly “Moneybookers”, does not currently offer an option to upload funds from US bank accounts which means it is not an option for transfers from the US. But it is a reasonable alternative for withdrawals from various countries in Western Europe.

Wire transfer

Always an option, but it costs money both for the person sending the money and for the person receiving the money. It only starts to become cost effective for larger transfers.

Local bank accounts

If you pay a lot of people in one country then a low cost method is if you have a bank account in that country you can organize a local transfer to all of the recipients. So you can do one wire transfer in and then multiple local transfers to the recipients. This obviously assumes that you are able to get a local bank account and that you have multiple people in the country.

Currency conversion – the Hidden Fee!

Most of these transfer options make some of their money from currency conversion. This is often a hidden fee so it can be hard to find out exactly how much is charged. The currency conversion fee varies usually from 1% to 3%.

If you are unsure of the fee you can calculate it yourself by finding out the currency rate that you are getting for the transfer and comparing it with the interbank rate. You can find the interbank rate here.

So for example, let’s say you would like to convert using Orbitremit from Pounds to Philippine pesos.

The rate on the Orbitremit website is 66.000 and the interbank rate is 66.6941. The difference is approximately 1% meaning that they are charging you a 1% currency conversion fee.

Comparison table of the costs of transferring money

Calculating the exact transfer fees is quite complex as there are several fees involved in any transaction.

For example if you send money to the Philippines from the US using a wire transfer, you will have fees for the wire itself, but you will also need to consider the currency conversion fees.

We calculated the fees based on the minimum payable if you take the most cost effective withdrawal option. We chose the Philippines, India and Ukraine as three of the most popular countries to hire work-from-home offshore contractors (you can hire very talented developers in Ukraine for example).


Fees to send $250 from the US to the Philippines

Fees to send $250 from Australia to the Philippines

Fees to send £160 from the UK to the Philippines

Fees to send $250 from the USA to India

Fees to send $1000 from the US to Ukraine


  $16.3   $16.3   £10.44   $16.3

No easy way to withdraw the money

PayPal Mass Payments

  $11.25   $11.25   £7.2   $11.25

No easy way to withdraw the money

Western Union

  $11   $15   £10.9   $8.5   $12

Wire transfer

  $32.5   $37.5   £24.8   $32.5   $40

Notes regarding this fee comparison table

It is very hard to directly compare fees because there are multiple fees charged for different situations.

Paypal – normally costs 3.9% plus 30 cents and 2.5% currency conversion to the Philippines and India. With the Mass payments option the 3.9% is reduced to 2% but the currency conversion stays the same.

Western Union – when we researched this table they had a promotion for payments from the US, so the costs were actually much lower. The cost for US to the Philippines was only $5, for the US to India was only $2.5 (free transfer and the fees were for currency conversion only). The currency conversion in Ukraine is estimated (it’s actually possible to withdraw US dollars in Ukraine and then convert it at a cost of roughly 1% in any case)

Wire transfers – the cost varies significantly for each bank. This table assumes a low fee of $15 to send and $15 to receive. It can be higher than this. We also added a minimum 1% currency conversion fee from the receiving bank for US dollars and 3% for other currencies. Actually currency conversion fees are usually higher than 1%, but in the Philippines and Ukraine because the US dollar is commonly used in the local economy, banks in these countries have reasonable currency conversion fees.

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  • Avatar Deepak says:

    Thanks for that wonderful email. However for somebody like which is a company in India and which receives remittances from the US and other countries wire transfers works out well. The reason why I say this is because of the regulatory compliances which says that you need a FIRC (Foreign inward Remittance Certificate) to claim any of your services as Exports on which you do not have to pay any GST to the government. Services like Payoneer has no provision of FIRC at all while Paypal and Tranferwise procedures are time consuming. Wiretranfers in the bank gets your FIRC immeidately and are quick. Hope this helps.

  • Avatar Oksy says:

    Cryptocurrencies is the way of the future! Bye-bye fees, delays and intermediary hands getting in to take their fill.

  • Avatar harianwanita says:

    When we do business online, we expect smooth inflow of funds. Even though PayPal is good, who doesn’t want speedier money transfer?

  • Avatar Abrar Ahmed says:

    I prefer Payoneer for all my transaction via Fiverr and Payoneer because it is very cost effective. Just cuts $3 per $200 transaction. That’s bad.

  • how about Wells Fargo? They only charged my friend US$5 flat fee. Nothing else.

  • Avatar Duke Villanueva says:

    Hey Rob, this article really breaks it down the fees involved much better than I ever can. I like the chart you included, it makes me feel better about using an electronic payment service in the first place. I was using money deposited directly from my Amazon US account to my overseas bank account in the Philippines (not really a super big amount but enough for me to worry a lot about it). But one day it, my remittance just didn’t arrive. Had to follow up with both Amazon and my local bank like crazy before the lost payment arrived almost a month later.

    Not wanting that happen again I decided to give Payoneer a go (I needed one for my Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) account anyway, if you have a KDP account and you’re based in Asia or Africa I think you MUST have a payoneer.

    Anyway, using payoneer versus a direct deposit from amazon (using their ACH – Automated Clearing House) I have found out:

    1. Less risk of delayed/lost payments – learning this the hard way

    2. I notice I just earn around 1% more using payoneer vs direct deposit from the US after all fees and everything.

    Hey Rob, sorry if I have to include a link to an article I wrote but I think that it’s genuinely helpful to your readers and it’s my personal experience.

  • Avatar Vanja says:

    Avoid Payoneer for sure!!! They are really big bullshit scamers, they freeze my account without a reason and take me 1200$ !!

    I tried to contact them a million times they closing the conversation and did not respond on my emails !!

    I read all their rules and conditions , terms, privacy policy a million times and I realzie that I don’t have harm their rules at all!!!

    AVOID PAYONEER if you don’t want to lose your money!! Fucking Scammers !!!

  • Avatar Hammad says:

    I think Payoneer is best among all because PayPal and Western Union charge higher service fees while Payoneer charges low amount on transactions. Moreover, I just get my money from ATM through Payoneer card, so I love this option the most.

  • Avatar Steven Andry says:

    Thanks for informations , frankly i believe that Payoneer is the best one MasterCard for businessmans

  • Thanks for a great review. It help me to choice a better payment method..

  • Good Information. Unfortunately Paypal decided not to work more with payoneer and this decision has affected many people working from home for various companies that pay directly to their Paypal account. Now it’s a little difficult for many withdraw their money from Paypal, as they did through the US bank account that gives Payoneer.

  • How long will it takes when I transfer fund from Payoneer to Paypal to Western Union or from Paypal to Western Uinon

  • Avatar Yuwan says:

    Payoneer is best method for sending payments.

  • Avatar says:

    When we do business online, we expect smooth inflow of funds. Even though PayPal is good, who doesn’t want speedier money transfer?

  • Avatar Sadek says:

    Payoneer has changed it’s system dramatically, you should update this article to reflect new fees structure.

  • Avatar Sarah says:

    If you are ok with their fees then Payoneer are fine until you have a problem, but while payoneer have grown incredibly, their customer service department has not and quite honestly is one of the worst I have encountered. It takes at least 2 days to get a response to urgent issues … and when we are dealing with money this can be very stressful

  • Avatar Gerald says:

    The another way in Europe and overseas Transfergo:
    Banks are expensive. Transfer money 10x cheaper!
    if you’re sending money from the UK to any European country you pay only 99p transaction fee. Moreover, all transfers from the Eurozone cost only€0.99 transaction fee. It’s really that simple and transparent.When sending money within Europe from Poland you pay 9 PLN, from Norway it’s 20.00 NOK, from Denmark it’s 20.00 DKK, from Sweden it’s 10.00 SEK, from Hungary it’s 500.00 HUF and from Romania it’s 9.00 RON.

  • Avatar Mark says:

    Well many people, specially those from non-US countries, don’t have access to Payoneer or PayPal. If you are a freelancer I suggest also reading this post which has detail comparison about the various withdrawal methods:

  • Avatar Sergey says:

    Another option is to accept cards with Stripe and

    • Rob Rawson Rob Rawson says:

      Hi Sergey yes this is an option for certain countries but the options where you can get accepted for Stripe are fairly limited (US, Canada, Europe and Australia are the main options.

  • Avatar jen says:

    Kokard?!!! They actually send you email notification days after the payment was processed by the employer. That means they send the email notification when they have the money. Employer pays less for the service but kokard use the money for a long time. I understand they have to do some business out of the money but holding it too long is unreasonable. People work so they can have money to support them and their family and not work to support another companies financial interest.

  • Avatar Shashi says:

    I recently asked the payment from fiverr and got very less exchange rate and I asked them in support and got their reply as:

    “The Global Bank Transfer fee in your local currency is $3 per transfer.
    The currency exchange rate is 2.75% above mid-market rate at payment transfer time.”

    Pretty unprofessional and they did not understand my query.

    That day exchange rate was 1 US Dollar = 61.94 Indian Rupee:

    Payment Amount: $1041.00
    Transfer Fee: $3.00
    Amount Transferred: 55227.28 INR


    This is no where make near the exchange rate.

    $1041.00 – $3 = $1038
    55227.28/1038 makes 53.20 INR per US dollar?


    • Avatar Earnen says:

      If your card currency is US dollar, you should withdraw dollars from ATM and then change the money in a bank or change office to your local currency. It would be much much better.

  • Avatar chandra says:

    Hey Guys, for everyone who wants to send money abroad I use TransferWise. It’s the most convenient and cheaper way that I found.
    It’s the only company that gives you the same rate with 0,5% fee . I was using bank to bank before always less, not the rates they display. But with transferwise things are so different. If you click on the link below you will get your first transfer for free: Avoid banks and save your money.

  • thanks for your article specially for this table.

  • Avatar Freddy says:

    Have you checked out Payoneer? Get paid directly to your very own Payoneer Prepaid Debit MasterCard Card, available to over 200 countries worldwide!

  • Avatar Shamir says:

    Among these three, I’d totally go with Payoneer any day of the week. I’ve been using it for almost a year now and it’s really good IMO. 🙂

  • Avatar Paul C says:

    Might want to update those bank fees: Chase and my local credit union both charge $45.00 per transfer. I sent money to a friends bank account a few months ago from USA to Kenya. I transferred $100 – and paid two “fees” $10 & $7 for a total of $17 + probably hidden % in the dollar to Kenya Shilling exchange rate.

  • Avatar Francia Bengco says:

    Hi, would like to ask about your experience with They use Ko-Kard for receiving remittance payments. I have read bad reviews about it. I have personally experienced extremely delayed payment and this is my very first time to use Ko Kard.

    • Rob Rawson Rob Rawson says:

      We actually have an integration with Ko-Kard planned for Time Doctor. I know that they are a genuine and honest company and would definitely complete all their payments. I can’t comment on the specific situation that you had with them.

    • Avatar David Mather says:

      I also have had really long delays with Ko-Kard for fund to arrive. 30 days in not unusual.

      When I first started using this company 3 years ago transfers took 3-4 days to complete. It had been creeping up slowing to 14 days since then, now in the last few months it is at least 30 days. What’s more the customer support is non-responsive when I make enquires!

      Make sure you read recent posts when evaluating this company. My advise – stay away!

  • Avatar Chris says:

    I will prefer to send payments via Payoneer

  • Avatar Alyshan says:


    Can i receive Euro In My Payoneer Account?


  • Avatar adynfbm says:

    im from the philippines, i got my payoneer card 3months ago., and still i cant use of it. . i want to use it on my online casino and shop payments. . but i dont have any idea where and how to load money on my payoneer debit card. . do i need to deposit money first on my debit card so that i could use it for online payments?? please help. . .thanks and more

    • Avatar Biz3.0 Admin says:


      It would be best if you approach Payoneer support with your problem. You could do so here:


    • Avatar Adam Smith says:

      *** I think payoneer is designed to received payments from US-based partner companies. However, they have a service call Private Load Service but requires approval. See details below from their FAQ page.

      Can I load private funds onto my own card?

      Payoneer does offer a Private Load Service, which allows you to load funds to your card using Visa or MasterCard. Additionally, US residents may fund their account using a US bank account.

      Note: limits and restrictions apply when sending and receiving private loads.


      Credit Card Loading to your Card

      Flexible Payment for Freelancing & Affiliate Work

      Whether you are a freelancer or an affiliate, quick and flexible payment is critical to your success. With Payoneer’s Credit Card Loading Service, money can be easily loaded to your Payoneer account anytime. It is a secure, flexible way to receive earnings from individuals and companies.
      How to Determine Eligibility

      Our Payment Approval Department reviews each individual credit card-load card to determine its eligibility – this step is critical in protecting the security of our users. Payoneer reserves the right to decline credit card loads, and to apply specific requirements and limitations on a case-by-case basis. As a prerequisite of approval for the Credit Card Loading Service, you must have an active Payoneer account that receives payments from any of Payoneer’s official partners or the U.S. Payment Service.

      Benefits of the Credit Card Loading Service

      – Receive payments via Visa, MasterCard®, or U.S. ACH (for U.S. cardholders only)
      – Funds available within two business days of approval
      – Use your Payoneer card to make purchases online, in stores, and at ATMs worldwide

    • Avatar Danny Roosenboom says:

      payoneer does not accept it when it is about gambling issues. see this site

  • Avatar Harsh says:

    Thanks for such valuable info. I was actually confused a bit while chosing the best way to get payments in India. Thanks a Lot! 😀

    • Avatar Haseeb says:

      Hi.. I am also from india.. Finally which u chose and tell me about the experience which your using right now?

  • Avatar Sandy says:

    Hi, how about payoneer fees?

  • Avatar terry jang says:

    I am a reselling a mass payment platform. Payees recieve a prepaid card and they can withdraw their earnings at any Visa/plus ATM. They can shop with the card at any store which accepts VISA.

    We can offer you a user interface where a business can register and load cards either individually or en masse through a CSV file.

    Finally, I believe my solution is cheaper than Payoneers.

  • Avatar Ashley says:

    The transaction process is sometimes very easy to follow, you could see where you were with it step by step.I am a repeat customer and I will definitely use Payoneer.

  • Avatar Usman Malik says:

    Thanks for sharing these payment sending options with us. I will prefer to send payments via Payoneer.

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