Payoneer is one of the best known online wallet services. Their offering includes local bank account numbers in multiple countries / currencies, a prepaid card and various other business-related services. In this guide, I review them and share my experience.
Payoneer has been around for over a decade and is one of the best established online wallet services outside of China. They are headquartered in New York City and have offices in multiple countries. This is noteworthy as very few online wallets are US-based, most being based in the UK and the EU. This allows Payoneer to offer USD bank account details to all their clients, as opposed to only those in select countries (as is the case with most other online wallets). The aforementioned local bank account service is by far their most popular service, along with their prepaid card, mass payout and global transfer services. While these are primarily aimed at businesses, they are also very popular with freelancers.
The account opening process takes around ten minutes to complete and everything is done online. Payoneer usually requires a proof of ID but only post activation. Provided that all your information checks out, your account should be activated within 24 hours.
Once your account is activated, it is automatically assigned local bank account details for the US, UK and EU. More countries can be activated upon request. Those details can be used to link the Payoneer account to services like PayPal, Stripe and Amazon. In many cases, this allows an online business to operate without having to open a traditional business bank account. It is important to note, however, that linking to those services is by no means guaranteed and may fail for a number of reasons. Your best bet is to link to the EUR account (USD and GBP are very much of a hit or miss with Stripe and PayPal).
It is possible to order prepaid cards denominated in USD, GBP and EUR. Ordering a card is free but there is an annual fee of 29.95 USD (regardless of the currency used by the card). Please note that I do not recommend using the card to make purchases in foreign currencies or to withdraw cash as the fees are very high. Instead, you can transfer from Payoneer to Revolut / TransferWise and use their own card for these types of transactions (or to your bank if their fees are reasonable).
If you have a bank account in USD, GBP or EUR, you can link it to your Payoneer account, allowing you to withdraw money directly. The name does not need to match, the account can even belong to a third party. Please note that if the account is in a different currency from those listed above, Payoneer will convert the funds using their own rate (not as good as the likes of TransferWise).
Payoneer’s user interface is decent but not as nice or intuitive as that of PayPal, Revolut or Transferwise. That said, everything can be completed online and in my opinion that is what matters most.
Customer service is pretty good and there is a lot of information available online in case you run into an issue.
Overall, Payoneer is definitely one of the best online wallet services out there and a great option for those who need local bank details for their business.
My experience with Payoneer
I opened my first Payoneer account nearly ten years ago. They were running a promotion back then with 2CO, offering near-instant settlements. I used the account for a few months and liked how everything worked but the fees were simply too high to justify the convenience so I closed it and forgot about it.
Years later, in 2016, I decided to open a new account for one of my businesses. It took less than an hour for the account to be activated, I was impressed. I have not used it much since but everything I have tried worked well.
I had to contact customer service a few times and they replied via email within 24 hours every time.
I have also successfully linked my Payoneer prepaid card to Revolut. Transferring funds to those services is a great way to get around Payoneer’s insane card fees (your Payoneer card must be EU-issued if your Revolut account is domiciled outside of the US).