Payoneer is a merchant services provider that will allow you to send and receive payments without having to worry about maintaining a merchant account. This makes it a rather unique payment platform, akin to something like a PayPal or Venmo rather than a Square or Stripe. It is a popular option for freelancers and international businesses, as well as users of major e-commerce marketplaces like Airbnb and Upwork.
If you don’t need to accept credit card payments, Payoneer is a great option for your business. The service receives high marks across the board, and it comes with some cool features like a prepaid debit card and tax tools. Just be sure to understand your customers’ preferred payment method before signing up.
From reading the Payoneer website, it can be hard to understand just what Payoneer does — so let’s start by explaining what it is not. It’s not a merchant account provider or a payment gateway. This means it doesn’t have a built-in mechanism to accept credit card payments in person or online. It also cannot work with a point-of-sale system.
Now for what Payoneer can do. In short, Payoneer allows you to send and receive payments in 150 different currencies around the world via bank transfer. Payoneer allows you to accept those payments via a localized bank transfer in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Mexico, Canada and Australia, which minimizes the cross-border fees that you would otherwise pay. In fact, Payoneer says on its website that its service can reduce your payment fees by up to 71%.
This service is ideal for B2B payments and for those who operate e-commerce marketplaces. Payoneer doesn’t charge a fee for most types of bank transfers, which is a huge benefit compared to the fees associated with credit card payments.
Since you’re not accepting credit card payments, there is no underwriting process when you sign up for Payoneer. In fact, you can create an account directly from the Payoneer website in a matter of minutes. There is no need to speak with a salesman or haggle over price, as a Payoneer account is completely free to open.
Once your account is created, you’ll have access to the following functions:
Send and receive payments globally
Payoneer uses the third-party processor Global Payments to receive local bank transfers from companies and marketplaces in the U.S., U.K., EU, Japan, Canada, Australia and Mexico directly to your Payoneer account. When you want to receive a payment (either locally or internationally), just send a customer a request. Note that Payoneer can facilitate ACH transfers for an additional fee.
Once the customer pays, the money will be deposited into your Payoneer account, at which point you can transfer it to your personal bank account in your local currency (Payoneer can convert over 150 different types of currencies). Funds from payments are available instantly and can also be withdrawn from an ATM.
Payoneer also integrates directly with numerous large marketplaces, allowing you to receive payouts quickly and easily. Notable marketplaces Payoneer integrates with include Airbnb, Upwork, Amazon, Fiverr and many more. All of these platforms offer a Payoneer option when you select your preferred payment method.
Along with being able to send payment requests and receive payments from your customers, Payoneer has a “Make a Payment” function that allows you to send payments to other Payoneer account holders free of charge. If the customer does not have a Payoneer account, they will receive an email with a prompt to create one in order to receive payment.
Payoneer doesn’t offer an invoice function on its platform but integrates with the Free Invoice Generator software to allow you to generate professional-looking invoices to send to customers. Each online invoice created can be customized to the specific client you’re sending it to. Contact, company and payment details can also be saved for recurring invoices. You can choose to add your logo, add sender info (or set default sender in the settings), add client info and add tax info.
Prepaid debit card
All Payoneer account holders have the option of receiving a Mastercard debit card, which you can use to make payments from funds in your Payoneer account. This debit card can also work at ATMs. Note that this card comes with a $29.95 annual fee.
Payoneer provides users with an API that allows them to automatically debit a consenting Payoneer user’s balance, making it easy to arrange recurring payments. Note that the customer has to consent to have their Payoneer account debited. Payoneer will only debit the account if the needed funds are available, eliminating the chance of a chargeback.
Payoneer offers a mobile app for iOS and Android where users can see their account balance, view transactions and withdraw funds. Note that you cannot make payments from the mobile app.
When you create a Payoneer account, you will be invited to complete associated tax forms through a guided workflow. Individual and business tax forms supported by Payoneer include W-9s, W-8BENs and W-8ECIs. Payoneer will provide users with detailed reports of the tax data collected and in-progress forms. This also eliminates the burden of collecting tax info from payees.
Merchant cash advance
Payoneer offers Walmart and Amazon marketplace sellers a service called Payoneer Capital Advance. With Payoneer Capital Advance, Payoneer will advance you the funds you need and then collect 35% of your payments until the debt is settled. Payoneer offers advances up to $500,000 and fees as low as 2%. The amount of working capital offered to merchants is based on the historical sales performance of the associated Walmart and Amazon stores, as well as predicted future sales.
Payoneer guarantees on its website that “all of your payee disbursements are made through a fully compliant, secure and tightly audited payments platform that is recognized and valued by financial regulators all around the world.” Furthermore, Payoneer is PCI compliant and anti-money laundering compliant and offers fraud detection to all customers.
Payoneer offers phone, live chat and email support during normal business hours Monday through Friday. Support is available in a variety of different countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia, Australia, Spain, Japan and more. On the website, Payoneer says, “We will try to resolve your problem within three business days of receiving your complaint whenever possible, whether you contact us by letter, phone, email, chat, fax or the Contact Us form on our website.”
There is also a Support Center with a robust amount of documentation on how to use Payoneer. Other customer support features include video tutorials, a community forum, blog and social media accounts where you can ask Payoneer questions. The Customer Assistance page offers more detail on Payoneer’s customer care policies.
One other unique perk offered to Payoneer customers is an opportunity to be part of the Payoneer Ambassador Program. As a member, you’ll gain access to local events, meetups and conferences, in addition to more intimate gatherings for the most highly successful business owners. The Ambassador Program is currently available to merchants in 12 different countries.
As previously mentioned, it is completely free to open a Payoneer account and send and receive payments between other Payoneer account holders. Payments are also free from marketplaces within the Payoneer integration network (such as Airbnb, Upwork and others).
For sending and receiving payments from customers without a Payoneer account, you will be charged a 3% fee for credit card payments and 1% for eCheck payments. Transferring funds from your Payoneer account to your local bank account will incur a 2% fee if the funds are in a different currency than what your local bank uses. For depositing funds in the same currency, you will incur a $1.50 fee. Transferring balances between different currencies within your Payoneer account will incur a 0.5% fee.
Contracts are month-to-month, and there is no early termination fee or setup fee.
If you don’t need to accept credit card payments, Payoneer offers an affordable alternative. ECheck and local bank transfers cost only 1%, and transfers between Payoneer customers cost nothing at all. Since Payoneer is free to sign up for — if you can get all your vendors to use Payoneer, you’ll never pay a fee for accepting payments. Compare that to the cost of accepting credit card payments, which can range from 2.5% to 3.5% per transaction, plus a small fixed fee. Furthermore, you’ll also need to maintain a merchant account and payment gateway if you sell online.
Payoneer’s customer support options are impressive, especially considering its product can be confusing for the average merchant to understand. Not having 24/7 customer support isn’t ideal, but detailed support service pages and bonuses like a community forum, detailed blog and ambassador program more than make up for it.
Lack of payments features
Payoneer does not come with a payment gateway, virtual terminal or the ability to work with your POS system. Perhaps you don’t need these functions, but there are other payment services that allow you to accept payment via bank transfer AND come with these features. In other words, if you need to accept credit card payments online or take orders over the phone, you can probably get more bang for your buck with a payment service provider like Square or Stripe.
Account freezes and terminations
As with any service that processes payments, Payoneer will hold your funds or terminate your account if it suspects fraud. Payoneer comes with a fraud detection system, but from customer reviews, it seems like the system may be a bit overzealous. Interestingly, there were also a surprising number of complaints from people saying their account was hacked or that customer payment information was compromised. Any way you look at it, these are some major red flags.
User reviews of Payoneer
Here is what customers who use Payoneer have to say about the service on major customer review websites:
G2 Crowd: 4.5 stars out of 5.
TrustPilot: 5 stars out of 5.
Capterra: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Better Business Bureau: A-.
Payoneer gets remarkably high ranks across the board, including a perfect five starts on TrustPilot with over 10,000 submitted reviews. In positive reviews, customers praise Payoneer’s helpful customer service, ease of use, low fees and Payoneer’s ability to accept payments around the world (Payoneer has a large number of users outside the United States).
In negative reviews, customers complain about the aforementioned security issues. There are also complaints about Payoneer’s account inactivity fee and the fact that it does not work with certain e-commerce marketplaces like Jet and Wayfair.
If Payoneer doesn’t fit your business needs, here are some alternatives to consider:
Square is a favorite pick for small businesses looking to accept payments at an affordable rate. When you sign up, you’ll be able to process credit card payments in person for a rate of 2.75% and online for a rate of 2.9% plus 30 cents. Square also allows you to accept ACH payments, and it comes with a virtual terminal and built-in payment gateway. Furthermore, you get free POS software and access to Square’s popular POS hardware. Note that Square is a payment service provider, meaning you’ll have to use its aggregated merchant account and payment processing. However, there is no additional fee charged for these services.
If you’re only looking to accept payments online, Shopify and its payment processing service Shopify Payments could be a good fit for you. Shopify Payments is actually a white-labeled version of Stripe, but you also get an e-commerce platform when you sign up. The monthly fee you’ll pay is $29.95, and you’ll be able to accept payments online at a rate of 2.9% plus 30 cents (in-person rates cost 2.7% per transaction). Obviously, your payment gateway is built-in, and Shopify also has a nifty online POS system for managing inventory, customers and more.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.