Figuring Out Payoneer ATM Withdrawal Fees in Nepal

With all the banks of Nepal having different exchange rates, it is close to impossible to figure out the exact ATM card withdrawal fees that one incurs—for withdrawing a certain amount. Moreover, when it comes to international ATM cards, there are different withdrawal limits for different bank ATMs of Nepal. All we do is withdraw in bulk hoping that the fees are less when we do one single transaction.

Note: Since Payoneer’s MasterCard is treated like an international credit card by the local banks in Nepal, the findings may also give an idea about local ATM fees for other international credit and debit card holders. If you’re a tourist wondering which ATM to use for cash withdrawals in Nepal, then read on. You will get an idea about the ATM fees and limits here. It is wise to ask your bank back home how much fees they charge for international ATM transactions.

Normally, on the ATM’s side, the withdrawal fee is Rs. 400 per transaction and most ATMs have a withdrawal limit of NPR 10,000 for a single withdrawal request or transaction. That means excluding the per transaction Payoneer fee, we also have a per transaction ATM fee. The per transaction ATM fee is $3 or $3.15 plus 1.8%+ of the transaction amount on Payoneer’s end. Also note that the exchange rates are different by a few paisas in each bank.

So, to reduce this headache, I have tried to compile my findings from withdrawing NPR amount in Nepal using Payoneer international MasterCard. My preferred ATMs are those of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and NABIL Bank Limited. I chose Standard Chartered bank because it doesn’t seem to charge the 400 NPR ATM transaction fee but there’s some sort of secret fee that I believe is lower than Rs. 400. The maximum amount that you can withdraw using Standard Chartered ATM is Rs. 10,000. The other bank NABIL is good because their ATM allows us to withdraw up to Rs. 35,000.

Before I get to the fees deduced by local banks, I’d like to point out the fees incurred or deducted at Payoneer’s end. The fee amount is slightly different depending on where you ordered your card from. For example if you signed up at the Payoneer.com website directly, then you pay a slightly higher transaction and maintenance fee when compared to the Payoneer card that you ordered from freelancing websites like Elance and oDesk.

Fees on Payoneer’s End

To see your Payoneer fees, sign into Payoneer and go to Help > Pricing and Fees . The fees that apply to your account are displayed.

If You Signed up Directly at Payoneer.Com

Card Fees

  • Annual Account Maintenance: $29.95 per year.
  • Card Replacement: $12.95 per card.

ATM/Cash Withdrawal or Transaction fees

  • ATM Withdrawal or Point of Sales: $3.15 per transaction.
  • ATM Decline Fee: $1 per transaction.
  • ATM Balance Inquiry Fee: $1 per transaction.

Note: The pricing and fees page doesn’t display the “Foreign Transaction Fee” which is charged at a certain percentage of the withdrawal amount after 3.15 is deducted. The foreign transaction fee is 3% for this type of card.

If You Ordered Your Card from Sites like Elance

Card Fees

  • Card activation: $5 per card.
  • Loading Payments
    • Standard (Within 2 days): Free
    • Immediate (Within 2 hours): $2.50 per load.
  • Monthly Card Account Maintenance
    • If you did 0 to 1 transaction in the previous month: $3 monthly
    • If you did 2 or more transactions in the previous month: $1 monthlyNote: Monthly account fee is only deducted if you have balance in your account. If your balance is 0 then expect no fees. If you did 2 transactions and if you balance is $0.45 then expect a $0.45 fee. If your balance is $5 and you did no transaction expect a $3 fee.
  • Card Replacement: $12.95 per card.

ATM/Cash Withdrawal or Transaction fees

  • ATM Withdrawal or Point of Sales: $3 per transaction.
  • ATM Withdrawal or POS in the US: $1.35 per transaction.
  • PIN POS Transaction Decline: $0.90 per transaction failed.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee:1.8% of Total Amount
  • ATM Decline Fee: $0.90 per transaction.

Cumulative Fees

With the Payoneer fees in mind; here are my findings based on my experiences of withdrawing from the ATM’s of these two banks: Standard Chartered Bank and NABIL Bank. My card is a standard Payoneer card that I requested from Payoneer.com and not from third-party partner websites like Elance, oDesk or fiverr.

Transaction Date: Feb 9, 2015
Transaction Time: 11:30 am – 11:45 am

Nabil Bank ATM

  • Amount Withdrawn = Rs. 35,000
  • ATM Fees = Rs. 400
  • Total NPR = Rs. 35400
  • Dollar Amount Deducted in Payoneer = $374.33

NabilBank.com Website Exchange Rates for USD on the Same Day (Feb 9, 2015)

  • Buying = Rs. 98.95 per 1 USD
  • Selling = Rs. 99.55 per 1 USD

Standard Chartered Bank ATM

  • Amount Withdrawn = Rs. 10,000
  • ATM Fees = Not Disclosed by the ATM
  • Dollar Amount Deducted in Payoneer = $108
  • Exchange Rate: Not Provided in Website

For Reference, Nepal Rastra Bank Website Exchange Rate for USD on Feb 9, 2015

(Source: NRB Website)

  • Buying = Rs. 98.42 per 1 USD
  • Selling = Rs. 99.02 per 1 USD

Calculations

Simple Math

  • For receiving Rs. 35,000; total USD required is 374.33 [NABIL ATM].
    Effective exchange rate: 93.50 (Low because fees deducted by two parties)
  • For receiving Rs. 10,000; total USD required is 108 [SCB ATM].
    Effective exchange rate: 92.59 (Low because fees deducted by two parties)

Note: When actual bank exchange rates are above 98 and below 100.

A Bit Complicated Math

NABIL ATM

Amount Received = Rs. 35,000

Fees = Rs. 400

USD Required = $374.33

Fixed Payoneer Fee = $3.15

Amount After Fee = $(374.33 – 3.15) = $370.98

Payoneer Foreign Transaction Fee = 3% [High]

Deducting Foreign Transaction Fee = $370.98 – (3% of $370.98) = $370.98 – $11.1294 = $359.85

Total NPR Equivalent for $359.85 = 35,400

Exchange Rate = 35400/359.85 = 98.37 [Website Exchange Rate was 98.95. Close enough?]

SCB ATM

Amount Received = Rs. 10,000

USD Required = $108

Deducting Payoneer Fee = $(108 – 3.15) = $104.85

Deducting Payoneer Foreign Transaction Fee = $104.85 – 3% of $104.85 = $104.85 – $3.1455 = $101.70

Assuming no bank fees and only a slight lower exchange rate

NPR 10,000 = $101.70

Exchange Rate = 10,000/101.70 = 98.33 [Between the two banks, exchange rates come close don’t they?]

Note: I have used 3% as Payoneer foreign exchange fees because I didn’t get my card from Elance. If I had applied for Elance’s Payoneer card, the per transaction cost would be just 1.8% in both the transactions above.

Conclusions

  • Since, there are fixed fees on both end and proportional fees on Payoneer’s end, the best thing we can do is reduce the number of transactions.
  • For withdrawing Rs. 10,000 use Standard Chartered ATM.
  • For withdrawing Rs. 35,000 use NABIL Bank ATM
  • Withdrawing Rs. 10,000 from NABIL will incur higher fees because of their 400 per transaction fees. But withdrawing Rs. 35,000 from Standard Chartered by doing multiple transactions would cost higher because of the $3 – $3.15 Payoneer fees deducted per transaction.

Recommendations

  • Payoneer is great for online shopping, but not so great for withdrawing via ATMs. I find it of great use when buying and renewing domains and hosting account.
  • If you are willing to bear the fees, you can instantly receive cash in your hand if you use Payoneer.
  • Try to get your Payoneer card from freelancing websites instead of directly via Payoneer.com. It will greatly reduce your fees in the future.
  • For Freelancers
  • Use Payoneer only if you have to. Use it when you have no other options. Otherwise it is wise to collect money in your freelancing account and withdraw using the international bank transfer option. Use the SWIFT codes for Nepalese banks.
  • If you have to use Payoneer, try to do two monthly transactions to avoid $2 fees. It may look like a small amount, but it accumulates. Withdrawing two times from your Freelance website counts as two transactions.
  • You don’t have to choose the Immediate Load option which costs $2.5. Waiting 2 days and a few more hours isn’t so bad.

If you have any experiences in withdrawing through ATMs of other banks, then please share your experiences and information related to fees. I heard that SBI Bank allows withdrawals up to Rs. 16,000. Have you used it? Please don’t hesitate to share.

Happy Freelancing and Making Money Online