If you owned a ecommerce website in Singapore or Malaysia and is looking to expand the sales of your product into the US market, you ought to be selling on the two largest marketplace there which are ebay and Amazon. Selling at ebay is easy, all you need to do is to set up a Store at ebay USA. Depending on the type of store (Basic, Premium or Anchor), you will need to pay between USD19.95 to $199.95 per month. Getting paid is easy as PayPal and Ebay are under the same company. All you need to link your preferred bank in Singapore to PayPal for the money to be transferred there.
Selling at Amazon is more challenging compared to ebay especially if you live outside US. Why it is so challenging is because you need to have a US bank account. This only come to our attention when we were tasked to help our client, CloverSac, a company that specialise in designing and selling bag organizer and purse base shaper, into setting up a Amazon account so that they list and sell their products in the US market. After creating the seller account and successfully listing their products at Amazon below
Our next headache is to how to transfer the money back to Singapore. As see from the picture below that under the “Bank Location”, Singapore is not one of the listed choices.
We called every single banks in Singapore but it is almost impossible to set up a US bank account here. If someone is telling you that you can set up a foreign bank account here, he or she is probably referring to a foreign exchange account not a bank account. The solution to that problem is getting paid through a “middle man” like Payoneer or World First.
Who is Payoneer and World First?
I will not go into financial terms to explain who Payoneer and Worldfirst are, to keep it simple they act as middle man between you and Amazon. What this “middle man” does is to allow money to be transferred to your local bank or credit card from the funds that is deposited into your Amazon account.
What are the differences between Payoneer and World First?
World First is a foreign exchange company where their FX rates are interbank rates. World First allows their Singapore clients to receive SGD into their domestic bank with a fees of 1-2.5% foreign exchange loss. However they do charged a fee of if you are transferring less than USD$1,000.
Payoneer also provides a master card or bank transfer to their clients however, they have a cap of USD$2,700 per day and USD$50,000 a month ( that is if you are really transferring that much a day). Their FX rates are based on the prevailing bank rates which some feel may not as attractive compare to World First. Personally I have yet to find out myself. Their fees are based on conversion exchange rate of 2-2.75% above mid-market rate at payment transfer time. One negative point is Payoneer charged an annual fee of USD$29.95. Take note that there are often other corresponding banks involved in international transfers that charge corresponding fees. In addition, the beneficiary bank may charge landing fees while Payoneer has no control over the additional fees that are deducted by the other banks.
World First have a office here in Singapore whereas Payoneer do not have one.
Is World First better than Payoneer?
Payoneer is founded in 2005 and their HQ is New York whereas World First is founded in 2004 and their HQ is in London, UK. Both companies have been around for the longest time.
I may sound biased but from the research I gathered I am leaning more to World first to Payoneer solely based on two reasons:
- There is no subscription fees for World First.
- They have office in Singapore and they are regulated by MAS (which is the key reason)
In-spite the above two reasons, I still write to both to find out more.
My Experiences with Payoneer
I wrote an email to Payoneer on the 6th June which is Saturday and got a response on the 9th June which is Tuesday afternoon. I replied and got a response on the 10th and I responded again but I do not hear from them anymore.
My Experiences with World First
I set up my account on the 4th June and got a call on the 5th that explained to me I need to come down to their Singapore office which is located at 99A Amoy Street to get paper work signed as it is part of MAS regulation. I personally made the trip to their office at 11th June just to check the place out to make sure my money is safe with them.
On the 12th June I got an call from my relationship manager and an email that my account has been set-up.
Based on my experiences above, I probably add a third reason why I chose World First over Payoneer, “Their speed and customer service”. If you are also looking to sell your products overseas and faced the same problem of linking your Amazon payment account to a Singapore Bank. You can consider both Payoneer or World First, I will not recommend one over the other as no one is paying me to write this. Maybe your experience is different compared to mine.