Help me bill via PayPal, across continents?
August 25, 2010 3:53 AM   Subscribe

Europeans using PayPal to bill customers in the U.S. or U.K., can you help me? I want to bill for services using PayPal, and then transfer the money to my Greek bank account. Greece uses the Euro. I'd like to bill in dollars for my U.S. clients, but I'm a PayPal newbie as far as receiving funds is concerned. Is there something that I should know about fees or ... um ... anything, really. I don't even know what I don't know! Any tips/advice will be helpful; don't assume it's too minor. :)
posted by taz to Work & Money (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I don't find it necessary at all. As long as you provide information about how much it will cost in the buyer's own currency, it doesn't really matter which currency they get billed in.

The problem with your approach will be what to do when the rates change - do you change the prices in the other currencies? If not, some people will opt to be billed in the currency that makes the product cheaper.
posted by devnull at 4:08 AM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The problem with your approach will be what to do when the rates change

devnull, when you say my approach, do you mean billing U.S. customers in U.S. currency? Because the work (services not goods) is negotiated in dollars, so I'd rather not bill in Euros.

also, pardon me if I'm misunderstanding what you are saying — this kind of thing is my absolute weakest area!
posted by taz at 4:21 AM on August 25, 2010

When my online company did it ... we set up back accounts in UK, US, and Ireland, in £ $ € respectively, and linked up separate local Paypal accounts to each bank account. The payee was linked to their respective Paypal country account.

Otherwise Paypal were going to kill us or our customers on currency conversion fees.

You can memail me if you want to discuss further

(and you just reminded me that I need to set up an AU$ account ... and possibly a CA$ one too ... business is growing!)
posted by jannw at 4:22 AM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

I suppose if you don't find a solution you could always link to a currency converter so people can work out for themselves how much your fee would be in dollars? Like

(Just posted that because you said minor advice is wanted, too!)
posted by Omnomnom at 4:24 AM on August 25, 2010

do you mean billing U.S. customers in U.S. currency?

Well yes, but perhaps this doesn't matter here.

If you're earning money in a different currency to which you are billing in, then you have to think about how you will adjust your prices as the different currencies change in value relative to one another. Maybe you'll do nothing at all, maybe you'll renegotiate the prices.
posted by devnull at 4:32 AM on August 25, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, jannw! I'll probably take you up on your offer! As far a bank accounts are concerned, the amounts we are talking about are way too small for creating bank accounts in different countries. (It's just a single-person freelancing situation.)

Also, guys, I realize that my phrasing of the original question is probably not great, which is basically because I don't really understand what issues may (or may not be) involved. I assume that PayPal can receive dollars, and deposit in Euros according to the prevailing currency rate exchange, but maybe there's something everything I don't know.
posted by taz at 4:32 AM on August 25, 2010

Response by poster: Okay, devnull, I understand. No, we are negotiating in dollars, and I want to bill in dollars, and wouldn't expect any kind of adjustment because of changes in dollar-to-euro rates. I was mostly worried if there was some sort of extra charge in terms of fees/handling for PayPal to take money in dollars, and deposit Euros into our Greek account (at the current conversion rate).

So let's say that PayPal charges a crazy-high fee for doing that, I might ask my client if I can charge in Euros at the current exchange rate (so if the agreed charge was $100, and I billed them today, it would be €79).

Obviously , though obviously I'd much, much rather not do it that way. I'm just not familiar enough with how PayPal handles things, and not smart enough about any of it to feel like I really understood from reading through the info on the PayPal site.
posted by taz at 4:45 AM on August 25, 2010

Yeah ... where currency gets converted you will get hit with a conversion fee by Paypal (ot the customer will get hit with it). For a small number of large value transactions it is probably worth eating the fee and working it into your costings (our problem was we worked with thousands of small transactions ... and a small margin ... and a guaranteed local currency cost to the purchaser ... the fee was a business problem for us).

As far as currency risk ... you can contractually work that one out ... by specifying a currency variation clause in your service agreements, eat the risk, renegotiate regularly, (hedge ... i guess), bill in USD but calculate the value in EUR, or open another bank and Paypal acc and spend USD in the US.
posted by jannw at 4:53 AM on August 25, 2010

You should set the Primary Currency" of your PP account to USD, that way you will not get hit with conversion fees every time you receive a payment. You will probably have to pay conversion fees for the USD-->EUR conversion at some point, either to PayPal or to your local bank (for accepting dollars).
Is your bank large enough that they might have dollar accounts? That way you could transfer from the USD PP account to the USD bank account. Then you could do the transfer between USD and EUR within your own bank, that might be cheaper.
posted by atrazine at 5:06 AM on August 25, 2010

Why not have a bank account in USD? You can then transfer to Euro as and when you like, otherwise you get hit for fees on each and every transaction.
posted by adamvasco at 5:08 AM on August 25, 2010

You may find this useful background reading.
posted by caek at 6:16 AM on August 25, 2010

« Older F5²   |   Itchy Bed. How do I clean it? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.