Best way to get paid in multiple currencies?
September 19, 2012 6:45 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: what is the best, fee-avoiding bank account set up for a freelancer who works internationally and is paid in multiple currencies? More details...

My awesome housemate is a freelancer who works around the world as a journalist but is based in Australia. She often gets paid in multiple currencies and is hit hard with big fees every time pay comes in.

Each international organisation she works for has a different payment method, so sometimes money gets converted through a bank that's not her own and she gets lumped with even bigger fees that her bank has no control over, or the money is put through a terrible currency conversion rate.

Some organisations won't pay using Pay Pal so that's not an option.

Do you have any suggestions for how she might better set herself up for being paid in multiple currencies? A way where she can exercise more control over how her money is processed?

Am aware I might not have provided enough info so can answer any follow ups, this is a grey area for me so I'm not sure what else is relevant.

Thank you everyone!
posted by scuza to Work & Money (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The best approach is to ask to be paid in US dollars and maintain a US dollar account.

If she has an agency, they may be able to negotiate better conversion rates.

I live in Canada and am paid in USD and UKP. I have a USD account and do my own conversion when rates are favourable. The UKP monies are paid to my UK agent, who converts them at a favourable rate via their bank, then wired to me as CAD.

One good solution may be to open a brokerage account with someone like International Brokers and have the monies paid into that account. They can then be converted at extremely favourable rates and paid into your regular bank account. I did this with USD for a while.
posted by unSane at 6:54 PM on September 19, 2012

I have little experience in this area, but I am a member of a credit union that charges a small (US$5) fee to receive and process payments in foreign currencies. My mutual savings bank, on the other hand, charges ridiculous fees (US$30-100, depending on the currency and the kind of payment). I don't know whether Australia has any equivalent to US credit unions, but it might be worth investigating.
posted by brianogilvie at 7:05 PM on September 19, 2012

I'm in .au too and I use HSBC with a USD account. They will do other currencies as well. Fees are a bit steep but excahnge rates are good which offsets this for payments of over around $10k. Needs an average balance of $1k or a fairly high monthly fee is paid on the account. HSBC also do a range of foreign bank accounts (i.e. an account actually in the US/europe, etc) I think the setup fee is around $200 for the foreign bank account (as opposed to the simpler foreign currency account)
posted by singingfish at 10:18 PM on September 19, 2012

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