Saturday, April 15, 2017

Best way to withdraw money from your Envato earnings

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So, you are an author on Envato, you earned some money and you now want to make use of it!

There are a few questions you have to ask before deciding what withdrawal method to use:

  1. Do I want the money cash, in my bank account or just want to spend them online?
  2. In what currency do I want the money?
Envato supports four withdrawal methods PayPal, Skrill, Payoneer and SWIFT.

As I am from the EU and Skrill and Payoneer are not very popular here. Because of this and because they don't clearly state their rates/fees (although on some pages they take a percentage of 1.5% - 4% of the amount you withdraw) I decided not to try those so I won't say anything about them. If you had a good experience with any of those two let me know in the comment section.

TL;DR:


  • Use PayPal if you are in the US.
  • Use PayPal if you want to spend the money online.
  • Use SWIFT Bank transfer if you want to withdraw a large amount (over $1000)
  • AVOID PAYPAL CURRENCY CONVERSIONS as much as possible
  • If you withdraw a smaller amount (under $500) it might be worth to withdraw to PayPal and from there to your credit card/bank account and just accept the currency conversion fees.
  • If you want to avoid PayPal you might want to consider keeping the money into your Envato account and only withdrawing it via SWIFT once you reach $600-$700 or more.


1. PayPal

PayPal is definitely the way to go if you just want to spend the money online (most websites accept PayPal) or if you are from the US. If you have $350 in your Envato account, after withdrawing them to PayPal you will have exactly $350 in your PayPal account that you can spend online with ZERO taxes.

PayPal has usually no fees for transfers BUT, only if there is no currency conversion involved. If there is any currency conversion God help you.

Let's say you have $350 in your PayPal account and you want to withdraw them to your bank account. There are actually two withdrawl methods: to credit card or directly to your bank account.

 a. Withdrawing to your VISA Credit Card

  • Fee: $2.50 USD - This is a flat fee for any amount you withdraw. This is the only fee.
  • Limit: $500 (daily) - Note that in some countries this limit might not exist, not so sure about it, but in most cases it's $500
  • Note: You first have to confirm your card to be able to withdraw.

 a. Withdrawing to your Bank Account

  • Fee: Zero 
  • Limit: None
  • Note: You still have to confirm your card or bank account to be able to withdraw money.
All seems great, but, as I previously said, there's a catch: currency conversion.

Well, I told myself, I will just open an USD bank account at my local bank and I will withdraw the USD in my PayPal account to my USD bank account at zero cost and with zero currency conversions.

Unfortunately it doesn't work like this: PayPal only allows to withdraw to a bank account only in your local currency*. 
*(funny thing, my local currency is RON, not EUR, but PayPal decided to use EUR)

When I tried to withdraw USD (PayPal) ---> USD (my Bank) PayPal actually showed that the transfer will look like this:
USD (PayPal) --> EUR (conversion, by PayPal) --> USD (another conversion, my Bank)

Now, what you have to know about the PayPal conversion rates is that this is how they make their money: they add another 2.5% - 4% on top of the current market exchange rates. So, if I were to withdraw $350 USD to my USD bank account I will receive around 317 EUR (at today's exchange rate -4%) which will then be converted again to USD by my bank. Assuming that the bank uses a fair exchange rate I will actually have in my bank account around $335 USD. So, although there are 0 transfer fees I would lose around $15 due to PayPal's exchange fees.

I tried contacting PayPal in order to update my account to be able to tansfer USD to USD without the additional USD->EUR conversion but they said it is impossible for bank accounts but, if I have a credit card attached to my USD bank account they can update the currency for the credit card for me so I can withdraw USD->USD with no extra conversion. As good as this sounds, for me there are two issues:
  1. The $500 daily withdrawal limit still applies, so if I would ever want to withdraw more than that I would have withdraw multiple times, in different days and with each withdrawal there will be the $2.50 withdrawal fee.
  2. Even with the limitations above, that would still be the best method for me as I don't regularly earn more than $500 monthly on Envato so one withdrawal would be enough. Why I can't use that method is simply because my bank does not offer credit cards for USD bank accounts, so I can not have a VISA credit card attached to my bank account.

Note that those fees might differ in your country, make sure to check the PayPal withdrawal fees page.

2. SWIFT

SWIFT is the most popular international payment network for transferring money between different banks, be them in different countries or not. There are no percentage charges for the amount you transfer but a flat amount of $25 (might depend based on your country/bank). 

Envato charges $25 from the start to cover their bank costs, as the SWIFT transfer fees can be paid by the sender, the receiver or split between them (I think that fee should cover the entire transfer cost for most banks/countries). Unfortunately in my case, being from Romania and Envato sending the money from US I got charged another $25 (leading to a total of $50 transfer fee), probably by an intermediary bank, but I can't tell for sure as there is no evidence that those missing extra $25 have ever been sent. 

So, in my case, I withdrew $600 but I only received $550 in my bank account. As I did not have an USD bank account that sum got automatically converted at an acceptable (actually good) exchange rate, to my local currency RON.

Now, if you are from the US or in a different country and maybe just by using a different bank I think the total SWIFT transfer fee should only be the $25 that Envato charges.

So, what withdrawal method are you using?

Well, I am still looking for the "best way", but as of now I am just withdrawing from Envato->PayPal and then from PayPal to my credit card, in my local currency so only one conversion happens, not two. This still means that if I ever need to withdraw more than $500 in a month I would have to make multiple withdrawals, each one with a $2.50 fee. 
I would withdraw from PayPal to an USD credit card, unfortunately my bank doesn't offer those.

Suggestions please!

If you know a better withdrawal method or if you found that in your country a specific way of withdrawal works better, help others by describing your experience in the comments.

Disclaimer: I am just an author on the CodeCanyon marketplace, I am not related in any way with the Envato company.

Have a lovely day!
Cristy.


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