TransferWise Guide – How to Save Money When Receiving Your Teacher Pay from Abroad

TransferWise Guide – How to Save Money When Receiving Your Teacher Pay from Abroad

Overview of ways you can receive your online teacher pay 

  • PayPal 
  • Bank Transfer
  • Payoneer (in most apps) 

Explaining the problem

When the teaching app or website pays in a currency that’s not your local currency (most likely USD) the service will charge them a hefty fee. 

This fee is not only the one that you see stated as conversion or processing fee, but there is also a hidden markup in the exchange rate. 

Each banking system reserves the right to dictate their own exchange rate, so there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach here.

As a general rule of thumb, most bankers have a maximum amount they’re prepared to buy and a minimum amount they’re prepared to sell – this allows you to calculate a rough middle ground, which is the standard rate. It’s the rate offered by TransferWise, but it’s not exclusive to them.

Of course, there’s a couple of things you’ll need to keep in mind when you’re looking at money transfers. 

Here are the top three things you must keep in mind when receiving money from abroad:

Misleading Pricing

Sometimes you’ll see a 0% fee, a zero commission or a company promoting their ‘best ever rates’. Be wary of these kinds of linguistic trickery, and they rarely have your best interests at heart (no pun intended).

A set ‘day rate’

It’s not uncommon for providers to take the set market rate and then add a little something-something for themselves on top. They don’t always tell you they’re doing it, either. Keep an eye out for this kind of profiteering, or you’ll find yourself getting stung with a hefty margin of increase.

An unfair deal on your currency

The real charge is often hidden in the exchange rate, meaning you think you’re getting a 1:1 transaction for your money, but you’re not. It’s always worth shopping around before committing to one company, just in case.

Comparison between PayPal and TransferWise fees

To make things nice and simple, let’s run a basic comparison of the top two services in the industry today. 

Which has lower fees?

We’ll start with PayPal because, as I’m sure you know, it’s something of a juggernaut in the online transactions game. 

What you may not know is that PayPal’s fee structure is actually unusually complicated.

The amount you pay depends on a variety of factors.

First, we’re going to need to consider the transfer amount, and then once you’ve got your head around that you need to consider where you’re sending the money. Then, you need to think about how you’re paying: PayPal balance, bank account or credit/debit card.

With PayPal, fees to transfer money from outside of the US can be anywhere from $0.99 to $4.99, plus 2.9% of the transaction in USD. This is then topped off with the small fixed fee you incur for transferring to or from a foreign country.

TransferWise offers a fast, simple and cheaper solution to manage your money internationally. As an online teacher, you have students from all over the world and managing payments should not be a cumbersome and expensive process. 

Their fee is usually calculated by figuring out the small percentage of your transaction amount as well as their standard flat fee. 

The flat fee is anywhere between $1 and $2 for most major currencies, but has been known to reach $5 in some cases. 

Bank transfers also incur lower fees than transfers from credit/debit cards. This last point alone can save you some hard earned cash. 

So, if you’re paying from your PayPal balance then of course PayPal is the way to go. But if you’re looking to pay directly from a bank transfer then you’d be hard pressed to beat TransferWise. 

A case study

All of this talk is great, but let’s see some cold hard cash in action, shall we? 

Let’s pretend we’re looking to send $1000 to the UK, once by bank transfer and once by debit card. You can see for yourself that the numbers don’t lie:

Sending $1000 to the UK by Bank Transfer

Transfer Fee$6.90$2.99
Exchange Rate1 USD = 0.7671 GBP1 USD = 0.7460 GBP
Transfer Speed1-2 Days3-5 Days
Amount Received (GBP)£761.81£743.77

Sending £1000 to the UK by Credit/Debit Card

Transfer Fee$12.32$31.99
Exchange Rate1 USD = 0.7671 GBP1 USD = 0.7460 GBP
Transfer Speed1-2 Days3-5 Days
Amount Received (GBP)£757.65£722.14

So we can clearly see that TranferWise offers the better exchange rate of the two services.

Not only this, but TransferWise is substantially faster than PayPal, with PayPal taking up to five days for your money to clear. 

This still leaves us with a potentially nasty problem though: how do we save on bad exchange rates when receiving money specifically from online teaching apps?

Solution: how to save on bad exchange rates and high fees when receiving international transfers from the teaching apps? 

TransferWise offers a feature where you can get local USD banking details (along with some other currencies like EUR, GBP, AUD, SGD). This allows TransferWise users to receive money in USD as if they had a local bank account in the US. 

TransferWise even allows users to set up direct debits, which allows for account verification from various platforms like Stripe. 

A lot of people like to ask if they can get their Stripe details compatible with TransferWise, so it’s worth addressing quickly here.

The short answer is yes, it will work. The longer answer is that it does work but only with certain currencies. 

You can link your EUR, GBP, USD, AUD, and NZD balances with Stripe – but if your currency isn’t one of these then you’ll have to find an alternative. 

A quick runthrough of how to link your Stripe account would be as follows:

  1. Log in to your Stripe Dashboard
  2. Open Settings in the left-hand menu
  3. Click Bank accounts and scheduling
  4. Click Add a bank account
  5. Enter your TransferWise bank details. You can find these by going to Home and choosing the balance of which you’d like the details

Right, back to the business at hand.

Who can get these banking details? 

TransferWise provides a long and exhaustive list of countries and US territories which will allow customers to access USD account banking details. 

Åland Islands, All EEA countries (excluding Cyprus), American Samoa, Andorra, Anguilla, Antarctica, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Faroe Islands, Fiji, French Guiana, French Polynesia, French Southern Territories, Georgia, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Guyana, Haiti, Holy See (Vatican City), Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mayotte, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue Norfolk Island, Palau, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn, Puerto Rico, Réunion, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin (French), San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Seychelles, Singapore, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, South Korea, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turks and Caicos Islands, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay

Where can you receive USD from? 

TransferWise offers you the ability to receive money from various countries outside of the US, but if yours isn’t in this list then don’t commit to TransferWise – seek an alternative.

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, British Virgin Islands, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, and United Arab Emirates.

Is there a limit to how much I can receive? 

For most people, the answer to this question is going to be a resounding ‘No’.

But, as with all things in life, there are some exceptions. TransferWise have provided us with this helpful little table to iron it all out for us:

Personal LimitBusiness Limit
All currencies except USDNo limitNo Limit
USD limit, per transaction and per day250,000 USD3,000,000 USD
USD limit per year1,000,000 USD5,000,000 USD
Singapore UsersUp to 5,000 SGD across all currencies per dayNo limit

If you’re working as an online teacher and making money in the six digits then yeah, maybe you’re going to encounter some issues. On the other hand, if you’re working as an online teacher and making money in the six digits then I’d say you don’t really have any problems at all… 

How do I use USD local bank details to receive my teacher pay? 

  1. Open a TransferWise account – use this link to get a free transfer
  2. Get verified (just your ID and address) 
  3. Top up your account with at least $20 in any of the following currencies:
    1. AUD from any bank account in Australia
    2. EUR from any bank account in the world that's denominated in EUR
    3. GBP from any bank account in the UK
    4. NZD from any bank account in New Zealand
    5. PLN from any bank account in Poland
    6. SGD from any bank account in Singapore
    7. USD from any bank account in the US, plus international wire/SWIFT
    8. HUF from any bank account in Hungary
  4. Click to get your USD banking details which will include 
  • account name — your name as it appears on your TransferWise account
  • account number
  • routing numbers — both a wire transfer number and an ACH routing number
  • SWIFT code — for international payments from countries other than the US
  • local US address — if your payer needs to include an address, use: TransferWise, 19 W 24th Street, New York, 10010
  1. Now you can use these details to input into the teaching application when you want to withdraw the money 

Once you get the USD into your TransferWise account, you can do whatever you’d like! Keep it there, convert it to another currency, send it to your local bank account and much more. 

Is TransferWise safe and secure?

More than six million people have been using TransferWise in over71 countries since 2011 alone. This means that TransferWise is moving around approximately 4 billion USD every single month.

Whether it be the FCA in the UK or FinCen in the US, TransferWise operates by a strict set of financial regulations across the globe. These agencies keep TransferWise accountable, and prevent any misappropriation of your cash.

They also treat your data security at a bank level, meaning they’re unable to sell it or otherwise financially profit from your private details.

TransferWise claim to be at the cutting edge of financial security, courtesy of their in-=house team of dedicated professionals. Their process is constantly under review, ensuring a watertight system with no holes.

They’ve also been independently reviewed by Forbes, the Telegraph, Sitepoint and Nerdwallet, as well as a variety of other companies, which leaves them with a 4.6/5 customer satisfaction rating on TrustPilot. 

With over 78,000 customer reviews, that’s not a small achievement.

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