In parts 1 and 2 I reviewed some of the major money-transfer services. I’m specifically looking at the ability to send money using a credit card. Now I’ll continue with some of the lesser-known services.
Recommendation: worth looking into. Possibly a good alternative to Paypal for those needing to pay by credit card; however, there are a lot of fees.
MoneyBookers, founded in 2002 and based in London, is a specifically internet-based payments and money-sending service. They also perform payment processing for websites, online auction sites, and other corporate users. So it’s a lot like Paypal. Over 100,000 merchants are registered with MoneyBookers.
As of 2012, MoneyBookers is in the process of changing their name to Skrill. Why, I don’t know. “MoneyBookers” sounds vaguely shady, but “Skrill” sounds like some kind of tiny sea-creature. MoneyBookers’ PR machine says, “Skrill is going to better represent what we are and what we will become, as well as differentiate ourselves in a crowded marketplace. Skrill was an informal term for money. But we – and you – are going to make it more than that. In the same way you ‘google’ something or ‘skype’ your friends, people will soon ‘Skrill’ money.”
Okay… grandiose wishes aside, the company’s payment systems have not changed. You can send money to over 200 countries. I have not used the service, but what I understand from the MoneyBookers website is that it works a lot like Paypal. You sign up for a MoneyBookers account, and you can send money to anyone who also has an account. The sender pays a transaction fee of 1%, and the receiver pays no fee. However, when the receiver wants to withdraw the funds from his MoneyBookers account he will pay a small withdrawal fee. The amount depends on the country, and the method of withdrawal. To withdraw by bank transfer may be free, but to withdraw by check could cost between $1.80 and $3.50.
There’s also this caveat at the bottom of MoneyBookers’ rates page:
“For transactions involving currency conversion Skrill (Moneybookers) adds 1.99% to our wholesale exchange rates for foreign currency. This charge serves as a protection against the volatility and risk associated with FX markets. The Skrill (Moneybookers) exchange rates are updated on a regular basis throughout the day.”
You CAN upload funds to your MoneyBookers account by credit card. All major credit cards are accepted: AMEX, Visa, MasterCard, JCB, and Diners Club. So that’s a big advantage over most other money-sending services. However there is a 1.90% charge to upload money by credit card.
This means there could be as many as four separate fees: one to upload money with your credit card, another to send money, a currency exchange fee if your recipient is in a foreign country, then your recipient will have to pay a withdrawal fees.
That’s a lot of fees, man. Still, MoneyBookers may present an alternative to Paypal for those needing to fund a money trnasfer with their credit card.
If any readers have experience with MoneyBookers, please chime in and let us know how it went. Was it easy to transfer money? Were the fees reasonable?
7. Amazon Payments
Recommendation: recommended. Easy to use. Works just like Paypal.
Amazon payments lets you use the payment information saved in your Amazon.com account to send money to friends and family. You can send money to their email address or to to their U.S. mobile number. You can do this from your computer or your mobile phone.
Here’s how it works:
1. You go to the Amazon payments home page and sign in using your Amazon.com email and password (If you don’t have an Amazon.com account, you can create one).
2. The next page will ask you to confirm your contact info, and to enter your mobile number. You’ll also have to verify your identity using the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number or the month and date of your birthday. Then you set a security question, and continue.
3. Amazon Payments will send a confirmation code to your phone. It will be some weird phrase like “starry water”. Enter that code on the next page.
4. You’ll be asked to choose a 4-digit pin to authorize your mobile transactions. Pick something you’ll remember, or write it down somewhere.
5. At this point you’ll be asked to activate your account by either sending money online, or using your mobile. If you choose online for example, you will have to verify your email address and add a credit card if you have not done so already. Verifying your email just means that Amazon Payments sends you a confirmation link by email, and you click on it).
6. This will bring you to your account page which shows your balance, and you can add a bank account if you wish, view your past transactions, or add or withdraw funds.
7. If you click on the Send Money tab at the top, you have the option of adding money to your account to send money, or using your credit card. I tested out the credit card option so I could review it here. I chose a friend with an Amazon account, and sent $1. I had no money in my Amazon account, so I was prompted to select or add a credit card, which I did.
By the way, you are offered the option of sending the money either as payment for goods and services, or as a cash advance. There’s a warning for the cash advance option that says,
“Select this option if you are not sending money for the purchase of goods or services. You may be charged a cash advance or other fees by your credit or debit card issuer. Amazon Payments is not responsible for these fees. Contact your issuer for more information.”
8. I made my payment and was given a transaction ID and reference ID. The whole process was quite simple and painless, and mirrored my experience with Paypal almost exactly.
I subsequently logged into my online bank account and I learned that aside from the $1 I sent, Amazon Payments charged me a $1 processing fee. So that’s not bad at all. When I sent the money I selected the “goods and services” option and my bank does not appear to have charged anything at all. I don’t know if the fees go up with the amount of the payment. Perhaps I’ll test further in the future.