Exchange Rate And Fee Transparency And Clarity

iPaniPan Member Posts: 10 ✭✭
I have twice had an issue with being charged more than expected for ATM cash withdrawals (whether due to exchange rate, fees, or both).

Dozens of emails, and weeks of wasted time communicating with Payoneer Customer Support in this regard led only to increasing frustration and loss of confidence; so much so, that I use this theoretically excellent and convenient service about 90% less than I did last year.
Instead of being an important part of my business, my Payoneer card has been relegated to being an expensive convenience used for small purchases and occasional withdrawals.
Browsing this forum shows that there are others in a similar position.

There is insufficient transparency and clarity regarding the exchange rate used by Payoneer.
It is not good enough, or accurate, for Payoneer to say that 'we use Mastercard's exchange rate', or that 'exchange rates are constantly changing' (Mastercard uses a daily rate).
There does not appear to be a direct and stable relationship between the the rate published by Mastercard, and that used by Payoneer.
See https://www.mastercard.com/global/currencyconversion/index.html for comparison (this is the link that Payoneer referred me to).
What is the actual rate used by Payoneer? Where can I see it before I use my card?
Further, it appears to be useless for card holders to query exchange rates and fees after a transaction has been completed.

The solution IMHO is simple:
Exchange Rate transparency and clarity is required.
Payoneer should publish the daily exchange rates, allowing card holders to know in advance exactly what will be charged. This will prevent 'unpleasant' ATM surprises, and will enable direct comparison with the rate published daily by Mastercard (and others).
If the exchange rate is known/published, the fees can easily be calculated, avoiding the many fee queries that keep Customer Support busy.

I use the exchange rate calculator published by a competing card issuing company.
In more than 60 ATM withdrawals, over a period of two and a half years, their rate has allowed me to accurately calculate (within 2 cents) the amount that Payoneer will charge . . . . . except on two ATM withdrawals mentioned above.
I may have 'lost' a few dollars, but Payoneer is losing a lot more trough losing transactions and customers.
From experience, I would rather lose the occasional few dollars than repeat the ordeal of trying to sort it out with Customer Support.

I would like to hear the views, opinions, suggestions, and experiences of other Payoneer Card holders.
If you think that the exchange rates should be made public on the Payoneer website, let us know by posting your response.
If Mastercard and others do it for their customers, why doesn't Payoneer?

Note:
This is not an appeal to bash Payoneer.
It is a post made in the hope that Payoneer will further improve their potentially great service.

Comments

  • NissimNissim Head of Community Administrator Posts: 3,749 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2012
    Hi iPan,

    Firstly, I'd like to thank you for joining our forum and sharing your feedback with us.

    I'm sorry to hear that you were not fully satisfied with your experience with customer support. If you could please provide me with a ticket ID number, or the e-mail address on your Payoneer account, I'd be more than happy to look in to it.

    I know this is an answer you've already received, however it's important for me to clarify that exchange rates for non-USD transactions are determined by MasterCard. While they do provide a currency conversion tool, please note that the listed values are estimations and conversion rates are constantly fluctuating throughout the day. For these reasons, Payoneer does not have a list of exchange rates.

    If you would like to PM me with the details of any specific transaction, I would be happy to provide you with a complete breakdown of conversion rates and fees applied.

    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Nissim
    Director of Community at Payoneer
  • iPaniPan Member Posts: 10 ✭✭
    edited May 2012
    Hi Nissim,

    Thanks for your very fast response.

    Apologies if I failed to make my original post as clear as possible.
    I did try.

    If I may quote from the Mastercard link included in my original post:
    "The displayed rates are derived from the buy and sell rates included in the MasterCard daily rate setting process and do not include any charges or markups applied by the Issuer."

    Clearly, this is a daily rate.
    If Payoneer does not use a daily rate, then it does not use the quoted Mastercard rate.
    If it does not, then why did Payoneer Customer Support refer me to that page?

    Nissim wrote:

    While they do provide a currency conversion tool, please note that the listed values are estimations and conversion rates are constantly fluctuating throughout the day. For these reasons, Payoneer does not have a list of exchange rates.


    The information that you have provided is contrary to that on the Mastercard website (https://www.mastercard.com/global/currencyconversion/index.html):
    "MasterCard uses multiple market sources (such as Bloomberg, Reuters, Central Banks and others) to develop exchange rates. These rates generally reflect either wholesale market rates or government mandated rates that are collected during the daily rate setting process."
    Mastercard's rate is not an estimation, and it does not fluctuate throughout the day. Mastercard sets a fixed daily rate.
    Mastercard (and some others, linked to Mastercard) publish their daily exchange rates.
    There appears to be no valid reason for Payoneer not to publish it's rates.

    For the benefit of myself, and the forum community, please explain precisely what rate Payoneer uses.
    Is it directly linked to the daily rate as published by Mastercard?
    If so, does it have a fixed relationship to the Mastercard rate?
    If yes, what is the relationship?
    How exactly can I check the rate before initiating a transaction? This is actually what I need to know. It will make the charges predictable, and in the case of disputes, verifiable.

    In the interest of transparency and clarity, it would be extremely beneficial if you could quote exact sources, figures, etc.
    Generalizations and incorrect information are what has brought us to this point.
    Facts and figures are what is required to get us beyond it.

    Thanks for offering to look into my case, but the specifics of my transactions are not as important, in the longer term, as transparency and clarity. I would like to gain an understanding of where the rates come from, and how they are applied.
    I am happy to write off the few dollars that I believe I have been overcharged, but until I know (in advance) what a particular transaction will cost, my Payoneer Mastercard can not be used as a business tool. It will remain an expensive convenience.

    I look forward to clear and detailed factual information so that I may use my Payoneer Mastercard to conduct business according to generally accepted business principles.

    Regards and thanks.
  • NissimNissim Head of Community Administrator Posts: 3,749 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    As I mentioned previously, MasterCard rates do fluctuate throughout the day. The online tool is an estimator so that you can see an average rate on a given day, however the actual charge depends on the time of purchase.

    As noted above, since Payoneer does not set the exchange rates we do not have a list on our site. We cannot keep a list of rates we do not have any control over.

    If you would like me to explain in details, please PM me with the e-mail on your Payoneer account, or e-mail me at [email protected]
    Nissim
    Director of Community at Payoneer
  • iPaniPan Member Posts: 10 ✭✭
    edited May 2012
    Hi Nissim,

    I find the following online currency convertor (linked directly to the MasterCard® Daily Exchange) extremely useful:
    http://bit.ly/JZWKfm

    To use it for Payoneer Mastercard ATM withdrawals, I do the following:
    1. fill in the amount that I wish to withdraw.
    2. fill in the date.
    3. 'Convert FROM' currency is my local currency.
    4. 'Convert TO' currency is US$.
    5. Adjust resulting US$ amount by multiplying by 1.02835 (difference between Payoneer's and Calculator's Mastercard Charge).
    5. Add $2.15 (withdrawal fee: may vary, depending on Payoneer Parrner agreement).

    Example (at today's rate):
    4000PHP (Philippine Pesos) will convert to $93.47
    93.47 x 1.02835 = 95.64
    $95.64 + $2.75 = $98.39

    Notes:
    1. Rounding differences can lead to a US$ difference of 1 or 2 cents :-)
    2. The online calculator is UK based (local time is GMT).
    3. The online calculator is updated once per day, as is the one on Mastercard's own website.


    Nissim, please check out this calculator (use it for a few days) and try to explain why this method is accurate for more than 96% of my ATM withdrawals (using a daily rate), but not 100%?
    I would really like to understand this other 4%.

    Whilst Payoneer chooses to keep the exchange rate vague, and continues to provide incorrect information (about continually changing rates), it seems that card holders can not effectively dispute or verify foreign exchange transactions.

    I respectfully request that Payoneer provide card holders with an accurate Mastercard linked currency convertor similar to the one in the link above.

    Thanks.


    Disclaimer:
    Use the calculator link above at your own risk.
    (I have found it to be accurate only 96.72% of the time :-))
  • NissimNissim Head of Community Administrator Posts: 3,749 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    This is a very good tool to estimate the conversion rates, however as you mentioned it is not an official tool. Payoneer is in no way trying to keep rates vague. The changes in rates may be very slight in some cases (where you don't notice the difference) or higher (in which case this may explain the 4% error rate). The simply fact is that Payoneer does not set the rates, and so any estimation must be done by MasterCard's site.

    As I said, if you want to contact me with your Payoneer account, I will explain the transaction to you in details, including exactly which rates were applied.
    Nissim
    Director of Community at Payoneer
  • iPaniPan Member Posts: 10 ✭✭
    Hi Nissim,

    Amazingly fast response, and on a Sunday.
    Thanks.

    Pleased to hear that you agree that the online calculator is very good.


    Nissim wrote:

    This is a very good tool to estimate the conversion rates, however as you mentioned it is not an official tool.

    First, a small correction:
    The calculator that I linked to is official to the website on which it is published.
    It is also officially linked to Mastercard's Daily Exchange Rates.
    (I did not say that it is not official.)

    To avoid any possible misunderstanding, this calculator is 100% accurate (allowing for rounding differences) in more than 96% of my ATM withdrawals.
    This should not be misinterpreted as being 96% accurate (the two specific inaccuracies should ideally be investigated with reference to a source which can be verified by the card holder*).
    This calculator is an accurate online currency convertor, linked to Mastercard's Daily Exchange Rate.
    It is not a mere estimating tool.


    It appears as if you may have missed the points that I was trying to make:
    1. It is clearly stated on the Mastercard website that Mastercard sets a fixed daily exchange rate. This is undeniable.
    2. I have supplied a link to an online currency convertor linked to Mastercard. This shows that it is possible to know the daily exchange rate before transacting, and that it is not impossible for Payoneer to provide its card holders with such a tool.
    3. I have shown how I calculate ATM withdrawal charges, before transacting, using Mastercard's Daily Rate.
    These calculations are 100% accurate for more than 96% of my transactions*.

    For further confirmation, I made 3 ATM withdrawals on the same day (different times, different bank's ATMs). The exchange rate in each withdrawal was identical. This is possible only with a fixed daily exchange rate.


    To be clear, I posted on this forum to highlight the need for more transparency and clarity regarding the Mastercard exchange rates as applied by Payoneer.

    Nissim, I can see that you do excellent work on this forum (prompt, courteous, professional, and always willing to help). Thanks for that.
    I appreciate that you might not have the correct relevant information at hand.
    In this instance, there is no great urgency.
    Take as much time as you need, but please come back with factual information making the exchange rates clearer, more transparent, and verifiable by the card holder; while at the same time, directly addressing the few points/questions that I have raised.

    Thanks, and good luck.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    *The two transactions where I was charged more than the calculator showed, could be due to any of a number of reasons:
    eg. it could be a glitch in the system, it could be due to different timezones, it could be an overcharge, etc.
    Currently, there appears to be no verifiable point of reference for the card holder to query exchange rates and the associated fees/charges.
    If and when Payoneer provides such a point of reference (hopefully an online currency convertor), it might become worthwhile to query these transactions.
  • iPaniPan Member Posts: 10 ✭✭
    Hi Nissim,

    Just wondering when I can expect a response.
    It is a week since my previous post.

    I know that I said to take as much time as needed, but some confirmation that you are working on it would be great.

    Thanks.
  • NissimNissim Head of Community Administrator Posts: 3,749 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2012
    I mentioned unofficial, as the converter is an unofficial tool on a site not operated or owned by either Payoneer or MasterCard. I very much appreciate you taking the time out to share your feedback with us.

    What I stated above in regards to conversion rates does hold true. While MasterCard does provide a daily estimated conversion rate, conversion rates for point of sale transactions in a different currency can slightly vary throughout the day. You will also notice that conversion rates provided by MasterCard are only listed for days prior, and not the same business day.

    I appreciate you taking the time out to provide us with examples, however I assure you that we have many examples of multiple transactions made in the same day and currency with slightly different exchange rates. The simple fact is that the rates are determined by MasterCard, and Payoneer cannot officially provide a conversion tool when we have no control over the data used (nor do we have exact up to date information).
    Nissim
    Director of Community at Payoneer
  • iPaniPan Member Posts: 10 ✭✭
    Hi Nissim,

    Ok.
    In spite of it being directly linked to the Mastercard Exchange rate, and being the best and most accurate tool that I am aware of, let's forget about the Freedom Currency Converter for now (http://bit.ly/JZWKfm).
    As you say, it is 'unofficial' to Payoneer.

    As you also disagree with what is stated on the Mastercard website (link given to me by Payoneer Customer Support: https://www.mastercard.com/global/currencyconversion/index.html), how do you suggest that I (and other Payoneer Card Holders) can verify currency exchange transactions.

    I can accept that you do not know the exchange rates of the day (even though Freedom and Mastercard clearly do).
    I therefore ask that Payoneer publish the historical rates.
    This will enable cardholders to verify completed transactions.

    I posted on this forum hoping for more clarity.
    Unfortunately, you have managed only to tell me why I should not use either of the two online tools that I mentioned.
    Most importantly, you have not provided or suggested any accurate alternative.

    If I can put all of this into one simple and straightforward question:
    How can I check that I have not been overcharged on a particular transaction?

    Thanks.
  • iPaniPan Member Posts: 10 ✭✭
    Hi Nissim,

    Still waiting for a reply to my post of a week ago.

    Thanks.
  • NissimNissim Head of Community Administrator Posts: 3,749 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    MasterCard's online currency conversion tool can only be used for past rates, meaning you can only search for the day prior (and not the same day). This is a good tool to estimate the exchange rates used for prior days.

    On your Payoneer My Account page, you will also see the local currency amount for every non-USD purchase.

    Payoneer cannot publish historical rates, as we are not the one that determines which rate is used (as as mentioned above they are published by MasterCard).

    To determine if you were overcharged for prior purchases, you can use MasterCard's currency conversion tool to estimate the rates for the given day. However, as I mentioned, Payoneer does not overcharge for currency conversion, as the rates are automatically applied by MasterCard (the Payoneer card is a Prepaid Debit MasterCard card).
    Nissim
    Director of Community at Payoneer
  • iPaniPan Member Posts: 10 ✭✭
    We appear to be going around in circles: precisely what I hoped to avoid by bring this matter to this forum, rather than to Customer Support.
    On the positive side, at least current and future cardholders can get a glimpse into how their exchange rate related queries might be treated.


    Nissim wrote:

    On your Payoneer My Account page, you will also see the local currency amount for every non-USD purchase.

    This shows what has been charged, not whether there has been an overcharge.


    Nissim wrote:

    Payoneer cannot publish historical rates, as we are not the one that determines which rate is used (as as mentioned above they are published by MasterCard).

    If you know Mastercard's historical rates, there is no reason why you cannot publish them.
    Another way, as Freedom Card do, is to link directly to Mastercard's rates: http://bit.ly/JZWKfm


    Nissim wrote:

    To determine if you were overcharged for prior purchases, you can use MasterCard's currency conversion tool to estimate the rates for the given day.

    So, do you agree that, if I have been charged more than the published Mastercard Daily Rate (excluding the 3% markup and fixed transaction fee), I have been overcharged; or do you view Mastercard's Tool as an estimator?
    If a mere estimator, how/where can I verify exchange rates?


    You refer me to the MasterCard Currency Conversion Tool to check past exchange rates.
    At the same time, you disagree with what Mastercard states on that page:
    Mastercard: The displayed rates are derived from the buy and sell rates included in the MasterCard daily rate setting process
    The exchange rate that is applied to a transaction is the exchange rate as of the day of settlement.....

    Nissim: MasterCard rates do fluctuate throughout the day. The online tool is an estimator so that you can see an average rate on a given day, however the actual charge depends on the time of purchase.

    The rates provided by Mastercard are actual daily rates, not estimates.
    If you disagree, please provide proof (quoting Mastercard, if you use Mastercard rates).
    Unsubstantiated statements contrary to those of Mastercard's, only serve to make the matter less transparent and more unclear.

    There is no need to be overly defensive: "Payoneer does not overcharge for currency conversion"
    Here is what I said: "The two transactions where I was charged more than the calculator showed, could be due to any of a number of reasons:
    eg. it could be a glitch in the system, it could be due to different timezones, it could be an overcharge, etc.
    Currently, there appears to be no verifiable point of reference for the card holder to query exchange rates and the associated fees/charges."

    I did not say that Payoneer overcharged me, but the less helpful and constructive Payoneer is regarding such queries, the greater the apparent probability.
    My original request: more transparency and clarity (please).

    I proposed (above) a few possible reasons why I could have been overcharged.
    Perhaps you can provide more precise details eg. how are the Mastercard rates applied in different timezones; if there has been an overcharge, will Payoneer bother to query the charge with Mastercard in order to determine the cause, or should the cardholder approach Mastercard directly, or should the cardholder simply sacrifice the overcharge and move on without wasting a great amount on time on it?

    So far, I have received no really constructive or useful information via this thread.
    I have received no indication that submitting an exchange rate related query to Customer Support will be any different from before i.e. a complete waste of time.

    Last call: Please contribute something constructive to this thread.
    The five replies received over four weeks only emphasize that the need for transparency and clarity is greater now that it was when I first posted.
  • NissimNissim Head of Community Administrator Posts: 3,749 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    I have replied numerous times, in an attempt to be as constructive and informative as possible. I'd like to make sure that your question is fully answered, as I do recognize that you are not satisfied with the answer.

    - When you make a purchase in a non-USD currency, the transaction is converted using MasterCard's official exchange rate at the time of purchase.
    - Historical rates can be estimated here. There is a disclosure that explains why rates may not be exact.
    - I cannot comment as to what another company decides to do. If you find use in that link, feel free to use it as a tool, however it is not a tool provided or supported by Payoneer. As I mentioned, Payoneer does not decide the exchange rates, and as such we do not list them on our site. You may visit MasterCard's site at any time to estimate the rates.
    - If you believe you were overcharged for any transaction, please feel free to contact our customer support department and we will explain exactly which fees and rates were applied to the transaction.

    I have attempted to be as clear and transparent as possible, and I do apologize if you feel that I have been anything otherwise. You can view the rates on MasterCard's site at any time, and the final charge for the transaction is displayed on your My Account page (so you can see exactly which fees were applied).

    As you mentioned, this thread has been going a bit "back and forth" and so I am closing it as your questions have been answered. Feel free to contact me directly with any additional questions.
    Nissim
    Director of Community at Payoneer
This discussion has been closed.