Sunday, January 5, 2014

Best Freelancing Websites for Pakistanis - Freelncing Help Desk-3

Hi Pakistani Freelancer,

This is the Part 03 of the Freelancer Help Desk Series of Trading And Business In Pakistan.

While there are a lot of reviews comparing various freelancing websites, few do it from the perspective of a Pakistani. I have taken the time out to do a little bit of research to identify which website is most suitable for us, in terms of cost and payment methods.

There are a number of freelancing websites out there that allow Pakistani workers to work on projects and then get paid on them. However, a lot of Pakistanis have problems receiving payments from abroad because we cannot have a Paypal account in Pakistan and relying on the postal system to receive checks via snail mail is not a preferred option.

This series will talk about the pros and cons of the major online freelancing marketplaces from our perspective. The next website we will be looking at is:


Elance is a leading online freelancing website that boasts having faciliated $494,935,092 worth of business during the course of its existence. Elance has a large number of employers posting jobs regularly, but there is also a lot of competition and each job posting receives a large number of applicants.

While a basic membership on Elance is completely free, if you wish to upgrade your membership, there are superior plans available. The table below shows the types of memberships Elance offers to workers.


There are a number of payment methods for Pakistani contractors.

Wire Transfer (PKR) is offered by Elance. It is a direct bank transfer from their accounts to your local PKR bank account in Pakistan. Most major banks in Pakistan are supported by Elance, and while there is no list of supported banks published on their website, you can try out your bank details after making an account on Elance. Each Elance account is entitled to one free local currency wire transfer every month, after which each additional withdrawal costs $5.00. Since Elance converts the funds before transferring them, the currency conversion cost is avoided.

Wire Transfer (USD) is also offered for non-US countries. It is a bank transfer from Elance to your bank account (local PKR or local USD) in Pakistan. However, Elance does not offer any free USD wire transfers to account holders, and each withdrawal amounts to $25 in fees. Also, local PKR bank accounts often charge a hefty fee to convert the USD amount into PKR so this is not advisable, specially if you do not have a local USD account.

Payoneer Master Card Debit Card is reliable and quick but it can end up being quite expensive. They issue a prepaid MasterCard debit card to people who can then use it to make electronic purchases at any place that accepts MasterCard, or withdraw it at ATM machines which accept MasterCard (in Pakistan, these include Standard Chartered Bank, Faysal Bank* and Muslim Commercial Bank).

Payoneer charges $24.99 as a one time activation fee that Pakistanis must pay, as opposed to a $9.99 fee for some other countries.
While Elance provides free withdrawals to your Payoneer account, Payoneer charges $2 to load it ($5 if you want to load it instantly). Otherwise it can take a few business days. Payoneer also has a monthly fee of $3 ($1 if you have more than three transactions, either through ATM or purchasing from shops etc in the previous month) but this is not deducted from your account if you do not have sufficient money there during the course of the month; i.e. your Payoneer account can never become negative. Besides this, there is a $2.15 fee for each ATM withdrawal you make. To top it all off, you get a poor exchange rate in Pakistan. The exchange rate is Rs.90/$ but our banks only give Rs. 87/$. This amount can build up if you are withdrawing a lot of money. Remember that Elance has a $20 minimum withdrawal limit for Payoneer users.

Skrill, more commonly known as Moneybookers, charges EUR1.80 per withdrawal. Moreover, a rate of 1.99% has been applied for currency converssion by Skrill.

Moneybookers had a fantastic reputation amongst Pakistani contractors until recently, when there were widespread complaints of additional fees, delays and missing money with their services over the past couple of months. Skrill has undergone several internal changes, which have reduced its credibility in the eyes of many Pakistani contractors.

*only those branches of Faysal Bank that were once owned by Royal Bank of Scotland accept MasterCard. Look for the MasterCard logo on the machine. DO NOT insert your card in machine that does not accept MasterCard

1 comment:

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