The Pros and Cons of Payoneer when Paying Salaries in Belarus

To receive the earned money from foreign customers, people in Belarus are choosing online payment systems. One of the most popular tools for receiving salaries has become the Payoneer payment system, which provides convenient ways to accept payments in some cases.

This article talks about the specifics of working with Payoneer, which payment systems can be used to receive salaries in Belarus, what advantages they offer and how to make transfers to your account.

What is Payoneer?

Payoneer is an international payment system that provides online payment services to companies and individuals. Since Belarusian banks are currently under sanctions, non-bank payment systems are especially relevant for receiving earned money from foreign clients, customers, and employers.

The service fees for Mastercard cards issued by Payoneer are set in euros. The payment system charges 30 euros per year for card maintenance. The commission is charged only when money is credited to the card.

The ability to work with Visa / Mastercard cards

The Payoneer system is considered a MasterCard provider. You can issue a physical or virtual Mastercard in the system. Despite this, the system also works with Visa cards. You can withdraw money from a virtual card using the Payoneer system to a Visa card. 

Is it possible to register new users in Belarus?

New Belarus users can register with Payoneer only by specifying a different country of residence. The physical card of the payment system will be sent to the address (not Belarusian) you specified during registration. That is, it should be possible to transfer this card to you in Belarus. The Belarusian phone number can be determined during registration.

It is also possible to register through intermediary services in Belarus. 

To register, you will need to specify a bank account of a Belarusian bank (if you plan to receive money on a payment card from a Belarusian bank). The bank account must be specified in the international IBAN format. For Belarus, this is a 28-character account number. This number can be found in any bank’s mobile application. 

Limitations when using Payoneer

The limitations when using Payoneer are related:

  • Because not all countries can be registered.
  • With the fees charged by the system itself, Mastercard, and the banks through which the money passes, withdrawing small amounts is simply impractical—they can be absorbed by commissions.
  • It is necessary to consider options when transferring money to Belarusian bank cards. The situation often changes, not all banks work with Payoneer.
  • The restrictions are related to currency conversion. A MasterCard from Payoneer is issued in the currency you selected during registration, but Belarusian rubles are not among these currencies. When making payments or withdrawing cash, for example, in Belarusian rubles, the amount will be converted at the exchange rate of the payment system.
  • There is no way to top up your Payoneer account from Belarus. 
  • The account of Belarus users registered with Payoneer before the sanctions were imposed can only be extended in US dollars.
  • When withdrawing amounts in foreign currency to accounts in Belarusian banks, it is necessary to ensure that there are supporting documents for receiving these amounts to confirm the legality of income.

Documents required when working with Payoneer

To register with Payoneer, you need a passport and a document confirming your residence in the country specified during registration. The system does not immediately require you to confirm your place of residence. But at any time, support may require to send photos of rental agreements, passport pages, and a document on home ownership.

To confirm the legality of income, you need to have documents from a foreign partner. In the case of withdrawing money to a Belarusian bank linked to the personal account of a self-employed person (this can be checked in the NPD application), you must not forget to issue checks or invoices in advance.

Deposit and withdrawal of funds in Belarus  

Transfer inside Payoneer

Commercial transfers are possible inside the Payoneer system in Belarus, but you cannot top up your account from Belarus. You can top up your Payoneer account from your PayPal account when the account holders’ personal data match. Reverse replenishment is also possible: from Paypal to Payoneer.

Withdrawal from Payoneer account to Belarusian bank accounts

You can withdraw money from your Payoneer account to bank accounts in Belarusian banks. Currently, the system offers withdrawal to the virtual card of Priorbank and some other banks. The transfer is possible in US dollars and euros. The minimum withdrawal amount is 50 USD or 50 EUR.

It is also possible to withdraw money from Belarusian banks’ payment cards through intermediary platforms. For example, Fin.do will no longer support receiving money transfers from some Mastercard cards of Belarusian banks (Priorbank, Alfabank, BelVEB Bank) from April 1, 2024. Visa cards will continue to be supported.

Cash withdrawal at ATMs

You can withdraw cash using a physical Mastercard issued by Payoneer in Belarus at some banks’ ATMs. The situation often changes, today these are ATMs of Priorbank, Belarusbank, BNB bank, BSB bank. When withdrawing money, the commission is retained by the payment system and all banks through which the transaction passes.

You can withdraw money in Belarus using these cards in Belarusian rubles or foreign currency. 

What percentage do banks charge?

When transferring money in euros to accounts in Belarusian sub-sanctioned banks, a commission of 0.7% is deducted, but not less than 75 euros. When transferring in dollars, each payment is coordinated with the bank. The commission for such a transfer ranges from 75 to 200 euros. You can withdraw money to an account in Priorbank, Belarusbank, or Gazprombank, but the situation often changes.

When paying with a Mastercard from Payoneer for purchases in Belarusian stores, the percentage of banks is 3.5%. The bank’s rate can be up to 15% when withdrawing money from ATMs using such a card.

When withdrawing cash from Belarusian banks’ ATMs, money in Belarusian rubles is issued without commission, and the bank withholds interest for withdrawals in foreign currency: the Payoneer system commission plus the bank’s commission. The commission is deducted in different amounts, about 5% in other banks. 

Is it possible to receive the salary from customers and pay taxes in the Republic of Belarus?

It is possible to receive money from foreign customers to a Payoneer account. If you decide to withdraw money to a Belarusian bank account, you need to remember this:

  1. The Payoneer system applies to non-residents. That is, it is assumed that you received money from a foreign source, and there is a chance that you will get to pay income tax from abroad. This is likely when you are not registered as a self-employed payer of personal income tax (PIT) and the amount of income exceeds 10,431 rubles in 2024.
  2. If you are employed, you will need an employment contract to confirm the income tax withholding in the country of salary payment. In this situation, there may be no income tax in Belarus when an international treaty on the avoidance of double taxation is in force, or a 13% tax will be charged on the amount of excess of the Belarusian tax over the withheld abroad.
  3. Suppose you are self-employed and write checks in the personal income tax application. In that case, the money received into your account in a Belarusian bank is transferred to Belarusian rubles at the exchange rate of the National Bank on the day of receipt, and a 10% tax is automatically withheld.
  4. If a foreign partner has sent you a civil contract in which the amount is not specified or is 2000 base units or more at the date of conclusion of the agreement, then it must be registered on the National Bank of Belarus website. 

What are the options for withdrawing money abroad?

Abroad, cash can be withdrawn using both Payoneer-issued cards and Visa and Mastercard cards from other banks if you transfer money from your Payoneer account to accounts with different banks. 

Which transfer systems can be used to receive salaries from foreign customers?

There are 3 officially registered international money transfer systems in Belarus: Koronapay, Unistream, and MoneyGram. You can make and receive transfers through such systems without opening a bank account. Money can be received in Belarus in cash in Belarusian rubles at the exchange rate of the National Bank. Commissions are deducted from the sender of the transfer.

RBB Bank, BSB Bank, Technobank, and BTA Bank work with the Koronapay. The service provides money transfer services in the following countries: Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Greece, Georgia, Israel, Spain, Kazakhstan, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, China, Latvia, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and the Czech Republic. Over 550 banks and large retail chains are participants and partners of the service. The transfer rate is 1-1.5%. Technobank, Dabrabyt Bank, and Belagroprombank work with Unistream. Through Unistream, it is possible to receive transfers from Russia, Abkhazia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Moldova, Turkey, Mongolia, South Ossetia. The transfer can be received in cash or credited to a Belarusian bank card. The transfer fee is calculated in euros and depends on the transfer amount.

Technobank and BTA Bank work with MoneyGram. Money is given out in cash according to the transfer number and the recipient’s passport. The maximum amount of one transfer is 8000 US dollars. MoneyGram fees depend on the transfer amount: $12 to $300.

If you pay personal income tax, then when you receive money, do not forget to issue receipts with checks. If you receive money as an individual, prepare an employment or civil law contract with the customer or employer.

How to contact us 

For more information or advice on issues related to the operation of international payment systems and transfers in Belarus, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help and support you.

Phone and e-mail communication options are available for your convenience:

  • +375293664477 (WhatsApp/Telegram/Viber);
  • info@spex.by.
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