Payoneer prepaid MasterCard used in different countries has been discontinued. Payoneer authorities have informed users about this through their blogs. After that it has become an alarming issue among most of the freelancers of the world as well as in Bangladesh.
Payoneer is a very popular online payment method among online workers or freelancers. Various popular marketplaces such as- Freelancer.com, Fiber, Upwork, 99 Design, GetiMages, Invato, People Per Hour, Topcoder and various other online marketplaces pay freelancers for their works through this payment method.
According to a Payoneer blog post, prepaid card users will no longer be able to withdraw money or make new payments temporarily. But most of the money that Payoneer has will not be affected. Payoneer is working to include other options in this regard. It is also said that all the cards have been ‘frozen’ for now.
The problem began when the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) imposed other restrictions on its financial operations, including wirecard solutions. Cards are issued to Payoneer prepaid MasterCard users from Wirecard UK. As a branch of Wirecard AG, the UK company filed for bankruptcy on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on June 25. There are allegations of a scandal of 200 crore dollars against the organization. Former CEO Marker Brown has been arrested in connection with the incident.
Users at home and abroad have been left in a state of disarray due to the closure of Payoneer prepaid cards. Among them there are many online freelancers in Bangladesh also. Because, in Bangladesh, they get money for their work through Payoneer. Now as the transaction is closed, many people are in trouble in withdrawing money. Various discussions are going on in different groups of Facebook.
Al-Amin Kabir, an IT entrepreneur and freelancer, told that the first problem was that Payoneer was the mainstay of the country’s international payment gateway. Most used that gateway. Since it was closed, no one could bring any more money. Secondly, the subscription fee for many foreign services was paid through this card. That too is now closed. Thirdly, that was the end of the month. This means that many people get bills from foreign clients during that time. That too has also been closed. As a result, it is also a big problem for those who depend on the money in different ways. The fourth problem is, as a result, many new projects were stuck. Many may have wanted to start working on a new project, but it involved financial issues. Which was completely shut down. In fact, it has been a crisis overall.
A freelancer named Prince Hossain wrote, “I woke up yesterday morning and read in the paper that the wirecard has been bankrupt. Even if there are two billion dollars in the balance sheet, in reality those two billion dollars do not exist! In one day, 90% of the shares of the company registered in the main stock market of Germany went down. After reading the news, I started to study who uses workcard. I read the news of Forbes but I did not know that it was connected with Payoneer Workcard. In the words of Payoneer, they believe my money is safe. Workcard won’t kill my money”.
Sharif Mohammad Shahjahan, a well-known face in the country’s freelancer community said, “This card was very useful for me. I would take small amount of payments from different marketplaces. I used to transfer all the amounts together to the local bank. If this cannot be done now, it will have to be transferred to the local bank separately from each marketplace. For this I have to pay 30 dollar as transfer fee each time. Again, if I do not transfer, I will get a lower conversion rate in dollars”.
Freelancer Jahid Khan said that not only the transaction was suspended but also those who are involved in various activities including Google AdSense, AliExpress, Amazon, domain hosting extension and online tools activation or upgrade with this MasterCard would also fall in a serious crisis. He also said that the country should now bring some good payment gateways besides Payoneer. If this is not done, millions of freelancers would be at huge risk. Money laundering would also increase as well.
Hasin Haider, a Software Engineer from Bangladesh who has been working on Information Technology for a long time, wrote in his Facebook post about the issue. He wrote, ‘The issue of Payoneer is really sad. For millions of freelancers in the country, this is the primary or only means of subscribing, courses, hosting fees, ad fees, online shopping. How many people got into a huge trouble in one night!”
He gave some suggestion for them who used this card to get various subscriptions including server and hosting. In another Facebook post, he wrote, ‘The Payoneer issue is alarming. The first thing to do now is to look at the renewal date of all the subscriptions purchased and add a backup payment method for them. Because if the transaction bounces during the subscription, the subscription will stop quickly. Those who have purchased a music subscription may not have a problem. But hosting/server issues are very important’.
Software engineer’s advice, what to do next – ‘If you can add a backup payment method or not, take a full backup of your hosting/site now. This will allow you to restore at least later, even if the hosting is cancelled. It is very important. If the money goes, the money will come again. But if the information is lost, you will not get it.’
Many of the freelancers whose money is stuck have already expressed their helplessness on Facebook. Shafiq Asad writes, ‘So many months of hard work, business income, job payments are all stuck. I don’t know how it will go on now, when it will come about. Never in the last ten years have I felt so helpless. I am already in a miserable condition due to the epidemic of Covid-19, now it seems that the last nail has been nailed in the coffin.’