I am a home-office-mom-soon-to-be and came accross your long-sought article "Using-Paypal-for-International-Users." I'm skeptical with opening a US account via Malaysian-based firms, and I'm thinking of registering for iKobo. Now you've had your experience with iKobo, so I'm hoping if you can share some of it and advise whether iKobo is the right choice when it comes to money transfer ease for clients and fund withdrawal from local bank, say Maybank or HSBC. I'm opening an online-shopping store serving worldwide customers. Thanks.
Thanks for writing to me. I would love to help you or give you advice in any way. You don't have to open US bank accounts via Malaysian firms. I am skeptical about this myself. I actually have some experience with many other different payment processors, and Paypal is, so far, one of the worst for International users. They're totally not concerned with International users.
Ikobo is not the only place where you can open an account and it depends on what the purpose you want the account for. At the point of writing the article, ikobo offered merchant tools, meaning you can sell stuff and take payment via credit card from multiple (unlimited) members at the same time. Now, they don't. They're restricting the number of senders you can take money from to 3 people. If you're using this for personal purposes, ikobo is wonderful because they are still the cheapest.
Stormpay is another option. They are netIBA certified and usually, processing of payment is not a problem. They're easy to use and very safe. Getting their debit card cost me about US$29.95 which was worth it. but their fees are more expensive than ikobo. But they are very convenient. if you're trying to sell stuff on the Internet, you can use stormpay.
2Checkout is another option. To open an account, you have to pay them a fee of $49. They run extensive checks on payment to make sure it's not a fraud thing and they are very organized. You can use them to process merchant sales and all that too. They don't have a debit card but they will wire the money to you for $12 only when the total sales you have reaches $300. If you're expecting a lot of sales from your business, then 2co might be a good option. But sometimes their fraud check is so stringent that it makes it impossible for people to pay you. Like there's this client who is using her husband's supplementary card for payment and it didn't pass the 2CO fraud checks.
And one final option would be the epassporte account. It works the same way as stormpay, is cheaper and also equally realible. You have to pay about $35 or something like that (cannot remember) for their debit card.
Debit card: remember, you can withdraw the money from the debit card anytime at any ATM machines all over the world. It's very convenient. When you've found the one that you want, having the debit card and paying for it will be worth it. Currently, I am using stormpay (main one), ikobo (secondary one) and 2checkout (backup). Hope that helps.
Marsha Maung is a freelance graphic designer and copy writer who works from her home in Selangor, Malaysia. She loves nothing more than blowing bubbles in the park with her 2 kids, Joshua and Jared. She designs apparel and premium items at http://www.allmomstuff.com and is the author of “Raising little magicians", and the popular “The Lance in freelancing". More information can be found at http://www.marshamaung.com