Great news for all oDesk contractors in the Philippines! oDesk is now offering local funds transfer, where you can directly deposit your earnings into your Philippine bank account for a low, flat fee. This eliminates the need for a third party vendor, such as Payoneer or PayPal. Instead, all your money goes directly to your bank account (in pesos too!) through the local clearing system.
It takes 3 to 5 business days for your funds to be properly transferred. Local funds transfer in the Philippines is still in the beta stage, but oDesk assures contractors that the system is sound and their money is in good hands. It's in the beta stage because they know it can improve in the future.
Setting up the local funds transfer is a one-step activation process. You just need your bank's head office BRSTN code, your account number and information. While oDesk charges $1.99 for each transfer, you may incur other charges, such as incoming remittance fees. It's best to ask if your bank has other charges when receiving a BRSTN local funds transfer. oDesk did mention that due to their existing tie-ups with several local banks, these fees won't be very steep.
For a complete list of details, please view this post at the oDesk website. You can also check out the discussion thread. A lot of my questions have been answered just by reading through it.
I'm going to sign up for this. I'm currently using Payoneer and the fees are killing me. Imagine a $20 transfer will incur up to more than $5 in fees just to get the money to Payoneer. I think it's fast and convenient, but not worth it if you're only going to be transferring minimum amounts. I'm trying out Paypal which is somewhat cheaper (transfer from Paypal to local bank, charges may apply too).
This service is open to all Philippine oDesk contractors. Other countries have their own local funds transfer too. It sounds like a very easy solution for all our withdrawal woes (hoy, wag ka bastos! :p) I'm glad oDesk decided to bring this service to us. I can't wait to try it, especially since according to that post, BPI doesn't have any incoming remittance charges! :D
Have you tried this? Will you sign up for it? I'd love to hear about your experience if you have.
January 2012 Update: I was able to try this a few months after I posted this. When my account reached a little over PHP 10,000, I facilitated the transfer. It was pretty quick, and it took less than two days to get from my oDesk account to my BPI savings account. And yes, no remittance charges (compared to transferring from PayPal to BPI).