Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Local Funds Transfer: A Big Financial Break for Pinoy oDesk Contractors

I just discovered this piece of news an hour ago, so pardon for the very late announcement. I literally couldn’t stop reading and emailing people to confirm that this is truly oDesk’s gift to Pinoy contractors for 2011.

Last December 16, 2010, oDesk announced that Philippine contractors can now withdraw their earnings using a new direct and low-cost withdrawal method called Local Funds Transfer. Let’s call this “LFT” for short.

The Local Funds Transfer, a.k.a. LFT, allows you to withdraw your oDesk earnings directly to your Philippine bank account in just a matter of days. The LFT is on beta mode at the moment but oDesk confirms that it’s a secure and more convenient choice for Filipinos and other Philippine-based contractors to use.

You can register as many bank accounts as you want so long as the information for each one is entirely correct. To avoid any delays using this method, make sure that the bank nameand address that’s registered to your account is correct.

Requirements for the Local Funds Transfer Withdrawal Method

If you’re ready to use this new withdrawal method, here are the requirements:

  • Your branch of account’s BRSTN or Bank Routing Symbol Transit Number
  • Your correct bank account details (bank name, account number, address)
  • Registering the LFT method to your account through this link
  • $1.99 per withdrawal after the 1st one made

Based on my research, the BRSTN code is the same as the PayPal codes used for PayPal-to-Bank withdrawals.

However, I mentioned branch of account because according to the LFT page, some banks assign different BRSTN numbers to their numerous branches. Your bank of choice may have followed this system, so make sure to call the bank’s head office or customer support number before registering.

Important Reminders for LFT Users

When you’ve registered successfully and your LFT account on oDesk is activated, you can now start withdrawing directly to your bank! I personally haven’t tried this method yet, so this post will be updated once I do so.

Just a couple of reminders before proceeding with the LFT method:

  1. Read the full details about the LFT in this particular page of the Help Section of the oDesk website.
  2. Make sure that you have enough funds to cover the $1.99 charge after your first withdrawal through this method.
  3. Always make sure that your bank account details (including your registered address) is correct to avoid any delays.

As for cost, it’s free for the first withdrawal and $1.99 for every withdrawal afterwards. Again, some banks will charge a remittance fee for each transaction, but according to the LFT page:

  • Bank of the Philippine Islands or BPI account holders are waived of any remittance fees when using this method.
  • Unionbank Philippines charges P50 for every transaction using this method.
  • Transfers (according to oDesk) usually take 3-5 business days for the funds to reflect in your account, regardless which bank you use.

Again, once I’ve tried the method myself during a week with absolutely no holidays I’ll update this post or write a full review of the Local Funds Transfer method for more accurate information.

Share Your Thoughts and Experiences with LFT

If you’re a Pinoy oDesk contractor, were you able to give the LFT withdrawal method a shot? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below!

And if you used a different bank to withdraw to besides BPI and Unionbank and received a unique BRSTN code for your branch, we hope you could share it with everyone else as well.

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  1. I managed to use the LFT and by far it works perfectly fine. Though I'm not ascertained if the initial charge will remain as is when successive withdrawals are made using the same method. Anyho, my Payooner card has been set aside for the time being since I now have LFT through UBP. ;)

  2. Yes, Indeed a good news for us Filipinos working in odesk. I am using UBP also since its the cheapest cost to transfer money...:)