Today when I checked my mail inbox in morning, I found a shocking mail – it was from Payoneer. It said Payoneer MasterCard will be blocked in India – immediately for POS transactions (at any shop where you swipe your card) and soon for ATM. Below is the content of that mail.

Dear Valued Customer,
Due to instructions from the Indian local banking authorities, Payoneer Prepaid MasterCard cards will be blocked for local purchases (POS Purchase) made in India within the next few hours, and ATM transactions will probably be blocked soon after are also blocked.
Your Payoneer card continues to be functional anywhere other than India (including transactions made online on global websites), and all funds in your account are secure. Payoneer card of Indian users are compeltely blocked now, it won’t work even with international merchants. That’s really bad news!!
Other payment companies have experienced similar restrictions in the past, and most have been temporary and have taken a few weeks to resolve the situation. Payoneer and MasterCard are working with local banking regulators to address the situation. Payoneer is also preparing alternative ways for you to continue to receive payouts, and expects you will be able to continue to receive your payments in the future. We apologize for the inconvenience and will keep you informed.
We have opened a special mailbox for you to communicate with our Customer Support. Please feel free to contact us at
Payoneer Customer Support

It was certainly bad news for thousands of Indian freelancers. It appears that Indian authority is trying to stop misuse of this service by people trying to hide their income using this service. But a lot of small freelancers would suffer from this. Last year same thing had happened with Paypal and it made a lot of freelancers to switch over Payoneer. Now Payoneer is in the same place.

Q: I have a good balance in my Payoneer card. What should I do?
A: According to Payoneer, ATM withdrawl is not blocked yet. So visit your nearest ATM and withdraw all funds ASAP, though I have not verified whether ATM is still working or not. POS transaction is already blocked, I tried that today but failed.

You also have an option to reverse payment to partner (vWorker,Freelancer, oDesk etc). So you can withdraw the fund using any other method.

Q: Payoneer blocked (atleast for now), What’s your take?
A: It’s an indication that Indian government would not let any freelancer hide their income. So better keep your PAN and IEC (Import Export Code).

Q: What can I use for now?
A: You can use Paypal as an option. I am not aware about any other option. Share it in comments if you know any other.

I hope Indian government can track millions of millions money being scamed by big players soon (some recent are Adarsh society, CWG, 2G spectrum and many other which we are not aware about). That will bring much more tax income and save government’s fund without being an issue for small freelancers who are earning their bread from freelancing and paying their tax loyally.

Some questions has no answer. Following are some of them.

  • Why Indian government is so keen to track each and every penny of freelancers? Freelancing employs thousands of Indians and bring foreign money to our country AND freelancers are less corrupt/stealers than many others (do I need to say less corrupt than whom??).
  • Why do Indian government think that all Indians are stealing tax? Even SSN is not must for US residents while signing up for Paypal but PAN is must to signup for Paypal in India. Payoneer and Paypal works in most of the countries without government intervention.