I’m posting this here for any non-US people who are considering adding Google AdSense to their sites.
Google sent me my first cheque last week. AdSense’s terms of service mean I’m not supposed to disclose how much I earned, but, suffice to say, I earned enough to warrant a payment. Google pays by cheque (or ‘check’ as they’re known over there), so to get the money that I’m now owed, I had to cash this into my bank account.
My account is with the Halifax, who on the whole have been good to me – relatively high rates of interest considering I only have a student current account, a very high interest savings account with easy transfer between the two online, and no major problems as yet. The increase in clearance time for cheques has been a little annoying – three working days, even if the cheque is from another Halifax account – but considering how some of my friends have been treated by their banks I’m generally pleased with them.
That said, they do charge extortionate rates for handling foreign cheques. While there is no fee for cheques under the Sterling value of £30, cheques above that and below £2500 incur a negotiation fee of £10 and a possible additional collection fee of £18. Google will only send you a cheque if you have earned $100 or more, so they will always be over £30. Say your cheque was for $100, which equates to just over £50 – your cheque will loose around 20% of its value. Obviously the costs as a percentage fall if the cheque is for a larger amount, but it’s annoying how quite a significant part of the money owed to you is taken by the bank.
There is also the clearance times. According to the information leaflet I was given, this is usually 3 days, which isn’t bad – some more basic bank accounts have 5-day clearing times even for domestic cheques. But in some cases it can take 28 days – a whole month – before the funds are available for withdrawal. Apparently I will be advised if this is the case, but considering the cheque is from a large, reputable US bank I imagine it’s unlikely.
If you are considering taking on advertising from a company in another country, I would advise you to check with your bank first and find out what their procedure is for dealing with payments in foreign currencies or from foreign banks. Most of what I have written today wasn’t a huge surprise for me as I’d checked prior to signing up for AdSense if this was possible, but it is a shame that it is so expensive. It’s not like the banks have any problem making money.