• Blogs
  • balder
  • Referral for Transferwise, for people sending money overseas like we do

Referral for Transferwise, for people sending money overseas like we do

  • Public

By balder Comments (18)

This is for anyone who needs to send money overseas, and everybody else can skip it. It's going to sound like a commercial, and it pretty much is. But I wouldn't be talking about it if I hadn't had a good firsthand experience.


Part of bringing Lauri on as inker/colorist has been figuring out the logistics of how to make regular payments to a guy in Finland. We'd been using bank transfers for the occasional overseas printer or manufacturer, but that's expensive and inconvenient. Lauri's other overseas clients had been using Paypal, which charges a pretty steep fee and doesn't give particularly favorable exchange rates. I suggested Bitcoin, but Lauri didn't want that for a variety of reasons.


John from the web team is in the UK as well. He pointed me at Transferwise for paying both him and Lauri, so I tried it out. It's seriously great. The money gets over there within a day or two. Lauri is actually receiving significantly more in Euros than he'd expected on his end. Part of that is the strong US dollar, but most of it is the favorable exchange rates and low fees.


So we've been trying to do affiliate marketing as a revenue stream for Erfworld. And Transferwise is running a promotion for referrals where we get $200 for every 3 people we refer who actually send a transfer over the next 100 days. I was like, "Well, I have no problem recommending them, so why not?"


So here's the link, for anybody who might have a use for their service:




And (also why not) here's our Amazon Affiliates link for everyone in the US. If you do your holiday shopping through there, then 6% of your purchase total goes to Erfworld. http://amzn.to/1HTlxUu


Thanks as always for supporting Erfworld in whatever form that takes. We've only made it this far because of all of you.


EDIT: Gahh! I forgot to mention two important things about this. 1 is that it only counts as a referral if you do a transfer of at least $300 in the next 100 days, which I guess keeps people from gaming the system as suggested below. :D The other is that when you do sign up through the referral link, your first transfer is free (up to $4500).


  • The Rats

    Thank you for disclosing your affiliation and financial ties with those companies before recommending them. Too often I see people promoting a companies or service and failing to disclose how they are profiting from it, in this case referals get you sum schmuckers.

  • tribble

    I agree with The Rats. It's really good to see that artists and other producers I like are ethical in this way.

  • Brony83

    Well, if you allow Transferwise instead of PayPal for the Toolshed, that would be an incentive to use this.

  • Squishalot

    Minimum fees are too high for the Toolshed, I suppose.  That said, for a three month period, I'm wondering if everyone makes a single small transfer, whether that would provide an incredibly significant contribution to Rob's coffers (unless there's a minimum transfer size required).

  • Veryfuzzylogic

    I can't say that I'm surprised that they don't convert the Peruvian Sol, but it means I can't use them even if I wanted to.


    Speaking of Finland, I know they have some uncommon laws around payment for online services that keep the artist for the Stand Still Stay Silent comic from using Patreon type services to receive payment from her followers.  I'm glad paying Lauri as an employee is less complicated from that perspective.

  • Spruce

    The problem with with Patreon was that it tried to force the artists to pay VAT for each individual payment, instead of doing it themselves. Patreon thought it was above the EU laws.

    Also, in Finland it is illegal to collect money through donations to an individual person. Collecting donations to a charity needs permits from the police.

  • balder

    @TheRats & @tribble I consider these things very carefully, and reject 5 or 6 ideas and offers for every one I try. I like Amazon, I like PrintNinja, I like BackerClub, and I like Transferwise and (most importantly) I use them all personally and can vouch for them, so I feel okay with endorsing them on the site. I do need to keep looking for ways to monetize, but I never want to do anything sneaky or exploitative of the readers.

    One recent example, I got an offer to buy hashes of everyone's email address. This would be an encrypted version of your emails that would not be used for spam, but would be used to track your interest in this site and correlate it with other sites that collect your email, so that ads can be more closely targeted to you. After careful consideration and discussion with the web team, we were unanimous that this was a violation of our privacy policy and our readers' trust, and we rejected the offer.


    @Squishalot & @Brony83 Yeah, actually now that you mention it, the minimum transfer amount to count is $300. It's not really good for small subscription payments. (I also forgot to say that everyone who signs up gets their first transfer free.)


    @Veryfuzzylogic & @Spruce I didn't know that about Finland and Patreon! Did that mess up Kimmo Lemetti of Gone With the Blastwave? I know he was an early adopter there, the only webcomic I recognized when I initially looked at Patreon. His project page seems intact, anyway. https://www.patreon.com/blastwave?ty=h

    @everyone else Hey, we have 7 sign-ups so far! If that turns into even 3 qualified referrals, it was probably worth doing this news post. $200-400 is in line with what the Amazon Affiliates links usually do in a month for us. Thanks!

  • Spruce

    Patreon did have to start paying the VAT, so it is not a problem anymore in EU scale. Donating for individuals and receiving spontaneous donations as an individual is legal in Finland, it is just illegal to ask for donations, so no money collecting campaigns. Crowdfunding is also legal and there has been cases where the border between crowdfunding and donating has been muddy just because of wording of the campaign. Safest way is just to offer some service/product that the crowdfunder gets access to.

  • Spruce

    I forgot to add an example of electronic crowdfunding in Finland, a Finnish counterpart for Patreon: Mesenaatti.me

  • Salvage

    Is it possible to just tie my Amazon to your affiliate account permanently or do I need to go through the link to get to Amazon every time? Also if I go through the link how do I know it is giving you credit? I do not see any indication. I do much of my purchasing through Amazon and would prefer you to get 6% of all of that. Thank you, as always.

  • trilo

    salvage, I'm a dirty adblocking non-tool and I have trouble remembering about the affiliate link so I've been looking into that. I thought about using the hosts file, but that works based on domains (I could rerout google.com to amazon.com) so it wasn't particularly useful.

    my next thought was to check for extensions for google chrome that would allow me to redirect based on urls rather than on domains and I found one called 'redirector' and another called 'switcheroo redirector.'  I then told it to redirect amazon.com to amzn.to/1HTlxUu, which leads to this error:

    'Something's wrong here...

    Uh oh, Bitly couldn't find a link  for the bitly URL you clicked. Most Bitlinks are 4-6 characters, and only includes letters and numbers (and are case sensitive).'

    I continue to get this error if I refresh or try to manually do the amzn link in another tab, but if I disable the extension then it starts working again. Keep in mind that this is the exact same url.

    My last thought is that the Bitlink goes to this very long url that has referral information in the url apparently:


    Using the extention to redirecting amazon.com to that long url DOES work, but I'm not sure if Erfworld gets the 6% or if the 6% requires the bitlink. A 6% cut of what I spend on amazon in a year would probably lead to more revenue than if I undid adblock even if it would be less than pledging directly, so I'd def like it as a solution that doesn't require to me to go outside my comfort zone with regards to ads.

  • trilo

    heh sorry, I just realized you were looking for an answer that's less technical. to answer you, you can't permanently link your account to that in a straightforward or reliable way and there's not going to be any indication that erfworld is getting the referral cut. the closest to what you want would probably be booking marking the bitlink and naming it "Amazon.com" or something so that it comes up in the url bar when you're typing amazon.

  • Squall83

    @balder: I have a question. I know you say that transferring 300$ is the minimum to count for you getting the reward, but what about the transfer fees in general? Are they higher or smaller than with PayPal?

    And regarding the 300$: Is it enough to just push 300$ from my bank account onto this account or am I required to spend 300$? I'm not really doing much spending with PayPal, because I'm more of a money-saver, so spending 300$ in the next 100 days is difficult to achieve.

  • balder

    @Squall83 1. Way, way smaller than Paypal, but it's not a flat fee or rate. Recent example was I sent $2,700 USD and the fee was $25.39. Equivalent fee in Paypal would have been $81, I believe. With worse exchange rates. Also, when you sign up through our referral link, your first transfer fee is waived (up to a transfer of $4,500).


    2. You don't need to spend $300 in fees, you just need to send at least that much to someone within 100 days. And I don't know, but I suspect they might have some measures in place just to keep people from gaming the system by sending to themselves. I appreciate the clever "Parson v Charlie" vibe of that idea, but I'd have to advise you not to do it. XD


    @Everyone else - 17 sign-ups, woo! Thanks, everyone.

  • balder

    @Salvage I think @trilo answered better than I could. Amazon doesn't want people doing that, I guess. But I do know that if you click the referral link and browse, then anything you buy on that account for the next 24 hours counts toward our total. I've also worked with some Erfworld fans who wanted to track what they buy and confirm that it counted, including one who periodically sends me spreadsheets. So far, everything I have gone looking for has counted, if the buyer is in the US. UK Amazon Affiliates expressly rejected this site, and I can't get an answer from Amazon Canada, so it's got to be US only for the foreseeable future. If you are concerned that something you bought did not count as a referral, you can use the contact us form and I'll check on it for you. (My email box is a little full right now, but I'll get to it for sure.)

  • smurfworld

    I order from Amazon.ca (Canada).  If you make an affiliate link for that site, I will definitely use it.  :)

    Please continue to let us know, just as you have in this blog post, how we can help out!

  • Squall83

    Alright, thanks for the info! I'm also not the type who likes to try to game a system. I'll look up the exact fees.

  • trilo

    I should say that I really didn't know what I was talking about and was thinking more in lines of "here's what I've tried, maybe someone else can tell me what I should be doing instead," forgetting that just because I've been spending a lot of time learning technical information lately doesn't mean my mind should jump to the most complicated question someone could mean. It does seem like there's not a good way to link it though, neither through technical fiddling nor amazon options.

    Some way of tracking the impact of the purchases would be helpful in remembering to use it though. It's kind of like shooting money into the void since it doesn't get mentioned very often on here and there's no way to track it through amazon.  Just being reminded that it's having an impact would help me. Since someone already bought me amazon prime it's the best way for me to get lots of stuff though so it's a good option for me in terms of supporting erfworld.