Lebanon-based freelancers have recently noticed that something wasn’t right with their go-to financial solution, Payoneer. Accessing the site is impossible, and that wasn’t the case just a month ago.
Payoneer is an online money transfer solution that allows people to send and receive cross-border payments easily. It is especially popular among freelancers and gives them easy access to payments for their services.
It can be used as a virtual bank account (e-wallet), which allows people to do business in places where they normally wouldn’t be able to with their local bank account.
Users can also order MasterCard debit cards to use online or at different points of sale or even withdraw money from any ATM that accepts it.
People can get paid from anywhere around the world where Payoneer is supported. Unfortunately, Lebanon is no longer on that list. According to this Reddit thread, Payoneer is now blocked in Lebanon at its users’ dismay.
The local tech news site TechGeek365 has also reported issues with the website, stating that accessing Payoneer’s website from within Lebanon will show you a “this site can’t be reached” error page, or lead to a page with a message that translates to “website blocked based on the order of the Lebanese judiciary.”
TechGeek365 also stated that back in 2018, the Lebanese Government blocked a website-building platform called Wix without any prior notice. Why is that important to point out?
Well, according to the Reddit thread, users assume Payoneer has been blocked since its founder is Israeli, similar to Wix’s. “Google was created by two Jews. Should Lebanon block that too?” asked one user, pondering the “disorganized” priorities of the country.
With unemployment at large, graduates cannot find decent ways to fund themselves in Lebanon. Many take the freelancing route to make do. They work hours on end for remote employers who they might have never met only to hope to get paid in USD.
A user who was laid off last year relatably wrote, “I have been searching for a thing to do online, [the government] blocked Payoneer? So even people who are jobless and searching for online opportunities to earn a living, [the government] decided to ruin that opportunity? Why? Without any notice even? It might even bring dollars into the country… Living here is unbearable anymore.”