Payoneer is an international service that allows employers to pay their employees (subcontractors or freelancers) online. Though this payment option is quite similar to PayPal, the crux of the matter is that Payoneer sends a MasterCard to the employee through which they can directly withdraw money via an ATM or swipe it at a store. With the recent bout of problems that contractors in India had with PayPal, many switched over to their existing Payoneer cards (or made new accounts) for their pay.
Sadly, the RBI is at it once again and has blocked the Payoneer MasterCard POS (swipe payment) throughout India, and will soon be blocking ATM withdrawals as well. However, the folks at Payoneer maintain that it is a temporary block and it will be reversed in the future by the Indian authorities. In other words, if you have money in your Payoneer account, there is no fear of losing it in the future.
If you are in need of the money in your Payoneer MasterCard, you can try these steps to retrieve it.
ATM Withdrawal: The ATM withdrawals have apparently not been blocked yet, so you might want to try out the nearest ATM and withdraw all the money. Since Payoneer does not charge any money for the upkeep of the card if the balance is empty, you can flush out your entire savings at one go. Important caveat: since the ATM services might also be blocked, do not use an ATM that takes your card in (or “eats” it). You might not get your card back!
Payment Reversal: You can contact Payoneer and reverse your transactions back at the originating site (such as oDesk or Elance or iStockPhoto). From there you can use the many types of different withdrawal methods to get your money back.
That being said, it is extremely sad that the RBI is creating problems after problems against Indian freelancers. For some people freelancing is their main source of livelihood and blocking the payment gateways hurts them all.