Sal Aguilar's Bilingual Adventures in IT

computers are easier to deal with than people

WordCamp Managua 2017 – Canal 6 Nicaragua — May 8, 2017

WordCamp Managua 2017 – Canal 6 Nicaragua


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#BlogsNI – Festival de Blogs de Nicaragua — September 18, 2016

#BlogsNI – Festival de Blogs de Nicaragua


What is #BlogsNI?

Next week, I set sail to the #BlogsNI, which is Nicaragua’s Blogs Festival. An event oriented to talk about the local nicaraguan blogosphere, a review of the past, present and future. The event will hold different local experts from Social Communication, Marketing and Technology,

What I would be doing on #BlogsNI?

I was invited by the organizers to participate on the event on the technology side of things. After all I’m an IT guy that loves teaching about WordPress. I will represent Sucuri (talk to me if you need help with WordPress & Website Security) and I will be giving a talk about WordPress and e-Commerce and I will give a WorkShop about Advanced WordPress. Below is the full agenda and the banner for my workshop.

#blogsni - agenda

Join my workshop if you want to learn further about WordPress!

#BlogsNi - Advanced WordPress

More info on the event:

When:

  • September 21 – #BlogsNI Workshops
  • September 22 – #BlogsNI Talks

Where:

Universidad Centro Americana. UCA. Managua, Nicaragua.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FestivalBlogsNicaragua

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/646689258837645/

Be sure to contact me if you want to setup some time to talk!

Cheers!

 

Alternative to PayPal in Nicaragua: Costa Rica — March 10, 2016

Alternative to PayPal in Nicaragua: Costa Rica


After an overwhelming traffic to my previous post 2 Alternatives to Paypal in Nicaragua, I was asked to expand my comments on each case, so today I am bringing you more information about using Paypal in Nicaragua, and yes its thru our southern neighbor country, Costa Rica.

As many of you already know, we can receive payments but we can’t cash them out locally. So after research online and conversations with many friends, such as Hosmel Quintana, an awesome Nicaraguan Developer working on UpWork and making a living.

So let’s now get straight to the point. The how-to begins now.

How this works?

Simple, Paypal works in Costa Rica, for both making and receiving payments and cashing them out. But there is a trick, it ONLY works with Banco Nacional but you will be able to transfer your money from Paypal to your Savings Account, which is what we want access to our money!!!

What do you need?

  1. Go to Costa Rica with a valid passport.
  2. Go to any branch of Banco Nacional.
  3. Open a Savings account with your passport. Do not explicitly state that you only want it for Paypal.
  4. Be sure to get the token that they give you to access BN Internet Banking, you will need it afterwards when enabling Paypal.
  5. Once your account is activated. You would need to open a new Paypal account and provide address of Costa Rica. You can look online and even  use any address listed here. You can check out this guide for step by step guidance.
  6. Once your costa rican Paypal account is activated, you would need to link the bank account using the information of your Savings Account from Banco Nacional. Upon activation it will ask you for the token, which you will use to finish the setup.
  7. You are done!

Restrictions and warnings: its not that simple

  1. You can NOT transfer from Paypal to Banco Nacional USD999 or more. This will raise red flags and would probably be forced to legally open a business in Costa Rica pay all the according taxes.
  2. If you want to cash out USD1,000 or more you would have to legally open a company, and open a business account with them. You would have a limit of USD10,000 per transaction and USD50,000 per day. That is a LOT if you ask me. These are the requirements for the business account. 
  3. You need to use an email that was not previously activated on Paypal. Be sure to follow the proper instructions listed here.
  4. The commissions, the ugly part, are these:
    1. Banco Nacional will charge you 0.5% if its more than USD 2,200.
    2. Banco Nacional will charge you USD 11 if its less than USD 2,200.

Getting the cash: How to transfer from Paypal to Banco Nacional?

  1. Login to your BN Internet Banking with your username and password.
  2. Once inside, look for PAGOS and then select PAYPAL.
  3. On the left menu, you should see the following option: Retirar fondos de cuenta PayPal. Click there.
  4. You will then have to type the number that was generated on your Token.
  5. Banco Nacional will now list the terms and conditions, which you have to accept if you want to continue.
  6. You will then select the Paypal account to which you want to perform the transfer to.
  7. Next step is to define how much money you want to transfer.
  8. Then you will have to confirm the transaction. Be sure to review the amount.
  9. Once confirmed, the transfer takes up to 5 business days to hit your account.
  10. After 5 days you should have your money ready. Awesome!

Conclusion

Even though is not the best option, it’s an option if you want to be able to cash out your Paypal funds on any ATM. I am still not sure about the specific ATM withdrawals fee, but that is something I am working on currently. If any one has already done it, I would appreciate you share the fees so I can include them here, and give you the proper credits on this article as well.

Thanks for reading and feel free to contact me for questions or suggestions. Jokes are welcomed too!

2 Alternatives to Paypal in Nicaragua — March 2, 2016

2 Alternatives to Paypal in Nicaragua


Last year I wrote an article about how Paypal is working on Nicaragua, and its 2016 and we are still on the same place: we can get money in, but we can’t cash it out locally 😦 , we need to spend it again via Paypal, which on my particular case has come in handy when paying for servers in Digital Ocean (please use this affiliate link – thanks for using it), Domains & Hosting in Site5 (please use this affiliate link), Games on the XBOX store (I’m a HUGE batman fan).

But at the end of the day you need hard, cold cash. So below are some options you can use instead of Paypal if you work with foreign customers.

PayOneer

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This is a very known Mastercard debit card that is used by many freelancers who work and get paid via UpWork.com and other similar sites. This is a service that provides you with a US based checking account in Bank of America that companies on the US can deposit money and it will be linked to your card. Unfortunately that only works to get deposits from business or corporate accounts.

They do offer however a credit card based service, which it was suspended a couple of years ago and it seems is working again. The service will basically send an email to your client and they will go to a page from Payoneer where they can put their credit card information and perform the payment. They can even decide who is going to pay the fee for the transaction.

In Nicaragua, you can use this card on any ATM from banks who take Mastercard, I have being told by some freelancer friends that ProCredit ATMs offer the lowest fees, followed by BANPRO and lastly BAC being the most expensive one.

Payoneer Fees

Debit Card Annual fee: USD 29.95
Deposits to US Checking account: 1% (if you get paid 500 USD, they will charge you USD 5). Maximum is USD3000 per transaction.
Credit Card payments: 3% per transaction, the only take MASTERCARD & VISA, Maximum is USD2000 per transaction.

ATM Withdrawal fee:  3.15% per transaction (some ATMs add another charge on top of this percentage)

As a conclusion, this is a very good solution if you are getting payments from different customers and your transactions are below the USD2000. My suggestion is to use it when you can and instead of cashing out, to avoid the fees, try to use it as a debit card to pay for stuff like groceries, internet, gas or entertainment!

You can use my affiliate link to ORDER YOUR CARD TODAY FOR FREE

PaypalPanamá via LAFISE

This is a solution that has been suggested to me recently and for which I am still on the process of requesting it to LAFISE, since they are a regional bank with offices in Panama, you can open a bank account in LAFISE PANAMA without ever even leaving Nicaragua. You will have to go to your nearest LAFISE branch and talk to Customer Service (servicios bancarios in Spanish) and they will provide a list of the requirements to do so. Once you have filled all the requirements they will give you the bank account information. It cost around USD 20 since you are required to get LAFISE ID, which is their security method to login plus around USD200 cash to have there to keep your account opened.

They you will need to open a new Paypal account, but open it as if you were living in Panamá. After that you will link your LAFISE PANAMA Bank account to Paypal so you can start getting payments. Since LAFISE also has offices here, the transfers between countries are free.

All normal Paypal fees apply.

 

2Checkout

2co_logoA friend of mine, who owns a business directory website, has used their service for many years now. What they basically do, is they provide a back end so your customers can login there, put the credit card information and process the payment. 2checkout would then give you the option to wire you the money to your Nicaraguan bank account.

They do ask a lot of questions and are very strict about knowing exactly who you are, so they will ask you to provide a lot of documentation, but in the end you will be able to get payments internationally, so on my humble opinion, it’s worth it.

2checkout fees

Credit Card Transactions: 3.9% + 45¢
Wire Transfer cost: USD40-65

What’s next?

There are some options I didn’t include on this list because they would need you to open legal companies in other countries or ar alternative methods of sending money to Nicaragua so I am just going to list them briefly:

  1. Open a US company or LLC on any state, file with the IRS to get EIN, open a bank account on the business name and then start using services like Stripe or Authorize.net.
  2. Open a bank account in Costa Rica, in Banco Nacional and  create a Paypal account as if you were living in Costa Rica and link it to that account.
  3. Use Western Union, Moneygram, Xoom, etc.

If you have any tips or other ways that we as Nicaraguan Freelancers and entrepreneurs can benefit from, please let me know!

Paypal finally opens in Nicaragua — May 5, 2015

Paypal finally opens in Nicaragua


Paypal lands in Nicaragua

Yes, finally!!! Well sort off!

Paypal arrived to Nicaragua two weeks ago, it launched quietly but it was here. My friends from Pragmaz.com and Danfer Habed with whom I am working on a personal project that will launch soon, started making some tests with it. I was able to integrate it using the classic API with Express Checkout on a test OpenCart installation I made. Success!

Invoicing, Request Payments, Classic API, Rest API and other features are working now for Nicaraguan accounts.

What is the catch?

Well, to start off you are unable to transfer your money to a Nicaragua bank account. Before the only thing you could do is to link a US based bank account so you can cash out your money there. But that will only work for some folks, not for the vast majority.

Some interesting discussions were given on my 2 favorite Facebook groups: Desarrolladores Nicaragua & Marketing Digital Nicaragua. And we all started making tests and interacting with Paypal and their support staff. Unfortunately we can’t move money to local banks, or any other card or anything. Local bank clerks were even confused when we asked them if we could move money from Paypal to their account. They were thinking that it was about a Wire transfer from an external bank, which for me it is consequence of the low technical skills we have in Nicaragua.

We tried to use services like Payoneer, where they give you a US Based bank account so you can get payments done to that account and they provide a Mastercard Debit Card that you can use here in Nicaragua. Sad enough that does not work.

Some folks like Juan Jose from primitivista.org and Manuel Diaz from ListoMarketing.com; who also have online business gave their opinions and we all agree that even though this is a small step, we have still a long way go.

On a personal note, I believe that this is not Paypal‘s fault but our very own. Our laws or lack of them for electronic transactions is a leaving us behind. Paypal would need to sign agreements with local banks in order to reduce the transfer fees, but I do not see that happening soon. I believe Paypal needs to work with “Super Intendencia de Bancos y Otras Instituciones Financieras” or SIBOIF in order to be compliant and open locally as a financial institution so it can lower the fees when transferring money to local banks.

I will try to talk to someone from the Banking industry and will provide further feedback here when I get it. But in the mean time you can donate to this blog by sending money to sal.aguilar81@gmail.com via Paypal.

Claro Nicaragua DNS system sucks! —

Claro Nicaragua DNS system sucks!


Ok Folks, over a month ago I was finally able to get wired cable internet in my new house thanks to Claro Nicaragua. I grabbed a Triple play: Digital Cable, Land Line and Cable Internet. I was really hesitant and went back and forth with the sales folks as due to my own experience and friends, the cable infrastructure which was inherited from the Cablenet times before Claro Nicaragua bought them and rebrand it as Turbonett along with its Wireless and ADSL internet service.

One of the biggest objections I have is the DNS, oh my God the DNS!

The first two weeks I had a major pain using them, so I went to the RCA router to change the DNS, and surprisingly enough, on the model I have you can’t change them. So I had to change them locally on my computer, as my first choice I have used Google Public DNS, but odd enough it seems Claro Nicaragua blocks the traffic from them from time to time. Which was causing me serious issues as I depend on a stable connection to do my job.

I then decided to do more research and I found NameBench, which is a utility to benchmark the nameservers speed based on your own internet connection thru several tests. At the end you get a report of the ones that work faster for you. Funny enough nor Claro’s own DNS were listed, even Guatemala’s Claro were listed to be faster as well as NTT’s DNS (ISP from Japan). So I with the report in hand, I went in to setup 5 different nameservers on my computer so we can test this.

After changing the DNS, my experience changed… completely. I am now a happy camper!

If you are a Claro internet user and do not want to go over the NameBench experiment, then simply use OpenDNS Name servers which are: 208.67.222.222 & 208.67.220.220.

OpenDNS on Mac OS X

OpenDNS on Windows 7

And if you need further assistance, drop me a note!

Cool WiFi Network names — February 6, 2015

Cool WiFi Network names


Hey, the fact that I live in Nicaragua, which is a 3rd world country and the 2nd poorest country on the continent doesn’t means we don’t have WiFi hotspots all over the city. We definitely have many but it’s sad that people don’t either know how to change the name of their SSID, or don’t have a sense of humor.

Below is a compilation of the ones that I like the most:

  • virus.exe
  • trade beer for wifi
  • bring beer and women
  • NoFreeInternetHere
  • My neighbors are thiefs
  • $10 an hour of internet
  • FBI Surveillance
  • NSA Listening Station
  • Pretty fly for a Wifi
  • Drop it like its hotspot
  • NoWifiForYou
  • Wifi causes Cancer
  • Hide Yo Kids Hide Yo Wifi
  • Pay and Use
  • BUY YOURS MADAFAKA
  • Drop it like its hotspot

What about you guys any suggestion that should make this list?

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