Archive for January 2011
I’ve seen a few Australian’s asking about how to provide the correct Banking and Payment information when signing up for a Windows Phone 7 Marketplace account – so I thought I’d share some information to help you get through this.
The Marketplace signup process is pretty confusing if you’re not in the US – and unfortunately Microsoft has done little to help international people through this by using US specific terminology all across the Marketplace site.
Also – once you’ve entered the correct details you’ll also need to consider the following as well to actually receive payments. Firstly you’ll need to fill in and send them a W8-BEN form via snail mail (this is required) – and then you may optionally also apply for a US ITIN (same concept as a Tax File Number) if you want to eliminate tax withholding on your payments (which I think may be ~30%).
On this – I really wish Microsoft had come up with some better system for developers to receive payments (such as making payments from Microsoft Australia instead so it’s in the Australian Tax system) – as it’s quite unfair that every single Aussie developer has to deal with all this. I think this is a massive oversight on Microsoft’s behalf – and whilst I imagine it makes things easier for Microsoft – the effort, complications and expense each and every developer needs to go through for this compliance is a real headache (on top of actually learning how to develop WP7 apps and working their way through the pretty complex App certification procedure).
Anyhow – please see below for more details on some of what you need to know :
Banking Details Form
Here’s some key points to help you get through the ‘banking details’ page(s) – and what the various US banking terms mean for Australian citizens.
- The ‘routing number’ is the same thing as an Australian BSB number (which identifies your bank + branch). For Australian bank accounts you normally have a 6 digit BSB number and then a 6 digit Account Number. Note that in some cases on your bank statements – the BSB number shown is a shortened version which is internal to the bank (ie. may be 4 digits). You may need to contact your bank to get the full 6 digit version if this is the case. Note that in the US routing numbers are actual 9 letters/numbers – but I’ve been assured by my bank (Westpac) that the BSB is satisfactory.
- The ‘BIC/SWIFT’ code is actually just the SWIFT code for Australian banks. Each bank has a single SWIFT code (which is not specific to your account) and is an internationally recognized alphanumeric code which identifies your bank. You can normally find out your bank’s SWIFT code by looking at their website and search for the keyword ‘SWIFT’ or looking for any FAQ sections regarding ‘receiving payments from overseas’. Please see below for some SWIFT codes for some major Australian banks.
- The ‘account number’ is then your personal account number (normally 6 digits) which does not include your BSB number (BSB should be put in the routing number field).
SWIFT CODES for some Australian Banks
The following information is provided to help you quickly determine the correct SWIFT codes for your bank – however please double check this information with your bank before providing it (in case there’s any mistakes). Otherwise please visit your bank
WESTPAC Bank : WPACAU2S
Commonwealth Bank (CBA) : CTBAAU2S
see : http://www.commbank.com.au/help/faq/imt/default.aspx
ANZ Bank : ANZBAU3M
Bendigo Bank : BENDAU3B
Note : I tried to get SWIFT codes for some other major Australian banks such as Suncorp, St George, Band of Queensland etc – but was unable to find them on their websites. Please contact them directly to find out this information.
The W-8BEN form is mandatory to receive payments from Marketplace (aka. ‘Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding’ – sounds just like a new Borat movie title). You also need to submit this form via snail mail to Microsoft (see Marketplace for exact address) – as you’re not allowed to fax it or submit it electronically.
You can download and print out the W-8BEN form from :
Note that you may need advice from an accountant (or if you understand the IRS website jargon that might be suffice) – to find out what information you need to enter here – I’m not going attempt to provide this advice in case it’s wrong.
Also note that you may in fact need a different form to the W-8BEN depending on your exact tax/business setup (again consult your accountant or irs website).
Obtaining a US ITIN
This is a process I’ve not yet done and it’s unfortunately a very complicated and expensive one to do. From my understanding it’s basically the same thing as an Australian TFN (Tax File Number) – but since you’re not a US citizen, getting one is pretty complicated (US citizens can simply provide their social security number and get one issued almost on the spot).
It can take up to 3 months to get this sorted out (assuming you get everything correct on your first submission) – and one part involves paying for Australian ‘notaries’ to verify you are who you say you are (nb: a notary is not a simple ‘Justice of Peace’ – and they charge fees of $100-$200 to do their thing).
You’ll need to visit the US IRS website to find out more about this :
A couple of other gotcha’s you’ll need to be aware of :
- You need to be 18 to sign up for Marketplace (or you will need your parent/guardian to sign up on your behalf).
- Your Marketplace account will display ‘Payment Information Incomplete’ message even though you’ve provided this information (and sent in a W8-BEN). Apparently the reason for this is that you’re payment information will not be processed by Microsoft UNTIL you receive your first payment (I believe this will be happening for the first time in Feb 2011 if you’ve owed USD$200 or more).
Anyhow – I hope this is of some use to you – and while the whole Marketplace signup process – and PARTICULARLY the App certification process (which is a real mess right now) is pretty challenging to get through – having your app published on Marketplace will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling (and might even earn you some decent $$$ when a decent amount of handsets are sold).
Disclaimer : This is NOT to be taken as legal advice – check with your accountant, lawyer and bank if you are unsure of anything.
I’ve just submitted a(nother) new App to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace – ‘AU Weather Pro’ which as the name suggests provides comprehensive Australian weather observations and forecasts (from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology).
Of Note – this app brings the observation/forecast functionality from ‘Big Screen Weather v2’ (for Windows Media Center) – with numerous enhancements to your Windows Phone 7 (such as BOM specific 72hour views etc). For those wanting the animated radar – this app can be used in conjunction with AU Radar (available now on Windows Marketplace).
The App should (hopefully) be live in the next 24-72 hours. (depending on how quickly it gets passed by the Marketplace certification team).
Here’s the wrap (taken from the Marketplace description) – or view the product page:
AU Weather Pro provides a comprehensive app to view Latest Weather Observations and 7 day* Forecasts from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (www.bom.gov.au).
With support for over 550+ Observation locations and 200+ forecast locations (provided by BOM weather stations around Australia) – you’ll be getting the most up to date and extensive coverage possible.
Sporting a slick and theme aware User Interface – once you’ve set your current observation and forecast locations – latest details will be displayed (and updated) upon load.
Finding your nearest BOM weather stations is made simple by using your phone’s GPS lookup – which auto configures the nearest points at a click of a button – or allows you to browse all the available locations by state and region. You can also configure refresh settings for data downloaded data.
When viewing latest observations – you’ll not only see the current temperature/icon – you’ll also get numerous other details such as wind speed/gust/direction, rainfall, humidity, pressure, cloud coverage, visibility as well as numerous other stats about the temperature where available (such as max/min temperatures for that day).
Drill down to a detailed 72 hour history for – which shows all available historical readings for that weather station (grouped by category – or via a summary page). Once in this page you can also tilt the phone to landscape mode and check out various data plotted onto a 72 hr graph.
When viewing latest forecasts - you can drill down to a graphical view – or you can go and browse over 200 forecasts from all over Australia – and see up to 7 days of forecast data from other locations (without downloading any additional data).
Please Note : the trial version of this application will allow you to view limited or sample data only – and forecast ranges will be limited to 3 days only. All values/data will be made available upon full purchase.
*Note that some BOM stations may not provide all metadata.
Pricing/Availability : USD$2.99 / AUD $4.00 (Trial Version Available) / Available soon in the ‘News + Weather’ category in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.
see screenshots below :
NB: Local WP7 Shell notifications functionality will be provided on a future update.