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WP7 Marketplace Signup Help for Aussies (Bank Info + More)

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 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

  see : http://www.westpac.com.au/personal-banking/services/overseas-services/sending-receiving-money/

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) : CTBAAU2S
  see : http://www.commbank.com.au/help/faq/imt/default.aspx

National Australia Bank (NAB) : <Depends on State where Account is held>

 

NSW/ACT: NATAAU3302S
VIC/TAS: NATAAU3303M
QLD: NATAAU3304B
SA/NT: NATAAU3305A
WA: NATAAU3306P

see : http://www.nab.com.au/search/SearchServlet?action=firstQuery&query=swift+code


ANZ Bank :  ANZBAU3M
 
   see : http://www.anz.com/internet-banking/help/international-services/transfer-overseas/


Bendigo Bank :
BENDAU3B

see : http://www.bendigobank.com.au/public/about_us/contact_us.asp

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.

 

W-8BEN Form 

 

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 :
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw8ben.pdf

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 :

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=96690,00.html
 

Additional Notes

 

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).

Happy developing!

Disclaimer : This is NOT to be taken as legal advice – check with your accountant, lawyer and bank if you are unsure of anything.

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Written by mobilewares

January 17, 2011 at 11:26 pm

29 Responses

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  1. The Bank of Queensland SWIFT code is QBANAU4B.

    Steve 'Sly' Williams

    January 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm

  2. Getting the US ITIN was pretty painless for me. I didn’t pay a notary, I just took my passport into the passport office and got an “Apostille” within a day or two (went in person rather than doing it via mail, info here: http://www.smarttraveller.gov.au/authen.html). That cost about $60. Just sent that with the appropriate forms to the US and had my ITIN about 4 weeks later (then had to send that to Microsoft in the US). Just thought I’d mention it. YMMV. Cheers.

    Dean

    January 18, 2011 at 12:00 am

  3. Thanks for the additional info guys.

    Dean – that’s great to know about the ITIN – I’ll try what you did and hopefully that gets me accross the line. There’s so many conflicting stories on the ITIN (I saw some UK developer mention they were rejected with only the Apostille) – and it’s possible it’s as inconsistent as the WP7 App certification (ie. sometimes they will allow just the Apostille and others will claim you need more). Anyhow hope your method works for me and others too.

    mobilewares

    January 18, 2011 at 12:12 am

  4. Thanks for the heads up, sounds like it’s going to be fun 😦

    Craig

    January 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm

  5. Having being verified by GeoTrust today I thought I would go in and start filling out some of the extra details re banking. I called my bank (Sydney Credit Union) and got thw SWIFT no: CUSCAU2S easily enough and was reassured that the 6 digit BSB number would sufice as well. Problem is when I enter the BSB in the field and click save I receive an error 🙂 Has anyone else succeeded with the 6 digit BSB number?

    As for Microsoft they should have studied Apple a lot closer with the app store.

    Warrick

    January 25, 2011 at 7:19 am

  6. Warrick, put the SWIFT code in the SWIFT box and the BSB (without spaces, dashes or other punctuation, just numbers) in the routing box.

    Steve 'Sly' Williams

    January 25, 2011 at 11:42 am

  7. Dean :
    I didn’t pay a notary, I just took my passport into the passport office and got an “Apostille” within a day or two (went in person rather than doing it via mail

    My mileage did vary. The passport office at DFAT in Brisbane flatly refused. They said they cannot apostille an original passport since the apostille is applied to the document. They require you to take in a notarized copy of the passport. There’s at least $100 for the notary, and then the DFAT will do the apostille for $60.

    Steve 'Sly' Williams

    January 28, 2011 at 10:20 am

  8. Steve ‘Sly’ Williams :

    Dean :
    I didn’t pay a notary, I just took my passport into the passport office and got an “Apostille” within a day or two (went in person rather than doing it via mail

    My mileage did vary. The passport office at DFAT in Brisbane flatly refused. They said they cannot apostille an original passport since the apostille is applied to the document. They require you to take in a notarized copy of the passport. There’s at least $100 for the notary, and then the DFAT will do the apostille for $60.

    Hi Steve –

    I actually just got my Apostille from DFAT in Melbourne (via the ‘notaries dept’). I did it all by post – cost $60 plus cost of sending original passport via reg mail and included a prepaid express post satchell for them to send it back. (so about an extra $15 in postage fees as I was scared about it getting lost in mail – otherwise you can do it with unregistered satchells).

    It took around 4 days to get it back from posting it. They didn’t ask me to do anything else (like send notarized copy) – they made a photo copy of the main passport page and put the apostille on the reverse side.

    I suspect you just spoke to the wrong person (who gave you wrong advice). In Melbourne there’s a seperate enquiry number at passport office for nataries etc – so maybe try and see if theres similar in Brisbane.

    I’m going to now try and get my ITIN from the IRS (using this apostille document). Hopefully there’s no problems there as they will only accept original apostille doc – and not a copy of it. I read on IRS site it may take up to 10 weeks if applying between Jan 15 and March.

    mobilewares

    January 28, 2011 at 10:36 am

  9. I’ll go the notary way. The one guy at the apostille’s desk seemed to be very certain and there was no way I could have changed his mind.

    mobilewares :
    I’m going to now try and get my ITIN from the IRS (using this apostille document). Hopefully there’s no problems there as they will only accept original apostille doc – and not a copy of it. I read on IRS site it may take up to 10 weeks if applying between Jan 15 and March.

    It is coming up to their tax time, hence the possible extra delay.

    Steve 'Sly' Williams

    January 28, 2011 at 11:31 am

  10. And what can you do if you *DO NOT* have passport???

    andrew

    February 24, 2011 at 9:50 am

  11. You should read the linked IRS pages in the blog post above, where it clearly states “If a passport is not submitted, a combination of at least two other documents, with at least one containing a photograph, must be submitted with the ITIN application.” Copies of documents must be properly certified or notarized, as described in that same IRS page.

    Steve 'Sly' Williams

    February 24, 2011 at 10:19 am

  12. ** Important Note ** – It appears the IRS have now been rejecting the Microsoft supplied letter when processing ITIN’s.

    Please see this thread for more information on this : http://forums.create.msdn.com/forums/p/76009/463439.aspx#463439

    I sent in my ITIN application about 2 weeks ago – and I fear same thing is going to happen to me. It appears Microsoft are doing nothing about this so far (they won’t even reply to people in the forum) – very disappointing indeed given it’s their mistake and it’s costing a lot of people a lot of time and money.

    I would probably advise everyone about to apply for an ITIN to wait until this problem is resolved by Microsoft.

    Sly – are you able to confirm what letter you sent in with your ITIN application (was it the Microsoft one)?

    mobilewares

    February 24, 2011 at 10:31 am

    • I’ve been a bit slack and haven’t sent the ITIN application yet. My real job has been keeping me busy and I haven’t contacted a notary yet to get a copy of my passport notarized.

      The rejection of some applications over the MS letter has been concerning though.

      Steve 'Sly' Williams

      February 24, 2011 at 10:41 am

  13. […] entry is a follow up to my original post WP7 Marketplace Signup Help for Aussies (Bank Info + More) – and explains how to get a US ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number)– which is the […]

  14. […] Part 1 : WP7 Marketplace Signup Help for Aussies (Bank Info + More) […]

  15. […] Here’s another really good link. It’s a detailed blog on the individual sections and codes needed to enter your bank account information when signing up for a Windows Phone 7 Marketplace account: https://mobilewares.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/wp7-marketplace-signup-help-for-aussies-bank-info-more/ […]

  16. […] Here’s another really good link. It’s a detailed blog on the individual sections and codes needed to enter your bank account information when signing up for a Windows Phone 7 Marketplace account (note, this is for Australia only):https://mobilewares.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/wp7-marketplace-signup-help-for-aussies-bank-info-more/ […]

  17. If we can register overseas bank accounts, does that also mean the advertising APIs could be used to reap income for Australian developers/companies?

    I read somewhere, it mentioned the advertising scheme only pays to US based companies.

    Dougie

    January 17, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    • It was like that for a long time (Microsoft pubCenter required a US-based address for tax purposes). I believe it may have changed now. There has always been the option to use AdWords, Smaato, Millennial or innerActive for international devs, they they typically pay less. It was only pubCenter with the US-based requirement. Will have to check the pubCenter site to see what the requirements are now.

      • yes i think steve is correct – they made some changes – but I’ve tried to figure out the exact requirements and keep finding older posts where US Address was still required (ie company must be registered as having office in US at bare minimum).

        If you can figure it out would love to know – I tried to set some stuff up pubcenter (they had an ‘online’ version of the w8ben that you could do rather than post it in) – and thought I had it all setup – but not getting any impressions at all (using combination of smaato, admob, mobfox and pubcenter in some free apps I just launched).

        ps – found the smaato eCPM (=$$) has been terrible whereas adMob was really good (but havent been doing ads for long enough to get a long term picture).

        mobilewares

        January 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm

  18. For anyone else looking for it the SWIFT code for Suncorp is METWAU4B

    mauricebutler

    March 19, 2012 at 10:06 am

  19. I think some of the bank account and Tax details have changed with the upgraded web site from https://Create.msdn.com to https://dev.windowsphone.com. Looks like the Australian bank accounts are easier to complete, while the Tax options are very USA oriented and contain little practical details for us in OZ.

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