I imagine most of the people who visit this site do not live in the USA, yet all payments in the 'Find a Teacher' section have to be made in USD. So, for example, if both teacher and student are based in Europe then both would incur exchange rate costs. Why not offer the possibility to pay in other main currencies?
It has come up in the past, it's simply too much work to be worth while with the current userbase size. We'd still have to factor in the exchange rate in the prices because a FX conversion would still need to happen(and there are middlemen that still need to make money). We'd also need to add to that spread slightly to cover the risk of fluctuations however it wouldn't be transparent to end users as it currently is.
It's pretty conventional to work only in USD for sites such as these that offer other users services.
When you write that it is 'conventional to work only in USD' may I politely suggest that could be one of the reasons why the user base is small (as implied in the first sentence)? When I pay in a foreign currency (as the U.S. dollar is for me) my bank changes a fee. This is usually around 5% of the total but there is also a minimum charge. For example, if I were to pay for a lesson costing USD 15 then I can expect to pay the equivalent of about USD 5 in fees. If the teacher is also based outside the USA, she or he is probably paying a similar amount in fees. So the lesson costs USD 15 and the banks make about USD 10 between them. I would like to support your website but I can go to an Italian website (I am trying to learn Italian) and book a lesson that does not involve putting money in the bankers' pockets!
The U.S. dollar is a major currency for sure but it still a currency used in a country whose population represents less than 5% of the world's total. Maybe you would like to consider offering payment possibilities in other major currencies.
By the way, I fully understand that you run this website to make money but I wonder who are those 'middlemen' take you mention.
Middlemen are banks doing the fx conversion, paypal/stripe(credit card provider) also have a spread on the conversion too so you would never get spot price...
Using PayPal should fix your problem with fees as they will take the funds from your local currency and convert it within their platform if your bank/credit card have prohibitive fees.
I'm from the UK BTW, a recent PayPal test of the system (reading tool subscription) looks like the below for me:
Conversion from: £5.71 GBP
Conversion to: $6.99 USD
Exchange rate: 1.223931841302137
sourced from a uk bank account without any bank fees
a previous card test:
Card Payment To Language Tools Llc,5.00 Usd, Rate 0,76/£ On Xx Xx 2020 (International Use) 3.25 GBP also without any bank fees.
Thinking about it now and looking at the above it looks like Stripe is doing what PayPal does and does the conversion into local currency and charges that.
If you don't mind; could you please test this through booking a lesson if you're charged excess fees through your bank I'll contribute that amount to your account so you won't lose anything. It would be good to understand this properly so we can update the messaging. No worries if you're still a bit hesitant.