Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Total processing time for MTurk payments from HIT to bank account

I get quite a few comments from people asking about the processing time for MTurk payments.  Usually they are new to Amazon Mechanical Turk and panic when they don’t get their money straightaway.  I have to say that although MTurk is one of the quickest ways of earning money online, in that you don’t have to reach a high threshold level of earnings or wait for a monthly payout date, you still don’t get your money instantly.

I thought I would give you a personal timeline of how the earnings system works, starting with me completing the HIT for the MTurk requester, through to the money becoming available in my bank account.  It is written from my own experience, but bear in mind that I live in the USA and the system might work a little differently if you are in another country.

HIT is completed for an MTurk requester.  It then sits in the HIT Status section of my dashboard page waiting for the requester to approve or reject it.  This is often the longest part of the process and it can take anywhere from being almost instantaneous to up to a month.  In reality most hits are accepted or rejected within hours or days – it’s difficult to predict however and depends entirely on the MTurk requester.

Even after a HIT has been accepted it doesn’t get credited to me straight away.  In my experience, it is normally credited to my current balance (found in Account Settings) within 24 hours of acceptance though (and very often sooner than that).

Once the money has been credited to my Current Balance, it can be spent online at the Amazon store.  If I want to transfer it to my bank account, however, I need to reach a minimum of $10 earnings credit to do that.  You will also need to link your Amazon MTurk account to your bank account - it is some time since I did this, but I seem to remember that it took a day of two before my account was set up.  You transfer money by clicking on the “Withdraw or transfer your earnings” link in the “Your Earnings” section of the Account Settings page.  Once you transfer the money, it typically takes a couple of days to appear in my bank account.  Transferring it at the weekend will take even longer.  Once it appears in my account it can be withdrawn or spent as normal.

As you can see from the steps above, you don’t get money instantly.  You have to wait up to a month to get the HIT approved (although usually it is done within a few days).  You have to wait up to 24 hours to get the money credited to your current balance after approval.  It can then take several days to transfer it your bank account.