If you aspire to be a freelance or a blogger, you will have to deal with overseas clients and accept multiple currencies for your business.
Today’s post will talk about the top payment solutions for bloggers and freelancers that will make receiving payments a lot easier for you.
This post is a compilation based on in-depth research and the recommendation by some top freelancers who have already tried and tested these platforms. Keep the list short yet illustrative; I will talk about some of the payment platforms that you should consider.
So let’s begin.
PayPal and Its Features
As many of you might already know, PayPal is an online payment service that lets you accept payment and get paid with total efficiency and quickly and easily. With over 430 million users and merchants spanning 200 countries and transacting in 25 currencies, PayPal is the most widely accepted payment processing system globally that is super user-friendly.
All you need to do is create your account in PayPal and then connect it with your credit/debit card. Your account should then be verified within 48 hours. You can then start accepting and sending money to people in different parts of the world from wherever you are.
Find below the features for which PayPal is popular:
- The next-generation digital wallet that supports PayPal balance, credit cards, debit cards, Amex Send cards, and cryptocurrencies
- Buy things from online and physical stores for free
- PayPal checkout for businesses and merchants
- You can request payments from clients using a custom link
- Free invoicing tool
- Business tools for small, medium, freelancers, and startup businesses like PayPal buttons, PayPal.Me, API credentials, Tas calculator, WooCommerce, Magento, Wix, etc.
- Tax documents download center
Reasons to Look For PayPal Alternatives
Though PayPal seems to be the best option to accept payments from global customers being a freelancer or small business operators, it has some shortcomings too. Find some barriers that might stop you from choosing PayPal as the preferred business payment sending or receiving platform:
#1. Account Set-Up Complications
Setting up an account in PayPal is quite complicated. You need to have many things in physical format to validate your PayPal payment sending and receiving account. For example, you need a mobile phone number, debit card from a bank account, bank account for payment receiving, identity proof in original, slip from ATM, or transaction details from the internet banking account.
After providing all these, you need to wait up to 48 hours and sometimes it is more than that. Also, after setting up the account and getting your first payment, PayPal keeps sending you various tax declaration and compliance forms to which you need to respond quickly.
#2. Complicated Fee Structure
PayPal’s fee structure is the most complicated one among all other online international payment apps. It deducts a fixed fee on most transactions sent and received outside the US. In the US too, it charges a fixed fee but of a reduced percentage of the actual payment sent or received.
For foreign transactions, which the freelancers mostly need, there are PayPal commissions on the money received, haircuts on the foreign exchange, etc. You can use any of these PayPal fee calculators to estimate your earning from a foreign client.
#3. Hidden Fees
PayPal offers some of the lowest foreign exchange rates that you can get with other freelancing payment services providing platforms. This is PayPal’s hidden fee. It won’t tell you this. You need to figure it out from your experience. When the mid-market or Google Search rate for USD is X against your local currency, PayPal will reduce the rate by up to 6% and show you an X-6% rate for USD.
#4. Payment Processing Delays
PayPal does not process any payments after the evening of Fridays to the afternoon of Mondays. Though it says it doesn’t operate on Saturdays and Sundays, actually it is three days. Also, PayPal takes up to 5 business days to remit the converted funds to your local bank account.
#5. Un-Responsive User Interface
Its online user interface is not convenient at all. It takes a while to navigate between pages on its PayPal Dashboard page.
#6. Transaction Activities Are Opaque
It shows a consolidated transaction activity on the Activity page. If you are unable to review a transaction as soon as it happens, chances are you wouldn’t know the fees deducted from that transaction. It will only show the incoming fund and outgoing funds.
After knowing the disadvantages of PayPal, if you are asking which small business or freelancing payment platform will suit you, then I got you covered. Look at the following PayPal alternatives and take your pick:
Wise is an international transfer service that is comparatively a new player in the market. What is unique about Wise is competitive exchange rates and upfront fees awareness.
The time taken by Wise to process a payment is a variable factor depending on currencies, countries, payment methods, and amounts.
Once you log in to their site, you will have access to an inbuilt pricing conversion where you can select the currency for both the sender and the recipient and enter the amount. The live exchange rate calculator will convert the amount suitable to the recipient’s country and currency, apply its charges, and provide you with an approximate date for the transaction to complete.
So you see, you know everything up front, and if you are happy, you can proceed.
As a freelancer, you may choose to open a personal or business account; it is your choice. But, whatever you choose, it is FREE! You can send or receive payment from all the major countries, including the USA, India, China, the United Kingdom, etc. If you are based in India, then it would be a great option to receive a USD and get paid in INR at the best currency rate.
BTW, Wise seems to be 19 times cheaper than PayPal.
If you are looking for an alternative to PayPal, Payoneer can be an excellent option for you. What makes Payoneer stand out is that users can receive & make online payments with a few clicks, track their account balance, and even the entire transaction history.
Payoneer takes 3-5 business days to process payments, and it supports the following currencies.
You can send or receive payment from another Payoneer account or a traditional bank account. Charges vary, and you can check the details on their fees page.
Revolut already boasts over 6 million loyal users just by making monetary transactions more straightforward,hassle-free, and at your fingertips. To start with Revolut, download the app from iStore or Google Play Store, register, and open an account.
Being a freelancer, it is essential to keep track of where your money is coming from and where it is going personally and professionally.
Revolut mobile application is neat, fast, and has almost everything you can do within the app. It is one of the best I’ve ever seen.
Revolut’s business account helps you get rid of unwanted changes in the name of exchange rates, cross-border transfers, and other kinds of fees that none of us remember and yet lose a chunk of our money in the long run.
Revolut also plays the role of your bookkeeper and manages your account, allowing you more time to be productive and do what you do best. It skillfully transacts up to 29 currencies.
Stripe is the go-to payment processing solution for businesses that rely on the internet for their revenue and profit. The features that Stripe offers you are a smart payment page, a customized UI toolkit, invoicing, payment options via cards, wallets, currencies, bank transfers, and more.
You can also use its mobile interfaces, authorization for revenue optimization option, Stripe radar, 3Dsecurity, and dispute handling to plug in any kind of fraudulent situations, financial reporting, consolidated reporting, and accounting support, amongst many other modern features.
The standard time taken by Stripe to process payments is 5-10 business days. Stripe operates in more than 20 countries and deals in more than 135 currencies.
These days many main street cafes dog walkers, and everything in between, many small businesses and freelancers are using Venmo. It offers the following online payment options to individuals and businesses:
- Send and receive money from Venmo friends with unique notes and stickers
- Split payment by many payees
- Send cash as gifts via Venmo with style
- Lots of cashback
- Use Venmo money in shops and online stores
- Purchase protection
Currently, you can only use Venmo in the US. Its services are not yet available for small global businesses and freelancers.
Airwallex US allows you to open an online banking account that can hold up to 11 foreign currencies in one account. Thus, your global customers can pay in the currency they prefer, not just the US dollar.
You can accumulate different foreign currencies and then convert all of them into your local currency. The payment provider is offering a competitive conversion rate which is better than PayPal’s foreign exchange rates. Its other features are:
- Integrations for Shopify, eBay, PayPal, Afterpay, etc.
- No monthly fees charged to you
- Most US business and personal transactions are free
- Various free cards like Employee cards, International cards, Company cards, etc.
If you are a new small, medium, or freelance business owner and looking for lucrative offers in a multicurrency business banking account, do not forget to check out Aspire. It is currently offering free business accounts if you are starting a new business. Its notable features are as below:
- Affordable accounts for USD, SGD, and IDR
- 1% unlimited cashback on select transactions using your corporate card
- Transparent display of the actual costs to send and receive foreign currencies
- Competitive foreign exchange rates as compared to PayPal
- In a few hours, you can set up a business banking account in a 100% online process
Skrill offers fast, secure, and instant payments for businesses and freelancers. Its optimized payment solutions are suitable for all kinds of home, small, medium, and startup businesses, including side hustlers, gig workers, and foreign freelancers.
Its single and simple integration empowers you to accept payments in 100+ local payment systems, including credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets, wire transfers, and many more. For cross-border transactions, you can manage up to 40 foreign currencies. Notable features on this payment platform are:
- Digital wallet
- Quick checkout
- Shopping carts
- Rapid transfers to local and foreign bank accounts
Zelle is suitable for small payments between known acquaintances within the US. Both parties must have the following things before they can use Zelle:
- A US mobile phone number or email account
- Bank or credit union accounts in a supported US financial institution
- Access to US Google Play or App Store to download mobile banking and Zelle apps
Sending money to Zelle-supported or not-supported bank accounts is free. You must note that transfers only happen between bank accounts. Zelle doesn’t hold the money in a wallet app like Apple Wallet, Google Pay, etc.
OFX Global Currency Account
If you want to save more on tax payments, vendor payments, etc., then you must try OFX Global Currency Account. It lets you open different foreign currency accounts directly on foreign soil. For example, you are based in Australia but accept payments and do business with US clients and vendors.
Then OFX lets you open an account in the US for USD management without you needing to visit the US. Currently, you can open such accounts in currencies like AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, USD, and SGD. Thus, if you are liable for any taxes in the US, you can pay directly in USD and save on conversion fees from AUD to USD.
These are some of the most popular payment services that you can opt for. Of course, there are other payment options that you can look into, such as Cash App, QuickBooks Online, Skrill, Venmo, Dwolla, Xero, Escrow, Western Union, Moneygram, Paymo, etc.
So, there is no shortage of payment processing tools in the market. But be aware of scammers as they flock to these platforms. I hope this article helps you zero in on your preferred payment processing system and get started with your freelance career.
Want a primer on freelancing? Visit beginner’s guide to starting a Freelancing career.