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What is the Best Payment Method For Freelancers?

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For freelancers and independent contractors to receive payments in a timely and secure manner, selecting the appropriate freelancer payment methods is essential. Effective payment methods are in high demand because "There are over 64 million americans freelanced in 2023, and adding $1.27 trillion to US economy", according to an Upwork report, and the number continues to grow. To aid in your decision-making, this in-depth article will examine the top payment solutions for independent contractors, including both traditional and modern approaches.

Choosing the Right Payment Method for Freelancers

The optimal payment option for freelancers & independent contractors is determined by a number of criteria, including fees, security, speed, and international compatibility. Freelancers must assess their own requirements and preferences in order to select the best freelancer payment method. In order to assist freelancers in making wise choices, we will explore various payment options in this article and give a summary of each, along with advantages and disadvantages.

1. Local & International Bank Transfers

One of the oldest and most dependable ways to receive payments is through bank transfers. It is possible for freelancers to receive direct bank account deposits from their clients. Over 93% of all payments made in the US were completed electronically, with bank transfers accounting for a sizable share of these transactions, according to a Federal Reserve research from 2021.

Using bank transfers can also reduce the workload for accounts payable staff.



Bank transfers are safe, lowering the possibility of fraud. Electronic payments, including bank transfers, have a lower fraud rate than conventional payment methods, according to a report by LexisNexis Risk Solutions.


Payments are directly deposited into your bank account, ensuring you receive your funds promptly, but there might be payment processing delays. According to NACHA, the electronic payments association, over 26 billion ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments were made in 2020, highlighting the reliability of bank transfers.



International wire transfers can be costly, with banks charging high fees for cross-border payments. The World Bank estimates that the average cost of transferring $200 via bank transfer worldwide is approximately 6.38%.

Processing Time

The length of time it takes for the cash to clear can vary based on the bank, bank country and the number of corresponding banks involved. The Federal Reserve indicates that international wire transfers can take up to five business days to process.

2. Online Payment Platforms, E-wallets, Order-to-card

Payoneer Account

Freelancers frequently utilize Payoneer, a well-known online payment platform, to process payments internationally. Working with international contractors might benefit from Payoneer’s adaptable account, which allows freelancers to accept funds from clients globally. Payoneer is particularly beneficial for paying international contractors, providing a reliable and efficient way to manage cross-border payments.

Overview of Payoneer as a Payment Method:

Independent contractors and freelancers may easily manage their finances with Payoneer. Payments from clients are deposited into the freelancer’s Payoneer e-wallet account, from which they can use the Payoneer Mastercard for direct spending or transfer the funds to their local bank account. Payoneer supports over 150 currencies, enabling smooth cross border payments. Also, multi-currency accounts are supported and the foreign exchange rates are usually better than those of the local banks.


Multiple Currencies

It is easy for independent contractors and freelancers to get payments in multiple currencies. The multi-currency e-wallet account aids in efficient money management and the reduction of FX (foreign exchange) fees.

Competitive Exchange Rates

Freelancers can save money on every transaction by using Payoneer's preferential foreign exchange rates, which are frequently lower than those offered by traditional banks.

Global Reach

Payoneer is perfect for independent contractors who work with clients from abroad because it can transmit payments to more than 200 countries. No matter where their clients are located, freelancers can get money thanks to the platform's smooth cross-border payment capabilities and extensive network of corresponding banks.

Payoneer Balance

Independent contractors are able to keep money in their Payoneer account, which gives them the ability to manage their finances and keep a balance in foreign currency to hedge against the volatility of the local currency in their country of residence.. 

Transparent Fees

Payoneer charges a low flat fee per transfer which makes it the preferred payment method to PayPal and similar providers that charge a percentage of the received payment amount. At the moment of writing this article, receiving a payment of USD 1000 via Payoneer will cost you USD 3, while receiving USD 1000 via PayPal will cost you 2.9% + 0.3 c or USD 29.30


Account Opening Time

It may take 48 to 72 hours for freelancers and independent contractors to complete all know your customer (KYC) checks and have their Payoneer accounts up and running. 

Account Maintenance

There is an annual account maintenance fee, which can be a downside for freelancers who do not use their Payoneer account frequently. 

PayPal Account

One of the most popular online payment systems in the world, PayPal gives independent contractors a quick and safe way to get paid, making it a secure freelancer payment method. In 2020, PayPal processed $936 billion in payments, with over 377 million active accounts, according to the company’s annual report. These numbers demonstrate PayPal’s broad availability and dependability as a platform for online payments. PayPal is a flexible alternative for freelancers who work with clients worldwide because it allows them to manage international payments.

Overview of PayPal as a Payment Method:

Freelancers can accept payments from clients all over the world straight into their PayPal account thanks to PayPal. The technology makes cross-border payments simple and supports transactions in a variety of currencies. PayPal balances can be deposited by freelancers into local bank accounts or used for online purchases.


Easy to Use

Setting up and maintaining an account with PayPal is a breeze for independent contractors because of its intuitive design. Clients can easily send payments with just an email address because of this ease.

Global Acceptance

PayPal is a great option for independent contractors who work with clients from other countries because it is accepted in more than 200+ countries and supports 25 different currencies. Cross-border and international payments are made easier by its widespread acceptance.


PayPal provides strong security features, including encryption and fraud prevention, to guarantee the safety of freelancer’s money. The platform's dispute resolution process adds an extra layer of security for both freelancers and clients.


Since PayPal transactions are usually instantaneous, freelancers can get their money fast. This is especially helpful for people who require instant access to their income.



PayPal charges fees for receiving payments, especially from international clients. The standard fee for receiving domestic payments is 2.9% plus a fixed fee, while international payments can incur a fee of 3.9% to 4.4% plus a fixed fee based on the currency received.

Currency Conversion Fees

PayPal charges a currency conversion fee when converting currencies. The foreign exchange (FX) fee  may be greater than the typical exchange rate and could lower the amount paid to freelancers.

Account Restrictions

PayPal accounts may be frozen or subject to restrictions, particularly in the event that unusual activity is noticed. This could put freelancers who depend on getting paid on schedule at danger by temporarily restricting access to funds.

Wise Account (formerly TransferWise)

Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, is an online payment platform renowned for its low-cost international transfers. Wise is a great option for handling foreign payments because it allows freelancers to accept payments from clients all over the world. “16 million people and businesses use Wise globally, which processes £9 billion in cross-border transactions every month, saving customers around £1.5 billion a year” by Wise Newsroom. The platform is trusted for its reliability and cost-effectiveness in handling international payments.

Additionally, Wise can be a preferred payment method for freelancers due to its flexibility in meeting their payment preferences.

Overview of Wise as a Payment Method:

Freelancer payments are made easy with Wise, enabling independent contractors to get money from clients all around the world straight into their Wise account. The platform is a cost-effective option for international payments because of its transparent price structure and reasonable foreign exchange rates. Then, freelancers can pay a little fee to transfer money to their local bank accounts.


Competitive Foreign Exchange Rates

When converting currencies, Wise uses the true mid-market rate, which is the same rate that appears on Google. This guarantees that independent contractors receive the best pricing without any unstated markups.


Wise is open and honest about the exchange rates and costs it charges. Freelancers may know exactly how much they will receive and what costs will be levied before making a transaction.

Multi-Currency Account

Wise users can save balances in several currencies, which makes it easier for them to manage their money and reduces the need for frequent currency exchanges.


Transfer Times

Although Wise offers faster transfer times than traditional banks, depending on the recipient's bank and the currencies involved, some international transfers may still take 1-5 business days to process.


Wise is compatible with a large number of currencies; however, not all currencies are supported in all countries. It is imperative for freelancers to confirm if their preferred currency and country are supported..

No Cash Deposits

Wise does not accept cash deposits, which can be a drawback for independent contractors who would rather manage cash at hand.

Revolut Account

Revolut is another excellent option for freelancers and independent contractors, providing versatile and cost-effective ways to manage international payments. Known for its innovative banking solutions, Revolut supports freelancers in handling multiple currencies and offers a range of financial services tailored to their needs.

Overview of Revolut as a Payment Method:

Revolut allows freelancers to accept payments from clients worldwide into their Revolut account. The platform supports over 30+ currencies and offers real-time exchange rates. Freelancers can easily transfer their funds to local bank accounts or use the Revolut card for spending. Additionally, Revolut offers features such as budgeting tools and analytics, helping freelancers manage their finances more effectively.


Multi-Currency Accounts

Revolut supports over 30 currencies+, making it easy for freelancers to receive and hold payments in various currencies without incurring high conversion fees.

Competitive Exchange Rates

Revolut offers real-time exchange rates that are often more favorable than traditional banks, allowing freelancers to save on currency conversion.

Instant Transfers

Revolut supports instant transfers between Revolut accounts, which is beneficial for freelancers working with clients who also use Revolut.

Additional Financial Services

Revolut provides budgeting tools, analytics, and other financial services that help freelancers manage their finances better.


Fees for Premium Features

While Revolut offers a free account, some of the more advanced features require a premium subscription.

Limited Availability

Revolut's services are not available in all countries, which can be a limitation for some freelancers.

According to a report by Revolut, over 15.5 million users rely on their platform for various financial services, including international payments. The platform processes billions of dollars in transactions annually, demonstrating its reliability and popularity among freelancers and independent contractors.

For freelancers to get paid quickly and securely, selecting the appropriate payment option is essential. This thorough guide has examined a variety of payment methods, emphasizing both their primary advantages and possible disadvantages. Although bank transfers are dependable and secure, they can be expensive and slow when making overseas payments. Despite fees and maintenance costs, Payoneer offers flexibility with many currencies and cheap conversion rates. PayPal is quick and extensively used, but its costs for international transactions can be expensive. Despite some transfer time limits, Wise remains the best option for overseas payments because of its low fees and favorable currency rates.