Freelancing is a great opportunity to earn while enjoying flexibility and variety in workload. It also allows for variability in how one can get paid. You can choose which payment options are available and most convenient to you based on your location, job, or financial goals.
However, when you start as a freelancer, familiarizing yourself with the wide range of payment methods used by many employers can be confusing. Especially when working with international companies or clients, it can be very daunting to have your hard-earned money sent from overseas and have no idea where it goes or what process it will undergo.
There can be some processing and waiting times, which can take days. Depending on the payment provider used, you will also have to deal with fees charged to you. Here is a guide to navigating the various ways you can get paid as a freelancer and how to decide which format is suitable for you.
If you find freelancer jobs on searching sites, many will offer the ability to handle payments directly over the platform. Some offer the capability to bill clients or notify them when the payment is due based on your agreement with them.
This is ideal for new freelance workers, as it handles all payments for you and directly links to the client’s bank account. These platforms will also intervene if there are any pay discrepancies or issues. The downside is these sites often take a significant cut of the payments as a fee for using the platform and their service.
PayPal and other similar cash apps simplify transferring money and offer free account creation. Such handy apps let users accept money online and transfer it to their bank accounts. Paypal and some other cash apps also allow entrepreneurs, including freelancers, to create an invoice and send it to their clients to request payment.
Be sure you still have a contract with a client if you are using PayPal, as the platform does not have to intervene if a client refuses to pay or closes their account. PayPal also comes with a small service fee for transfers and withdrawals.
EFT or electronic funds transfer is also called direct deposit. It allows users to move money from person to person or bank via an online network. With this, you can receive payments directly through your bank account. Fees for EFTs do not apply except for some international transfers, but these are typically small fees.
EFTs will require giving the client personal information and bank account details, so be sure you have a confidentiality clause in your contract. You can also create a bank account dedicated to EFTs for business and freelancing purposes to help you manage your money better and monitor incoming payments easily.
Accepting check payment processes for your work, project, or product is a secure option if you are not in a rush to encash and use your earnings. If you are working on an ongoing gig, you can request post-dated checks from your clients. This can technically serve as an assurance that they will pay you monthly or weekly, depending on your agreement. However, checks are probably the least desirable option if you are a freelancer trying to make ends meet.
You have to wait for checks to arrive in the mail, and if a check doesn’t clear, you have to reach out both to your client and your bank or find another way to get your money. Checks are good for having a paper trail of your income, but electronic payment options offer that now.
Accepting credit card (CC) payments are great for freelancers who offer products and services, like beauty services or tax consulting. This works especially if you are a freelance technology entrepreneur or solopreneur. You’ll need to get a payment service provider, like Paypal or Stripe, to process credit card payments.
Setting up and maintaining a CC payment method can be expensive and come with associated fees, so make sure it is worth it before accepting payments. Some providers may also require you to set up a particular bank account or merchant account.
In addition, if you work remotely, you will need to offer clients a seamless and secure way to give you their CC info if you are not meeting them in person. So before considering it, be sure that you are in a stage where facilitating credit card payments is ideal and beneficial to you as a freelancer.
Your Money, Your Choice
Freelancing provides an opportunity to earn good money in your own time, pace, location, and method. Make sure that your income will not be wasted by choosing the right payment method/s that works best for you.
Learn about the different payment methods, and don’t be afraid to negotiate which one you prefer best with your employer. This way, you can make the best of your money and not waste on excessive fees or services you don’t need.