5 Great Ways to Accept Payments as a Contractor/Business

Now you’re in business, secured a few clients, agreed on rates, and you’re ready to send out your invoices but you have NO idea how they should be paying you (especially if they’re international)?!

Here are a few options:

1. Bank transfer

(free; no fees)

In South Africa, this option is freely used and is known as an EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) otherwise referred to as a bank transfer, wire transfer, or instant payment. This is the process of setting up the recipient as a benefactor on your account and transferring money from your bank account to theirs. A lot of banks are making use of Zelle now which is a simple easy way to do a bank transfer.

Pros:

  • Free; no fees.
  • Transfer happens very quickly (sometimes within the same day if you’re both with the same bank).

Cons:

  • You must be in the same country as the person you’re transferring money to or from.

2. Stripe

(flat rate of 2.9% + 30¢ per successful charge as long as you’re doing under $1 million in volume per year. No fee when you transfer your money to your bank account.)

For users based in the US, Stripe offers a 2-day rolling schedule. Payouts of your available account balance are made daily and contain payments processed two business days prior.

For example, payments received on a Tuesday are paid out by Thursday, and payments received on a Friday are paid out by Tuesday: https://stripe.com/docs/payouts

In regards to the list of fees, all countries have their own web page of the Stripe fees, so the best way to see all fees will be if you put in the countries’ two-letter code which will lead you straight to that country’s pricing page. Example: https://stripe.com/us/pricing for the US pricing page.

This is a great option if you offer a product or subscription-based sales. It’s very easy to integrate into your system.

Pros:

  • Create for product and subscription based products.
  • Stripe transfer funds to your bank account every 2 days or so (you can work with them to make this immediate).

Cons:

  • All countries have their own web page of the Stripe fees. Best to do your research and make sure it’s the best option before making your decision.

3. TransferWise

(fees vary depending on how much money you’re sending and where you’re sending it to).

The fees are different for each country and, same as Stripe, you’ll need to check the rates for your country here https://transferwise.com/gb/pricing.

Pros:

  • Cheaper than an international money wire/transfer and often has cheaper transfer fees than platforms like PayPal.

Cons:

  • Fees differ according to which country you’re sending from so it’s also a good idea to make sure it’s the best option for your particular situation.
  • Can take up to 5 days for the money to hit your account (based on what country you’re transferring from/to).

4. PayPal

(sliding scale from 3.4% to 2.5% plus a flat fee of 30¢ on money paid into your PayPal account. You also might be charged a fee when transferring your PayPal balance into your bank account).

Pros:

  • Commonly used
  • Free to have an account

Cons:

  • High transfer fees
  • Takes a cut again when you transfer the money to your bank account (depending which country you’re living in).

5. Doing an international EFT or wire transfer

(fees vary according from bank to bank but generally your most expensive option and should probably be used as a last resort).

Pros:

  • You don’t go through a third party
  • Money goes straight into your bank account

Cons:

  • High bank charges/transfer fees
  • Can take up to a week or more to receive the money.

I recommend researching all the different options and fees based on the countries that you and your client are in and choosing the option where you’ll save the most in bank charges and fees. In my personal opinion, it’s the contractor who has the right to state how they wish to be paid so don’t be shy to stand your ground and teach them the option that works best for you. Send me an email if you have any trouble! I’m happy to help you and your client set up the system that works best for you.

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