The Freelancer’s Guide to Online Payment Options

One day I was surfing through a social networking website, and I came upon a page where freelancers from all over the world were complaining about various types of online payment systems. In that moment, an idea came to me. It seems that freelancers everywhere have to deal with the basic hassle of figuring out who to trust. But of all the thousands of blogs out there devoted to this career path, that describe the scope, excitement, responsibilities and fun of being your own boss, how many provide a critical review of all the different ways to manage getting paid?

Whether freelance writers, web designers or programmers, every single one has had to undergo the grind of plunging in. I’ve experienced nothing less and have had my fair share of obstacles, ranging from simply trying to find clients to verifying a client’s identity in order to avoid being scammed.

Every challenge is difficult to deal with, none more so than figuring out the essential problem of how to receive what you’ve earned. In this article, we will evaluate many possible modes of payment, assessing the authenticity and usefulness of each.

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Easy Options to Receive Your Payments Online

There are various payment options that the new online marketer is offered by various online merchant platforms so that the marketers can easily accept the payments from their customers. Few of the finest are as follows.


instantShift - The Freelancer’s Guide to Payment Options

No matter from where on the planet the money is being sent, PayPal is one of the fastest and easiest methods of receiving payments. Funds are credited to your PayPal account as soon as a payment is processed, and a nominal fee of approximately 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction is charged against you; but you can get this lowered by opening a PayPal merchant account. Now, as can be confirmed by various web sources, PayPal is known for having the worst possible customer service; its representatives are often unwilling to resolve issues quickly. If you call with a problem, you may just find yourself waiting for quite a while. Another critical issue is that, with so much as one complaint against you, PayPal can lock your account and even take all of your money.

As a freelancer, my suggestion is to avoid PayPal as a service to receive payments. If PayPal for some reason doubts the authenticity of a transaction, they have the power to suck out the money you receive from your PayPal account as well as any funds you may have withdrawn to your personal bank account. On top of it all, you can’t do anything if this happens. The contract you signed states in sections T and C that PayPal has the authority to be the jury for any action it takes. Even if you dispute an issue, the waiting period to simply begin resolving it can stretch beyond six months. Rest assured, you will have a horrible time dealing with PayPal if this happens.

Althought PayPal still the best payment option available but some countries got effected by it’s recent Policy changes. For example, Recently PayPal updated his policies for Indian users and now the new guideline makes it mandatory for users to transfers their PayPal balance to their banks within 7 days from the date of deposit. Any balance into PayPal account must not be used to buy goods or services. In addition to that there is a new guideline saying that each transaction to PayPal account shouldn’t exceed $500. This means if someone pays you an amount $500 or more, you can’t use PayPal to handle such transaction. Read more..

Electronic Funds Transfer

instantShift - The Freelancer’s Guide to Payment Options

The electronic funds transfer (EFT) system expedites money transfers by allowing funds to be sent from one bank account to another. There is no intermediary; the bank handles both the sending and receiving. To use this service, you simply provide certain banking details to your client, and the funds are essentially wired to whichever account you wish. The details required to complete a wire transfer are: a routing number; a savings or checking account number; the name, address and phone number of your bank; and the name of a person to whom any future questions can be addressed.

In general, it takes two to three business days to receive funds through EFT. However, it may take five to seven business days depending on your location and the location of your bank.

Cash Wire Transfer

instantShift - The Freelancer’s Guide to Payment Options

This is one of the quickest ways to have funds transferred to your bank account. Your client simply walks in to their bank and orders the transfer. The client’s bank then sends a SWIFT code requesting the fund disbursement as per the instructions in the message. The funds do not actually transfer instantly and may take a few days, but the payment is ensured. Both the sender and recipient’s banks will charge a fee for this service. Typically, the fee charged for an outgoing wire transfer ranges from $35 to $45, and $15 to $20 for an incoming wire transfer. However, the fees vary depending on the bank and its location.


instantShift - The Freelancer’s Guide to Payment Options

Escrow accounts are considered one of the safest and most secure ways for freelancers and online service providers to process payments. Based on prior agreement, the buyer deposits the money into an Escrow account, administered by a third party, before receiving a finished assignment or service. The funds are transferred to the seller only after the buyer gives the go-ahead to the Escrow account manager.

This method offers complete protection for both the seller and buyer. The seller is compelled to deliver the assignment in order to receive payment, and the seller has no fear of losing money before the task is complete.

Escrow companies charge nominal fees and disclose them beforehand to their clients.

Google Checkout

instantShift - The Freelancer’s Guide to Payment Options

Google Checkout is rapidly gaining popularity in the online business community and is proving to be one of the preferred methods of receiving payment from overseas clients. It is an integrated payment gateway provided by Google. You and your client both need a Google account in order to use the service.

Google Checkout records your accounting information as a one-time formality, and after that all information is monitored by Google Checkout’s fraud protection program. You can also integrate your Google account with other well-known payment gateways and accept free money transfers. The system employs a tiered fee structure and offers competitive rates as low as 1.4% plus $0.20 per transaction. There is no additional monthly set-up or service fee, and Google Checkout does not charge to transfer funds from your Checkout account to your bank.

Western Union

instantShift - The Freelancer’s Guide to Payment Options

A Western Union money transfer is one of the quickest ways to transfer and receive funds from clients worldwide. The process is quite simple: your client walks in to any Western Union branch, deposits the payment, and then you collect the funds from a convenient, pre-selected location when the transfer is complete. This type of transfer is often referred to as a “cash transfer.” Western Union also provides a feature to send money online or over the phone. All your client needs to do is provide the branch with their account information and the details of the person receiving the funds. This is a quick, comfortable system that allows you to collect funds in cash, on a prepaid card or through a bank deposit.

Western Union has over 300,000 locations worldwide, and there is no restriction on the amount of money being transferred. The fees charged are higher than a few of the other options profiled in this article, but the amount depends on many factors, such as the country to which the funds are being sent. For example, transfers to the Philippines and India are far cheaper than ones to Cameroon.


instantShift - The Freelancer’s Guide to Payment Options is the online distribution center for over 300,000 tangible or digital products and services. Web businesses (suppliers/vendors) agree to sell their goods and services to 2CO for immediate resale. The supplier status you obtain through 2CO permits you to access a larger market. are a credit cards procesor site, the diference from the other similar sites are that they are accepting payments right away. If you choose 2CO Checokout, you would be directed to the billing information followed by the Credit card details. 2Checkout.Com will immediately process your order. After your order has been authorized by the 2Checkout.Com your Account will be upgraded to the desired subscription.

On 2Checkout you can make online credit card payments, use the virtual credit card terminals, as well as create a merchant account to sell your products through a reliable company.


instantShift - The Freelancer’s Guide to Payment Options

MoneyGram processes transfers much like Western Union. That said, there still are major differences between these two services. First, MoneyGram has far fewer agents worldwide, approximately 100,000. There is also a restriction on one-time transactions of $899, provided your client uses their US bank account. If you are using a credit card to transfer the money, the transaction limit is $500 with MoneyGram’s “Same Day Service.” As you can see, MoneyGram is not the best option if you want to transfer a large sum of money.

The fees charged depend on the amount of the transfer, the country where funds are being sent to, and the type of service chosen (same day, economy, home delivery, etc.).

Less Popular Services to Investigate

Following are some less popular payment options available which allows their customers to sending and receiving of funds using various options.

instantShift - The Freelancer’s Guide to Payment Options

This is an online tool that allows the sending and receiving of funds using either a credit card, bank account or debit card. It has no geographical limitations and is safe and instant. One restriction with this service is that it cannot be used for online shopping; a setback compared to PayPal. Transferring funds to an individual’s bank account can cost as low as $0.50. However, the fee rises if a credit card is used. does not require the sender to register an account, only the recipient.

Checks and Demand Draft

instantShift - The Freelancer’s Guide to Payment Options

The two traditional ways to receive funds are by check or demand draft. The demand draft is often preferable because there is no possibility of a payment being denied due to insufficient funds, which could occur when using checks.


instantShift - The Freelancer’s Guide to Payment Options

AlertPay is yet another quick and convenient method to receive funds from clients. It works like PayPal but is not as widely used by online businesses. One interesting aspect of AlertPay is that it allows you to earn money through referrals.

Revolution Money Exchange

instantShift - The Freelancer’s Guide to Payment Options

Revolution Money Exchange (RME) works very similar to PayPal by providing instant money transfers. You and your client both need to be members to use it, and RME offers a lot of promotional deals to members. The referral benefit, in particular, is something to take advantage of: RME pays as much as $10 for every referral. Refer 50 people and you can expect a check for $500. Most importantly, this service is free for business owners. Your RME account is linked to your personal savings or checking account, and funds can be transferred and received from other RME account holders. The biggest drawback is that it can be used only in the US. It has other transaction limitations, too; namely, a daily limit of $1,000 and a monthly limit of $2,500.

Free RME services include account registration, adding money from your bank, sending and receiving funds, and sending money electronically from your bank.


instantShift - The Freelancer’s Guide to Payment Options

Xoom is one payment transfer method that has yet to receive due credit for the type of service it offers. It functions like Western Union or MoneyGram but is restricted to online transactions and allows only funds to be transferred. Your client can pick from a few payment options, such as PayPal, a bank account or a credit card, and the funds can then be sent as cash or directly to your personal checking or savings account.

Some Other Payment Services

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Find Something Missing?

While writing this article, it’s always a possibility that we missed some other great online payment options. Feel free to share it with us.

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  1. Thanks for the roundup, very informative.

  2. Very useful information, thanks for such great article :)

  3. Currently Indian freelancers are in trouble due to new regulations of Paypal, I was not aware of many of the above options, it’s really essential to provide various ways to get payments from clients.

  4. Thanks for shairng your resources , will have to think about these ways for proper usage ,but overall your post really inspired me a lot

  5. As PayPal has put lots of restrictions on Indian guys. So now i am searching better other one. Thanks for this list. These services are really good alternative of PayPal to me.

  6. is less popular but I am using it and I LOVE it because their fees are very less than paypal and when I withdraw money to my bank it comes to my bank account much faster than paypal.

    People should really give moneybookers a try. I am sure they will like it.

  7. This is a great overview, thanks so much.

    I’d just like to add that non-payment/delivery of goods sold or bought–whether from online auctions or not– is the most common cybercrime as reported to the IC3 in 2010, and by all accounts occurs about 25,000 times each month. It is not surprising then that you can easily be scammed.

    A very good friend of mine was seriously scammed late last year and has since done extensive research into how you defend yourself against scammers and fraudsters. She reports that she found the solution.

    These days she INSISTS on using a legitimate online escrow service for transactions of value. It’s amazing, she tells me, how fast the scammers scramble for the hills when you refuse to listen to reasons why you shouldn’t use this service (bona fide) but instead use another (fraudulent). It’s like a litmus test, she says, it really exposes the scammers.

    Her new motto is: When in doubt–escrow. She swears by it.

    But, how do you tell the legitimate escrow site from the fraudulent?

    First of all, the legitimate site is always secure, and therefore will display “https” (for secure http) on your browser’s URL line. If the site does not, abandon it. Also, the legitimate site will post a physical address and a working phone number, allowing you to talk directly to the staff.

    The legitimate site will always display their licenses and accreditations, which you can then verify with the applicable state(s), and they can and will, on request, give you names and contacts of satisfied customers, whom you can then call to verify legitimacy.

  8. Thanks for information, i use paypal, but with limitation :(

  9. Very informative. I learned a lot. Thanks.

  10. Any payment on the Internet is the degree or risk. At present we can not say that there is non-intrusive virtual payment. A Haker interested you can pay it back immediately. You just have to want it.

  11. Square is a good mobile payment program. As a freelancer it’s nice to be able to accept a payment on the spot in a clients office.

  12. yes matt, squareup nice, thanks a lot instantshift..

  13. Thanks for the detailed info. Very Very useful. Saving in my fav bookmarks list….:)

  14. awesome post..!! THANKS..

  15. This is my 2nd time at your post and i am glad that i need some money transferring media and i rethink about your post ans now i come here to check the best and choose according to my needs .which one you suggests me ?

  16. Very Usefull Information thanks for sharing

  17. Im not confident on buying and paying online. Just like when it was my first time buying at the store at the age of 6 years old. Now I love to shop online and received payment online.

  18. I use bank wiring but the fees are like omg so I went back to paypal

  19. I would still love to use the cash wire transfer. It may take some time to go out to go to the bank but it’s quicker and safer. Western Union has also been one of my options before but they charge a bit too much for me. LOL.


  21. Many banks now also offer the option of electronic statements, either in lieu of or in addition to physical statements, which can be viewed at any time by the cardholder via the issuer’s online banking website.The main benefit to each customer is convenience. Compared to debit cards and cheques, a credit card allows small short-term loans to be quickly made to a customer who need not calculate a balance remaining before every transaction, provided the total charges do not exceed the maximum credit line for the card.

  22. What about Stripe? I use them for just about everything! I’ve even started using Stripe for one off payments. There’s a sweet little addon to stripe called easybill ( that lets you create quick payment forms connected to your Stripe account with oauth

  23. So I’m not sure which account should I choose to get money in FREELANCER.COM ?

  24. I like your web page. Exceptional information and facts
    pertaining to what is second degree reckless endangerment.
    Thanks for sharing.

  25. It is a very nice and instructive article. I found very useful information and the different online payment providers are described in details. Thanks to your article we can see that the list is long and that it is necessary to think a lot before choosing a provider for a website. Many criteria are to be taken into account and the most famous is not always the best one.

  26. wow i dont have access to paypal in country but these are great alternatives. thanks

  27. Great article. You are right, this information is lacking online. I wish i had seen this article earlier, this would save me a lot of time. In addition to what you have listed there also is Payoneer and Paysera options. Payoneer is convenient as it has a card associated to your account through which you can withdraw money. And Paysera offers low fees on international transfers, therefore is very cost-effective. Withdrawal is possible through bank wire.

  28. The problem with a lot of those option is time and expenses. I’ve had Payoneer and PP before and I must say that sometimes they shock you with the fees you get. I use Transpay now, and it is not only faster (money here almost instant) but also cheaper.

  29. Receiving online payment from client is become very easy & time saving. Earlier we need to ask for cheque or cash, And every time client used to give random excuses for not making payment. But now online payment services like pay pal help us a lot.

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