Last editedFeb 20234 min read
Freelancing brings plenty of benefits to the table, from a great work-life balance to choosing your own clients. Yet at the same time it presents distinct challenges, chief among them how to receive payment for freelance work. You’ll need to create and send invoices to clients. After they’re sent, you need to chase them for payment. Furthermore, in today’s global marketplace, many freelancers work with a diverse clientele including overseas customers. This means you’ll need to be able to accept international payments in multiple currencies. Late payments take a serious toll on your cash flow, impacting your own ability to pay suppliers on time.
The best payment solutions for freelancers allow you to take charge over your invoicing process, reducing late payments for an improved cash flow. Here’s how to get paid using solutions like GoCardless and others.
Different types of payment solutions
There’s no shortage of payment solutions for freelancers. While specific fees and features may vary, the best tools help you ask for and receive payment in a timely manner. We’ve selected five of the best payment methods for freelancers.
When it comes to global familiarity, PayPal is hard to beat. Most customers will already be familiar with this service as it’s used in over 200 countries. It’s a good option for freelancers with a far-flung business presence, accepting payments in over 26 currencies. To get started, you’ll simply need to create a business account, connect it with your existing bank details, and verify it with identification. You’ll then be able to request and receive payment from customers using the method of their choice, with funds deposited directly into your PayPal account.
One thing to be careful of with PayPal is its processing fees. For transactions within the United States, you’ll be charged 30 cents per transaction plus an additional 2.9% off the total transaction amount. The charges are higher for international payment processing.
Another popular payment solution for freelancers is Payoneer, which also supports multiple currencies. Once you’ve created a Payoneer account, you’ll be able to send and receive online payments with all funds deposited into your account. Processing times typically range between three and five business days. Fees will vary depending on whether the transaction is domestic or international, as with PayPal and others on this list.
Payoneer partners with numerous freelance marketplaces including Fiverr, Upwork, iStock, and others. This makes it easy to request payment once you’ve completed a freelance task using these platforms.
If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, you’ll find yourself working with unknown clients. Compared to working with ongoing, trusted clients, this presents the risk of non-payment. So, how can you ask for payment as a freelancer upfront? Escrow is a great option for unknown situations such as these. With this freelance payment solution, the client must make payment before you begin the work.
Funds are held on the Escrow platform, deposited into the freelancer’s account once the work’s been completed and approved. It makes the transaction safer for both parties by serving as a middleman or neutral third party. In fact, Escrow has partnered with Freelancer.com to facilitate more secure transactions. However, you can expect to pay higher fees for this service.
Freelancers looking for a more full-service payment processor may benefit from Stripe’s extensive services. This payment solution integrates directly into your website, offering smart payment pages and a variety of payment methods including cards, digital wallet payments, and more. Like others on this list, it supports payments in multiple currencies.
Stripe is particularly well-suited to taking card payments, ensuring you’re compliant with all of the latest anti-fraud and security regulations. This includes PCI compliance, 3D Secure features, and financial reporting. Payment processing times can take up to 10 business days, and fees are higher than with bank transfers or direct debit payments.
Finally, GoCardless is by far one of the best payment options for freelancers, blending a user-friendly interface with an affordable fee structure. While options like Stripe focus on card payments, GoCardless offers pull-based bank payments. These are not only cheaper, but put the freelancer in full control over the timing and amount of payments. Send invoices and pull payments on the day they’re due directly from customer bank accounts.
GoCardless is perfect for both recurring and one-off invoice payments. It also integrates with over 200 accounting software partners, for automated payment collection and reconciliation. This ensures freelancers have all important financial details in one place for accurate tax returns.
What to consider when selecting a payment solution as a freelancer
Freelancers must wear many hats, from bookkeeper to customer service representative. Not only do you need to figure out how to ask for payment as a freelancer, but you must also track and follow up on late payments. Choosing the right payment solution is vital for keeping your finances organized and IRS-compliant. You’re also responsible for keeping your client payment information safe. Here are a few factors to keep in mind when comparing payment tools:
Security: Make sure your platform uses tools like two-factor authentication, tokenization, end-to-end encryption, and fraud prevention features.
Payment methods: The best payment solutions cater to different client preferences with a variety of payment methods on offer.
Processing times: How long will it take for you to receive your funds? This varies by region and payment processing method.
Customer support: Do you have access to customer support when you need it? What happens if there is a payment dispute with a customer? Is the customer service line open 24/7?
Processing fees: Compare the cost of each solution carefully. While most charge per transaction, some tack on added fees for monthly servicing costs. Currency conversion fees vary significantly between providers.
GoCardless ticks all the boxes above with outstanding customer service, low fees, and secure bank payment methods.
How can GoCardless help freelancers efficiently collect payments?
As a freelancer, you want to provide the best possible service for your clients. This extends from your area of expertise into a smooth, painless payment experience. GoCardless can help by automating the collection process, cutting down on financial admin for you and your customers. Take payments on the day they’re due directly from customer bank accounts using ACH debit.
Dealing with late payments is one of the biggest hassles for freelancers. Late payments not only harm your cash flow, but they can jeopardize customer relationships. GoCardless lowers the cost of taking payments by 56% and reduces pay-out time by 47%, improving your cash flow. Spend more time working, and less time worrying about how to receive payment for freelance work.