March 10, 2020
Updated: This post was originally uploaded in March 2020. As PayPal’s fee increase hits more business owners, I’ve updated the list with more details + links on payment alternatives.
We’re professionals and business owners just like anybody else, yet we often have to tackle with exaggerated, and unexpected pressures.
Everyone in every industry faces obstacles. From finding reliable collaborators to getting the details and timing just right, there’s stress involved on any given project.
But once a gig is complete, and our client is happy, the last thing any freelancer or contract professional-for-hire wants to deal with is delays (or extra fees!) from our financial software.
There are only so many verified platforms for moving money and processing payments. In the global digital gig economy, freelancers benefit from using the most widely known payment software and apps.
When it comes to online payments most buyers/clients are likely to sign-on and trust in apps like PayPal and Venmo, or software they’ve heard of before, like WooCommerce or Stripe.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE FREELANCER CAN’T TRUST THE PAYMENT APP?
I read a horror story on twitter a little while ago where a professional photographer had her money frozen by PayPal for months. Something to the tune of $10,000 FROZEN and UNPAID for close to ONE YEAR.
After 10 months of battling them to unfreeze my account w/ $10K+, Pay Pal finally released it today.
Money I worked hard for, I couldn’t get to for 10 months. All the while, they were unresponsive.
FREELANCERS, please, DO NOT USE PAYPAL.
— DOMO (@djxdomo) March 1, 2020
No one who’s worked that hard at their business, to be earning 10K on a gig (a true freelancer/entrepreneurial dream, to be sure) deserves to have their money held hostage.
Luckily, she had access to other money in the meantime. But it’s the principle of the matter. If you pay for a service to manage your money – and that service also keeps a percentage of your earnings – you should have unmitigated access to your money in a reasonable time frame.
Ten months is completely unreasonable, and unfair.
But what about the smaller freelancer? The newbie entrepreneurs who are just starting out? What of the adventurous digital nomad with only her laptop and a dream, the one who has risked everything to start and grow her business?
What are they to do when their trusted money management software holds any sum of money from them, when they could very well be relying on that cash to cover a business-related subscription, their housing expenses, or even food? The delay can be devastating.
Another factor for freelancers to consider when collecting and processing payments is currency exchange rates. For a digital nomad like myself (and maybe 10 Million others), we must adjust our fees to either include exchange rates, or we accept them as a business expense. Either way, all business owners appreciate paying the lowest possible amount.
While I do accept most of my client payments via PayPal, it’s not my preferred method. It’s simply what more people are familiar with. Here are 5 alternatives to PayPal, to help business owners keep more of their earnings:
I also have a referral link. What makes TransferWise so great? TransferWise is basically a wire transfer in the palm of your hand. It sends money directly (and securely) from one party’s bank to the other party’s bank.
There’s no digital purgatory where TransferWise ever holds your money until its invisible wizard algorithm decides that you deserve access to funds you earned.
Transfers from one person to the other are typically completed in 2 business days, even internationally. Additionally, the company strives to offer the lowest possible exchange rate.
It’s important to note that because of the nature of the service – hello international bank transfers – both the app and its website can seem technically daunting. There’s a bit of clicking to be done and details to be provided.
Clients may hesitate at first. One suggestion I use is to remind them of the first free transfer they get, by using my link. Another persuasive argument is the lack of extra processing fees. TransferWise isn’t taking .30 cents + 3% of your money when someone pays you.
Stripe offers “fast, predictable payouts to your bank” along with support for global payments, 24×7 customer support, and recurring payment options that securely manage buyer info. Recurring payments come in handy for busy freelancers who literally rather do anything else than send reminder invoices.
Setting up recurring payments can also be useful for retail e-commerce businesses who want to offer split payment plans. Stripe fees are transparent and set at the industry standard rate of 2.9% + .30 cents / per transaction.
Square provides e-commerce payment software for websites, as well as POS hardware. They also offer payment links you can use across social media, or in e-mails, even without a website/online store. Another feature I love about Square is the iphone credit card reader. And, like Stripe their rates are industry standard 2.9% + .30 cents per transaction.
For small businesses ready to make a serious investment in their payments, there’s Authorize.net. This can be especially useful if you run pop-up shops, or do business face-to-face as well as online. There is a monthly $25 fee, but overall Authorize.net might benefit businesses who want more control over their payment options.
Zelle is a free app that uses email addresses and mobile numbers to send money. It has connections with various banking apps, making it super easy for users on both ends to handle funds. This is an ideal alternative for freelancers in the US with US-based clients. Additionally, the name will be somewhat familiar to clients, because Zelle started in 2017 and spent considerable time promoting its arrival onto the marketplace.
The core of being a freelancer is being free & unbound by the restrictive norm. Freelancers are inherently creative, and daring. This path isn’t for everyone, but those who’re brave enough to take it deserve the spoils of their labor – and without delay!
And at the end of the day PayPal isn’t making our lives any easier.
What are some other money transfer/payment apps that are more cost-effective and reliable than PayPal? Tweet me your recommendations!
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