The Freelancer's Guide to Getting Paid From Anywhere (Through Payoneer)
Freelance payment methods
When I first started moonlighting 16 years ago, my payment options were very straightforward. I invoiced my clients via text message, email or (ideally recycled) paper, and received my money within seven business days either in cash or through bank transfers.
But as the workforce grows, it has become nearly impossible to succeed as a freelancer without an online payment system.
Digital payments are simple, relatively fast, and accessible to many businesses – the high-paying clients. Affiliate networks and top freelance platforms in the gig economy now prefer online payments. Using safer payment options online reduces the chances of abuse and helps protect online workers from the threat of late or non-payment.
According to technology news source Bit Rebels, 40 percent of freelancers in 2010 reported that they were having trouble getting the payment owed to them. Most of these freelancers had to wait for up to 52 days to receive a late payment. Another report by Freelancers Union said that out of the 54 million freelancers in America in 2014, 71% were having troubles collecting payment at some point in their career. On average, they were stiffed $5,968 that year.
What you'll be getting out of this
In this short guide, I’m going to explain how you could use a Payoneer account to safely send and receive money from almost anywhere in the world (including Jamaica), and why you should consider adding the service to your remote payment options. I’ll share with you the main benefits and how to get started:
1. Make it easier for people to pay you
An increasing number of freelance platforms (where you ought to be getting jobs), for example Fiverr, 99Designs, People Per Hour, Toptal, Upwork, Envato, AirBnB, Teespring, Merch by Amazon, and many more, pay their workers through Payoneer, either with their global payment or mass payout services.
In the old days, for a remote worker in Southeast Asia to receive a money transfer from, say, the United Kingdom, the process might be complicated and filled with added costs - not to mention the long processing time. Using the old-fashioned billing and invoicing, even reputable clients can find it increasingly difficult to make a payment if it’s not quick enough or within a flexible time frame that suits their schedule.
Payoneer makes it easier to withdraw your hard-earned money to local banks in around 200 countries in less than a week! It is a safe option to receive bank transfers from almost anywhere in the world. In addition, if you’re using one of their MasterCards, funds can be loaded into the card and withdrawn from corresponding ATMs.
International payments for freelance workers
Payoneer was founded in 2005, initially offering online services in the form of international money transfer for cross-border B2B payments. The company’s headquarter is in New York. It currently provides 24/7 support with 1,000 global employees in 14 offices. The digital payment has since expanded their payment solutions to include e-commerce, online advertising, freelancing, and vacation rentals.
There are many other popular online payment services that integrate with freelance platforms. There’s PayPal, which I have been using for years now. And then there’s Bitwage, Transferwise, Stripe, Dwolla, Skrill, credit card payment, Google Wallet, and many more. Unfortunately, some of the online payment options support only a limited number of countries.
Benefits of using Payoneer
I got my first my MasterCard from the digital payment service in 2017 within the same month I verified my online account to receive transfers from US-based companies. The whole process was very quick and transparent, and the customer service was available just when I needed to speak to a human. Aside from its simplicity and global reach, here are some other freelancing benefits of using a Payoneer account:
- An alternative to Paypal
A Payoneer account is an obvious alternative for people whose countries are not covered by Paypal local bank withdrawal option, such as Nigeria and Jamaica. It is also a way to bypass the bad conversion rate, an addition of up to 3% on top of what Paypal charges for fund transfers. Remember, you need to save up for a bunch of things when you’re a freelance small business owner.
- Make money with it: affiliate program and sign-up bonus
Each new user receives a $25 bonus in just a few days of receiving $100. With your refer-a-friend link, you can make extra money for recommending Payoneer to friends. It's a good way to make extra cash, so what's not to like?
- Lots of hand holding
This is my personal favourite. Payoneer has got very detailed and concise guides for freelancers on how to do just about anything, from getting paid, withdrawing money, finding the right app, to cash flow management. You’ll never feel lost. Or if you do, you’re just a click away from getting back on track. The newsletter is very targeted and the community is alive and robust with ideas.
- Dollar account not necessary
Often when you’re just starting out freelancing, you don’t have an international bank account yet. Signing up for a Payoneer account does not require one. All you need is a local bank account in your local currency. You’ll later be able to withdraw to your MasterCard and skip the long lines at the bank.
- Integrate with leading freelance platforms
Payoneer provides you with a virtual bank account in America and several other countries where you might want to receive money from – Canada, Japan, European Union, the UK, China, and Australia. These virtual bank accounts can be integrated with many large companies, such as AdSense, Paypal, and Amazon.
- Additional MasterCards
Signing up is free, but you need to have at least $30 in your account to order the card. There are additional fees: an annual account maintenance fee for the card, and fees that you will need to pay per ATM transaction. You might also be eligible for different types of MasterCards for freelancers issued by each individual freelance platform.
Be careful not to wreck your finances with the whole bunch of fees involved though. I suggest only using the MasterCards for "critical" situations, such as when on a trip abroad or when shopping for office supplies.
- An engaged community & helpful customer service
Another major advantage that Payoneer has over other payment options is its engaged online community. I find the community to be tightly knit and highly moderated. There's lots of updates and possible solutions to your particular issue. In addition, the company’s blog is filled with top tips on how to get paid, where to find work, industry insights, news and trends that apply to you.
- Payoneer fees are better
Compared to PayPal, Payoneer is more transparent about its fees. I use both for online payment, and I can tell you that you can save more money using Payoneer. Receiving and sending money is free, which is really good. The rates applied to withdrawal and currency conversion are lower.
2. Opening a Payoneer account
There are two ways you can apply for an account with Payoneer: through your freelance platform and through the Payoneer website. Once you’ve reached a certain threshold of earnings on a digital work platform – such as Fiverr, 99designs, UpWork, etc. – you’ll be able to withdraw your money through Payoneer. On Fiverr you’ll be using the Fiverr Revenue Card option; on 99designs you’ll link an existing Payoneer account; and on UpWork you can add Payoneer via the add payment method.
Despite of all your hard work, remember that it’s all about convenience for the clients. When you’re using bidding sites or other freelancing platforms, they have the control. And so it can be a bit tricky on your end.
Through the Payoneer website, you can directly apply for an account. You will fill in the application form with your personal details. Get your identification card ready, along with your local bank account details. Store your security questions and answers in a safe place, because you will need them for administration purposes later on. Once you have reached a threshold of $30, you will have the option to request a freelancer card.
3. Getting paid for freelance work
With one Payoneer account, you can accept all sorts of currencies, American dollars, euros, the pound sterling, Japanese yen and the Chinese yuan. From your account, you will be able to request payment using the free invoice builder, which will be available to you after your first $5,000. Bill your clients and send them gentle reminders to decrease payment troubles.
Additionally, you’ll be able to charge a late fee or offer early discount. Communicate these expectations to your clients either verbally or in your contract, and make sure that your invoices reflect your policies.
Once you’ve received your money, you can withdraw the funds to your local bank account. Add your bank details to your account, and once the account is approved, you’ll have your money in your account within 2 to 5 business days. There’s a currency conversion charge up to 2% when you withdraw to an account in a different currency.
Free invoicing software
Some freelancers love to get creative with their invoicing, while some others prefer the easy-to-use software apps to reduce the hassle. If free is for you, then these invoicing apps could be a good fit: the basic Invoice Mini, the advanced Wave (includes accounting and expense tracking), or Payoneer’s invoicing partners. Time Doctor, Paymo, Green-Invoice and Envoice currently comes with a “Pay with Payoneer” option.
4. Receive payment from Amazon Affiliates, Merch by Amazon, AdSense, and more
Amazon Associates and Affiliates commissions
You can still receive your Amazon affiliate payment through direct deposit, gift certificate, or by check even if you’re not from the US or the UK. Unfortunately, in some countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mexico and Brazil, the only sane option is the direct deposit. Using your Payoneer account, you’ll receive your Amazon commission and be able to withdraw to your local bank accounts.
Payoneer has a way to connect all your Amazon stores so that you’ll be able to view all store payments in one place and analyse the data in Excel. The store manager feature will generate bank statements from all of your stores. You’ll need to prepare your Seller ID and MWS Authorization Token to set this up. (Of course you can use the traditional bank accounts too, but be aware of possible issues such as missing checks, extra fees, and long wait times.)
Merch by Amazon
International sellers that have a Merch by Amazon account can benefit from using a Payoneer virtual account. To do this, first you will need to be an approved seller. Next, you can update your payment and banking information with one of the virtual bank account details provided through Payoneer. Let’s say you want to receive your money in the US; you’ll use the details for the US bank account. And that’s it. Fill in your tax information and provide an EIN or a TIN number if you’d like a tax redemption based on the Amazon’s income tax treaty.
To integrate Payoneer with AdSense, all you need to do is add your USA virtual bank account details on your AdSense payment page. As soon as your account reaches the payment threshold, AdSense will issue a payment, usually between the 21st and the 26th of each month. According to their website, an electronic funds transfer takes up to seven business days to reflect.
Software testing cash
Although I have been involved in software testing and getting paid for usability tests and other types of tests for a while, I have only been doing this online since 2014. Not many tester platforms were paying through Payoneer at that time, but we did have bank transfer as an option (you can link a virtual bank account there). Today, more and more popular crowdsourced testing companies are adding the option to get paid via Payoneer to their methods of payments – uTest, for example.
5. How to link PayPal with a Payoneer account
This is not something that I have done before, but only because PayPal has no known restrictions where I live. From what I learned, this feature was available for international countries but has been stopped. So only people living in the US can now link their Payoneer MasterCards and virtual account with their PayPal. And even this works in a relatively similar way you would link a local bank account.
Paypal vs. Payoneer comparison
Currency conversion routes
2 - 3 days
varies (2.5% to 4%)
Freelancing should make sense
We all need money, but not everyone has to micromanage it the way freelancers do. Setting the right rate – charge more if you want more – is just a teeny tiny bit of the struggle. You’ll need to spend your energy on contract, billing, invoicing, preparing for tax seasons, and beyond – without breaking the bank. Luckily, recent development in technology is in favour of today’s independent workers.
When it comes to billing, you must remember that invoicing does not guarantee payment. Maybe you’ve never given anything other than cash and PayPal a second thought. But I think you should think about the little things and give it a try. This could be the best hack to getting clients to pay you faster.
Sources and further reading
- Darell, Richard. (2011) Freelance at a Glance: The Complete Statistics [Infographic]. Bit Rebels.
- (2015) The Costs of Nonpayment: A Study of Late Payment and Nonpayment in the Freelance Workforce. Freelancers Union.
- Agrawal, Harsh. (2017) How to Receive Amazon US Affiliate Payment Using Payoneer. Shout Me Loud.
- Nevogt, Dave. (2018) Virtual Payment Comparisons: PayPal vs Payoneer vs TransferWise vs Bitwage. Hubstaff.
- Mirza, Fahad. (2018) 15 Amazing Benefits of Payoneer Which Make Payoneer the Best. Bloggers Papa.
- The Simple Dollar Staff. (2018) The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Getting Jobs, Getting Paid, and Getting Ahead. The Simple Dollar.
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Lovelli Fuad