One of the best parts of being a freelancer is the true freedom to work from anywhere in the world for anyone in the world. But receiving payment for those freelance jobs isn’t as easy as acquiring the work because of various rules and regulations monitoring the international transfer of funds.
Depending on what country a freelancer lives in and what country each client lives in, freelancers could be losing a large percentage of their profits simply by getting money sent through these services.
So what’s the best money mover for your particular freelancing situation? Keep reading as we explore some of the major players in the industry and assess their strengths and weaknesses.
If you’ve never heard of Paypal before, it’s likely that you’re an alien visiting the earth several million years from now and you’re reading this blog as part of an archeological expedition. Paypal’s “Fees” page claims that “Paypal’s fees are always fair” which is probably true if you own Paypal, but not as much for the rest of us. For international transactions, Paypal charges a 3.9% transaction fee “plus a fixed fee based on currency received”. Finding what that fee is can require a bit of detective work on your part to figure out just what that fee is for your particular country as well as that of your employer. From personal experience, I can tell you that it’s a lot more than spare change you’re losing. I live in the US and have a client in the UK who pays me in pounds via Paypal. Instead of the 2.5% I give up when dealing with a fellow American, I give away whopping 9.5% to Paypal for converting those pounds into my dollars. So for every $100 I make, nearly $10 of them stay right there in Paypal’s deep pockets.
Somewhat of a newcomer to the scene, CurrencyFair aims to save you money during your exchanges. CurrencyFair involves the freelancer and client by matching their transaction in terms of currency to other people in the world seeking to send the reverse of that currency. Its QuickTrade option allows users to exchange funds at an average of 0.35% of the interbank rate, meaning that both client and freelancer could avoid major fee headaches that might make future collaboration a laborious task rather than a pleasant convenience. If you aren’t in a rush and are willing to wait for a potentially more favorable rate, the CurrencyFair MarketPlace might be right for you.
AIB is an Ireland-based firm that specializes in transactions made throughout the UK and Ireland, but offers rates to international clients as well. Once you move outside of the UK and into the EU, Canada, or the US, things get hairy in a hurry as AIB charges €22.50 per electronic transfer of funds. If you’re an American or live and breathe American currency, that’s a $24.81 coming out of your profit. Imagine doing a job for $25 for an overseas client who wants to pay you through AIB and seeing 19 cents added to your bank account. Talk about getting stiffed!
It’s hard to fault the reputation of a company with 165 years of history that used to bring goods and services to people via stagecoach. Western Union is quite hit and miss with the countries it gives impressive discounts to versus the countries it taxes the heck out of for more distantly located ones. A rule of thumb – the bigger your population, the less you’ll have to pay in fees.
When you’re working for clients overseas, do your homework first when it comes to arranging payment. Most clients are willing to work with you on how the money is sent, especially if you’re doing quality work for them, or you have the facts to back up that I’ve yet to meet the client who wasn’t willing to save a bit on overhead by trying something new. Do your research on where your client is sending the money from and find the best deal to fit all of your needs.