Getting paid is a pain point for a lot of freelance bloggers. We mainly face these three questions: How, how often, and how much?
Now, how much you charge depends on a lot of factors including niche, experience and confidence. How often depends on whether you are getting paid monthly, weekly, per post and/or if you are charging a retainer for the privilege of receiving your kickass services. (Go, you! I’m so proud!)
And the how part is often solved through a mutual love for PayPal, the most popular online payment processor.
Ah, I love PayPal. Or I used to.
I used it religiously for getting paid, shopping online, and paying for stuff. How could I not? It’s easy to use, comes with a ready template for billing clients, and there’s no minimum amount at which you can withdraw the money to your linked bank account. Whether it is 5 bucks or 5000, you can withdraw it to your bank, and it is free to do so.
Then PayPal got lazy, didn’t comply with some of the business regulations in Turkey, and being an international writer became even more difficult. And Turkey isn’t the only country where PayPal doesn’t work in. This is a problem because editors are increasingly using PayPal as their preferred payment method. Fees are a lot less compared to checks, and some writers even figured out how to pay even less in transaction fees.
There are reputable marketplaces where you are matched with clients according to your experience and selected niches. ClearVoice is one of them. Guess the only way they pay their writers.
PayPal is also the default payment method for most merchants, so this negatively affects your affiliate income as well.
So what are alternative payment methods?
Outside PayPal: Check, wire transfer, gift cards and Payoneer
Check isn’t a viable option when you are working internationally: One editor didn’t trust PayPal, and check was more convenient for her than bank transfers. I decided to give it a go. After all, a lot of publications still send checks. She owed me $75. Guess how much I ended up with after banks on both sides got their share? 15. Unfortunately, I’m not kidding.
One editor couldn’t figure out a way to pay me outside of PayPal. His company had adjusted everything around it, and he probably didn’t care for the extra hassle. And I grew tired of the constant back and forth emailing. So we came to an interesting compromise: He paid me with a virtual Amazon gift card. While it is not a deal I will accept often, it worked just fine for that one time. Let’s face it: as a compulsive reader and writer, I shop on Amazon a lot.
Washington Post paid via bank transfer, making life much easier. This is not something they did to accommodate me, however. It’s their default, as far as I know.
Most of the other payment options didn’t include my country. For instance, Google Wallet is currently only available in the States and the UK, and you can’t transfer money between these two countries.
Others either didn’t have a well-established reputation, or their process seemed too complicated: One allowed me to withdraw money to a personal account, but not to a business account. They told me if it was okay that I was making this money for my business, but I couldn’t risk it.
Of all the seemingly endless but virtually useless-after-upon-close-inspection options, I came upon Payoneer. I dug into their website and billed two of my editors through it.
Getting Paid via Payoneer: Pros and Cons
It’s safe. They ask security questions more often before you can make a transaction.
It takes roughly the same time to access your funds. I had no problems withdrawing the money to my account. It only took 3-5 days, which is the same as PayPal.
You jump through more hoops, though you can argue this makes it safer.
They can randomly require you to fill out a form about your business, where you have to fill in the URL of your refund policy. As a freelancer, I don’t have a refund policy because I get the payment after the article has been accepted or published, so the client has already approved of it anyway.
Of course, I did inquire about it and learned that you just need to link to your website and/or hire me page (even though they also ask you to fill your website’s URL in the same form.)
They also informed me that you could randomly come across the form at any time. So don’t be surprised.
There’s a minimum limit for withdrawals. The bad news is, Payoneer has a minimum limit of $50 before you can make your withdrawal.
You don’t need to order their pre-paid Mastercard if you don’t want to. If you don’t need it, you can just use Payoneer online.
Yes, I wouldn’t have searched for another option if PayPal was around. And supposedly, they are planning to come back to Turkey in March. Since the majority of the online world uses PayPal, I will be using it again. But Payoneer has the best substitute and complementary service so far.
How about you? How do you get paid when you can’t use PayPal?