For many entrepreneurs and freelancers, chasing payments from clients is one of the most frustrating aspects of their business. For remoters, that frustration is often compounded by the financial woes of having to send and receive money across oceans, in different currencies.
Enter the newest batch of online payment options. While PayPal has long been the dominating force on the e-commerce and remote workers’ scene, in recent years it has started to meet some stiff competition. Lower fees, automated invoicing systems, and API integration have become standard selling features for the new payment programs catching remoters’ eyes.
Here are some of the most popular online payment programs on the market today, along with their primary features:
1. Freshbooks – www.freshbooks.com
Accounting cloud software through which you can send invoices, track hours and expenses, and accept payments.
- Automatic late payment reminders that tack on late payment fees.
- Automated billing schedule that charges client’s credit card.
- Accepts payment via Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Apple Pay and deposits directly to your bank.
- 2.9% + US$0.30 for Visa and Mastercard.
- 3.5% + US$0.30 for American Express.
- US$15 for chargebacks (which is refunded if the dispute is resolved in your favour).
Despite its name, Freshbooks is not true accounting software, as it does not use double-entry accounting or offer accounting reports such as a general ledger or a completed balance sheet. As well, payments can only be made through Freshbooks via credit card or Apple Pay.
2. Square – squareup.com
Debit and credit card reader that now also offers integrated invoice send/tracking services.
- Reader accepts payment via magstripe, contactless/chip credit and debit cards, Apple Pay and Android Pay, and can be collected in offline mode.
- Manages receipts, sales reporting and analytics, inventory tracking and refunds and discounts.
- Includes email marketing software.
- API integration.
- 2.75% per credit tap, insert or swipe.
- 3.5% + US$0.15 per keyed-in/virtual terminal transactions.
- 2.9% + US$0.30 per invoice and e-commerce payments.
Square has strict fraud prevention efforts in place, which is good for security but also means funds could be put on hold unexpectedly if any transactions to/from your account seem suspect.
3. Payoneer – https://www.payoneer.com/
System: Billing and payment service that includes local currency receiving accounts in USD, EUR, GBP, JPY and CNY.
- Local bank transfers can be made from clients in the US, UK, EU, Canada, Australia, China and Japan.
- Accepts payment via bank transfers, eCheck and debit and credit cards.
- Withdrawals can be made into your local bank account in your local currency (150+ countries and currencies supported).
- No transaction fees between Payoneer accounts.
- API integration.
- Received payments can be loaded onto a prepaid debit Mastercard.
- Free for EUR, GBP, JPY and CNY via receiving accounts; 1% for USD.
- 3% for credit card payments in all currencies.
- 1% for eCheck in USD.
- Currency exchange fee of up to 2% above mid-market rate for withdrawals from Payoneer account into a bank account in a different currency.
- US$1.50, €1.50 and £1.50 for withdrawals from into a bank account in the same currency.
- 1% fee for loading money onto the prepaid Mastercard.
While you can receive payments from any source (with a fee), you cannot send payments through the system to non-Payoneer accounts. As well, the prepaid Mastercard has hefty fees: an annual fee of US$29.95, plus US$3.15 per withdrawal, US$1 for balance inquiries and US$1 for declined transactions.
4. Stripe – https://stripe.com/
E-commerce toolkit that accepts payment via web or mobile app.
- Accepts major debit and credit cards from every country in 135+ currencies.
- Supports Automated Clearing House (ACH), Bitcoin, Alipay and WeChat Pay.
- API integration.
- 2.9% + US$0.30 per charge.
- +1% on international cards plus a 1% fee for currency conversions.
- 0.8% capped at US$5 for ACH Direct Debit; 1.5% capped at US$25 for ACH credit transfer.
- 2.9% = US$0.30 for Alipay.
- 0.8% capped at US$5 for Bitcoin.
- 2.9% = US$0.30 for WeChat Pay.
Using Stripe to its full potential requires fairly extensive dev knowledge. The service’s primary focus and strength is in e-commerce developer tours, which may be overwhelming (and too much) for some users. Small-sized businesses may be better off with a more basic invoice/payment program without the additional coding and plugin options.
5. Wave – www.waveapps.com
Cloud-based accounting software that connects with your bank and credit cards.
- Offers recurring billing, automatic payment reminders and automated accounting reports such as sales tax and balance sheets.
- Accepts payment via major credit cards or bank account, and deposits direct to your bank account.
- Supports multiple currencies with exchange rates updated daily.
- Uses encryption and is certified bank-grade security for credit card and banking data.
- 2.9% = US$0.30 for credit card payments.
- 1% for bank payments.
Lacks API or third-party integration. As well, heavy security and encryption have led to reports of slow servers and frequent downtime.
Just Need the Basics?
All of the above programs offer more than just payment ability, with features like invoicing, accounting reports or website integration via API or coding. However, if all you require is a basic transfer system, programs like Cardpay, Skrill and Venmo (owned by Paypal) can process transfers in multiple currencies, for withdrawal into either an e-wallet or your bank account.
Similarly, many mobile banking options such as Revolut, N26 and Transferwise can be used for collecting client payments and making online bank or wire transfers.