A Freelancer’s Guide To The Different Payment Methods In The Philippines
In 2018, PayPal’s Global Freelancer Insights Report stated that at least two percent of the Philippines’ population were freelancers. The report also found that 84 percent of freelancers use an online freelancer platform such as Upwork and Online jobs.ph.
During the pandemic, there was a 206 percent increase in the number of freelancers in the Philippines according to a report done by Payoneer.
With that being said, the demand for a seamless payment method overseas is greater than ever. For freelancers just entering the trade, this aspect of the job may be one of the biggest hurdles that they may have to overcome.
Thankfully, there are platforms designed to solve this issue and make international payments faster and easier.
PayPal is probably the most universal choice. Most clients are already accustomed to paying their freelancers through PayPal. It is very important, however, to have the account verified the minute it is made if you don’t want any delays in processing your payments to your bank. PayPal will sometimes hold funds for verification if the amount is larger than what the user usually receives; so allocate some time for this to happen.
Another thing about PayPal that a lot of online freelancers don’t actually like are the hefty service fees. The online freelancer might be able to ask the client to choose the “send to a friend” option instead of the “send payment” option.
- Payments are transmitted to the recipient within seconds.
- Can be linked to your bank accounts directly.
- They now offer real-time money transfers in the Philippines with a Gcash account.
- Conversion rate is too low compared to the regular currency exchange rates.
- High fees on top of the low conversion rate. Their fees can also be confusing, because most of the time, they charge a fee from the sender and the recipient.
- Too secure that it’s caused a lot of people to lose their money. Paypal freezes accounts that are flagged with suspicious activity and will keep your money for as long as six months without disclosing to you specifics on what went wrong and why your account was flagged.
- If you don’t have Gcash, you’ll have to wait for one to three business days to complete the transfer from your Paypal funds to your bank account.
Wise (Formerly known as TransferWise)
Wise is very convenient to use and sends payments instantly. All the freelancer needs is a bank account and some form of identification for them to receive money through transfers.
The transfer time is also very fast. Recipients will be able to receive their money in a short matter of time. It is important to have an online bank account to easily check if the payment has been received.
- Payments are transmitted directly to your bank account.
- Fast and reliable, only a few minutes from the time your funds are sent to you.
- Hassle-free. As a recipient, you don’t need to set up anything, just provide your bank information to your client.
- Not all countries can send and receive payments through this platform. Check their list for more details
Payoneer is becoming a popular mode of payment for online freelancers. Like PayPal, Payoneer can be used to send invoices and billing and the funds are transferred instantly no matter where they are from. For those in a rush, Payoneer is your best bet because you can instantly withdraw funds from your Payoneer account, provided that you have their physical card.
- Payments made are instant.
- The account works like a US bank account, clients from the US can send payments to you via regular wire transfer.
- Fast and reliable, only a few minutes from the time your funds are sent to you.
- Hassle-free for the client.
- If you’re using their card to withdraw your funds, you’ll be slapped with some dollar rate fees like $2.50 for a single withdrawal.
- If you’re using their virtual account to transfer funds from Payoneer to your local bank account, it might take a few business days to get a hold of your money.
A lesser-known payment platform because payments here are usually done by batch, though not exclusively for that purpose. This platform is more like an HR payroll system that automates salary disbursements by debiting a foreign bank account automatically. However, individual payments can also be made here, and recipients just need to sign up on the platform and have their account and identity fully verified.
- A reliable payroll automation platform for clients and employers.
- Anyone from the US can send money to PH recipients (freelance and remote workers) using their bank accounts.
- It’s a good platform to establish a scheduled payroll.
- No fees for the recipient.
- Best for batch payments.
- Secured payments.
- For the sender’s end, this can take a lot of time to set up.
- Recipients also need to set up an account and verify their identity which can take some time.
- Since it works like a regular wire transfer, the money won’t be immediately available in your bank account. It might take three to five business days to clear.
Although a bit outdated, this mode of payment is also one of the most efficient ways to receive money from clients. Not only are rates good, there are not a lot of fees involved either. Residents from around the world can access this platform easily online or through its app, and they just need your banking information to send the money to you in minutes.
This isn’t exactly a common way to receive freelancing payments, but if the other methods in the list aren’t accessible to you or your client, this should be because it’s available anywhere.
- Low fees for the sender.
- The exchange rate is as close as the actual rate.
- Direct to bank transfer and immediately available to your bank (with a 15 to 30-minute wait).
- You can also choose to receive the payment via cash pick in any western union branch.
- No need to set up an online account or bank account for the recipient.
- Their website can be unreliable sometimes, it can be glitchy – the sender may encounter this more frequently.
- The transmission of your funds to your bank account will depend on your bank. We found that Unionbank accounts tend to receive their funds late compared to other banks. BPI on the other hand can receive payment from WU very quickly, in just a matter of 5 to 10 minutes.
Other payment methods
Sometimes the situation is complicated, systems could be down or the payment method unavailable for some other reason. When this happens, there are still other payment methods the online freelancer can use. Although not all of them are convenient especially for overseas clients, they are at least reliable modes of payment.
- Gcash (local)
If the client is not an international client, why not get paid through the easiest mode ever? Gcash?
- PayMaya (local)
like Gcash, PayMaya can also be used to collect payment from other local clients as well.
- Coins.ph (local and international)
With the increasing popularity of cryptocurrency, online freelancers can actually opt to get paid in crypto through coins.ph! The good thing about this platform is that it makes converting crypto very easy and you can send the payment directly to your Gcash, PayMaya, or bank. Make sure the crypto received is supported by coins.ph.
With different payment methods in place, it’s easy for online freelancers to give their clients different payment options other than Paypal which comes with exorbitant fees. While most clients that have worked with online freelancers before are already expected to have either PayPal or Payoneer in place. The availability of these other methods can serve as a secondary payment method should their main encounter any hiccups.
How to make sure you get paid
There are a few things the freelancer must watch out for before taking up a job. Although some online freelancers might need the job badly, it isn’t worth getting scammed into working for free.
- Do background checks on the clients. Don’t fall for clients that would ask the freelancer to pay a “fee” or do a “free test run.” Check to see if the company is legit or a scam.
- Make sure to get other ways of contacting them or other people they are working with. Try looking for other people aside from just the CEO, look for the HR or other workers.
- Make sure there is an agreement when it comes to the payment. Talk about an agreed payment beforehand to avoid any confusion later on.
- Make sure to make a proper invoice. The right details have to be in the invoice. Double-check every invoice sent to the client.
- Make sure to always mention the invoice tracking number.
Clients might receive a lot of invoices at a time. Make sure to state the invoice. “Hello, I would like to follow up on Invoice 1234.”
At the end of the day, doing research is very important. Make sure to work for a legitimate client to save you from all the stress and hassle of getting your payments delayed or not getting paid at all. Although you could potentially sue the client for not paying, this would be extremely time-consuming and too much trouble. Before jumping on, make sure the opportunity is legitimate as the payment methods we mentioned in this article.