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Article

4 min read

Best Way To Pay Independent Contractors in 2024

Contractor management

Author

Jemima Owen-Jones

Published

January 13, 2024

Last Update

July 10, 2024

Table of Contents

International bank transfer (SWIFT)

Revolut

PayPal

Wise

Payoneer

Coinbase

Freelancing websites

Deel

Experience the benefits of getting paid through Deel

Key takeaways
  1. Independent contractors receive compensation differently than regular employees. The mode of payment is influenced by various factors, like the work agreement terms and location.
  2. Payment methods for contractors residing in the same country as clients include direct deposit, checks, domestic wire transfers, and payment apps like PayPal. For international contractors, consider exchange rates, conversion fees, and local labor laws when selecting the payment method. Each payment option has its pros and cons, such as fees, currency support, and availability in different countries.
  3. With Deel, you can pay independent contractors in a variety of easy, compliant, and cost-effective ways.

Independent contractors receive compensation differently compared to regular employees. Instead of receiving a fixed salary through a company's payroll, contractors are compensated based on their preferred payment methods, which are determined by various factors, including the terms of the work agreement, the contractor's country of residence, and the most efficient and cost-effective payment options available.

For contractors residing in the same country as their clients, common and effective payment methods include direct deposit, paper checks, domestic wire transfers, and payment apps like PayPal.

However, when you're in a different country from your client, things get a bit more complex. You'll need to consider exchange rates, currency conversion fees, and various bank charges. These fees may apply to your client, yourself, or both. Some jurisdictions may require clients to pay contractors in the local currency, so it's essential to familiarize yourself with local labor laws to ensure that you receive compensation in compliance with these regulations.

In the following sections, we will explore the various payment methods available to contractors. We'll evaluate how suitable they are for international transactions and introduce you to Deel. It's an option that stands out for its lower fees, wide-ranging coverage, and features like automated record-keeping, invoicing, and various withdrawal methods, including the option for cryptocurrency. Let's explore these options together and find the best payout provider for independent contractors.

International bank transfer (SWIFT)

  • Countries supported: All
  • Currencies supported: All (exchange rates apply)
  • Fees: For payments going through SWIFT, fees can be anywhere from $20-75$

Processing money this way often goes through the SWIFT network, which means the banks take a fee for providing this service.

Wiring money internationally is not a very cost-effective payment method because both the sending and receiving banks charge high processing fees. Banks also have different exchange rates, and you could lose money in the exchange rate.

Most international bank transfers are completed in one to five business days. 

Revolut

  • Countries supported: 31
  • Currencies supported: 31
  • Fees: Check here

Fees: $0 fees unless you make a cross-currency transfer, which is 0.5% on any amount exceeding the free foreign exchange allowance. Your client must have a Revolut account to pay you.

More than 12 million customers are currently using Revolut. One thing that sets Revolut apart is that it has the option to provide gold and crypto payments. Revolut has no hidden fees, business and private customers can use the service, and it has a very user-friendly app. You can choose from one of the several subscription options and deals.

However, to get paid with Revolut, your client needs a Revolut Business account. They can open one if registered and have a physical presence within the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

PayPal

  • Countries supported: 200+
  • Currencies supported: 25
  • Fees: 2.9% + $0.30 (typically, but varies on the country). Deel users have a special reduced fee of 2.5% globally

PayPal's online payment system has dominated the market for a while. PayPal is present in many countries, very easy to use, and offers discounts and special deals for business users.

However, it comes with a few restrictions, one being that you can’t get paid through the Friends & Family option. In addition, PayPal isn’t insured by FDIC, meaning that if it becomes insolvent, you will lose all of your money. 

Wise

The biggest benefit of using Wise is its significantly lower fee. Wise transfers money from its UK headquarters to one of its local partners, enabling you to receive the funds in your chosen currency. Users can also see the exchange rates and fees before sending the money. 

However, Wise isn’t present in that many countries, so it might be challenging for you to use it if your client’s country isn’t on the list.

Payoneer

Payoneer is one of the favorite online payment options to get paid because of its availability and easy options to transfer funds to your bank account. In addition to this, Payoneer offers its own MasterCard that can be used across the globe for credit card payments, as well as online shopping. The card can be shipped worldwide at your own expense. You’ll need to wait several weeks, depending on your location. Notably, their fees are higher than the average.

Coinbase

Coinbase is a popular cryptocurrency exchange platform that allows independent contractors to receive payment via cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Dash. By leveraging blockchain technology, Coinbase offers fast, secure, and transparent transactions. 

Getting paid in Bitcoin appeals to workers and companies with global workforces because it offers near-instant global transfers and low fees.

Freelancing websites

Freelancing websites such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr, are work marketplaces for contractors to find work and get paid. Many of these platforms use the Direct Contracts payment method with escrow services that lock funds in a holding account until certain conditions are met before the payment can be released. This method provides simple contract management, faster payments, and dispute assistance.

Freelancer websites support different payment methods. The most popular freelancer website in 2023, Upwork, provides a number of choices for withdrawing your funds through direct bank account withdrawals or third-party payment vendors such as PayPal, Payoneer, and M-Pesa. The platform always bills and pays in USD, which you can then withdraw in your chosen currency using your preferred payment method. 

The availability of payment methods varies by country. Your available options will display when you add a payment method.

  • Countries supported: 180
  • Currencies supported: 200+ depending on the available payment methods in your country 
  • Fees: Check here

Deel

  • Countries supported: 200+
  • Currencies supported: Every currency around the world
  • Fees: Check here

Many contractors today are entering into work arrangements with clients that use the HR, compliance, and payments platform Deel. They prefer this arrangement as it guarantees faster contractor payments, 15 payment methods, fewer fees, automated invoicing, advanced payments, and access to the same benefits and perks as employees. 

Here’s an overview of the benefits of getting paid through Deel: 

On-time payments: Unlike other payment platforms and providers, you don’t need to wait for your money to be manually authorized or processed to receive payment. Once you and your client have agreed on the payment terms and schedule in your contract (fixed rate monthly, bi-monthly, pay as you go weekly or hourly rate, milestone one-time or per project payments, and off-cycle payments), your payment is processed automatically and arrives in your Deel account on the agreed date, accurately and on time, to keep your cash flow in check. 

Contractors on Deel are able to see the Payment Tracker, which provides an easy-to-follow timeline of the payment process.

See also: How Long Will My Payment Take To Clear?

15+ payment methods**:** Choose from 15 payment options, including: 

  • International bank transfers
  • Local bank transfers
  • Coinbase account transfer
  • Binance
  • PayPal
  • Revolut
  • Deel Card
  • Deel instant card transfer
  • Payoneer

With Deel, you and your client can choose how to process payments. That means the two of you can have different payment methods. For example, your client can pay with an international wire transfer, and you can choose how you want to withdraw (bank transfer, PayPal, Payoneer, and even crypto) and in which currency.

We want to help hundreds of millions of people get to work for the best companies in the world.

Alex Bouaziz,

Co-founder and CEO, Deel

Lower fees: Deel always tries to optimize for a local payout, which minimizes the fees, making the payment process favorable for both parties.

Advanced paymentsDeel Advance lets contractors get paid up to 30 days earlier without a credit check, interest rates, or applications.

Instant card transfer: By using their bank card details, contractors can get paid immediately via the Mastercard or Visa network. No more payday uncertainty or hidden extra fees. Plus, 90% of transfers arrive in 15 seconds or less.

Deel card: With a Deel Card, you can spend your earnings securely online or in-store and hold your balance in USD for more stability.

Automated invoicing: Save hours of time-consuming admin and automate your entire invoice process. Instantly generate digital invoices for every payment and seamlessly sync all your data with your favorite accounting tools.

Invoice generator: Create and send professional invoices in minutes. Add your invoice breakdown and client info to generate your invoice, then send it to anyone, including clients you work with outside of Deel. We’ll store your invoice details for future use, making it easy to work with repeat clients. With all your invoices stored safely in one place, filing income taxes becomes easier than ever.

Expense tracking: Expense Tracker is your one-stop shop for managing work expenses. Upload receipts, categorize your expenses, and assign them to specific clients to track reimbursements. Save hours on end-of-year bookkeeping, get better visibility over your spending, and ensure you don’t miss an expense.

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Compliant contracts: When a contractor signs a work contract, also known as a contractor agreement through Deel, they can rest assured knowing that their contract will be compliant with their local laws, so they're ready to work from day one with clients across the globe. Data and intellectual property protection are also included. 

Recordkeeping: The Deel platform securely stores and tracks your work contracts, tax forms, and invoices in one place.

Benefits and perks: Contractors don't usually get access to the same benefits and perks as employees. At Deel, we're changing that so everyone has the best experience possible. 

Contractor perks on Deel include discounts and vouchers to optimize your work and lifestyle. For example, Deel partners with Booking.com, Avis & Budget, Pancake, Todoist, QuickBooks, SafetyWing, Preply, Little Emperors, Binance, BetterHelp, and many more to get you discounts whether you’re equipping your home office, seeking to boost your physical and mental health, or traveling. You can even get exclusive discounts on health insurance wherever you are in the world.

Equipment: Your clients have the option to provide you with equipment. Select from 400+ new devices available on the Deel platform, from laptops to hardware, and our equipment partner Hofy will handle all the logistics like tax compliance, customs and shipping documents, and door-to-door delivery to 150+ countries. 

Expert tax advice: Whether you’re looking for help with your own tax return or have a query about equity, our Tax Advice feature connects you with trusted local tax advisors who can explain your tax obligations and even file self-employment taxes for you with the relevant tax authority such as the IRS if you’re from the US).


Tax summaries: This tool (coming soon) will help summarize a worker's overall income and expenses across all invoices and expenses, making it easier to prepare for tax season. Simply hand these pre-prepared details off to a tax consultant.

24/7 support: Deel’s customer support is available 24/7 in 13 languages and through multiple channels (live chat, email, WhatsApp) to answer your questions and resolve any issues you may experience on the platform. With our live chat feature, you’ll get support with a query or concern in under two minutes.

Community support: In 2023, Deel launched an online community for contractors paid through our platform. This community is ideal for connecting with like-minded people globally, exchanging experiences with other remote workers and digital nomads, answering your questions about the Deel platform, and even joining in-person meetups organized by the Deel team.

Over {{CONTRACTORS_USING_DEEL}} contractors use Deel’s platform to work and get paid. No one else even comes close.

Deel Contractor Management
Onboard, manage and pay international contractors compliantly
Hiring talent abroad? Get with the market leader in contractor management. Deel automates HR admin, mitigates misclassification risk, and ensures on-time payments in 150+ countries—all with unrivaled compliance and payment flexibility.

Fast payments, low fees, and convenient perks like Deel Card and Deel Advance make our platform one of the most flexible and beneficial ways for contractors to get paid.

While there are many options to receive international payments in today’s fintech landscape, Deel is the all-in-one solution that ensures you can work from anywhere and with anyone, compliantly and securely.

Sign up and unlock the smoothest contractor experience on the planet.

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