The best solutions for getting paid internationally

Simplify sending/receiving money across borders as a freelancer with these tools
The complexity of world economics and the financial markets means that sending money abroad is not as simple as we'd like it to be. Some freelancers have been put off from working with people from certain countries by a fear of high transfer fees, bad conversion rates and unclear legal compliance.

Fortunately, there are many solutions for independent workers to send and recieve money around the globe with fair rules. We asked the Freelance Business Slack Community for its suggestions and collected the best options for you.
1. Using your bank (or alternatives)
This is the most basic approach and is still preferred by some freelancers. It doesn't require you to sign up for any third-party services and can give you peace of mind that your money is handled by official institutions.

Banks offer good customer support, as you can drop by a branch and ask for details, or you can do it electronically via your online banking if you are sending money across the EU (or in some cases outside of the EU too). Each country's banking system has its unique requirements and fees, so it's worth getting in contact first to clarify details.

Make sure you understand the fees associated with this service: ask whether there will be any fees when sending/receiving the payment, apart from the charge for the service itself. Banks can sometimes use a marked up exchange rate (a rate higher than the mid-market rate), which can result in you losing money in cross-currency conversions, so comparing the rates to other providers is useful.

Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram specialise in sending money internationally. They are a simple alternative to banks and often offer better exchange rates and lower fees (but still higher than some of the other solutions in our list). Make sure to check country availability and compare the fees and exchange rates.
2. PayPal
PayPal is arguably the most well-known service for sending money. It is easy to set up and clients might be the most comfortable using it. The main drawback is the way it calculates fees, which can add up and bite off a big chunk of cash before it reaches your pocket. For example, it has an additional international transfer fee, which depends on where you're sending the money to and how you fund your account. More info on its fees here.

Your Paypal account also works with only one currency and you can potentially lose money from its conversion rates, which aren't the most competitive. It is also notorious for freezing payments at times and having poor customer service.

PayPal can be a quick and easy way to send money or a nightmare for freelancers – it all depends on the use case.
3. Xolo
Xolo stands out as a solution that is tailored specifically to the needs of freelancers (so no sending money to mum and dad). Not only does it let you to transfer payments, it allows you to send and receive EU VAT-compliant invoices to freelancers from all over the world.

Xolo accepts SEPA bank transfers and does the currency conversion for you. It only takes a flat-rate fee of 5% per transaction, regardless of the countries involved.

It also runs local versions for Spain and Italy, which makes invoicing and payment from those countries even more stress-free. Our community member Bozhidar has used Xolo GO for invoicing and appreciates that the service takes care of all the details. He simply fills out the invoice and then receives his payment in Euros, which are then converted to his GBP bank account.

Learn more about how Xolo Go and Leap can help your business here.
4. Wise
Wise (formerly Transferwise) is a powerful service that offers international payments. It has lower fees than traditional banks and has a guaranteed exchange rate: see their fees here. It also allows you to calculate your exchange amounts and compare them with other services.

Our community member Lauren Detweiler claims her clients have used Wise to send her payments from different countries and that the service worked great: she rarely noticed a noticeable hit in terms of exchange rates or fees. She also highlighted its ease of use on both the client and the freelancer sides.
5. Revolut
Ivan from our community suggests freelancers use Revolut. Similar to Wise, it allows you to send money internationally. It has no fees for transfers to other Revolut members, and it allows you 10 non-USD international transactions per month free of charge. You can hold multiple currencies in your account and can exchange currency free of charge up to £1000 per month, after which it will charge 0.5% on the amount you make in a cross-currency transfer. Bear in mind you will get charged extra for exchanges outside of Exchange hours.You can see their fee breakdown on their website.

There are many other similar services out there, but they all have one thing in common: you need to make a choice based on your own requirements. The frequency of payments, the amount you'll be receiving and the currencies and countries involved all have an impact on the fees and regulations. What may work for one freelance business owner may not be the best for another.

Have you used any of these tools? Would you like to share your feedback? Or would you recommend any other solutions? Join our Slack community to contribute to the conversation.
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