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TransferWise - the better option for getting paid as freelancer?

Looking for a cheaper alternative to PayPal to receive money from your clients? Then read my review of TransferWise - a service I use as a Web Designer for all my international clients.

Estimated reading time:
2 minutes

As a Web Designer & Webflow Specialist I work with both Australian, as well as international clients. Based in Australia, getting paid by Australian clients is pretty straight forward: a simple bank transfer gets the funds to me pretty quickly without any additional fees for my client or myself. However, it gets more difficult when I work on websites for clients from overseas who pay in a variety of different currencies. Some of my current and previous clients are based in the US, Europe and New Zealand and it is essential to give them a way to pay me easily, while keeping transaction fees low, as these can easily eat into the funds you receive from your client.

Previously I worked a lot with PayPal, a service almost everybody who buys goods or services online is familiar with. I only need to give the client the email address that is connected to my PayPal account and my client can transfer funds easily. But there’s a catch! PayPal keeps a hefty fee from the money I earn, so I was looking for an alternative way to let clients pay me. And so I discovered TransferWise.

TransferWise is a relatively new service that lets you (or your client) make a bank transfer through a so called 'borderless account'! Once TransferWise receives the funds, they do the currency exchange and make a local transfer to the person you want to transfer the money to. There are no hidden fees and TransferWise takes just a small percentage of your transaction (way less then PayPal does) and you don’t have to pay any credit card or bank transfer fees. You can learn more about this directly on TransferWise’s website and of course sign up for free.

So how does this work exactly?

  1. You set up your free TransferWise account and open as many borderless accounts as you need (for instance one for receiving and sending US$, one for AU$, one for Euros etc., depending on which countries your clients are based in).
  2. You connect your regular bank account to TransferWise
  3. You simply give your client the appropriate details of the borderless account they want to pay money into (e.g. if the client is based in the US, but you’re based in Australia, you give your client the details of your US borderless account).
  4. Once you receive the payment into your borderless account, you can simply transfer it over to your local bank account and access the funds through your regular debit card or withdraw cash. It usually only takes 1-2 business days to get the transfer done. Too easy.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of using TransferWise as a freelancer?

Disadvantages

  • Not all clients are familiar with TransferWise yet
  • It might take clients a few more minutes to enter the appropriate account details to make the transfer. So far I only had one client who had an issue and said his bank didn’t enable him to use this payment method. In this case the client was able to use PayPal as an alternative. The vast majority however, had no issues whatsoever.

 

Advantages

  •  Lower fees than regular banks or PayPal
  •  Complete transparency when it comes to fees
  •  Easy to use and convenient, especially when you receive money from international clients in a variety of currencies

 

Bonus tip:

In my accounting software (I use Hello Bonsai and have written a short review about it the other day, too) I don’t have a direct way to enter the account details for my various borderless accounts. I also don’t want to amend or re-write the account details every time I send out an invoice. So, what I have done is create a PDF/JPG file for each of my borderless accounts, outlining the account details for each currency. So,whenever I send an invoice to a client I simply attached the PDF file for the appropriate currency. This is also a file that the client can save to their records, and refer back to whenever needed. Sweet!

 

Want to give TransferWise a go? You definitely should! You can find out more on their website and sign up here for free.

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