Last Updated on by Rodrigo @ OutofYourComfortZone
Are you a business owner in search of a cheaper and more efficient way to receive/send international transfers? Are you a freelancer or someone who works for an overseas company and needs to receive overseas payments? Do you want to create invoices and receipts for clients who live abroad? Then read on below for the best payment companies for people who live abroad, have employees in another country, or offer services to a company overseas!
There are many reasons that someone may need to receive or send money abroad. And the truth is that, no matter your motive, knowing your options for international money transfers can save you a lot of cash (and time!).
If you’re an individual who needs to send and receive money to/from other individuals abroad, then I recommend my article with the 7 Cheapest Ways to Receive, Send, and Transfer Money Abroad.
But if you’re a business or a freelancer working with client payments…then keep reading…
These days, there are a lot of websites out there that make these types of transfers easier, cheaper, and with less bureaucracy – both for individuals as well as companies and service providers.
And best of all, you can manage all of this quickly and headache-free through applications online or on your phone.
So if you’re in search of new alternatives for your international transfers and payments, check out our list and comparison table with the 9 best websites to send & receive overseas payments (for businesses & freelancers).
Table of Contents
- 1 4 things business owners & freelancers need to know before sending & receiving international payments
- 2 Comparison table of the 7 cheapest online platforms for businesses & freelancers to send & receive payments overseas (+4 bonus options)
- 3 What are the best & cheapest platforms/websites for freelancers & businesses to send & receive overseas payments?
- 4 In sum…
- 5 In conclusion….
4 things business owners & freelancers need to know before sending & receiving international payments
Before you make your transfer, there’s a few points you need to take note of. This way, you’ll know exactly how these services work and what their rates are…and you can choose the right platform to work with.
So on that note, here are the 4 things you need to know:
a. How do websites for sending & receiving international payments online work?
b. What is the current exchange rate for international transfers?
c. What are the fees charged by each platform?
d. What type of payment are you going to send or receive?
a. How do websites for sending & receiving international payments online work?
Many people have heard of websites like Paypal, Payoneer, and Transferwise… but may not be certain how these services work and why they are so much cheaper to send payments to another country than with normal banks.
So first things first, I want to mention that these platforms are very safe and simple to use.
Basically, you first create a login with a username and then provide the details of your local bank account. This account can be in dollars, euros, pounds, or any other currency. And it will be in this currency that you’ll receive your payments.
By doing this, you’ll have created your “digital wallet.” With this wallet, you can make transfers, payments, and purchases online.
(On some websites, you can also create more than one digital wallet so you can use multiple currencies.)
b. What is the current exchange rate for international transfers?
Whenever you’re making any transaction with a foreign currency, you’ll want to check the platform’s exchange rate against the official exchange rate. (You can get the official exchange rate by typing in the two currencies you need + “exchange rate” into Google.)
This is important to do because this rate can vary a lot (making you either win or lose more money).
Some of the websites that I recommend below allow you to work with different types of currencies (in other words, you could have one wallet in dollars and one in euros). This way, you won’t have to worry about exchange rates when you send/receive a payment in one of these currencies.
However, if you plan to exchange these currencies for another later on, be sure to keep an eye on the exchange rates.
c. What are the fees charged by each platform?
Beyond the exchange rate, you’ll also want to look out for the fees that each platform charges for their transfers since this will affect the final value that you send/receive.
On some platforms, if you receive a payment by credit card, you might be charged a 3% fee. But if the payment is made by debit card, this may only be a 1% fee.
Beyond this, if both parties have an account in the same company, it’s possible that the transfer may be free, even if there is an exchange of currencies.
d. What type of payment are you going to send or receive?
The final thing to consider is the type of payments that you send/receive. And from there, choose the platform that offers the best option for this particular transaction.
For example, if you’re a freelancer who often receives payment from companies like Upwork and Fiverr, you may want to have an account on a platform that allows you to receive in dollars. Especially because the fees tend to be low and the payments will land in your account in minutes.
Or if you’re living abroad and only receive money sporadically, then you’d be looking for something different. In this case, you’d want to create a digital account in the country that you’re living in so you can manage the money as it arrives.
So in sum, it’s worth taking some time to think about your specific situation before making your decision.
**Tip: I usually recommend people open up a free account with each of the platforms below and then pretend to do a transfer so you can compare to find the cheapest option (based on the exchange rate and the fees) for the type of transfer you need.
After all, the small amount of time you’ll “spend” now opening up accounts and testing can save you a lot of money down the line.
Below the table, you’ll find more info about each of the options…
Comparison table of the 7 cheapest online platforms for businesses & freelancers to send & receive payments overseas (+4 bonus options)
Length of time to receive transfer
|Are you able to create invoices?||Currencies accepted||Does it work with Bitcoin?||
|Melio||Between 1 and 3 working days. The deadline may increase for operations involving the post office||Yes||Dollar only, but they are working to allow payments in other currencies||No||Free bank transfers. $1.50 for check payments and 2.9% fee for card payments|
|Payoneer||Instantly (when done between Payoneer accounts)||Yes||Works with all major currencies including US dollar, euro, and Japanese yen||No||Free between Payoneer accounts, otherwise 3% when paid by credit card and 1% by bank debit|
|Invoice Ninja||Not specified||Yes||Works with more than 50 currencies||Yes||2.9% + 30¢ per transaction with credit card|
|Wave||Not specified||Yes||Not specified||No||2.9% + 30¢ per transaction for credit card, 1% for bank payments|
|Freshbooks||Not specified||Yes||Not specified||No||2.9% + 30¢ per transaction for credit card, 1% for bank payments (you also need to have a monthly plan of at least $4.50/month to access transfer service)|
|Wise (formerly Transferwise)||1-3 business days||No||Works with more than 50 currencies, including dollar, euro, and yen||No||Under 1% for most transfers, no matter how you pay|
|Azimo||In a few hours||No||Works with more than 60 currencies, including dollar, euro, and yen||No||Varies based on the currencies used and payment method (though the first two transfers you make have no fees)|
|TransferGo||30 minutes to 1 working day (depending on the country sent to)||No||Works with currencies in more than 60 countries||Yes (they were the first remittance company to offer this!)||Varies|
|Xe||1-3 business days||No||Works with nearly 100 currencies||No||Varies|
|Paypal||Immediately (between Paypal accounts) or 1-3 business days.||Yes||Works with more than 20 different currencies||Varies|
What are the best & cheapest platforms/websites for freelancers & businesses to send & receive overseas payments?
Founded in 2018, Melio Payments entered the market to encourage small entrepreneurs and renew the way companies pay each other. In this way, all transactions and payments made there are B2B, that is, from a company to another.
Although until now it has only accepted payments in dollars, Melio has been working to support more currencies and its advantages are huge!
Here, if a company needs to pay another internationally, it is possible to issue an invoice that, if paid by bank transfer, is free of fees. Fees are only charged if payments are made by credit card (2.9% fee) or by check ($1.50 fee).
This company also gives small entrepreneurs the option to pay their bills by credit card, for companies located in the United States. You can send your bill to Melio, who will pay for you. The fee rate applied is 2.9%, but it is very worthwhile for those times when you prefer to pay an invoice using a credit card when this option is not available by the issuer of that invoice.
The small entrepreneur can also add people to manage his Melio account, such as an accountant, and manage the functions he will have.
Pros of using Melio for international transfers:
- Fee exemption for bank transfers
- Payment of bills by credit card (focus on the United States)
- Possibility to add an administrator to your account, such as an accountant, and review permissions
- Credit card points and rewards
- Possibility of automating the payment of bills
- International payments
- There are ways to pay multiple bills at once to the same company
Cons of using Melio for international payments:
- Customer service may be slow to respond
- Credit card and check fees
- For now they only accept the dollar as currency
Payoneer was created in 2005 to help companies who had employees outside the country. Today, it’s one of the largest names in the financial service industry and a partner to big brands like Adobe, Amazon, Airbnb, Awin, and Upwork.
So, if you’re a freelancer, you’ve probably heard of Payoneer. Receiving payments from Payoneer’s app is easy and fast, plus it has pretty low fees.
Beyond this, you can request payment and receive in a variety of currencies (euro, dollar, real, yen, etc.).
Another major advantage of Payoneer is that you can request a prepaid credit card, which is a great option for anyone who has just moved to a new country or will be traveling.
Payoneer’s fees vary depending on the type of payment that you request. However, transfers made between clients of Payoneer can be made without any fees.
With this link here, you can earn up to US$ 25 when you open your free Payoneer account.
Pros of using Payoneer for international transfers:
- It’s very easy and fast for freelancers to receive payments
- You can create & send invoices to your clients directly through Payoneer
- Payoneer’s prepaid international credit card lets you make ATM withdrawals anywhere in the world
- It’s easy to create a Payoneer account with your local currency that allows you to make/receive payments in a variety of other currencies
Cons of using Payoneer for international payments:
- Their fees can be a bit high (for example, if you receive a payment by credit card, there’s a 3% fee)
- To transfer your Payoneer balance to your own bank account, you’ll need to pay a 2% fee if they are different currencies (there is also a fixed fee of $1.50 if the transfer is from dollar to dollar)
- There’s also an account fee of $29.95 if you go 12 months without making a transaction
If you’re a service provider who needs to send out invoices, then Invoice Ninja is a great option.
Created in 2014, the platform was made for self-employed individuals (freelancers, contractors, digital nomads, etc.) and small and medium companies.
To use the platform, all you need to do is create an account, add in your business info, choose your preferred payment option among the more than 40 available, and create your invoice.
The best part is that you can do all of this for free.
But if you’re interested, there’s also a premium version that gives you more invoices to choose from and the ability to create invoices automatically (such as for services that are paid monthly, for example).
Invoice Ninja’s paid plans start at $10 per month.
Pros of using Invoice Ninja for international transfers:
- They have some atypical options for payments, including payment options that may be local to your area (like PagSeguro for Brazil), Paypal, and Coinbase (which allows you to pay in Bitcoin)
- Their free plan includes a lot of features and may be all you need
- But if you do need it, the premium plan is one of the cheapest options out there for comparable services
Cons of using Invoice Ninja for international transfers:
- With the free plan, there’s a limited number of clients you can invoice
- With the free plan, the Invoice Ninja logo will be on all your invoices
Wave is a financial software created in 2010 that focuses on entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses.
(It’s also Nikki’s favorite platform for creating invoices & receiving payments from clients!)
Right inside Wave Accounting, you can create custom invoices, set up recurring invoices, and view data/charts on invoices that have already been paid. All for free!
You can also use Wave Payment as an option for receiving payments.
The fees for Wave vary from 1% to 3.4% for payment by credit card, direct debit, and Paypal. The amount of time to receive payment is usually two business days.
Pros of using Wave for international transfers:
- The service is totally free
- There’s no limit on the number of clients or invoices
- You can do just about everything – create custom invoices, send them out, receive payment & keep track of who has/hasn’t paid – right within the platform
Cons of using Wave for international transfers:
- It can be quite difficult to get a hold of Wave’s customer service if you need help (their live chat is only available to paying customers)
Founded in 2003, Freshbooks is a full-service accounting platform that lets you manage all the financial parts of your business in a single place.
Their focus is on freelancers, as well as businesses with employees and service providers.
With Freshbooks, you’ll be able to create custom invoices, organize your expenses and receipts, receive payments, and more. Either via their website or via the Freshbooks app on your phone.
The payment options that Freshbooks works with include credit cards, bank transfers, Apple Pay, Stripe, and Paypal. Their transfer fees are 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction via credit card, or 1% for bank transfers.
Unfortunately, unlike the other companies recommended here, you have to have a paid Freshbooks plan in order to use them for international payments. Their paid plans start at $4.50 per month.
Pros of using Freshbooks for international transfers:
- It’s the most complete platform we’re recommending on this list today as it can help you do much more than simply receive international payments
- It was made just for freelancers and self-employed workers
- You can have a 30-day free trial to test out the service
Cons of using Freshbooks for international transfers:
- You have to have a paid plan (starting at $4.50/month) to use the platform for transfers
- The most basic plan only allows you to work with 5 clients
- It’s an extra $10/month for each team member you add to your plan
Unlike the other platforms we’ve recommended so far, Wise (formerly Transferwise) is not a small business accounting platform where you can create invoices and request payment from clients.
Instead, it’s a platform made expressly for international money transfers.
Since it has the lowest fees of any options on this list, it’s Nikki and my favorite choice when we’re traveling, living overseas, or need to send/receive payments from abroad.
With Wise, you can either perform your transfer directly from one account to another, using Wise as an intermediary, or create a multi-currency business account. When you create a multi-currency account, you’ll receive a MasterCard debit card that’ll allow you to shop and make ATM withdrawals around the world.
Pros of using Wise for international transfers:
- Wise’s fees are very low, making it one of the best options for sending & receiving money from abroad
- You can do a “simulation” transfer to see all potential fees and see what the fastest and cheapest way to pay is
- You can get an international debit card
- You can receive payments from foreign businesses into your Wise account
Cons of using Wise for international transfers:
- There are limits as to how much money to can send monthly and annually (this varies based on the currency – to increase your limit, you may need to provide Wise with some extra documents)
- Wise’s multi-currency accounts aren’t available to residents of all countries
- You can’t emit invoices or request payments
Azimo is a dutch company, founded in 2021, that currently operates in nearly every country globally and has great ratings for its customer service.
Azimo has a service designed just for small businesses, called Azimo Business. With Azimo Business, you can pay international invoices and employees and partners abroad.
Beyond this, you don’t need to worry about monthly limits since you can send up to £250,000 in a single transfer.
For both personal and business transfers, you can also simulate a transfer to see all fees and payment delivery time before moving forward. All of this can be done via the website or the application.
With this link, you can have a 50 euro discount on your first international transfer of 250 euros or more!
Pros of using Azimo for international transfers:
- Your first two transfers with Azimo (as an individual) won’t have any fees
- Your first five transfers with Azimo (as a business) won’t have any fees
- It’s possible to receive your transfers within an hour, even on weekends and holiday
Cons of using Azimo for international transfers:
- If you don’t use Azimo Business, you can’t create invoices or request payments
- The fees vary, so it’s hard to know if it’s the cheapest option or not
Bonus 1: Xe
Founded in Canada in 1993, Xe is another large company in the international transfer world, working with more than 130 countries and 98 different currencies.
Like Azimo, Xe has a plan especially for businesses. This plan allows you to make international payments and manage bulk payments for suppliers and employees.
They also have a number of useful tools on their website and app like charts, historical rates, and a currency converter. You can also simulate your transfer to check the final fees and delivery time (though you do have to create an account, first).
Pros of using Xe for international transfers:
- They have lots of useful tools for individuals who work with multiple currencies
- You can sign up to receive email updates on current exchange rates for certain currencies
- It only takes 1-3 business days to receive your payments
- There are no service fees for common transfers (like from dollar to euro) above $500
Cons of using Xe for international transfers:
- You have to create a free account to see how much you’ll pay in fees
- They don’t always have the best exchange rate
- You can only make transfers via bank transfers and direct debits/deposits (no credit or debit card options)
Bonus 2: TransferGo
TransferGo is a British company whose customer base is primarily made up of immigrants who send money home to their families. Because of this, they stand out for their cheap money transfer rates (plus the first transfer is free) and fast delivery options (with next-day delivery available for 40+ countries).
So while it’s primarily used by individuals, it’s also an option that can work for freelancers or small businesses on a budget.
However, TransferGo is available for a smaller number of currencies & countries than the others recommended on this list. It seems to primarily serve Europe (although they are always adding new countries and currencies), so check on their website to see if it’ll work for you.
When making transfers and payments with TransferGo, you can use this coupon code here: HMSESq
Pros of using TransferGo for international transfers:
- They are very upfront about their fees (and have some of the lowest ones out there)
- You can receive payments via bank transfer/direct debit, credit card, debit card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay
- They have a very easy-to-use mobile app that lets you send/receive international transfers in minutes
- In some cases, your transfer can reach its destination in 30 minutes
- They have reliable, highly-rated customer service available in 9 languages
Cons of using TransferGo for international transfers:
- They are a bit more limited in the countries/currencies they service (about 60 in total… with about half of these which you can only send money to but not from)
- It focuses on UK and European citizens & companies (which means it may not work for you if you’re an American living in Korea, for example)
Bonus 3: Paypal
The final company on the list is probably the most well-known option for money transfers.
But to be honest, Paypal is generally one of the more expensive options for international money transfers (so I don’t know why so many people still use it!). That said, it’s worth comparing the rates with the other options above just in case.
One reason it tends to be so expensive is that you can only work with one currency, meaning you’ll have to pay a high fee of 3.5-4.5% on top of the exchange rate any time you want to exchange currency.
They also charge a “commercial fee” for business transfers (such as when you request a payment from a client). This fee can be as high as 6.40% if you’re receiving a payment from overseas.
That said, a Paypal account can be useful to have anyway since you can use your digital wallet to make payments through Invoice Ninja, Wave, and Freshbooks, to name a few. This way, by keeping some funds in this wallet, you can make payments, shop online, and make transfers to other Paypal clients or to your own bank account without fees.
Pros of using Paypal for international transfers:
- With Paypal, you can create invoices and request payment
- With your Paypal digital wallet, you can shop online and make transfers to other Paypal clients (if done as a “friends/family” transfer and not a “business” transfer) for free
Cons of using Paypal for international transfers:
- You can’t work with multiple currencies on Paypal and the exchange rate isn’t one of the best
- Their conversion and business transfer fees are very high
Bonus 4: Zoho
Zoho isn’t simply a tool you can use to deal with finances or international money transfers. Instead, it’s a company that offers more complex packages that you can use to manage your entire business.
They have a few different packages to choose from, with the most popular being CRM Plus.
With this package, you’ll have access to apps for monitoring clients, data analysis, marketing automation, and sales.
But the package that’s most relevant to our discussion here today is Zoho Finance Plus, a full-service financial platform that can really help the finance teams for small and medium businesses. With this package, you can create and send out invoices, manage your cash flow with accounts receivable and payable, and create custom payment pages.
Zoho Finance Plus is $149/month (which really only makes it worth it if you’ll be using all the other financial features it includes!).
Pros of using Zoho for international transfers:
- If you’re not satisfied with the service, you can request a refund in the first 30 days for a monthly plan, or the first 45 days for an annual plan
- Beyond choosing a primary currency to work in, you can also add in secondary currencies
- It’s a complete financial platform that you can pull your whole team onto
- It’s a great option for ecommerce businesses
Cons of using Zoho for international transfers:
- It’s not cheap and includes a lot of extra features that might not be needed, so it’s likely not the best option for people like freelancers
Here are the best and cheapest platforms to send & receive international payments as a freelancer or business:
- Invoice Ninja
- Wise (formerly Transferwise)
- Xe (Bonus 1)
- TransferGo (Bonus 2)
- Paypal (Bonus 3)
- Zoho (Bonus 4)
If you’re a company that needs to pay its international employees, or a freelancer/digital nomad service provider who receives payments from clients overseas, then I’m sure this list will help.
The most important thing to remember is to look carefully at the exchange rates and fees before you make your transfer.
And as you might have noticed, if the company and service provider can use the same platform, even better! In most cases, the payments will be processed instantly with reduced (or even zero!) fees.
So…what do you think? If you have any questions, drop them into the comments area below and I’ll get back to you. Or if you have another company to recommend, let us know as well (we always welcome new insights!).