How to receive payments: 14 tools for freelancers

receive payments as a freelancer

Working as a freelancer undoubtedly has wonderful perks and advantages – like being able to take on a job in the convenience of your own home and having more free time for yourself.

However, there’s always the worry of not receiving payment, particularly when working with clients who are thousands of miles away.

In case you’re wondering about the best ways freelancers can receive funds, here’s a roundup of the top 10 tools for receiving payments–as recommended by freelancers around the world.


Freshbooks is the #1 invoicing software for freelancers and solopreneurs who want to get paid on time.

💔 Falling out of love with your clients? Trade some of your worst clients for the best companies in the world with SolidGigs, our premium weekly freelance job list & course library. Love your business again. Learn more »

With Freshbooks you can create invoices in 30 seconds or less. And you’ll get notified when your client opens the invoice and Freshbooks will send automatic email reminders if they forget to pay the first time around.

Try Freshbooks FREE for 30 days


HoneyBook streamlines and automates your client’s experience from inquiry to final invoice.

You can easily create and send branded proposals, contracts and customized invoices (not to mention the free invoice generator), all the while staying on top of client tasks with automated alerts and notifications.

We love how HoneyBook makes it easy to manually mark a payment as “Paid” inside any proposal or invoice file.

Sign up for HoneyBook today and get 50% off on your first year. 



Xero is small business accounting software that is beautifully simple. And it allows you to accept payments from your freelance clients no matter where they are. You can also sync your Zero account with PayPal or Apple Pay for easy and quick payments.

Try Xero free for 30 days by clicking here


Bonsai is an all-in-one management solution for freelancers. And they’re a great way to accept payments from your clients.

No more wondering when you’ll get paid: Bonsai tells you when the client interacts with your invoice and when they plan to pay. You can read my full Hello Bonsai review right here before you choose.

Try Bonsai free for 30 days


AND CO not only allows you to receive payments, but it also helps you manage every other aspect of your business. They pair you with a real-life human being who helps send invoices, manage projects, etc. Together with their cool app, AND CO is a total winner for freelancers.

Try AND CO for free — no credit card required (Plus, with our link, save 15% on your first year.)


Paymo is a great tool for receiving payments and also has some extra features that will help you keep your projects on-track and moving forward.

You can try Paymo free for 15 days by clicking here.


PayPal is considered one of the fastest, easiest and most popular options to receive online payments.

Once a payment is processed, funds are instantly credited to your account.

PayPal charges a nominal fee for every transaction, and they have very strict policies, so it’s a good idea to avoid any fraudulent or suspicious transactions.


This is considered by many as the most secure method for buyers and freelancers to process payments online.

A freelancer only begins work after the client has deposited the money into an Escrow account (handled by an independent, trusted third party) for a certain fee.

The money gets released once the job is completed. Escrow is a recommended option when working on a big job with an unknown client.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

In this payment system, funds can be sent from one bank account to another and there’s no intermediary party involved.

Essentially, you just need to provide certain banking information to your client and the funds will be wired to your selected account.

Google Checkout (Now Google Wallet)

Google Checkout is an integrated payment gateway that monitors your account information with its fraud protection program.

You’re allowed to accept free money transfers and integrate your Google account with other payment systems.

A good thing about Google Checkout is the low fees charged.


Similar to PayPal, Moneybookers allows you to send and receive funds via bank account, debit card and credit card.

It processes payments instantly, without geographical limitations (unlike PayPal which has set limitations on certain countries like India).

However, a major drawback with this payment option is that you can’t use it for online shopping.

Western Union

Western Union money transfers are quick and convenient, albeit the fees are comparatively higher.

Having more than 300,000 locations worldwide, you can receive payment from clients on the other side of the globe.

To send funds, your client has to go to any nearby Western Union branch and deposit the payment which you can collect from the pre-selected location.

Cash Wire Transfer

Cash wire transfer is a safe payment method but it usually takes a few days to complete.

Your client goes to the bank to order the transfer and a code is sent to your bank to request fund disbursement.

Both the recipient and sender are charged with a fee for the service.


This is another fast and convenient payment option that functions like PayPal, although it’s not popularly used by many online businesses as of yet.


MoneyGram is quite similar to Western Union except that it has fewer branches worldwide, approximately 100,000.

Also, there are transaction limits so it’s not an advisable option when transferring large sums of money.


Xoom works like Western Union but it allows transfer of funds only and it’s restricted to online transactions. Your client can choose payment options like credit card, bank account or PayPal, and send the funds directly to your preferred account.

How do you receive payments?

There are many other money transfer methods available online. Just keep in mind to choose the right payment option that will safely and surely let you receive the payment for your hard work.

What tools do you use to receive payments from your clients? Leave a comment and let us know what works best for you!

BONUS: Keeping track of all those payments with Bench

Here at Millo, we use Bench to track all of our payments and expenses. At Bench, they pair you with a real-life human team plus some killer software to help you track all the financial details of your business. We highly recommend them. Click here for a special 20% discount for 6 months.

Keep the conversation going...

Over 5,000 of us are having daily conversations over in our free Facebook group and we'd love to see you there. Join us!

  1. Great research ! These tools are really helpful and new to me as i am beginner in freelancing, ans what’s better to know than this list of good tools. We as freelancers are really glad to have these digital tools.Thanks for sharing this with us!

  2. I think the best option is to register on freelancing website like Toogit ( It charges flat 8% commission which is very less compared to other freelancing websites (25 to 30%).
    I am working as developer freelancer. One of my client is in USA/NewYork. I never faced any problem while receiving payments through this website.

  3. I would second ‘ESCROW’ as a solution. After not being paid by a client last year I now run all my clients through escrow and wouldn’t go back. There’s one I’ve found which is tailored for freelancers called PAYPACT ( Its supports things like milestones.

  4. Hi Nel thanks for your post; I noticed this page isnt showing a date when this blog was posted? Why I am curious about that, is because to know if anyone on here commenting or planning too! Can share any other payment portals (if this content is not be updated etc..) I am trying to find a gateway portal that only focuses on online freelancers and low fees etc..

    1. Hey Darren, for a solution focusing on freelancers I would recommend PayPact. It has low fees, and supports escrow too. Hope that helps.

  5. Good read, thanks. Paypal is a great payment method for freelancers. For many reasons you may need a different payment option other than PayPal. Payoneer can be a good alternative to PayPal to receive funds from freelancing marketplaces. I enjoyed Moneybookers in 2011, but (now) Skrill has changed their policy so people from our country are facing difficulty with this. If I were to choose top 3 payment methods for freelancers, I would select PayPal, Payoneer and Skrill. Here is why:

  6. You may also want to consider Tipalti ( Tipalti is a multi-method payment platform so your freelancers can choose which global payment method they prefer (PayPal, ACH, Wire transfer, Echeck / Intl ACH, prepaid debit card, etc) and also choose to receive their funds in over 100 local currencies.


  7. it`s Great Published!

    I would like to suggest small and user friendly invoice tracking application. i.e.moon invoice its Mobile application to track your invoice, Payment tracking on each task. Moon invoice also support cloud based so you can access or use anywhere from your iOS Device.

    Marketing Executive (

  8. Nice Read !

    Fanurio is another amazing invoicing solution for freelancers.

    Fanurio can export invoices to HTML, PDF, Microsoft Word 2007, OpenOffice OpenDocument and other formats so they can be printed or e-mailed. Invoice templates can be created manually, with a visual editor (Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Word or OpenOffice) or with the built-in template editor.

  9. I would add Transpay into this. The newer systems have
    figured out what PayPal and Payoneer couldn’t in their time, how to become
    faster and cheaper. When I use Transpay, I know that the money I send will get
    to my freelancers within hours and I won’t pay the surprising fees other
    services come up with

  10. Nice List !

    Would like to introduce with one more useful tool for freelances i.e. Invoicera.

    It is an online solution helps freelancers to invoice their clients easily and get paid quicker. Multiple payment gateways, languages and currencies simplify the payment processes with international clients.

  11. Does anyone know of a payment system that offers an escrow account? I’m looking for something where the client deposits money, I do the work, they review it and when they are satisfied the payment is sent on to me. Thanks! ~Angela

    1. Wish I could answer your question, but you might post this on the Millo Insiders Facebook page to get more eyes on it.

      Good luck!

  12. I have used PayPal for years, but last year (2012), I learned that PayPal leans toward the buyers.

    I had two cases where, the client paid, I submitted my works, and within days, the client submitted a dispute. Of course, in no time, the fund was taken from my PayPal account.

    The clients have their Websites and I do not have anything.

    Thank you PayPal for “investigating” the matters.

    1. That happened to us as well. Paypal sides with client especially if client pays with a credit card. they defer to Credit card rules.

  13. Don’t forget about Intuit PaymentNetwork. They make EFT payment simple, and only charge $0.50 per EFT transaction no matter what amount you are receiving.

  14. Don’t forget about Intuit PaymentNetwork. They only charge $0.50 per transaction, no matter what amount you are receiving.

  15. Why anyone would use any service that charges a fee is beyond me. I used PayPal once, until I saw they had lopped off whatever % they take, which for that project was around $100. Never again.

    Keep it simple…check or EFT, period. Those are the easiest solutions for both parties, and you keep every dime that you earned.

  16. When doing design or development work I have a policy of 50% down. After discussing the project I write up an estimate for time as well. Try to keep the feedback loops short and the decision aka check writers up to speed with progress, hurdles and delays. Normally get paid on time, however I have found that PayPal and checks have been pretty reliable for me. We just launched a billing product for that acts as a vertical terminal called BizeeBee billing. I have only taken a handful of credit cards personally, but billing works well for those I do reoccurring work with.

  17. PayPal has a limit of $10k per transaction, so if you expect to take in more than that or if you aren’t comfortable giving your clients multiple invoices to cover a bill that exceeds $10k that can be a problem. The best alternative is to be able to accept payments directly.

    If your client wants to pay via AMEX corporate card you need to become a certified vendor in order to accept payments. Having gone through this process multiple ways, I suggest applying to AMEX through your bank. Most banks will have a Merchant Account services division that will help you apply and though it’s just theory on my part, you probably have a better chance of being approved. Especially if you have a good relationship with your bank.

    If you have great credit and own your own home, you could be approved even if you don’t have a history of charging more than $10k per transaction. Or, if you DO have a history of charging more than $10k per transaction this can also help you become approved.

    If none of this works out, I suggest getting an accountant who can take payments for you through Intuit or another source that is reputable. They may charge a small fee, but it will be less than many third parties who process credit card payments (who may charge as much as 15%) and you’ll look professional.

  18. I am going to check into a couple of those. I am trying to move away from PayPal for some of my stuff due to their lack of support and protection for digital item sales. I have started to use the Intuit Payment Network. I like it overall. It is a little bit higher on fees it seems with a credit card payment, but a lot lower if they do not use a credit card. The problem is getting them to use non-credit card payment. For large payment clients that is typically not a problem, for the digital sales that I was interested in using it for that is more of an issue as they want to use a credit card or debit card most of the time.

  19. Hi,

    I am freelancer designer for the past five years, recently one of my client sent me the money through western money union but when I tried to withdraw it, they said the money transfer pin my client gave me expired. Then, his mail went off and not attending the calls. How to handle such situations.

  20. This is definitely something I needed to read. Because I usually just use paypal to accept payment. But the fees tend to get a little annoying afterwhile.

  21. I use PayPal primarily, and I use Square, too, like meligrosa. However, like Gary has mentioned, I have several clients who prefer checks.

    Always, I get a percentage up front, though! Usually 50%, or on large project, 33% and another 33% at the halfway point in the project.

  22. — For good clients who pay within 10 days, checks are OK.
    — For not-so-good clients who have been more than 30 days in paying once, prepay in full via ECT before I start the project, with follow-up billing and payment by check — but I hold the source files and copyright transfer until it’s all paid.
    After a total of 25 years as an independent creative director (freelancer), one of my three iron-clad rules in working with clients: “Don’t mess with the paycheck!”

The conversation's still going in our free Facebook group . Join us there!