Creating your first freelancer invoice is one thing, but getting paid another! There are more ways than ever to accept payments, from credit card remittances to wire transfers or using payment platforms such as PayPal.
The important thing is to think about payment options before you write your first invoice because bank charges and international payment fees can make a sizable difference to your earnings. Today, we’ll explore some of the popular options and explain the pros and cons to keep in mind when you’re creating your first invoice documents.
Payment Options for Freelance Professionals
Invoice Ninja recommends you include a payment link integrated into your invoices. Why? Because busy clients prioritize efficiency and time over everything else–make it quicker and easier to pay you, and you’ll receive payments faster, and make it a pleasure to deal with your documents!
If in doubt, it’s best to check in with your client to see which payment methods are most convenient for them or to offer a couple of options to provide flexibility.
Is it mandatory to send an invoice regardless of your selected payment options? In short, yes, invoices are legal documents that evidence a service rendered and payment owing.
Next, let’s look at the primary payment methods to help you choose which may be most suitable.
Physical Check Payments
While online payments mean checks are rarer, they’re far from obsolete, and many companies still rely on check payments, usually issued monthly or every two weeks. If your client only provides check payments, you may need to accept this as the only way to receive your remittance.
Most banks provide online check deposit tools via their apps, but it’s worth verifying the check has cleared with your bank before you start any new projects. International checks can also carry steep charges, so this isn’t the best solution if you’re working with clients from overseas.
There are many online payment services, from Apple Pay to PayPal, Venmo to Wise, but some will charge a fee if you use the platform to accept business payments. Double-check the fees, and if you’re satisfied, you can link your checking account (or personal payment account) to access your money as soon as it arrives.
Fee-charging services can seem less than optimal, but it’s essential to remember that as a freelance business, you still need to declare payments received through a free service for tax purposes, so you should keep receipts.
PayPal is perhaps the most common, but you’ll need to factor in average fees of 2.9%, with other services providing cheaper cost structures, so it’s worth doing a little research.
Finally, your client may decide to pay via wire transfer, again with the caveat that payments made in another currency carry a charge of $30 or above, depending on the issuing country and whether the client’s bank is part of the same network. However, recurring bank transfers can work well for ongoing freelance gigs where the client remits the same amount, often as a retainer, straight into your account every month.
Make sure you still create an invoice every month for your records and your client’s accounts–Invoice Ninja provides automated recurring invoices for just this reason! Transfers are slower and less convenient than online payments, but again, it might be down to your client and the payment options they’re prepared to offer.