Why is it becoming more and more common for businesses to pay their employees online, or for independent contractors to be compensated electronically? Paper checks are just no longer the norm, especially after the coronavirus has people concerned about the health and safety of sending them as well. But waiting for checks in the mail simply takes too long, plus there’s always a chance they could get lost or delayed along the way. Not to mention getting paid online can be done not only locally, but it can even transcend international borders and allow you to be paid by clients from all over the world. The following methods are some of the most reliable ways to be paid online.
Getting Paid Through Direct Deposit Via Payroll Software
The usual way for paying employees is through direct deposit, where the amount of each paycheck is automatically deposited in the employee or independent contractor’s bank account. If you’re an employee, you usually just need to give your employer your checking account number and routing number. In the past, business owners were usually required to purchase expensive accounting software to do this, but cheaper online-based accounting and payroll software have emerged recently. The only other considerations to make are the impact of direct deposit on payroll taxes and cash flow, and the level of security that the payroll software offers.
Getting Paid Via Online Merchant Accounts
If direct deposit via accounting software isn’t an option for you to get paid, you could consider having it sent through a merchant account. Many e-commerce websites use these services to send or receive payments, and several of them have accounts for individual users. Transferring money from one account to another can happen instantly, and it doesn’t usually take long to set up an account. Some of these online merchant accounts can be used similarly to bank accounts in that they come with debit cards that can be used to withdraw from the merchant account at regular ATMs, or even for making purchases at regular retailers. Others may require you to link to an active bank account to transfer your funds once you receive them. But even if you do have to transfer from a merchant account to your bank, you will still usually be able to receive your money in one to three business days. Plus, these services typically offer currency conversion if you need to get paid in a different currency than what your client uses. Usually, this payment method is highly secure.
Getting Paid Via A Traditional Money Transfer Service
If you are dealing with clients who have limited ways in which to pay you online, or if you want to receive money in cash but not through the mail or money order, you could ask clients to send money online with Western Union. This service has been around since 1851, believe it or not, and has offered money transfer since 1871, although it wasn’t until the late 20th century that instant international transfers started being made. It used to be that you had to go through a local agent to transfer or receive money, a service that’s still offered if you’re sending or receiving cash. But if you want to send money via bank account ACH transfer, prepaid debit card, or credit card, you can do that in the comfort of your own home. If you are going to be picking up your Western Union payment in cash, you will need an ID and tracking number from your sender so that the agent knows the correct person is picking it up.
Getting Paid Via Bitcoin Or Other Cryptocurrency
This is a very new form of online payment, and there are still things that need to be improved with blockchain technology, but there are some companies that are already paying with cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is usually the recommended cryptocurrency to use since it’s been around the longest, and it’s considered the most well-known of all cryptocurrencies. But there are a few others out there that can be used if you believe they’re reliable enough. You will need to get a crypto wallet to get paid this way, and the main risk is its market value. Right now, its value is high relative to the dollar and other currencies, but it has been known to fluctuate a lot. And if you want to convert cryptocurrency into local fiat currency, you will need to find an exchange platform or ATM to do so.
In summary, there are a lot of platforms to use for sending money online securely, and usually, they can be used for free. You just need to contact your client to see which ones are available in their country, which ones have the lowest transfer fees and exchange rates, and which are the most convenient for them to use.