There are many ways to pay your workers around the world. At Time Doctor, we currently have 80 people in 23 countries, so we are very familiar with paying workers around the world.
TransferWise is able to send money to many countries, but not all. The recipient must have a bank account to receive their money. The transfer cost is usually 0.5-1% INCLUDING the currency conversion fee. This is extremely cheap. PayPal, for example, charges as much as 6.5% for a transfer (a 2.5% currency conversion fee and up to 4% for the transfer fee). The downside of TransferWise is that it is not very automated. To cut costs you must use a local transfer method to transfer your money to TransferWise. In the US, that means sending them the money via ACH. If your bank account is in the US and you do not have ACH activated, call your bank and ask them what it would take to get ACH activated. Otherwise, it will cost you a lot more to transfer (via a wire transfer, for example). In countries like Australia, the UK, and all of Western Europe, local currency transfer methods are standard and enabled in every bank account so you will have no problems.
Payoneer allows the recipient to receive the money as a transfer into their bank account or to receive a debit card and then withdraw the money from an ATM. It is available in almost every country, but are only really set up for larger companies that have multiple transfers each month. Their minimum requirements are $10k in transfers per month and 10 beneficiaries.
PayPal is another very convenient option that is easy to use. While it is probably the easiest to use, we do not use it to pay our own employees because TransferWise has lower fees and because Payoneer provides more options for receiving the funds, such as via a debit card.
NOTE: The cost varies significantly. We have given you the cost to send $1000 from the US to the Philippines as an example, but it will vary a lot per country. We did this just to offer you a starting point for comparing costs. You can review all of the individual country articles listed above to find the lowest cost transfer method for each country.
How does Time Doctor pay their employees?
We use TransferWise because it is usually the way with the lowest cost to transfer money and has no hidden currency exchange fees. We use Payoneer for some workers because it is convenient and is available in almost every country. They also provide a debit card to withdraw money from an ATM, which is a very useful method for receiving funds in some countries like Ukraine and Russia.
Hidden Currency Exchange Fees
Please note that almost all transfer methods have a hidden currency conversion fee. They may not tell you about it, but it is a fee. In fact, this is often how they make the majority of their money. All banks have hidden currency conversion fees. They will give you an exchange rate that is not the market rate and the difference lies in this hidden fee that they charge. TransferWise is one of the few options without a hidden fee. You can learn more about these hidden fees in this article.
Convenient and Automated Methods
PayPal and Payoneer are the two most convenient and automated methods. They are both have Time Doctor integrations. For each set of payments that you want to send, you will need to approve your payroll in Time Doctor and then log into PayPal or Payoneer to upload the .CSV file that Time Doctor will generate for you.
We do not have a completely automated payment method. Upwork, for example, automatically charges your credit card each week to pay your workers. Why don’t we have this kind of method? There are two reasons:
- Because it would cost you a lot more money if we did it this way. We would have to charge credit card fees as well as an extra fee to cover the risk to us. We prefer to give you access to the cheapest methods to transfer money without charging you extra fees.
- We do not want to risk accidentally sending your workers the wrong amount of money before we know that you have reviewed and approved your payroll.
Options for Paying Workers in the US
This article is primarily about paying workers outside of the US. If you are a US-based company paying contractors in the US, there are a lot of established payment methods you can use, such as ACH payments through your bank. PayPal mass payments are a good option in this case as they have a fixed cost of $1 per payment.