Digital Payment Platforms for Filipino Freelancers

Digital Payment Platforms for Filipino Freelancers

 
Photo by SCREEN POST on Unsplash

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen how the work from home setup has become the new normal and how the so-called gig economy continuous to grow. The gig economy refers to technology-enabled kinds of work which are often short-term and flexible online jobs being done by independent contractors and freelancers. Some Filipinos affected by the lockdown have explored new ways to make a living through digital careers which can be through freelancing, remote working, or being self-employed.

In an article by Forbes, the Philippines ranked sixth among the fastest-growing markets for freelancers in 2019, with a 35% growth from the previous year. Paypal’s Global Freelancer Insights Report in 2018, analyzed 22 countries and the Philippines has one of the highest numbers of freelancers per capita, at around 2 percent or roughly 1.5 to 2 million Filipinos. More so, ever since the pandemic happened, the so-called “gig economy” has grown significantly here in our country.
 
The Challenge of Receiving Money Internationally
Sending and receiving money to the Philippines from another country can be quite challenging because of the international money transfer fees and exchange rates. 
 
When it comes to choosing a secured and reliable money transfer service, there are several factors that we need to consider like the exchange rates, transfer fees, security, convenience, speed of delivery, and receiving options. Fortunately, different payment platform options exist today for transferring money internationally. But figuring out which would work best for us can be overwhelming.
 
Digital Payment Platforms
As a freelancer myself who is based in the Philippines, I always try to find the best options for me to receive payments  from international clients which I want to share in this article. 

The purpose of this post is not just to highlight digital payment transfer options for Filipinos who are self-employed or freelancers but also for Filipinos working abroad who want to look for good options for them to send money to their loved ones here in our country. In this article, I will classify the digital payment transfer options into two: (1) through fiat money and (2) cryptocurrency.
 
Digital Platforms for Fiat Money
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Fiat money is any money whose value is backed by the government that issued like the U.S. dollar, Philippine peso, Euro, and many other major world currencies. Here are some of the payment platform options that handle fiat money:

  • Wise
    If the sender lives in the United States, Europe and other countries in Asia, he/she can send money at lower rates compared to banks, other remittance companies, and online payment companies. Wise has lower rates than PayPal since it doesn’t add exchange rates on top of their transaction fees.

    As an example, to send money in GBP to Philippines, the sender will pay a small, flat fee of 0.59 GBP + 0.49% of the amount that’s converted. Zero fees when you send at least USD$200 to a Philippine peso account and if you pay with a bank account.

    On many popular routes, Wise can send your money within one day, as a same day transfer, or even an instant money transfer. Sometimes, different payment methods or routine checks may affect the transfer delivery time. It usually takes 1–2 working days for the money to arrive in the recipient’s bank account. Currency conversion can take up to 2 working days and they will give you an estimate for how long your transfer will take when you set it up. Check their latest fees here.

    It offers three options when it comes to your recipient receiving the cash you send: cash pickup, bank deposit and door to door delivery. It facilitates instant bank deposit to the some of the banks in the country. Local banks we can use to withdraw money from Wise includes BDO, BPI, China Bank, Citibank, Metrobank, PNB, Union Bank, etc. If you don’t have a bank account, you can also use an e-wallet like GCash or PayMaya to receive money. Cash pickup at remittance centers is not yet available.

  • PayPal has been a well-known option to use for doing financial transactions online, like shopping, sending money, and receiving payments. The total cost of PayPal’s cross-border transfer with a currency exchange is between 2.5-10%. Refer to PayPal’s fees page for more information. You can easily add a bank account to withdraw any funds sent to your account. It usually takes 3-5 business days for fund transfers to go through your bank account.

  • Payoneer
    With Payoneer, you can receive payments from international clients and withdraw it to your local bank account easily. It is used in more than 200 countries worldwide, but the currencies available in the Philippines are only limited to USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, AUD, MXN, CAD.

    Currency exchange through Payoneer will get you pay up to 2% above the mid-market rate. This cost will be paid by the sender if he/she doesn’t have a Payoneer account and the money is being sent directly to a foreign bank account. If the receiver has a Payoneer account and the sender transferred a major currency to them, the receiver will pay the 2% exchange rate when transferring the money to their bank account if currency conversion is needed. The fees for receiving and withdrawing money can affect the amount received.

    There’s a cheaper and faster way to transfer money on the platform which is through the Payoneer-to-Payoneer transfer. This kind of transfer doesn’t have any fees and are typically sent within a few hours. Note that if the sender used a Payoneer-to-Payoneer transfer to someone who doesn’t have a Payoneer account yet, the transaction has a fee unless they sign up for an account. 

    For an international bank transfer, the payment transfer will take 2-5 business days after receiving confirmation email. Transfers within the Philippines typically take between 1 and 2 business days. For a local bank withdrawal, it will take 1-2 business days after receiving confirmation email.

  • TANG App

    Tang is an international peer-to-peer mobile transaction and payments app that aims to boost financial inclusion for Filipinos that don’t have a bank account. The sender abroad can send phone credit by inputting a phone number of the recipient and select which bundle of airtime they want to send and the transaction is complete as easy as sending a text message. The receiver in the Philippines receives an instantaneous confirmation text as the phone credit top-up arrives and is ready for them to use. Although, the phone credit that you can send is from ₱30 to ₱1,000 only.

Digital Platforms for Cryptocurrency

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This part should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency. It is highly volatile. Always use and trade with caution.

In the world of currencies, cryptocurrency needs no introduction. It is becoming more popular throughout the entire world and has disrupted how we do financial transactions. It is a decentralized digital money, based on blockchain technology. According to CoinLore, there are more than 5,000 different cryptocurrencies in circulation and you may be familiar with the most popular versions, Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The downside of receiving cryptocurrencies is the volatility of the market which could make the value of your coins go up and down at any moment. This could be both a good and bad thing. You can use the coins to start trading cryptocurrencies or you can just sell them immediately to avoid the price value of the coins being low. For me, once I get paid by a client through BTC, I just hold my coins and sell them once the value of it goes up already. But this is just my personal preference which may not apply to all.

If you’re planning on receiving cryptocurrencies as one of your options to get paid, one of the key steps you’ll need to consider is finding a crypto platform where you can buy, sell, and store cryptocurrency which the challenge is in sifting through them all to find one that’s right for your needs. Here are a few of the platforms that you can use:

With Coins.ph, you’ll only need to share your BTC wallet address (or other cryptocurrencies: Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, XRP) to the sender or send your QR code for them to scan. You’ll instantly receive the coins once the sender made a transfer to your wallet. You can receive BTC from anyone, even if they don’t have a Coins.ph account. Once you receive it, you can sell your coins and convert them to PHP.

You can connect your bank account to Coins.ph to cash out your money. There are a lot of options for you to cash out funds in Coins.ph like bank transfer, e-wallets, remittance centers, and cash card which I find pretty convenient without the high fees.

In my experience, I cashed out my funds through my local bank, BDO. I just entered my account number and the fund was transferred to my bank account within 14 hours with zero transfer fee. I got notified through email and text message that the fund was already transferred to my bank.
To receive coins, you can use the cryptocurrency-specific PDAX wallet address that was generated as your wallet either by scanning the QR code or sending the wallet address to the sender. The total amount of your cash out and the convenience fee will be deducted from your PDAX balance.
To cash out funds, you can use the following payment channels: PESONet, instaPay, UnionBank, PayMaya, Mlhuillier, Cebuana Lhuillier. The total amount of your cash out and the convenience fee will be deducted from your PDAX balance.
You can use my code REF-4e3c0f82bd10 to claim your signup reward of PHP 30 worth of bitcoin.
Binance holds more than 45 virtual coins including BTC, ETH, LTC and Binance Coin. You can receive coins to your Binance account by sending your QR code or BTC address to the sender. Always make sure and check that you are sending the right address. Non-BTC funds sent to the BTC address will not be able to be retrieved and can be permanently lost.

DISCLAIMER


The views, the opinions and the positions expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent those of the companies or any company or individual affiliated with them. The author does not guarantee accuracy, completeness or validity of any statements made within this article. The author accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author. Any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights also remains with them.

This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement to use the applications, cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. This is not a recommendation to trade.

This post contains referral/affiliate links, which means if you click through on most of the links and end up signing up I will receive a small commission. This will not affect the price that you pay. I wanted to make sure that you’re aware of this.

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