Advertiser Disclosure

💳 Save money on credit card processing with one of our top 5 picks for 2024

Best Apps For Freelance Payments 2024

If you are a freelancer looking for ways to get paid, keep reading to discover why we prefer Square or QuickBooks over popular options like Venmo.

    Shannon Vissers
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Chris Motola

    Chris Motola

    Expert Contributor

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

Getting paid as a freelancer can be tricky. Freelancers have no standard payment platform or app to get paid, and freelance payments are frequently late.

For freelancers, contractors, and consultants looking to spend more time doing billable work and less time sending invoices and chasing after payments, we put together this guide on how to get paid as a freelancer.

We’re happy to let you know that freelancers can use several affordable payment platforms to send invoices and get paid online. From credit cards to ACH to money transfer apps, the best freelance payment systems will facilitate you getting paid via modern, safe, quick methods.

Let’s review the best online payment software for freelance payments and other tips on getting paid as a freelancer.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For

Read More

  • Best free invoicing app
  • Monthly fee: $0 or $16
  • Online payments: 2.9% + $0.60
  • Best free invoicing app
  • Monthly fee: $0 or $16
  • Online payments: 2.9% + $0.60

Visit Site

Read More

Square Invoices

Read More

  • Best for contractors who take in-person payments with Square
  • Monthly fee: $0 or $20
  • Online payments: 2.9% or 3.3% + $0.30
  • Best for contractors who take in-person payments with Square
  • Monthly fee: $0 or $20
  • Online payments: 2.9% or 3.3% + $0.30

Visit Site

Read More


Read More

  • Best for freelancers with just a few clients
  • Monthly fee: $19 or $33
  • Online payments: 2.9% + $0.30
  • Best for freelancers with just a few clients
  • Monthly fee: $19 or $33
  • Online payments: 2.9% + $0.30

Start Trial

Read More


Read More

  • Best for offering PayPal payments
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Online payments: 2.99% or 3.49% + $0.49
  • Best for offering PayPal payments
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Online payments: 2.99% or 3.49% + $0.49

Visit Site

Read More

QuickBooks Self-Employed

Read More

  • Best for freelancers who use QuickBooks
  • Monthly fee: $20
  • Online payments: 2.99%
  • Best for freelancers who use QuickBooks
  • Monthly fee: $20
  • Online payments: 2.99%

Visit Site

Read More

Show More Options
Wise (Formerly TransferWise)

Read More

  • Best for receiving international freelance payments
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Transfer fees vary depending on current exchange rates
  • Best for receiving international freelance payments
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Transfer fees vary depending on current exchange rates

Visit Site

Read More

Show Fewer Options

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Table of Contents

Why Freelancers Use Online Payment Apps To Accept Payment

So how do freelancers get paid? And what are the best ways to get paid as a freelancer? Of course, the only fee-free way to accept payments from your clients is to take cash and/or checks. However, these old-school payment methods can’t match the safety and convenience of digital payments.

For freelancers of any type, online payments are faster, more secure than checks, and more convenient than collecting cash in person. Online and mobile payment apps are easy to use and offer numerous payment processing options, from bank transfers and credit cards to Apple Pay. Requesting payment from a client is as easy as emailing an invoice or texting a payment link.

Many online payment platforms also have project management and accounting software functionality, allowing freelancers to do things like send estimates, track project completion, and reconcile payments.

How Freelancers Get Paid: 6 Best Freelancer Payment Methods

Below are our top software picks for getting paid as a freelancer. These freelance payment methods offer invoicing and online payments with reasonable fees and pay-per-use service. The best freelancer payment apps also have added features like recurring billing, estimates, and automated payment reminders.

How The Best Freelance Payment Options Compare

Free plan Multicurrency Payout speed Added features
Wave 1-2 days Accounting features
Square Invoices 1-2 days Project management, POS integration, BNPL option
FreshBooks 2-3 days Accounting, project management, payment links
PayPal 1 day BNPL option, QR code payments
QuickBooks Solopreneur 1 day Accounting features, QR code payments
Wise 1-5 days Payment links

Wave: Best Free Invoicing App For Freelance Payments

Total Rating 3.9

Ease Of Use4.2


Customer Service4.3

User Reviews3.4

Accounting Method

Accrual & Cash Basis


$0 - $16/month

Business Size

Freelancers & small businesses with unlimited users


  • Free plan
  • Multicurrency support
  • Free accounting features


  • No project management features
  • Paid plan required to get lower processing fee

wave invoice example

Why We Chose Wave For Best Free Invoicing App

Wave is a bookkeeping and invoicing software solution, with a generous free plan that includes unlimited invoices, estimates, and bills, as well as invoice customization options and basic accounting features. Wave also has a paid plan with lower processing fees and additional bookkeeping features; however, Wave's free invoicing plan is one of the best we've seen.

Wave Freelance Payment Features

  • Accept credit, debit, ACH, & digital wallet payments (Apple Pay)
  • Mobile app for invoicing on-the-go
  • Attractive, modern, & customizable invoice templates
  • Supports 160+ currencies
  • Automated late payment reminders
  • Set up recurring invoices
  • Get paid out in 1-2 business days (up to 7 days with ACH)
  • Alerts when your invoice is viewed
  • Invoice dashboard showing overdue invoices, outstanding invoices, average number of days it takes your invoice to get paid, & your next payout

Wave Pricing

Wave has a free starter plan and a $16/month Pro plan.

Wave charges 2.9% + $0.60 per credit card transaction on its free plan with a processing time of 1-2 business days. On the paid plan, Wave charges a flat 2.9%. On either plan, Wave charges 1% per transaction for ACH payments with a processing time of two to seven days.

Wave Is Best For ...

  • Individuals who do occasional freelance work
  • Freelancers who need invoicing as well as some basic bookkeeping features

Get Started With Wave

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

Square Invoices: Best For Freelancers Who Need In-Person Payments

Square Invoices

Visit Site

Invoice Limit




Business size

Small to mid-sized businesses

Get a free card swiper from Square at no cost when you create a free account. Claim your card reader.


  • Free plan
  • Accepts Cash App & Afterpay
  • Integrates with Square POS & Square Online Store


  • No multicurrency support
  • Higher processing fees on free plan

Square invoices

Why We Chose Square Invoices For Freelancers That Take In-Person Payments

In addition to its flagship mobile POS, Square also offers a service called Square Invoices that lets you send invoices to clients and accept payments online. Square Invoices offers a good balance of functionality and affordability. With a free plan, you can send estimates, contracts, and payment reminders, as well as collect deposits.

Square Invoices does have some weaknesses — no multicurrency support and limited sales tax functionality. Still, Square Invoices is a good solution for businesses that want to take online and in-person payments, as the system integrates with Square's free mobile POS. All you need to start taking in-person (and online) payments with Square Invoices is a mobile card reader, which is also free.

Square Freelance Payment Features

Your Square Invoices account comes with the following features for freelancers:

  • Accept credit & debit cards, mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Cash App Pay), BNPL (Afterpay), gift cards, ACH payments, & more
  • Schedule recurring invoices
  • Save and charge cards on file
  • Collect deposits
  • Automatic payment reminders
  • Unlimited estimates
  • Send contracts with digital signature collection

Some “Plus” features include:

  • Create milestone-based payment schedules
  • Send batch invoices
  • Customize invoice layouts
  • Track project status
  • Auto-convert accepted estimates to invoices
  • Reduced transaction fee

Square Pricing

Square Invoices has no monthly fee unless you want Square Invoices Plus. For $20/month, this package offers some basic project management features and a lower per-transaction fee.

For online invoice payments on the Plus plan, the Square fee is 2.9% + $0.30 per invoice (debit, credit card, or mobile wallet payments) or 3.5% + $0.15 to charge a card stored on file. The fee is the same for all cards processed online, and there is no charge for customers who pay invoices via cash or check. For customers who want to pay with a credit card in person, you’ll pay the card-present rate of 2.6% + $0.10.

However, on the free plan, the processing fee for invoiced payments is higher: Square recently raised this fee to 3.3% + $0.30 per invoice.

The fee for ACH payments is 1% on either plan.

Square Invoices Is Best For ...

  • Independent contractors who want an invoicing program that can accept online and in-person payments
  • Any freelancer who wants a free invoicing program that also includes estimates, deposits, & payment reminders
  • Small businesses processing less than $10K/month

Get Started With Square Invoices

Jump back to comparison chart

FreshBooks: Best For Freelancers With Limited Number Of Clients

Total Rating 4.1

Ease Of Use4.4


Customer Service4.9

User Reviews4.1

Accounting Method

Accrual Only


$19 - $60/month

Business Size

Smaller to mid-sized businesses with a limited number of users


  • Accounting features
  • Multicurrency support
  • Option to use Stripe or PayPal as processor


  • Limits on number of users & clients
  • Not as many accounting features as QuickBooks

Freshbooks checkout links

Why We Chose FreshBooks For Freelancers With Just A Few Clients

Technically, FreshBooks is accounting software, but it lacks accounts-payable capabilities, so it might not work as well for accounting as the various versions of QuickBooks. With that being said, FreshBooks offers a few more invoicing features than QuickBooks Solopreneur, including the ability to send estimates and schedule late fees. FreshBooks also has project management capabilities, such as the ability to manage project budgets.

Both of FreshBooks' plans for freelancers have a client limit; however, the lower-priced (Lite) plan has a lot of functionality at a low price point for freelancers with just a few clients.

FreshBooks Freelance Payment Features

FreshBooks offers these freelancer payment features:

  • Accept credit, debit, ACH, & digital wallet payments
  • Checkout links to get paid without an invoice
  • Unlimited invoices
  • Two basic customizable invoice templates
  • Project management feature which helps you create and track hourly or flat-rate projects
  • Unlimited estimates
  • Multilingual & multinational currency support
  • Accept deposits
  • Automated recurring invoices
  • Automated late payment reminders
  • Schedule late fees
  • Manage budget & billing for projects
  • Unlimited proposals (Plus plan only)
  • Client retainers (Plus plan only)

FreshBooks Pricing

FreshBooks pricing plans for freelancers are $19 or $33/month, depending on which plan you choose. Pricing is currently 60% off for the first six months, bringing the lowest-tier plan to $7.60/month. You can also save an additional 10% by paying annually; you will pay $136.80/year or $237.60/year for the Lite and Plus plans, respectively.

The main difference between the Lite and Plus plans is the Lite plan only allows five clients, while the Plus plan allows 50. The Plus plan also has a few more invoicing features, like proposals and retainers, and more accounting features.

Each of FreshBooks’ pricing plans only supports one user by default (additional users cost $11/month each).

For payments made through FreshBooks (powered by WePay), each invoice costs 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for most credit cards (American Express is 3.5% + $0.30 per transaction), regardless of plan. You can also use Stripe or PayPal as your processor for the same fee. ACH transfers cost 1% of the transferred amount.

FreshBooks Is Best For ...

  • Freelancers who need invoicing with advanced features, including project management, late fees, multinational currency support, & payment links
  • Freelancers with just a few regular clients

Get Started With FreshBooks

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

PayPal: Best For Offering PayPal As A Payment Option

Total Rating 4.2
Fees & Rates3.8

Products & Services4.2


Sales & Advertising Transparency5.0

Customer Service4.1

User Reviews3.3


  • Lets you accept PayPal, Venmo, & Pay Later
  • International & multicurrency support
  • No monthly fee


  • Credit card processing fees are higher than most other providers
  • Even higher transaction fee when clients pay with PayPal instead of a credit card

paypal invoice screenshot

Why We Chose PayPal For Giving Your Clients Another Way To Pay

Like Square, PayPal is a third-party processor that provides a free invoicing feature with no monthly fee.

However, PayPal has more features than the free Square Invoicing plan. PayPal also has lower merchant fees than the free Square Invoicing plan on credit and debit transactions. As you might expect, PayPal Invoices lets your clients pay with PayPal, which is a nice option to offer, since PayPal is a trusted name and most businesses are familiar with its use.

PayPal Freelance Payment Features

PayPal has the following features for freelancers:

  • Accept credit, debit, ACH, digital wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Venmo), & BNPL (PayPal Pay Later)
  • International capabilities with multicurrency support
  • Customize invoice with your logo, contact information, & more
  • Send unlimited invoices & estimates
  • Easily convert accepted estimates to invoices
  • Set up recurring invoices
  • Tipping option
  • Automated payment reminders
  • API to integrate invoicing function into custom billing software

PayPal Pricing

There’s no monthly fee to use PayPal Invoices. All you need is a free PayPal account (your customers do not need a PayPal account).

PayPal charges 2.99% + $0.49 for invoiced transactions made by credit or debit cards. PayPal charges 3.49% + $0.49 when customers pay their invoices using PayPal, Venmo, or PayPal Pay Later. Variations on cross-border/international charges apply.

PayPal Is Best For ...

  • Freelancers making under $10K/month
  • Giving clients an easy way to pay you online

Get Started With PayPal

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

QuickBooks Self-Employed: Best For Freelancers Who Use QuickBooks

QuickBooks Self-Employed

Visit Site

Accounting Method

Cash Basis Only



Business Size

Freelancers or independent contractors


  • Next-day deposits to your bank account
  • Useful accounting features
  • Multicurrency support


  • Higher processing fee than Wave, Square, & Freshbooks
  • Not as many project management features as FreshBooks

QuickBooks Invoice screenshot

Why We Chose QuickBooks Solopreneur For QuickBooks Accounting Users

QuickBooks Solopreneur (recently rebranded from QuickBooks Self-Employed) has all the features most freelancers need most to manage federal taxes, track deductions, and separate personal and business expenses. It also works great for having clients pay via invoice.

If you already use QuickBooks for your accounting -- as millions of small businesses do -- then it makes sense to use QuickBooks Solopreneur to send invoices and process payments. Even if you don't use QuickBooks already, it's a great accounting tool for your self-employed business, especially if you also need invoicing.

QuickBooks Freelance Payment Features

Here are some freelance payment features that come with QuickBooks Solopreneur:

  • Send personalized invoices with your logo
  • Take payments via cards, ACH, Apple Pay, PayPal, and Venmo
  • Request payment with checkout link or QR code payment
  • Track invoice status
  • Send payment reminders
  • Set up recurring invoices
  • Accept optional tips
  • Match payments to invoices automatically
  • Send invoices directly to customers’ QuickBooks accounts

If you bill by project milestone, you can upgrade to QuickBooks Online; you’ll also need to subscribe to QuickBooks Online if you need auto-update and reconciliation.

QuickBooks Pricing

QuickBooks Solopreneur is $20/month. For the first three months, you’ll receive 50% off and pay just $10/month. Alternatively, you can save by paying ahead for the full year, bringing your total payment to $120 for the first year.

As for the processing fee using QuickBooks Payments, you’ll pay 2.99% per invoice when the invoice is paid by credit card or a digital wallet. ACH transfers will cost 1% per transaction (capped at $10).

If you already use QuickBooks Online for accounting, invoicing is already included. If you use QuickBooks Desktop, you’ll pay a higher fee (3.3-3.5% + $0.30) for invoiced payments.

QuickBooks Solopreneur Is Best For ...

  • Self-employed folks who need accounting & invoicing features
  • Offering your clients a variety of payment options

Get Started With QuickBooks Self-Employed

Jump back to comparison chart

Wise (Formerly TransferWise): Best For International Freelance Payments

Wise (Formerly TransferWise)

Visit Site


  • Low, transparent fees
  • No minimum transfer amount
  • Ideal for international money transfers


  • Slower transfers than many competitors
  • Basic invoicing features

wise international freelance payment transfer

Why We Chose Wise For International Payments

Wise (formerly TransferWise) offers freelancers a transparent, low-cost way to accept payments across borders. Wise can charge such low fees by having bank accounts in the countries in which it operates -- when someone in another country pays you, their payment goes to the Wise bank account in that country. The Wise account then pays you in your country. As the payment doesn't cross borders, currency conversion charges and other associated fees are eliminated.

Wise Freelance Payment Features

Freelancers can use Wise to accept international payments with the following features:

  • Accept credit, debit, ACH, wire transfer, & digital wallet payments
  • Set up local account details for your business in any of 9 currencies
  • Hold money in over 40 supported currencies & convert at the mid-market exchange rate
  • Free invoice generator with unlimited invoices
  • Request money via payment link
  • Integrations with QuickBooks, FreshBooks, & other accounting software

Wise Pricing

Wise has no monthly fee. Wise’s service fees generally range between 0.4 and 1.4% of the amount transferred, based on the type of currency being sent and received. Thankfully, Wise offers an online calculator that will do the math for you.

You can send money to a Wise Business account via bank transfer for free when the currency stays the same.

Wise Is Best For ...

  • Billing non-US clients
  • Getting paid in local currency when outside of the US

Get Started With Wise (Formerly TransferWise)

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

Accounting Software Review Methodology

Merchant Maverick has been researching and reviewing accounting and invoicing software since 2013. Our writers have tested over fifty different accounting programs, including online apps and locally-installed software. In each review, we evaluate pricing, features, ease of use, customer service, and user reviews.

Weighted Rating Breakdown

Pricing 30%
Features 30%
Ease Of Use 20%
Customer Service 15%
User Reviews 5%

Read more about how we rate accounting software.

When comparing different accounting software apps, we consider many data points, including relative pricing, the number of standard accounting features available, invoicing and quote creation, the presence of a client portal, and time tracking tools. Our lists of the best accounting programs include only those we’ve deemed worthwhile from multiple vantage points, and often share qualities such as widespread accessibility, tax support, advanced reporting tools, numerous niche features, and competitive monthly pricing.

We spend an average of 10-15 hours researching and updating each one of our lists, making sure the accounting software included meets our internal standards for quality and reputation.

Why We Don’t Recommend These Apps For Freelance Payments


Venmo is how many freelancers and independent contractors (such as hair stylists) collect mobile payments from customers. However, Venmo doesn’t include invoicing or many other business features. Only approved businesses can use Venmo to accept business payments. Approved Venmo businesses will pay a processing fee of the standard rate of 1.9% + $0.10. If you try to use Venmo to accept freelance business payments for free, be aware that Venmo has been cracking down on freelancers who try to accept payments in exchange for goods and services without paying the fee.


Just like its contemporaries Square and PayPal, Stripe is a solid online payment processor whose services are generally well-suited to small businesses. However, Stripe is not that convenient for freelancers or self-employed individuals, as the setup process is more complicated, and it may even require developer skills to integrate Stripe into your website. Moreover, Stripe charges an extra fee for invoiced payments in addition to its standard processing fee.


Zelle started as a consumer-only P2P money transfer app, but in 2018, the company moved into the B2B payment space. Unlike apps such as PayPal and Venmo, a Zelle money transfer goes directly from one user’s bank account to another. Accordingly, to use Zelle for business, Zelle must be integrated into your bank’s mobile banking app, and your bank must specifically permit the use of Zelle for business (not just personal) transactions. Without advanced invoicing and tax features, Zelle didn’t make our list of top choices, but if you’re still interested, check with your bank to see if you can use Zelle for business.

Cash App

Cash App (once known as Square Cash) is a Venmo-like money transfer service that didn’t quite make our Best Of list for freelance payment options. Like Venmo and Zelle, it’s a handy way to quickly send and receive digital payments. However, without invoicing and task management capabilities (as well as the fact that Cash App can’t be used to send payments across borders), Cash App doesn’t have the heft to be a true standalone payment solution for freelancers.

Alternate Ways To Receive Payment For Freelance Work

Besides online payment software, here are some alternate ways freelancers get paid:

  1. Check: Checks are simple and straightforward with no fees. However, you have to wait for the check to come in the mail (unless your client gives you one in person), and there’s the possibility that the check could get lost in the mail or even stolen.
  2. Cash: Even though more businesses are going cashless, cash is convenient, instant, and carries no fees. Some contractors may prefer to get paid in cash so they don’t have to report their earnings to the government (we don’t recommend this). But you can’t mail cash or send it electronically, so it’s not a good option for anyone working remotely.
  3. Credit Card: Some types of freelancers who do in-person work have the option to take credit card payments. In this case, you can use a POS app like Square or Zettle with a card reader. Modern mobile card readers can accept contactless credit cards as well as digital wallets such as Apple Pay. Like online invoices, credit card payments do take a small fee out of your earnings, but they are fast and secure.
  4. Direct Deposit (ACH): ACH/direct deposit is how most employees are paid, though freelancers can be paid this way too. This type of direct bank-to-bank transfer is secure, takes 1-3 days to come through, and doesn’t incur any fees for the recipient. However, not all clients are set up to offer ACH. As mentioned, payment apps like Square can accept ACH payments, but you don’t necessarily need to use a third-party app for ACH.
  5. Wire Transfer: Wire transfers are similar to ACH payments in that the money is sent directly to your bank account, but they are faster and less secure than ACH, since a wire transfer is almost instant and, in most cases, irreversible. Your bank may charge a small fee to receive a wire transfer, but most fees are charged on the sender’s end.
  6. Freelance Marketplace: There are various online platforms that companies can use to hire freelancers, and freelancers can use to find work and get paid. The largest online freelance marketplaces are, Upwork, and Fiverr. The downside is that these platforms charge freelancers high commission fees ranging from 10 to 20% of earnings. I would only recommend using one of these freelancing services if you are just getting started with freelancing and have no clients.

11 Tips To Make Getting Paid As A Freelancer Easier

Even with the best invoicing tools available, there are still some tricks to getting paid that you can incorporate into your business practices. Beyond freelancer payment methods, we’ve also included some tips on how to get paid as a freelancer, compiled below.

Send Out Invoices & Then Follow Up

This may sound obvious, but you’d be amazed how many freelancers fail to do this regularly. If you don’t send out invoices, then your clients have no way of knowing (or have a perfect excuse for not knowing) how much they owe you and by what date they must pay you. We know it’s painful for freelancers to stop doing billable work to send out invoices. That’s why automated invoicing software can be important.

Of course, you must send invoices and follow-up reminders, so those who are slow to pay (or won’t pay) can be reminded of the bill. Fortunately, many of the invoicing platforms we highlighted above also send automatic follow-ups.

Have A Clear Contract

A contract doesn’t have to be full of legalese. Just set out, in plain English, what you’re going to do for your client, when everything is due, how you’re going to send the work to your client, and how and when they will pay you. Sometimes, you can attach your work proposal to ensure clarity.

You don’t always need a lawyer to do this, but once you start making money as a freelancer, it’s probably best if you hire a lawyer to draft a form contract for you to use for all your freelancing work.

Require A Deposit

Some clients — especially new clients — can be challenging to work with. They might claim you’ve done a bad job, require you to fix something repeatedly, and then refuse to pay. So your time isn’t a complete loss, ask for a deposit before starting work. This way, at least you’ll get paid something for your troubles. The exact amount of the deposit depends on the customary practices of each industry, with some requiring up to 50%.

Do some research to have a reasonable starting point, and adjust the percentage depending on the situation.

Consider Using An Escrow Service

An escrow service is sort of a man-in-the-middle. It solves the problem where the freelancer demands payment in full before the work starts, but the client fears the freelancer will take the money and not do any work at all. When you hire an escrow service, the client sends the money to the escrow to be held until the job is completed. Then the escrow service releases the money to the freelancer.

Some freelancer platforms, such as Upwork (plus Upwork’s slightly different new escrow service) and Fiverr, work like that. Of course, escrow services charge a fee, but at least you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ll be paid for your work.

Break Down Tasks & Give Detailed Descriptions

This only applies if you bill by the hour, but people like to know what they’ve paid for. If you break down your tasks and describe them in some detail — e.g., “write first draft (2 hrs.), revise draft (1 hr.), fact check (1 hr.)” instead of “write article (4 hrs.),” the client will have some comfort that you’ve done the work. And if they do dispute the bill and you have to write down your hours, you can more easily do so and perhaps write down less if you have a detailed breakdown.

Be Upfront About Costs To Eliminate Surprises

People don’t like to be surprised by a huge bill. Even though it’s difficult and some potential clients will go away after the talk, be upfront about your charges. If you’re not exactly sure, do your best to give an estimate and make sure your client understands that this is a “soft quote” (and write the amount down, so neither side misremembers the number).

If You're Going Over Budget, Discuss ASAP & Get The Client's OK Before Proceeding

Expanding on the “no surprises” principle, if you anticipate going over a money or time budget set at the start of a project, let the client know about this right away. The client might tell you to ignore some aspects of the project while focusing on others. Or the client might want to terminate the project (make sure you get paid for your services up to the time of termination). Or the client might approve the revised budget. Be sure to get everything in writing so everyone understands the new goal.

If You Give A Discount, Make Sure The Client Knows About It

People always like a discount, so let the client know if you do give one. This way, you can earn their appreciation, which might translate to faster payment and maybe even repeat business.

Consider Giving A Discount For Prompt Payment & Charge Interest For Late Payment

Related to the above, you might set out a policy where you always provide a discount if you receive your payment within, say, 10 days of sending the invoice but also charge a penalty for delayed payment. This incentive can get you paid faster. But if you wish to charge a penalty, check your state’s usury laws to make sure you’re not in violation.

Don't Hesitate To Pause Work If The Client Hasn't Paid

If you’re doing work with milestone payments and your client hasn’t paid the first milestone while you’re ready to move on to the third milestone, don’t hesitate to stop work until you get paid, at least for the first milestone or maybe both the first and second milestones.

If they don’t pay, your time is better spent going out to get new paying clients than doing work that you’re not sure you’ll be paid for.

Don't Be Shy About Firing Nonpaying Clients

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that having a client is better than having none. Nonpaying clients make you waste time doing their work when you can better use that time finding other clients who will pay. Firing a client — especially one who used to pay but now won’t — will be one of the most difficult things you’ll do as a freelancer, but sometimes, it’s the only sensible thing to do.

The Bottom Line On How To Get Paid As A Freelancer, Solopreneur, Or Consultant

Online invoicing software makes it easier than ever to get paid as a freelancer. These programs — many of them free — eliminate the need for freelancers to chase payments by doing most of this work for you. Invoicing apps will send your clients automated payment reminders and even let you schedule late fees if your client still hasn’t paid up after a certain amount of time has passed.

Your freelance business can also use software to send estimates and auto-convert these estimates to invoices. Best of all, online invoices let your client choose from a variety of payment methods, from credit cards and bank transfers to to digital wallets, to make payments convenient and thus eliminate most excuses for nonpayment.

Need more options to accept freelance payments? See our picks for the best invoicing software for small businesses.

How Do Freelancers Get Paid? FAQs

What are the best PayPal alternatives for freelancers?

Some of the best PayPal alternatives for freelancers include Square, Wave, and QuickBooks Payments. These apps include invoicing and other features, and charge lower fees compared to PayPal in some cases.

What is the best way to get paid as a freelancer?

For most freelancers, the best way to get paid for freelance work is using a free invoicing and payment processing app like Square Invoices, PayPal, or Wave. These apps let businesses send unlimited digital invoices for free; you only get charged a small fee when a customer pays.

Freshbooks and QuickBooks are also good options if you also need accounting features, while Wise and PayPal are best for international freelance payments.

Jump back to comparison chart

Shannon Vissers

Shannon Vissers

Lead Staff Writer at Merchant Maverick
Shannon has been writing for Merchant Maverick about small business software and financing since 2015. She started writing professionally about business topics in 2005. Shannon has been featured in the Washington Post, Reader's Digest, US News, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, and other publications. She has a bachelor's degree in English from San Diego State University and currently resides in San Diego, California.
Shannon Vissers
View Shannon Vissers's professional experience on LinkedIn.
Shannon Vissers

Latest posts by Shannon Vissers (see all)