6 Best Ways to Pay Contractors in 2024

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However, as any seasoned CEO or CTO would jest, managing a cadre of independent contractors scattered across the globe isn’t all clicking send on emails and watching the magic happen. It’s navigating a labyrinth of laws, regulations, and compliance standards. Let’s not forget the fun of grappling with transfer fees, juggling exchange rates, and the occasional head-scratching over a puzzling tax code from a country halfway across the world.

Why, then, should your payment methods be a one-size-fits-all solution? We would say no, as having multiple options to pay an independent contractor is a smart move to mitigate risks and ensure you select the most fitting and frictionless transaction method for each unique situation. In this article, we’ll explore the six best ways to pay independent contractors in 2024.

6 Best Ways to Pay Independent Contractors

Bank Transfers – The Traditional Route

Remember the days when ‘bank transfer’ meant a lengthy queue and a chatty teller? Well, the queues have gone digital, but bank transfers remain the steadfast old-timers in the payment world, like that dependable but slightly out-of-touch uncle at family gatherings.

How Bank Transfers Work:

Bank transfers operate on a simple premise: moving money directly from one bank account to another. In the digital age, this process has become as easy as a few clicks. You input the contractor’s banking details, specify the amount, and off it goes – well, sort of. It’s a bit like sending a letter via snail mail, but in the form of digital bits and bytes.


  • Widely Accepted: Just about every business with a bank account can send and receive bank transfers.
  • Secure: Bank transfers are monitored and protected by stringent banking regulations.
  • Direct: There’s no middleman. The money goes straight from your account to your contractor’s.


  • Slow and Steady: They’re not the fastest, especially for international transactions. Think of it as the tortoise in the race – reliable but not winning any sprints.
  • Fees, Oh the Fees: International transfers can come with hefty fees, both for sending and receiving.
  • Currency Conversion Woes: Exchange rates can vary, and they often favor the banks, not your wallet.

When to Choose Bank Transfers:

Opt for bank transfers when dealing with large sums where security is paramount and both parties have the patience for processing times. It’s also ideal when your contractor is in a country where other forms of digital payment are less common. Think of it as the classic vinyl record in an era of digital music – not always the most convenient, but sometimes, it just hits the right note.

Digital Wallets – Speed and Convenience

Who has time to wait for money to crawl from one bank account to another in the fast world we live in now? Digital wallets are like the tech-savvy younger sibling in the payment family, zipping funds across the globe faster than you can say ‘transaction complete’.

How Digital Wallets Work:

Imagine a virtual wallet tucked safely in the cloud, where you can store, send, and receive money with just a few taps on your smartphone or clicks on your computer. Digital wallets like PayPal, Skrill, or Venmo function by linking to your bank account or credit card, allowing you to transfer funds without the need for traditional banking details. It’s like having a magic money pouch that can send gold coins flying across the digital realm to their destination.


  • Speed is the Name of the Game: Transactions are usually instant or take a few hours, making digital wallets the hare in the financial race.
  • Convenience at Your Fingertips: Easy to use, with user-friendly interfaces and mobile access.
  • Lower Fees for Smaller Transactions: Often, they’re cheaper than bank transfers for smaller amounts.


  • Not Universally Accepted: While popular, not every contractor might have access to or use these services.
  • Transaction Limits: Some digital wallets have limits on transaction sizes or frequency.
  • Security Concerns: While generally secure, they are potentially more vulnerable to online threats than traditional banks.

When to Choose Digital Wallets:

Digital wallets are your go-to when speed and convenience are top priorities. They are perfect for smaller, frequent payments, especially if your contractor prefers this method or resides in a region where traditional banking is a hassle. Consider them the equivalent of a quick text message in a world still adjusting to the idea of instant communication.

Cryptocurrency – The Cutting-Edge Choice

Ah, cryptocurrencies – the rock stars of the financial world. If bank transfers are classic vinyl and digital wallets are MP3s, then cryptocurrencies are the latest hit in streaming, baffling some and exciting others with their enigmatic charm.

How Cryptocurrencies Work:

Cryptocurrencies operate on blockchain technology – a decentralized ledger that records all transactions across a network of computers. Think of it as a ledger in the cloud, maintained by a network of tech-savvy elves. You can send cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin directly to anyone, anywhere in the world, without the need for traditional banking infrastructures. It’s like digital cash, but with a high-tech twist.


  • Borderless Transactions: Ideal for international payments, as they don’t rely on local banking systems.
  • Lower Transaction Fees: Often cheaper than traditional bank transfers, especially for larger amounts.
  • Swift and Sleek: Transactions can be faster than traditional methods, skipping over usual banking delays.


  • Market Volatility: The value of cryptocurrencies can swing wildly, akin to a rollercoaster ride at a digital amusement park.
  • Not Widely Accepted (Yet): While growing in popularity, they’re not as universally accepted as other forms of payment.
  • Regulatory Gray Area: The legal status of cryptocurrencies can be murky and varies widely from country to country.

When to Choose Cryptocurrencies:

Cryptocurrencies are a great choice when you’re dealing with tech-savvy contractors who are comfortable with the digital currency landscape. They’re particularly useful for large, one-off payments where speed and lower fees are desired, and both parties are willing to ride the wave of market fluctuations. It’s like choosing to drive a Tesla in a world still dominated by gas-powered vehicles – a bold, forward-looking move for those who embrace innovation.

Online Payment Platforms – Streamlined Solutions

Online payment platforms are the Swiss Army knives of the financial world – versatile, efficient, and a must-have in your digital toolkit. If cryptocurrencies are the flashy sports cars of payment methods, then online platforms are the reliable, feature-packed SUVs.

How Online Payment Platforms Work:

Online payment platforms like TransferWise (now Wise) and Payoneer bridge the gap between traditional banking and the digital finance world. Users create accounts on these platforms and can send or receive money through various channels, including bank accounts, credit cards, and even other digital wallets. It’s like having a financial command center at your fingertips, directing funds across the globe with precision and ease.


  • Multi-Currency Transactions: These platforms excel in handling multiple currencies, making them ideal for international payments.
  • Lower Fees for International Transfers: They often offer more competitive rates than traditional banks.
  • User-Friendly: Designed with the digital age in mind, these platforms are intuitive and easy to navigate.


  • Account Setup Required: Both sender and receiver need to have accounts, which can be a barrier for some.
  • Varied Transaction Speeds: While generally faster than bank transfers, processing times can still vary.
  • Dependent on Internet Access: Their functionality hinges on having reliable internet access, which might be an issue in some regions.

When to Choose Online Payment Platforms:

Opt for these platforms when dealing with international contractors and the need for handling multiple currencies efficiently. They are particularly useful for mid-sized transactions where cost-effectiveness and ease of use are key considerations. They’re like choosing a reliable, all-terrain vehicle for a road trip across diverse financial landscapes – equipped to handle a variety of scenarios with ease.

Direct Deposit – The Efficient Standard

Direct deposit is the financial equivalent of that classic, reliable car you’ve had for years – it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but it gets you where you need to go, every time.

How Direct Deposit Works:

Direct deposit involves electronically transferring money directly from your business’s bank account into the bank account of your contractor. It’s a straightforward, no-frills process, like sending an email directly to someone’s inbox. You set up the payment details once, and then with a click, your payment travels through the banking network to land securely in your contractor’s account.


  • Simplicity and Reliability: It’s a set-it-and-forget-it method. Once set up, payments can be automated and recurring.
  • Widely Trusted: Direct deposit is a standard practice in many countries, trusted for its security and reliability.
  • Low to No Fees for Domestic Transfers: For domestic transactions, fees are typically minimal or non-existent.


  • Not as Quick for International Payments: For international contractors, it can be slower and more expensive due to intermediary banks and currency conversions.
  • Requires Banking Information: Both parties must be comfortable sharing banking details, which can be a privacy concern for some.
  • Less Flexibility: Changing payment amounts or frequencies requires additional administrative steps.

When to Choose Direct Deposit:

Direct deposit is an excellent choice for regular, ongoing payments, especially if your contractors are domestically based or in countries where this method is common. It’s ideal for those who value consistency and minimal hassle over speed. Think of it as the reliable daily commuter car – not the fastest or flashiest, but dependable for the routine journey.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Payment Services – The Social Savvy Option

Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment services are the social media influencers of the financial world – trendy, user-friendly, and rapidly gaining popularity, especially among those who hashtag everything.

How P2P Payment Services Work:

P2P payment services, such as Zelle, Venmo, or Google Pay, allow users to send and receive money through a mobile app or website. It’s akin to sending a text message, but instead of words, you’re sending cash. You link your bank account or card to the service, and with just a few taps, you can transfer money to anyone else using the same service. It’s fast, it’s convenient, and it’s as easy as liking a post on social media.


  • Instant Transfers: Money moves quickly, often within minutes.
  • Utmost Convenience: Intuitive apps make these services extremely easy to use.
  • Great for Small Transactions: Perfect for sending small amounts without hefty fees.


  • Limited for International Use: Most P2P services are designed for domestic use and may not support cross-border transactions.
  • Security Concerns: While generally safe, they can be susceptible to scams or user errors.
  • Requires App Adoption: Both parties need to have the same service, which can limit options.

When to Choose P2P Payment Services

P2P is ideal for small, casual transactions with contractors who are already using these services. It’s perfect for paying contractors quick bonuses, small project milestones, or reimbursements. Consider it for situations where speed and convenience are more critical than the formality of traditional business transactions. It’s like sending a quick, friendly nod of acknowledgment in the financial world – informal, swift, and effortlessly social.

Summing Up

Finding the right method for contractor payments is as crucial as selecting the right talent. Whether it’s the tried-and-true reliability of bank transfers, the swift convenience of digital wallets, the innovative edge of cryptocurrencies, the versatility of online payment platforms, the straightforwardness of direct deposits, the practicality of prepaid debit cards, or the casual ease of P2P services, each method offers its unique benefits and challenges.

The key is to match the payment solution to the specific needs of your project and contractor, ensuring a smooth financial journey. By diversifying your payment options, you not only navigate the complexities of international transactions but also demonstrate a commitment to accommodating and valuing your global team.

In the end, the right payment method is not just about transferring funds; it’s about building strong, sustainable, and mutually beneficial relationships with your international contractors.


How do currency exchange rates impact payments to contractors?

Exchange rates can significantly affect the amount your contractor receives. Fluctuating rates can lead to uncertainty in payment amounts, especially in volatile markets. Using services that lock in exchange rates or conducting transactions in the contractor's local currency can mitigate this issue. Services like online payment platforms often offer competitive exchange rates and lower fees compared to traditional banks.


Are cryptocurrencies a safe and reliable method for paying independent contractors internationally?

Cryptocurrencies offer benefits like lower transaction fees and quick international transfers. However, they also come with risks such as market volatility and regulatory uncertainties. Ensure both you and your independent contractor are comfortable with these aspects. Cryptocurrencies are best used when both parties are knowledgeable about digital currencies and willing to navigate the potential fluctuations in value.

December 20, 2023

TurnKey Staffing provides information for general guidance only and does not offer legal, tax, or accounting advice. We encourage you to consult with professional advisors before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business or legal rights.

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