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Comparison of methods to pay employees

There are many ways to pay your workers around the world. In our business we have currently 47 people in 9 countries so were very familiar with paying workers in different countries.

The options explained:

Transferwise is available to send to many but not all countries. The recipient must use a bank account to receive the money. The cost to transfer is usually 0.5%-1% INCLUDING the currency conversion fee. This is extremely cheap. If you look at PayPal for example they charge as much as 6.5% for a transfer (2.5% currency conversion and up to 4% for the transfer). The downside of Transferwise is that it is not very automated and also 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 don’t have ACH activated on your bank account, call your bank and ask them what it would take to get ACH activated. Otherwise, it’s going to cost you a lot more money to transfer (via a wire transfer, for example). In countries like Australia, the UK and all of Western Europe, local currency transfer methods are normal and enabled in every bank account so you will have no problems.

Payoneer allows the recipient to get the money transferred into their bank account or to receive a debit card and then withdraw the money from ATM machines. It’s available in almost every country. They are set up only really 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 and easy to use option (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 via a debit card.

Payment method

Countries you can send money to

Convenient for
sending to
multiple employees?

Approximate percentage
cost (including hidden fees)

How recipients
can receive the



Western Europe, UK, India, Philippines, USA, UAE,

Australia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland,

Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia,

Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Morocco, Malaysia,

Nigeria, Norway, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland,

Romania, Sweden, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine



Bank account


Almost all countries



Bank account or

debit card

Minimum account requirements for Payoneer - suitable for larger businesses


Almost all countries



Bank account

The fees depend if you use MassPay (4.5% total fees) or "send to family

member" (2.5% as a hidden currency exchange fee) or the standard send method (6.5% fees in total)

Note that the cost varies significantly so we have given you the cost to send $1000 from the US to the Philippines as an example cost, but it will vary a lot per country. This will give you a starting point to compare costs and then you can also review all of the individual country articles listed above to find the lowest cost transfer method for each country.

How do we pay our own employees?

At Time Doctor, we use both Transferwise and Payoneer to pay our employees.

We use Transferwise because it's usually the lowest cost way to transfer money with no hidden currency exchange fees. We use Payoneer for some workers because it's convenient, it's available in almost every country and because they provide a debit card to withdraw money from an ATM which is a very useful method for receiving funds in some countries such as Ukraine and Russia.

Hidden currency exchange fees

Please note that almost all transfer methods have a HIDDEN currency conversion fee. They don’t tell you about this fee but IT IS A FEE. In fact it’s 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 is the hidden fee that they are charging. Transferwise is one of the few options that does not have a hidden fee. You can learn more about these hidden fees in this other article we wrote.

Convenient and automated methods

PayPal and Payoneer are the two most convenient and automated methods. They are both integrated with Time Doctor. For each set of payments that you want to send, you'll need to approve your payroll on Time Doctor and then log into the PayPal or Payoneer website to upload a CSV file.

We do not have a completely automated payment method like Upwork has where they automatically charge your credit card each week and send your workers the money. Why don’t we have this kind of method? There are two reasons:

  1. Because it will cost you a lot more money if we do it this way. We'd have to charge you for the credit card fees as well as an extra amount to account for our risks. We prefer to give you access to the CHEAPEST methods to transfer money without charging you extra fees.
  2. We don’t want to risk accidentally send the wrong amount of money before we know that you've reviewed & approved the payroll.

Options to pay workers in the US

This article is primarily about paying workers outside of the US. If you're a US based company paying contractors in the US there are a lot of established payment methods such as ACH payments with your bank. PayPal MassPay is also a good option in this case as the cost is fixed at $1 per payment.