How I Pay Contractors Around The World
As it stands I’ve got people doing work for MWI in the US, the Philippines, India, and I’m in Hong Kong. These people all seem to have an interest in getting paid for the work they do, and as a result I’ve had to figure out how to get them all paid while dealing with the geographical constraints. Here’s how I do it.
US – I use four methods of payment within the US. My bank has online bill pay, so I can log in to my account, set up a vendor, and then cut and mail checks from my bank. It takes 5-6 days before they even mail out the check, which is an unfortunate time lag, but it is what it is. If my vendors accept credit cards I might also use that. PayPal has been another method, and the newest one I’ve been using is Dwolla. Dwolla has proven to be a bit of a pain to set up, both for me and my vendors, but once it’s set up it works reasonably well. The draw is no fees, but the downside, once again, is how long it takes for the payment to reach a vendor once I’ve initiated the transfer. It’s faster if I keep money in my Dwolla account, but I don’t want to, so I have to transfer from my bank to Dwolla, and that takes 3-4 days.
Foreign – PayPal is pretty much it. There are other services like Xoom out there, but I haven’t tried them. PayPal gets the job done well enough, and vendors are familiar with and trust it.
The holy grail of payment systems would be something like Bitcoin, but more user friendly. Instant transactions, no fees, anywhere in the world, is what I’m after. I tried setting up a Bitcoin account once and came away thoroughly confused by the experience. I like the idea and hope virtual currencies get more traction, but for the time being I just need to get people paid fast and easily.
Do you pay people around the world? What’s turned out to be the best system for you?