How to Get Paid (for freelancers outside of the US, UK and Canada)

I have mentioned this topic briefly in past posts but I still get the same question over and over. So I thought it appropriate to dedicate a post to this very legitimate problem.

For Jamaicans, and for foreigners (outside of the US, Canada and UK) in general, it is very difficult to acquire money and payments lodged to Paypal. We get paid and it sits there. This is as a result of several:

  • Paypal does not offer a wide variety of withdrawal options for foreigners
  • Paypal’s Debit Card is not accessible to us
  • Most companies will ONLY pay you through Paypal

I have encountered all of these issues. So I will expound briefly on them and attempt to offer you a solution.


Paypal provides Jamaicans and other foreigners only two withrawal options:

  • Cheque (Check): which takes 4-6 business days. (This service costs US$5. Not to mention the entire month it will sit in your account until it is cleared IF it arrives.)
  • Bank Withdrawal: only available if you have a US Bank account. (mmhhhhhhmmm)

My biggest issue has always been getting my money out of Paypal and into my hands. And applying for a cheque never seemed at all practical. It is also very odd to me that in order to activate your account you must load a credit/debit card. You are able to add funds to your Paypal account using your credit/debit card but you cannot withdraw funds to it.

Paypal does offers a Paypal Debit/Credit card… but sadly, not to foreigners.

Unless you have a US Bank Account or wish to wait for a cheque in the mail, then you are plum out of luck. And so was I till I thought about this:

My Solution

Please note, this solution is not instant. At most it will take 4-5 days given no one procrastinates. But, it does work and with the options I was presented it seemed worth it. Here is a run down of my simple plan:

  1. Find a trustworthy relative or friend residing in the U.S with a Paypal account. Please note: trustworthy.
  2. Send your money to them via Paypal.
  3. Have them withdraw it from Paypal to their US Bank account. (takes maybe a day or two to clear for them)
  4. They then visit Western Union or any other applicable money transfer center and send your money to you. (They can either swipe their bank card there or withdraw your cash beforehand. You may want to have couple bucks reserved for fees.)

Ok, I know what you are thinking. Sounds exhausting, especially for the person on the other end.  The truth is, it really isn’t. For one, transferring your cash to them via Paypal is done online, and so is transfering that to their US Bank Account. The only travelling I can imagine is visiting Western Union and going through that process.

I had a friend do this for me on more than one occasion and the only time she left home was at step 4.  So if your Aunty starts bawling about how she has no gas to drive up and down for you… tell her this. *wink*


Payoneer is a payment solution for freelancers. It is a payment solution service and offers foreigners a Debit Mastercard that can be loaded and used anywhere in the world. You receive a physical Mastercard which can be used at ATMs or in-stores, gas stations etc. I have had a Payoneer card for some time and it does work! My employer pays me through Payoneer and I get the money in a few hours. I can then use my card anywhere in Jamaica. (my review)


Most employers (Freelancer, Elance,  London Brokers ) are now offering payments through Payoneer. Once you sign up for this service through these websites the card is issued to you. It arrives in about 2 weeks and all you do is activate it online and it is ready to go. Family members can load your card using any card of theirs as well.

So there you have it. I hope this post has been very helpful to you all. Good luck and Happy Writing.

Please feel free to comment and subscribe.



4 thoughts on “How to Get Paid (for freelancers outside of the US, UK and Canada)

  1. what were your total atm fees like? Did your bank charge you a fee to use a foreign debit card to withdraw money? Are they hidden fees from mastercard? I’m really with you on the fact that Paypal sucks, but there is some fineprint on payoneers site regarding an additional 3% charge when using foreign atms. I’m from jamaica too, so I’d like to know if you were charged anything extra?

    • Gosh, I haven’t used Payoneer in some time. The work I had that paid to that service is now long gone. And it looks as if Paypal is once again taking over payment issueing in most places. I believe I was charged the regular fees concerned with atm withdrawals. That is, I dont’ think the foreign card mattered. It was billed the same as any other card. Payoneer did/does also charge for loading the card. Say you want to be paid in a couple hours rather than 3 days they’d take a small fee. Practically, fees are all over. What I suggest you do is give a call to your bank and ask them these issues if you are interested in applying for a Payoneer card. And also call Payoneer with any questions you may have about that end of the deal. Hope this helps.

  2. Pingback: How one freelancer solved the problem of getting paid | Brains Across Borders

  3. Pingback: How one freelancer solved the problem of getting paid |

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