Which the best model is might vary from business to business.
This is why it’s good to know on what foundation I’ve based my research.
My company weBOUND marketing is registered in Austria and my clients are registered in the USA, Australia, Germany, Austria, Portugal, and the Netherlands at the moment that I’m writing this. This is changing from time to time, but within the past 2 years, I’ve tried a variety of services that helped me to process payments that went out or came in. There might be some other solutions that I haven’t tried yet or work differently depending on what type of company you have registered.
These recommendations are based on personal experience and also from business friends of mine.
Payments across borders
Within Austria, and even within Europe, getting paid is a simple thing. Most transactions are (close to) free depending on the bank or service you are using.
But not every country or continent is the same. Outside of Europe bank transfers aren’t that common.
Companies would rather use credit cards, Paypal, or another service provider that will save them a decent amount on transaction costs.
Bank Accounts For Business Owners
Before we get into this further I wanted to be sure that we are starting off on the same page.
My company is registered as an “Einzelunternehmer” (sole trader) because I don’t have employees but work with freelancers worldwide. If you have a GmbH (company with limited liability) then you might find other options work better for you.
When I chose the bank account it was important to me that it was free to withdraw money and pay abroad, also in the USA or other countries outside of Europe.
Furthermore, I wanted to have an insurance with it and be able to manage it abroad. So I came across two options that I liked.
DKB – from Germany
DKB offers a VISA debit card and a regular debit card. You have to transfer money to your debit card first and then transfer it to your VISA debit to use it.
This one was highly recommended by other digital nomads.
Within the past 2 years, they have changed the requirements for their benefits. Nowadays, you have to have at least € 700 in your account which will be checked quarterly. Otherwise, it’s not free anymore.
The advantage of this one is that even when you switch phone numbers often, you don’t have to contact your bank to change the phone number for your TAN because it will show within the DKB app that you will always have on your phone anyways.
Also, there are several ways to profit from this account.
Besides their standard referral program, they also give an option to receive 2.000 Miles & More points for your flights per referred member.
For the miles option, you have to create a personal link for each prospect.
Learn more about DKB here.
N26 – from Germany
I love this one A LOT. It’s smart, focused on digital nomads/travelers and entrepreneurs plus it’s very user-friendly.
The Black and Metal cards look very elegant, too, and have earned a curious look from others when I’ve paid.
N26 gives you a debit Mastercard and a regular debit card.
The online bank offers 3 different options:
- N26 Standard – free (except withdrawals are 1,7%)
- N26 Black incl. Allianz travel insurance – € 5,90 / month
- N26 Metal incl. Allianz travel insurance and partner offers for frequent travelers – € 14.90 / month
Recently, I switched from Black to Metal because one of their partners offers caught my eyes. There are several partner discounts.
One is, for example, a day for free per month at WeWork Coworking and Office Space – and they are just starting with this, so I’m expecting more great cooperation coming soon.
Every time I make a transfer, I have to approve it within the app, too, and I get a notification every time someone is paying me.
This is a great way to keep track of your payments from clients and it’s a happy moment every time you see the money rolling in for your hard work.
There is no “classic” TAN required to transfer money, but you need to use the code you have created once in the beginning or use the touch function (touch-ID / fingerprint). Simple, fast, easy.
And the best part is that they have a cooperation with TransferWise – a service that is very useful for international transfers (read more below).
Learn more about N26.
Payment Providers for Transactions Outside of Europe
There are three services I’ve used in the past to make transactions outside of Europe.
TransferWise (my personal favorite)
TransferWise is amazing when it comes to international transfers. Their rates are low, they are quick, and their service is on point.
You’ll pay only 0,5% fee on every converted transfer and the real exchange rate.
You also might have to pay a fee from your payment provider, but that depends on which one it is and if you use a credit card or debit card, for example.
Another advantage of using N26 and TransferWise combined because it’s integrated into N26. I can choose if I want to use TransferWise on my computer or directly from my N26 app.
If you sign up through this link here then you’ll get your first transfer up to € 500 for free.
Paypal (the most famous one)
Paypal is probably the most known one. It exists forever and you can send and receive money from other Paypal accounts.
Recently they’ve increased their fees which is one of the reasons why I stopped using it besides a few exceptions like payment through Paypal on websites (sometimes), or if there is someone who doesn’t have any other options.
Learn more about Paypal here.
This NYC based company is known in America over TransferWise.
While I’ve signed up for it to transfer some money to South America, I would still use TransferWise over Payoneer if you can. Payoneer charges 2 % on incoming payments. Then 3,5 % on cash withdrawal if you use their Mastercard.
This is much more than TransferWise does. Also, their customer service takes longer and the signup process too.
It’s still a great alternative to other payment providers.
If you sign up through this link here and you receive a total of $1000 you will also additional receive $25 on top of that.
To sum this up
There are several ways to transfer money internationally. I’ve used Zoho to send invoices before I changed to another system and connected it to Stripe and Paypal as well and my clients were able to click on my invoice directly to transfer the money.
The options mentioned above are for a manual transfer. My personal favorite one is N26 in combination with TransferWise. I’m sure there are even more options.
Which bank or service are you using to transfer payments?