4 ways African entrepreneurs can receive payments internationally

Tragic as the COVID-19 pandemic was, it ushered in a work revolution that made the world even more of a global village.

Fintech in Africa: Overcrowded, just enough or not enough?

Millions of professionals, entrepreneurs, and freelancers across the globe, including Africa, got to apply for and work with international companies and clients.

Despite the change in the nature of work, International payments are still a major problem for many people in Africa. PayPal, for example, is one of the biggest financial technology companies in the world, facilitating millions of dollars in transactions every day. Yet, in several African countries like Nigeria and Zimbabwe, PayPal is significantly restricted.

This isn't great for African entrepreneurs seeking money from their clients and customers. Even in countries like South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, etc., where PayPal is fully supported, it's still important for entrepreneurs to have different payment systems for different purposes.

In this article, Business Insider Africa has put together a list of 4 different ways African entrepreneurs can receive payments internationally.

Payoneer

With a total market capitalisation of over 2 billion USD, it's safe to say that Payoneer is one of the largest payment solution providers in the world. Launched in 2005 by Yuval Tal and headquartered in New York, United States, Payoneer offers several different currency accounts for receiving payments worldwide.

You must create an account with the company and complete your KYC verification, among other requirements. Afterwards, you'll be given a USD and GBP bank account. Remote workers can share these account details with their customers/clients, who will pay for their services through the platform. As your account matures and your business grows, you'll become more likely to gain access to accounts in even more currencies, such as the Canadian Dollar, among many others.

Wise

Formerly known as TransferWise, this company was founded in 2010. Since then, it has gathered the trust and patronage of over 13 million people across the world. It is an excellent solution for receiving payments for African entrepreneurs. The account creation process is incredibly simple and straightforward.

It's worthy of note, however, that there might be a few restrictions. In Nigeria, for example, you cannot receive money from Wise and automatically convert it to the local currency in your Naira bank account. In South Africa, you're also not likely to be able to send your Rands as you please, and receiving is a lot easier.

That said, an excellent feature of this platform is its transparency with exchange rates. Even without opening an account, right from the landing page, it is possible to instantly see the conversion rates and get an idea of how much you will receive in your local currency with a real-time calculator and converter.

Grey

Unlike the first two companies mentioned in this list, Grey is relatively new and young in more ways than one. It was founded in 2020 by two Nigerians, Idorenyin Obong and Femi Aghedo. The startup is backed by Y Combinator and has raised over $2m in investments for expansion.

Their payment facilitation strategy is identical to Payoneer's. They create foreign accounts for their users and said users could go ahead and share those account details with their clients and get paid as soon as they want to.

Over the last two years, they've gathered over 100,000 users. Many users love Grey for its favourable exchange rates when converting to local currencies. Right now, their services are guaranteed in Kenya and Nigeria. In due time, the company plans to expand to Uganda and Tanzania, among others.

Upwork Direct Contracts

Many freelancers offering digital services to customers worldwide are familiar with Upwork. The platform has existed since 2013 and is supported in over 180 countries.

Through Upwork, it is possible to find clients and charge them for your services. The payment methods are also straightforward, with some countries being able to receive foreign currency directly to their local bank account in their home country's currency.

In the past, Upwork didn't support taking your projects outside of their platform. But, with the relatively new Direct Contracts feature, you can get your client, create a contract on Upwork, send it to them and have them pay you through Upwork. In essence, you'll enjoy all the payment benefits of using Upwork. You'll also have complete control as you decide the terms of the agreement, payment, etc.

The major condition is that the client must not have an existing Upwork account. Otherwise, you can't send them a contract and get paid.

Many African companies work on the payment challenge that several African entrepreneurs face. The list above merely contains a few of them. Before going forward, it's advisable to conduct personal research to ensure that the platform is suitable for you.

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