Life is too short for exorbitant fees. I tried all of the hottest and latest payment accepting softwares on the market to save you some time when deciding just how you’ll secure that next bag. None of the links contained in this article are sponsored. Such a bummer.

Stripe Payments

Stripe payments offer some of the best transaction fees on the market right now. For most freelancers out there, Stripe will be the most cost effective solution. However, it’s one of only 10 we reviewed in writing this article tackling everything from reporting software to saving for retirement. Stripe offers a family of other services, reporting features and integrations that we use with Flamingo Interpreting to power our business everyday. If you’re looking for a simple solution (while it does have a learning curve) that can power every angle of your business, Stripe was the best one we found.

In addition, you can save on Stripe’s services as a member of FoundersCard which offers to cover the first 20k in transactions for you in addition to providing an array of other benefits for new business owners and freelancers.

  • 0$ to host invoices, products and services on their site
  • 25 invoices free per month, a very high number for the vast majority of interpreters and translators
  • .4% per transaction after the first 25.

With Stripe Invoicing Plus holding the keys to reconciliation and quotes, you may find yourself upgrading but if you’re billing more than 25 invoices per moth, chances are you’re ready for it.

Square Payments

While it’s unlikely you’ll hit Square’s $50,000 cap per transaction limit, it’s still good to know if you’re scaling you’ll need to plan ahead.

Pros: Effortless system designed with the end user in mind. Square has put in great relational and cross-referencing features to make their apps intuitive and easy to use. The Square family of apps and services don’t require your clients to have an account, making payments slightly more efficient.

Cons: Their features may not be enough to set them apart from the competition offering lower rates. Like many other services, the fees add up to a substantial amount of overhead at year end. In calculating the cost of use, taxes and any additional expenses you’ve incurred, you may find them to be less convenient than expected.

  • 2.6% + .10 per transaction for in person payments done via contactless payment
  • 3.5% + .15 per transaction when accepting payments via the app or manually entering the information.
  • 2.9% + .30 if using in tandem with other Square services like invoicing or their online store.
  • No fees for cash or checks (which you’d deposit directly to your bank but document in the app for tax and reporting purposes.)


Pros: Free with less than five clients, so if your client base is fairly exclusive this could be a great option. While transaction fees are not waived for lighter users, you will see that what they offer is pretty impressive. Hiveage also offers invoicing and reporting that is incredibly intuitive. You can find Grey’s take on the invoicing side here.

Cons: The membership fee doesn’t exempt you from the transaction fees. It’s also an added cost that will be worth it for interpreters looking to simply and in some situations automate their invoicing process.

  • $16/mo (paid annually) gets you up to 50 clients & financial reports which are incredibly helpful
  • $19 if you’re paying month to month ($36 increase)
  • 2.9% per transaction (at time of writing, it’s unclear if that includes bank transactions)

Harvest Invoicing

Harvest is another invoicing and payment platform that offers all of the features you’d need as a freelancer.

Pros: Transaction fee caps with Harvest are fairly generous. They insist the most you’ll ever pay is $5 as a maximum.

Cons: As an all in one solution, they could offer more features to round this product out making it the go to solution for a back office.

  • $0 for 1 seat 2 projects
  • $12 for unlimited if paying monthly, $10.80 if annually ($14.40 savings per year)
  • According to their website “In most cases, domestic US transaction fees are 2.9% + $0.30 for credit card payments or 0.8% (up to a maximum of $5)”

You can find more information on the invoicing side and Grey’s take here.


A classic? Absolutely. Brilliant? Well…

Paypal isn’t just for grandma’s on eBay and BitCoin scammers anymore. Paypal now offers a pretty robust payment system for sending and receiving money from friends, family and your favorite client.

Pros: Verified accounts can send up to 60k at once, which means large payments without added penalty. They also offer credit and debit cards to reduce the imposition of fees on your funds.

Cons: Money can often get tied up, accounts can get easily locked and customer service can be a bit frustrating to deal with. Once again we also see higher fees than the average freelancer is interested in paying. For larger volumes of payments, PayPal makes it quite unattractive. Payments over 4k will require the client to create an account. When working with larger corporations this is often a major roadblock to receiving payment and will encourage them to revert to a check.

While PayPal is an excellent system for working with money abroad, it’s worth the conversation to speak to a banker at your own financial institution about fees your bank may offer. You might be surprised at just how convenient wires and other transactional services mentioned in this article can be.

  • 1% fee when transferring funds from PayPal to bank capped at $10 per transaction
  • 2.9% fee when sending money to friend or family member
  • 2.9% + .30 for all other transactions sent/received (your clients remitting payment)
  • International rate jumps to 4.4% plus a fixed amount which varies based on country
  • Card reader transactions incur 2.7% + 15 cents per swipe
  • Other variables that can impact payment and fee percentage include currency, dollar amount, country etc…

Apple Pay

Pros: As of 9/16/21 ApplePay doesn’t charge it’s users fees of any kind for sending and receiving payments.

Cons: When withdrawing from ApplePay (funded by Goldman Sachs) to your personal bank, you’ll incur a 1% fee. ApplePay does impose a 10K cap per 7 day period. Requires both you and your client to have an apple device capable of using the service.


Zelle has quickly become a top contender at Flamingo Interpreting for payments sent to contractors. We’ve found no fees incurred with Bank of America but this does vary by bank. Each financial institution imposes it’s own cap, we’ve found ours to be 20k per day. Whether that’s true for all accounts remains a mystery.

Pros: Zelle offers lightning fast transfers. You can cancel payments that haven’t yet been accepted/deposited into the recipients account. Also receiving confirmation of payments from clients is a breeze.

Cons: There currently is no way to transfer from credit cards and some payments are irreversible. Each bank carries it’s own policies, so bear in mind what your client assumes they are capable of sending from a corporate account may be different than their personal.

Ca$h App

What’s your Ca$hApp bruh?

CashApp might not be the most sophisticated sounding platform and it may have garnered a reputation on Twitter and it may be distrusted by anyone over the age of 17 but your business is your business. We’re just here to give you the feet facts!

Pros: You get a free bank account and debit card with it. Fees may vary.

Cons: It’s literally the CashApp. Don’t expect to be able to use this internationally, with any insurance from the FDIC or in a respectable manner in 2021.

  • 3% fee when sending funds from a credit card (your clients might be put off by this on their end)
  • Free banking and debit card
  • 1.5% fee on instant transfers to bank or linked debit card (outside of CashApp)
  • $250 transaction cap in a 7 day period with a $1000 cap on 30 day periods.


You may be surprised to find out that Flamingo Interpreting Venmo’d contractors when they requested payment this way until the new fees were announced and enacted. We currently Zelle, if you were wondering.

While Venmo might not be the most professional payment processing software out there, it certainly serves a purpose and everyone has it. Venmo led the industry of instant peer to peer transactions, so they get a slight pass. However, with a debit card, business credit card option and instant payments, they too now have fees.

Pros: Business credit cards have never been easier and the ability to link them to a powerful debit card is nothing to sneeze at. Venmo is also a classic, anyone under 40 has a QR code in their pocket.

Cons: No real reporting software and a new fee schedule for goods and services.


Lili is the newest kid on the block branding themselves as “banking designed for freelancers”. They offer everything from invoices, tax resources, savings and payment processing all under one roof. With all of those amazing features housed in a single bank, the fees associated do make sense but see the breakdown for yourself before deciding.

Under Lili’s free Standard Plan you’ll have access to:

  • 25K daily deposit limit
  • 50K monthly deposit limit
  • 250k maximum account balance – this is a bank you’ll outgrow if you plan on scaling.
  • $1,000 cash deposit limit daily, $9,000 cash deposit limit monthly
  • $200 limit on accepting transfers from linked accounts daily, $1,000 monthly

Under Lili’s Pro plan at $4.99/month you’ll have access to:

  • 25K daily deposit limit
  • 50K monthly deposit limit
  • 250k maximum account balance – this is a bank you’ll outgrow if you plan on scaling.
  • $1,000 cash deposit limit daily, $9,000 cash deposit limit monthly
  • $200 limit on accepting transfers from linked accounts daily, $5,000 monthly

So which system should you choose?

Choosing a system for accepting payments largely depends on the priorities you have as a freelancer/busines owner. While it’s always best to think long game and scaling your business at some point, if that isn’t a priority right now… follow the finances. Mock up the costs versus the value and decide which features you’re willing to absorb into either another platform or your own work. As always, more choices are always better but if you’re feeling overwhelmed – send me an email.

Contributing Author: Tim Smith
Tim Smith is a nationally certified interpreter in New York, New York. Along with being a member of the Flamingo Flock, he is the owner of TimTerp llc which provides services both live and remote in the entertainment industry for clients looking to elevate their experience.
Drop him a line.

3 thoughts on “I Tried All The Latest Payment Software So You Don’t Have To.

  1. This is sooo helpful!! There are so many softwares out there it’s hard to know which is the best option and what the real pros and cons are. Thanks for sharing!

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