Managing Cross-Border Payments for International Gig Workers

Over the past decade, we’ve seen an increase in the number of freelancers, or gig workers, across the globe. Why? With flexible work hours, further independence, and changing lifestyles, it is no question why this unconventional work style is attractive to many.

Companies like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb have led the march toward a more independent workforce and have helped kick-start many freelancing careers. According to a 2017 BLS survey,  36% of the workforce relied on gig work for some portion of their income in the United States. This number is expected to grow to 43% by the end of 2020. The US workforce is changing as we know it, so it’s time to adjust businesses operations to meet the demands of this growing employee segment.

Improved technology: The pros and cons

The advancement of technology and innovation is making it easier than ever for workers to find gigs and in reverse for employers to find gig workers. Conventional pain points surrounding gig work such as location, availability and accessibility have all of a sudden disappeared and barriers have been abolished due to industry innovation. Technology has created a world where geography is no longer a barrier to a company’s workforce and growth initiatives. However, with the absence of these geographical barriers come new threats of security, reliability and flexibility. As international workers continue to intersect with businesses each day, a top priority for all is getting paid.

Companies that employ international gig workers will have to adapt their payment methods. It’s as simple as that. Globally, the gig economy now “represents $2.7 trillion in annual disbursements” and is expected to grow by 17.4% through 2023. It is this group of individuals who have led the charge for peer-to-peer payments and unlike 10 years ago, workers are now demanding digital payments on their terms.

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Meeting shifting worker demands

Although the North American payments industry has been traditionally slow to react to market shifts, growing demand is putting pressure on government and businesses alike to meet worker demands. It can be challenging enough for businesses to provide immediate payments to domestic gig workers, however adding an additional challenge of varying currencies are creating additional pain points for staffing businesses worldwide.

Today we know that unbanked gig workers prefer e-wallets and card payouts. Amazon sellers prefer account numbers and IBANs in their names to receive payouts in various currencies. Vacation property owners prefer payment by wires. Gig workers want to be paid immediately after they complete their gigs. In fact, 75% of freelancers agreed that they’d be more loyal to a business if they were given the option of on-demand access and instant payouts.

So how can businesses meet the varying demands of their global independent workforce?

The solution is simpler than you may think. Consider looking for a payments partner than can offer customized payment solutions that are flexible to your gig workforce as this is not only important for your workers, but it will also give you a competitive edge in this growing market. Keep in mind, global payment processing can reduce profit margins if businesses don’t do their due diligence when selecting a payment partner that best suits their needs. If we look at large banks such as Wells Fargo and Citibank who are built on top of legacy platforms, they can have payment restrictions. This is because their systems can’t talk to each other, banks don’t have the technology to service the needs of the gig workers.

In the end, it’s simple: gig workers want control over how, when and where they get paid. Staffing industry professionals and businesses need to realize that the right payments provider will need to understand these key considerations and pain points for workers to meet the demands of this growing industry – efficient and accurate payments.

Bob Dowd

Bob Dowd
Bob Dowd is the CEO at moneycorp North America. To learn more, visit

Bob Dowd

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