A lot of things have changed in how freelancers transfer their earned income online since the year 2013. Then, if a client paid an independent professional directly via Paypal, or on a freelancing service platform; it was really hard to withdraw the funds directly to your bank account.

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When bank transfer feature was introduced- it could take up to 7 days for the funds to clear and show on your bank balance. That was it,unless you withdrew the money to Paypal (if you were paid via a freelancing platform) and then spend it on purchasing products online to be shipped to you in your country of residence.

But now 7 years down the line, in Kenya, freelancers have more ways of withdrawing their earnings-thanks to the fast growing trust on the online marketplaces by various investors.

In this blogpost, I will explore the history of cash transfers remotely.

Early Birds in Global Money Transfer Market

Payoneer Mastercard

Before Upwork, there was Odesk and Elance. Those were the most preferred freelancing platforms in the year 2010-2013 in Kenya before the two companies merged to form Upwork. During this time, Payoneer had partnered with the two freelancing platforms to process freelancers earnings in any country. As a freelancer, one could apply for a Payoneer Mastercard which was sent to his/her respective country.

This way, wherever a freelancer withdrew their earnings to their payoneer account, the funds could automatically load to their card. From here the freelancer was able to withdraw them in any ATM outlet with a ‘Mastercard‘ sign. Good news about this way of receiving funds was and is still the fastest and most convenient way to access your money within an hour of withdrawing them from Upwork or a freelancing platform in partnership with Payoneer. Additionally, you can use the card to shop anywhere.


Skrill came in later in the year 2014 when they partnered with Mpesa to process payments for people living in Kenya. So the idea was, you could withdraw money to your Skrill account from the freelancing site of your choice. Then from your Skrill account send the funds directly to Mpesa.

It came second after Payoneer because of its speed and convenience. This was little before Skrill customer support became unreliable and this payment method was removed from Upwork.

I still see Freelancing platforms like Freelancer having this option as one of the withdrawal methods.

And did I mention that they used to issue Visa cards as well? Yes they did.

If you are considering a global digital payment processing service, you should consider Skrill.


Paypal was there from the time I joined the internet marketplace. In any occasion, after everything has failed, the only ‘last man standing’ here is Paypal. The problem I had with Paypal was- I could not access the money in my country Kenya.

Later, things changed to better when they partnered with Equity bank. To date, that’s the only bank that allows direct money transfers from Paypal. Another way of withdrawing money from paypal is via mobile money transfer to M-pesa account which takes less than 5 Mins to process.

Direct Money Transfers to your Local Bank (EFT)

This came much later in the year 2016. At the time, payments could take 5 days to appear in your bank balance. But due to competition and enhanced security measures put in place by banks, it now takes 2 days to process the payments and the conversion rate is very good.

For any digital service provider making his money online, I fully recommend having EFT as your first option because of the many benefits that comes with it. You are protected from all forms of fraud.

Moreover, your bank will favor you anytime you need their assistance.

MPESA Global Mobile Money Transfer

Mpesa is the fast growing Kenyan Mobile Money Transfer service owned by Safaricom PLC. This way of withdrawing money is only available in some freelancing platforms. Also, they process most payments originating from Kenyan citizens. While their systems are very secure, there is a long list of growing fraudsters prying on unsuspecting customers.

Most of the kingpins being former Safaricom employees who call users acting as Safaricom customer care.

And that is a summary of Global Money Transfers services from the eyes of an independent professional living in Kenya.

If you need help to create professional screen-cast video tutorials, let me know here. Alternatively, you can send me an e-mail to connect@cheptiony.com

Until next time. Bye bye and take care.

You can follow me on twitter @cheptiony.

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