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Apr 30, 2024
April 30, 2024
Erik Bartz
3 min read

The Best Payout Methods for Your Business

When it comes to paying your team, contractors, and vendors, you have tons of options. Here are a few of the most popular, secure payout methods offered by payment platforms.
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As a freelancer, business owner, or contractor, you have no shortage of payment options. There are more ways to get paid today than ever before — from old-school paper checks to instant, digital transfers. However, not all payment methods are created equal. It’s up to you to find the right methods for all your payees, including full-time employees, global contractors, vendors, and more.

This post will walk you through a few of the most common payment options and their pros and cons. All things considered, a dedicated payout platform like i-payout is the best way to develop custom payment processes that work for everyone on your team.

Domestic ACH

The Automated Clearing House (ACH) is a network that reaches all U.S. banks and credit unions. Domestic ACH transfers are among the most common payment methods used by U.S. businesses. You might also know this method as Direct Deposit or Direct Payment — money is transferred directly to the recipient’s bank account and often arrives the same day. As many as 93% of American workers are paid via direct deposit today.

Many businesses use Domestic ACH to pay their U.S.-based employees. Payroll providers facilitate direct deposit, and it can easily integrate with payroll software, making it the preferred method for routine paychecks. However, because it requires a U.S. bank account, this method won’t work for international payouts.


  • Same-day transfers
  • Up to $1 million per transfer
  • Available for any U.S. bank or credit union
  • Can integrate with payroll software


  • Requires an ACH routing number
  • Only works for domestic payments

Global ACH

Global ACH is a method that transfers money from a U.S.-based account to an international account using local rails. It connects ACH transfers to international networks, including BACS in the U.K., BECS in Australia, EFT in Canada, and SEPA in Europe.

Like Domestic ACH, Global ACH is an affordable, convenient option. The biggest downside is that it isn’t instant — a standard Global ACH transfer might take around three days, depending on your payment platform.


  • Secure transfers to international accounts
  • Free or low-cost
  • Can be initiated in USD and withdrawn in local currency


  • Recipient must have an account with a connected bank or credit union
  • Transfers take around three days

Wire Transfers

Wire transfers were once regarded as the only secure way to transfer money instantly. Today, there are plenty of alternatives, but wire transfers are still a safe, reliable option in some circumstances.

“Wire transfer” is a catch-all term for an electronic bank transfer. These transfers often go through the Fedwire Funds Service (Fedwire) or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). Most wire transfers are completed within 24 hours, while some international transfers may take up to 72 hours. This is a secure option but not the cheapest. Some banks charge fees as high as $50 for an international wire transfer.


  • Highly secure
  • Instant or fast transfers
  • Works for international transfers


  • Requires detailed bank account information
  • Comes with high fees
  • Additional fees apply for currency exchange

Peer-to-Peer Payment Apps

Peer-to-peer (P2P) apps instantly transfer money between digital wallets. PayPal is the most popular P2P app, but business owners also use Zelle, Venmo, and Cash App to pay vendors or contractors.

The main advantage of these apps is that they’re highly convenient. Your recipient doesn’t have to provide their bank account information; they’ll receive their funds immediately, regardless of their location. Apps like PayPal also allow you to exchange money in a wide range of currencies. However, P2P apps are not considered as secure as other methods and don’t account for compliance issues. They also come with their own fees for some transfers, such as a transfer to a bank account or an international transfer.


  • Instant transfers
  • No bank account information required
  • Convenient and free for the recipient
  • Available in multiple currencies


  • May charge fees for some transfers
  • Less secure than other options
  • The recipient must have an account with the app

Other Payment Methods

The options listed above are some of the most popular payment methods for contractors and small businesses. But they aren’t the only options out there. Here are a few more payment methods you might consider for your business.


Some contractors and vendors prefer cash payments. When securely transferred, cash is a reliable payment method that requires no bank accounts or apps. But unless you’re delivering cash directly to your payee’s hand, it’s risky. Cash payments also don’t generate digital records, making it harder for bookkeeping.

Pre-Paid Cards

Pre-paid debit cards can be used anywhere card payments are accepted. Like cash, this is an easy way to pay contractors for irregular or one-time work — you’ll fund the card from your account, and the recipient can spend it however they want. Digital pre-paid cards minimize the risk of sending a physical card.

This can also be a tricky method for bookkeeping and may not work for contractors who want to save their earnings in a bank account.

Paper Checks

Paper checks might seem old-fashioned, but many businesses still use them for payouts and contractor payments. The advantage of a check is that you don’t need any information about the recipient’s bank. They can deposit or cash the check, and you’ll keep the receipt for your bookkeeping.

The disadvantage is that, like cash, you’ll have to risk sending a check in the mail unless you can hand-deliver it to your payee.

Why Do You Need Multiple Payout Methods?

When it comes to choosing the best payout method for your business, you have plenty of options. Some will fit your budget, schedule, and bookkeeping efforts better than others. But here’s the thing: it’s important to give your team members options, too.

Every employee and contractor you work with will have their own preferences. Your U.S.-based team might prefer direct deposit while global contractors might prefer Global ACH. For short-term work, checks or pre-paid cards offer convenient payouts. Locking into one or two payment methods limits your business’s reach and hiring options.

On the other hand, juggling multiple payment methods yourself isn’t practical. It can get messy, especially regarding international payments that must comply with local regulations. That’s why modern payment platforms like i-payout offer multiple methods and customized plans, streamlining the payout process while meeting each of your team members’ unique needs.

A Dedicated Payment Platform Will Help

There is no “best” payment option for every business. The right methods for you are those that fit your needs and your payees’ preferences. Try a dedicated payment platform instead of relying on one or two options.

i-payout offers a range of payout methods, including Global ACH, cash, SWIFT transfers, direct deposit, pre-paid debit cards, and more. You can pay contractors, employees, and vendors worldwide without juggling bookkeeping and compliance yourself.

Regardless of your business size or industry, you should have access to multiple payout methods. i-payout provides customized payment solutions that grow and scale with your business.

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