M looking to offer freelance services to worldwide clients but kind of stuck with the payments issue (you’d have guessed it, already). The topic has been discussed several times but there’s no well-rounded discussion on any of the Pakistani forum (there are plenty, but in parts), which is strange. Coming to the problem, there’re so many downsides to each of the available payment methods … i am stating them all, some may have been discussed already but I think it will help the aspiring freelancers if we can discuss the pros and cons for each of these methods all at one place, and let them decide themselves.
PayPal: To start with, you cannot legitimately register for PayPal from Pakistan. You need some source in PayPal approved regions to sign up and verify for you … even then there are chances that PayPal will figure it out someday and block your account (even though I personally know many guys who are using it all the time from Pakistan and despite PayPal occasionally asking for verifications, have never had any problem whatsoever. Even though, I’ve got friends and family members who can make an account for me, I don’t think it’s a good idea to establish a business with an outsider having some access to your account, no matter how reliable they are.
2Checkout: Next best option is 2co, especially after they’ve started accepting payments made via PayPal … however, they inquire about the company legal name, company owner history and more importantly NTN … acquiring NTN means one has to submit his/her account and income details (I’ve heard that IT services are exempted from tax but I don’t think they’ll let you go that easily). I’ll be grateful if someone can share his first hand experience related to taxation issues …
Plimus: Another option and they accept PayPal payments as well … a couple of Plimus users i know are quite content with their services but they seemingly have very lengthy procedure, which is a turnoff for your customers … still, I think Plimus can be a good option for those who are selling some sort of services because your client won’t mind going through some verifications. However, I haven’t talked to someone in Pakistan, who is using their services and who knows they might be having similar authentication requirements like 2checkout …
WesternUnion: I am not really sure how you can use western union to sell your services online … at least you cannot accept online payments … another drawback is that you may have to explain the source of income sooner or later because it may appear suspicious to some authorities (thanks to all these money laundering and terrorism issues)
Wire transfer: Not quite sure if it really works or not … second, you’ve got to explain the nature of your business to the guys at banks who are seemingly not aware of the term “freelancer” … the topic has been discussed in another thread recently and I’ve a similar experience when I went to open an account in UBL and the guy has absolutely no idea of how a freelancer works and all the time he was asking for documented proofs, business plan, etc. Maybe, SCB or Citibank can provide better services but again, have to hear from someone who has personally dealt with these guys?
Please, please share your opinions, suggestions, recommendations, advice ….