Freelancers See Instant Payments as Financial Lifeline

Being a freelancer requires constantly drumming up work while hoping for prompt payment. Moreover, consumers who work freelance, contract or consulting rely on disbursement payments for part, if not all, of their income. Failure to receive timely payment can lead to financial strain. Instant payments can relieve this for freelancers.84%: Share of freelancers who would choose instant payments if given the option

Freelancers are 17% more likely to select instant payments than the average consumer. Eighty-four percent report that they would choose instant payments if given the option. Because they often need access to their earnings, nearly half of freelancers are willing to pay a fee to receive their payments instantly.

These are some insights in “Generation Instant: How Freelancers Use Instant Payments to Reduce Financial Hardship,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and Ingo Payments collaboration. The report is based on a census-balanced survey of 3,898 U.S. consumers conducted between Dec. 28, 2023, and Jan. 22, examining consumers’ growing interest in and satisfaction with instant payment methods when receiving disbursements from government and nongovernment entities.

Other findings from the report include the following.89%: Portion of freelancers who mostly use instant payments and are highly satisfied

Instant payments are especially important to freelancers because they help reduce the financial strain of late payments.

Both freelancers and the average consumer agree that convenience and speed are the most appealing benefits of instant payments. Freelancers, however, are more likely to use instant payments to relieve financial strain. They are 15% more likely than average to say they prefer instant because the method relieves financial stress. In addition, 30% say instant helps them pay their bills on time — 13% more than the average consumer.

Nearly half of freelancers would be willing to pay a fee to receive their payments instantly, especially for larger payouts.

Freelancers are more willing than the average consumer to pay a fee to receive funds instantly. While 29% of consumers are willing to pay a fee to receive payments instantly, 46% of freelancers say the same. As the value of the payment rises, freelancers are more willing to pay a fee. If the payment is more than $1,000, 58% would pay a fee for an instant option.37%: Share of freelancers who primarily use instant payments and say it alleviates financial stress

Eight in 10 use digital marketplaces to sell their goods and services, increasing instant payment use.

Freelancers who receive instant payouts are more likely to use digital marketplaces. Fifty-three percent found the opportunity and received payment via one. Digital marketplaces that offer instant payments could play a key role in boosting instant use among freelancers. Marketplaces that do not provide instant pay are missing an opportunity to attract and retain talent.

Providing instant payments could be a market differentiator. Download the report to learn about freelancers’ use of — and increasing reliance on — instant payment methods.