May 12: Avoiding PayPal and Credit Card fees when invoicing Canadian and U.S. Customers

Johnathan Holland

Chapter 1

The Big Two Payments Processors

 How to Invoice International Clients..

Let’s start with the obvious ones and keep it short:


You can create an invoice in your dashboard with all the necessary items and send it to a client.

It’s good for the customer because they can pay by credit card and some other methods like Alipay directly in the invoice.

The only issue is the high fees.

Stripe charges 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction..


With their free multi-currency invoicing software they take 3.5% when dealing in different currencies. *face palm*


Similar to Stripe — Paypal lets you create an invoice and send to your customer’s email directly from your account dashboard.

It’s less-developer friendly..

But, similar to Stripe the fees on foreign currency invoicing are 6.4% of your total invoice!

Chapter 2

Accounting and Invoicing Softwares

Free invoicing software for small business is plentiful.

Here are some examples and they all have one thing in common..

I’ve personally used all of these and I’ve attached reviews below..

Freshbooks Invoicing

Cost: $15 per month + typical payment processing costs

Benefits: Automatic email invoice payment reminders, multi-currency billing, multi-language, deposit requests, customize payment terms and full accounting suite of tools.

User satisfaction rated: 99%

QuickBooks Invoicing

Cost: $5 per month + typical payment processing costs

Benefits: Real-time alerts when customers view invoices, automatic email payment reminders, add billable hours synced to calendar and full accounting suite of tools.

User satisfaction rated: 96%

ZohoBooks Invoicing

Cost: $9 per month + typical payment processing costs

Benefits: Experience from servicing over 13 million customers, automatic payment reminders, invoice tracking and full accounting suite of tools.

User satisfaction rated: 100%

WaveApps Invoicing

Cost: Free + typical payment processing costs

Benefit: Automatic payment reminders, invoice tracking, online bank payments in addition to credit cards and full accounting suite of tools.

User satisfaction rated: 99%

Other invoicing software known for great customer service to note:

Kashoo Invoicing

Cost: $16.65 per month + typical payment processing costs

Benefit: Known for support, track expenses, insightful reports and accounting suite of tools.

User satisfaction rated: 97%

Invoice Ninja

Cost: $8 per month + typical payment processing costs

Benefit: Item and product library system, recurring auto-billing

User satisfaction rated: 100%

Chapter 3

Complimentary Tools that go with Accounting and Invoicing Softwares

There are new, better payment options to consider that complement with these softwares…

The issue is all of these invoicing platforms use the same payment methods and are succumbed to the high fees of the PayPal and Credit Card networks.

Of course, accepting credit cards makes it easy for your customers, but this is hardly free online invoicing.

Invoicing software isn’t designed to change the way your customers are paying you.

They make it easier to wear your Accounts Receivable Invoicing hat.

So, what can you do to avoid Credit Card and PayPal fees?

Keep your simple invoice software, but offer other payment options.

Let’s run through an example..

You are an American invoicing Canadian clients (this works any way you slice it).

Scenario #1








You ask them to pay by cheque.

This is super cheap ($0), but the delay can be upwards of 21 business days for the cheque to come in and the bank to clear it.

Scenario #2

Ask them to send a wire transfer.

This is cheap for you as a business owner, but creates friction with your customer.

Also, it costs them anywhere from $25 – $100 and a typical 3% cost to exchange CAD to USD so you are passing down costs to your customer.

Scenario #3




Use Waveapps Online Banking feature.

Wave allows your customer to pay through online banking for a 1% cost.

Much better than the 2.9% for other payment processors with Credit Cards or PayPal.

There is a 7 business day delay to get funds so if you need funds quick this isn’t the best option.

The other downside is it doesn’t work to invoice cross-border so the best use-case for this is intra-country instead of using cheques.

Scenario #4

Use Curexe.

Curexe works with the best invoice software to even a Microsoft Word invoice template or Excel invoice template.

No need to change your current invoicing process.

Curexe includes an online banking option of payment to your invoices. See example below:

^The above is an example of an invoice that would typically be sent to your client, but Curexe adds an online banking payment option so your customers can pay directly from their bank.

It brings your customer through a checkout-like experience..

Most importantly it costs the business owner $0 to accept funds and a wire is sent into their account with no wire fees.

What’s the catch?

Curexe charges a 2% foreign exchange fee embedded in the exchange rate your customer gets.

Much better than the 3.5% all of your customers are used to paying through Credit Cards, Banks, invoicing software, accounting software and PayPal.

All you have to do is email your invoices to and they create the ‘online banking’ button and forward the invoices to your customers.

Examples of when this is useful are:

  • Canadian company invoicing US company
  • Global businesses invoicing Canadian companies in different currencies
  • Recurring payment Saas businesses that want an alternative to offering credit cards
  • Selling in US dollars to Canadian Companies
  • American invoicing Canada
  • Invoicing an American company
  • A common search in Google is: how to invoice a US client from Canada

Curexe is the cheapest option out there that doesn’t compromise user experience. If you want access to their early waitlist for cross-border invoices Curexe is taking on customers here:

Chapter 4


What’s ironic is these four payment methods can help you avoid chargebacks in addition to saving fees..

How do I avoid chargeback risk?

It sucks when 2% of your total revenue disappears because some fraudster stole a credit card.

Not only do you lose revenue, but if your chargebacks stay above the acceptable level your merchant account can get shut down.

Then you can no longer accept Credit Card payments.

What’s worse if your merchant account is terminated you will be put on the MATCH list and essentially blacklisted from getting any merchant account for 5 YEARS!

Let’s start by defining the chargeback process..

A customer paying through Credit Card or PayPal can call their bank and ask for their money back.

The Credit Card company or PayPal will always favour the customer at first and refund the funds.

This means the business is out the money.

The business owner would then open up a dispute and provide evidence to the Credit Card company or PayPal on why this was legitimate.

If there is a true fraud case the business never gets their money back..

Pros of ease of payments online: easy to get new customers

Cons of ease of payments online: customer holds the power

Some dispute examples where the business can get their money back are as follows..

  • Customer has a change of heart
  • Family member stole the card and the card holder doesn’t want to be left with the bill
  • Customer isn’t happy with the service even if contractual obligations were met
  • Customer is impatient waiting for the product even if the shipping was clearly stated

These reasons leave a business owner stuck in the red while they dispute the legitimacy with the Credit Card company or PayPal and can take anywhere from 2 – 4 months.

The same four payment methods listed above actually help with chargeback risk for various reasons:

  • Cheques

The cheque is signed and cleared through the bank and the clearing house in each respective country (if they still have cheques).

This reduces all chargeback risk because it is done at the branch and the wait of upwards of 21 business days for an international cheque to clear is how the bank hedges this risk.

  • Wires

Wires are what is called ‘good’ funds. The funds are final and the bank can only issue a recall and hope the funds are returned through the receiving bank.

This eliminates the problem of funds getting charged back.

  • Wave Apps Online Banking

Wave Apps developed an online banking option to pay invoices.

This avoids the typical credit card or PayPal payment methods and reduces the chargeback risk by having your customer to connect with your online bank.

The risk is reduced and the Wave team is great to help you dispute if something were to happen.


  • Curexe



Curexe is what the payment industry would call hybrid payment rails.

This provides a business with an online banking payment option as an alternative to Credit Card and PayPal.

PROS: The chargeback risk is reduced by 99.99% due to the fact that each customer enters into a contract (one-time signed)..

AND they connect with their online bank so it is hard to prove someone hacked your banking password.

The dispute examples given earlier become obsolete, because you have a contract on the actual payment even if the business doesn’t have a contract with their direct customer.

CONS: The disadvantage to using Curexe is it can only be used when invoicing an American company or invoicing a Canadian company.

Whereas, PayPal and the Credit Card companies are in every country.

Chapter 5


In Summary:

When invoicing international clients you have several options available to you.

The fees with current payment processors are all controlled by Credit Cards and PayPal.

The only way to avoid them is by looking at other options that your invoicing software isn’t offering.

Your customers demand options so let them pay any way they would like even if that means they get their points through credit cards.

Fraud risk is real and if your merchant account risks being shut down by the Card Networks then it’s smart to ensure you have other payment options that are just as easy for your customers.