At Expensify, International Contractors Can Get Paid in Bitcoin

By Michael Oliver,
Expensify, the expense management website that also facilitates the payment of expense reports filed by international employees and contractors, has accepted Bitcoin as a payment option. Contractors who have set up a Bitcoin wallet can request to get paid in the cryptocurrency instead of direct deposit or PayPal. With Expensify user firms mounting high PayPal fees when paying their employees and contractors, the Bitcoin method could be an attractively cheaper payment option.

A first for an enterprise company
TechCrunch notes that Expensify's adoption of Bitcoin is a milestone driven by its rapid mainstream reception.

"Expensify is the first enterprise company that is embracing Bitcoin to such an extent. Its acceptance is a sign of what is to come as Bitcoin goes mainstream," said TechCrunch's Alex Williams.

"We believe we are the most mainstream company to implement it with an actual business implication," added Expensify in a blog post announcing the new Bitcoin reimbursement feature.

Solution for international reimbursement
Expensify believes that this new service will most help out non-US companies who were racking up a lot of fees when paying to international recipients. Expensify specifically noted Bitcoin's advantage over PayPal, which sometimes charges fees to a percentage of the total payable. When the payable amount reaches thousands of dollars, the percentage fee also balloons.

"We see Bitcoin as more than just a gimmick. It is a great solution to a real world problem facing businesses today - international reimbursement .... Previously, our US companies with international employees or contractors were incurring currency conversion or wire transfer fees to the tune of 4% in some cases. To this end, Bitcoin is a great tool for minimizing the cost of reimbursing companies outside of the United States," said Expensify.

Another advantage Bitcoin has over Paypal is speed of payment processing, which it said can cut down the days of waiting possibly into minutes. Expensify said Bitcoin transfers are "secure and instant" while PayPal transfers require multiple business days to clear.

How to set up Bitcoin reimbursement
Expensify said that international employees or contractors hoping to get paid in Bitcoins will first need to set up a Bitcoin wallet. The full set-up process is explained in Expensify's Bitcoin reimbursement FAQ.

Caution in usage
Unlike PayPal though, Bitcoin reimbursement cannot be canceled or reversed, which might cause paying firms some headaches when disputes occur. On the flip side, receiving individuals and contractors might suffer from currency exchange losses when their Bitcoins lose value.

The most recent example is Bitcoin's Flash Crash early this month. The Bitcoin exchange rate dipped from $48 to below $40, a double-digit drop in value in just a single day due to a technical system error. Defenders though will note that Bitcoin values quickly recovered to pre-crash levels, and the cryptocurrency has even seen a surge this past week, now trading at $93 per Bitcoin.

This only shows that while there is a fear of devaluation there is also the prospect of appreciation for those who decide to get paid in Bitcoins.

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