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Women Freelancers Find Diverse Benefits in Digital Economy, but Payment Transaction Fee Barriers Remain



Women Freelancers Find Diverse Benefits in Digital Economy, but Payment Transaction Fee Barriers Remain

Transpay-led survey of self-employed women reveals significant empowerment and financial incentives to working online

A large majority of women freelancers in the United States (97 percent) and India (67 percent) who sell their products or services using digital channels identify this type of self-employment as beneficial to their financial well-being, according to the Digital Women Survey, conducted by Transpay, the cross-border payment company.

Assessing the greatest benefits and most important challenges faced by women who use online platforms to engage with customers in other countries, Transpay’s poll of 886 female freelancers in the U.S. and India also reveals:

75 percent of India’s 486 respondents “feel empowered” by working in the digital economy
63 percent of the U.S.’s 404 respondents enjoy “improved physical and emotional well-being,” including reduced stress
53 percent of U.S. respondents cited “flexibility due to family obligations” as the main reason for pursuing digital self-employment
40 percent of India respondents identify “earning more via online channels” as the main driver behind their decision to pursue online freelancing
Despite the merits that the digital economy affords women, especially as gender parity in the corporate workplace falls under scrutiny, 90 percent of India respondents and 41 percent of U.S. respondents identify transaction fees on payments as one of “the biggest challenges facing their self-employed online business.” Half of India respondents (49 percent) and one-quarter of U.S. respondents (24 percent) also cite currency issues including forex fluctuation and limited acceptance of currencies as detrimental to their business.

“In a time of great debate over gender-based pay, the growing digital economy is a supportive resource for women seeking empowerment and financial well-being,” said Peter Shore, General Manager of Transpay. “Transpay recognizes, however, that the transaction fee and currency conversion issues prevalent among traditional cross-border payment channels are diminishing digital entrepreneurs’ compensation and is committed to providing an alternative option that tackles these pain points.”

“The digital economy has unquestionably broken down barriers to women’s economic empowerment,” added Meghan Hagberg, Senior Vice President, Business Council for International Understanding. “Whether enabling mothers to work from home, or craftswomen to market their products globally, we’ve seen a paradigm shift in women’s access to paid work and control of their financial destiny – both in the U.S. and around the world.”

The self-employed population’s preference for direct-to-bank payment methods, as opposed to alternative methods such as e-Wallets, is also evident from Transpay’s survey:

Zero percent of respondents in India are paid via direct-to-bank deposit, even though half of them (48 percent) would prefer this method
Separately, 30 percent of respondents in the U.S. are paid via direct-to-bank deposit, despite 40 percent of respondents preferring this method
When asked for their longer-term outlook for the cross-border payments space over the next five years, U.S. respondents were more optimistic with 44 percent believing it will become a seamless, real-time process, compared to just 13 percent among their India counterparts. Conversely, 17 percent of India respondents believe cross-border payments will be “obsolete and replaced entirely with cryptocurrency” versus just 8 percent of U.S. respondents.


During the week of April 16, 2018, Transpay issued a ten-question survey to 886 respondents who self-identified as female self-employed professionals that use online channels to provide products and services for clients outside of their home country. From this collection, 482 recipients were polled in India with the support of the Business Center for International Understanding, while 404 recipients were polled in the U.S. using Lucid’s survey technology.

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