Everything you wanted to know about payment, but didn’t dare to ask

  • Who wants to start as a freelancer has to pay taxes and social insurance. There are many sites helping to do this e.g. http://www.kmu.admin.ch/ (in German, French, Italian, English)
  • Who has in doubt whether a client from abroad is a good payer can ask for information in one of the mailinglists to be found in


If you are a member of www.proz.com please also have a look at the blueboard.

In Switzerland you can ask the competent office (Betreibungsamt/Office de poursuites/Ufficio esecuzioni) whether there is a debt collection procedure against a certain person or company taking place


(German, French, Italian)

If necessary you can start a debt collection procedure yourself on this site. For a simpler debt collection procedure it’s important to have a signed contract with the client (on paper, fax, e-mail with special signature procedure, but no ordinary email)

You can also have a look at the Swiss registry of commerce to find out who are the managers of a certain company and some other important details.


For bank payments outside Europe and the Mediterranean you need the account number and the SWIFT Code (BIC)

For Bank payments  within Europe and the Mediterranean you also need the IBAN (International Bank account number, this must be calculated by the bank, but there are several programs to check it).Often such payments have low or no fees. This is normally the case if the bank is member of the SEPA payment system (http://www.migrosbank.ch/de/Private/KartenZahlungsverkehr/Zahlungsverkehr/SEPA.htm or on your bank’s website).  In the EU the forms for payment within EU may not be used for payments to Switzerland as Switzerland is no member of EU.

In USA and France check payments are widespread. Try to convince your clients in these countries to make bank transfers instead.

There are also some internet payment systems: www.paypal.com and www.moneybookers.com But your bank has better exchange rates and is in your own country (better contact and legal possibilities), not in some exotic place. So try to convince your clients to make bank payments, but to ask first for information on bank fees.

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