How to Pay Contractors in Latam: A Comprehensive Guide

Explore the complexities of paying contractors, particularly in Latin America, with our comprehensive guide. Gain insights into the unique legal and financial considerations, discover payment methods across different countries, and learn how to streamline your contractor payments while ensuring compliance with local regulations.
How to Pay Contractors in Latam: A Comprehensive Guide
Written by
Ontop Team

Why Paying Contractors is Different from Paying Employees

Paying contractors is a different ballgame from paying employees, especially when we consider international businesses with sights set on Latin America. The fundamental difference lies in the fact that while employees are part of a company's payroll, enjoying certain benefits and subjected to deductions, contractors function as independent entities, operating outside the formal structure of the company.

This difference is not merely administrative but extends to legal and financial implications as well. An employee's salary is often subjected to tax deductions at the source, and the company is responsible for fulfilling these statutory obligations. In contrast, contractors are typically paid the full amount, and they are responsible for their tax obligations.

This unique nature of contractor payments becomes particularly important when a business is looking to expand into Latin America. The region's diverse financial systems, laws, and business practices necessitate a comprehensive understanding of how to pay contractors in Latam.

Differences Between Countries

Latin America, though united by geography and culture, is characterized by significant differences in business practices across its various countries. This diversity is evident in the way contractors are paid across these nations.

For instance, in Mexico, the process of hiring and paying contractors usually involves formal contracts and the use of trusted payment platforms. The contracts detail the nature of services, payment terms, and other necessary details, ensuring legal compliance and safeguarding the interests of both parties.

On the other hand, Brazil employs the "Nota Fiscal" system. In this system, contractors issue an invoice, or nota fiscal, to the company for their services. This invoice serves as a record of the service provided and the payment due, facilitating transparency and accountability.

Meanwhile, Colombia favors a more direct approach. Contractors in Colombia prefer direct bank transfers, which are simple, quick, and efficient. Additionally, with the rise of digital technology, the use of mobile payment apps is also gaining popularity among Colombian contractors.

Payment Options Most Used by Contractors in Latin America

Contractors across Latin America use a range of payment options, each with its unique advantages. Direct bank transfers are a common preference due to their simplicity and reliability. They offer a straightforward way of transferring funds from the company's account to the contractor's, minimizing the need for intermediaries.

However, online payment platforms like PayPal and Payoneer have been steadily gaining ground. These platforms offer advantages in terms of ease of use, speed, and the ability to handle multiple currencies, a significant benefit for international transactions.

Cryptocurrency, though still in its early stages, is emerging as a potential payment option. Its promise of lower transaction fees and faster processing times, coupled with the enhanced security of blockchain technology, makes it an attractive option for many contractors.

Ready to simplify your Latin American payroll process?

Get started with Ontop today and experience the difference. Contact our team to learn more about our comprehensive solutions and how we can help you build a happy and productive workforce in Latin America.


Understanding how to pay contractors in Latam is a crucial aspect of operating a successful business in the region. It involves not only understanding the various payment options available but also the specific practices and regulations in each country. By staying updated with these aspects, businesses can ensure a seamless, efficient, and legally compliant payment process. This, in turn, contributes to effective operations, fostering profitable growth in the vibrant and diverse markets of Latin America.

Stay up to date with our latest content

We are the experts in global hiring, let us help you scale.
View all posts
independent contractors maternity leave

Can independent contractors take maternity leave?

Discover the challenges and explore potential solutions for self-employed individuals seeking time off during maternity.
us companies that are hiring foreign workers

How to Find US Companies That Are Hiring Foreign Workers

Gain access to specialized job boards and essential legal tips for a smoother job search experience.
minimum wage in Peru

What is the minimum wage in Peru in 2024?

Uncover the intricacies of Peru's minimum wage system and how it shapes livelihoods and economic landscapes within the country.
minimum wage in mexico 2024

What is the minimum wage in Mexico in 2024?

Understanding the minimum wage in Mexico: its variations, implications, and effects on livelihoods and the economy.
minimum wage in costa rica

What is the minimum wage in Costa Rica in 2024?

Discover the complexities behind Costa Rica's minimum wage system and how it extends beyond simple numbers.
men working on his desk while writing on a paper

Answers you should have about Payroll and Payments

We believe in transparency in all aspects and processes, so this is a text for us to be crystal clear about all of our payroll and payment methods.