What is a Global Payroll Service and How Does it Work?

In today’s increasingly globalised, digital world, more and more companies are hiring overseas. The reasons for this may be to access a wider talent pool of skilled workers, or simply to cut costs by outsourcing to developing nations where wages are lower. Of course though, nobody works for free and as such, companies need to find a way to properly and promptly pay all of these international hires.

Therefore using a global payroll service is becoming increasingly common in business as companies seek effective ways to pay payrolls internationally. In this post we will look at what a global payroll service is, how it works and we will even throw in a list of known global payroll tools in case you need to find a provider yourself. As a bonus, we will also throw in advice on how to hire abroad without a foreign subsidiary.

What Is a Global Payroll Service?

A global payroll service is a service that a company can use to run payroll across multiple different countries.

You may never have thought about it but company payroll can be quite complicated even for small scale, domestic businesses as there are a lot of factors to take into account.  Global payroll can prove very challenging especially when we take into account issues such as international bank transfer fees, multiple different currency exchange rates, as well as compliance with international law.

By seeking out a dedicated and reliable Global Payroll solution, a business saves itself a lot of work and hassle and helps to ensure that overseas staff are properly paid. Moreover, using a provider also ensures that all financial and legal obligations are complied with; for many one of the main advantages of using a Global Payroll Service is that they are able to handle the onboarding and due diligence process for new hires.

Finally, many Global Payroll services are also able to offer traditional HR services such as hiring and employee management functions.

The Best Global Payroll Service For Business

Before we dive into which international payroll service provider is “the best”, it is important to note that not all providers are able to onboard and pay workers in all countries. However, the ones we have picked here are able to offer some degree of payroll services to both clients, and overseas workers, in most non-sanctioned countries.

Papaya Global

Widely regarded as the top global payroll solution for business, Papaya Global have won over an array of clients with their tech focused approach as well as an end to end service from onboarding, right up until the first pay cheque is drawn.

Unlike some others on this list, there is no minimum turnaround with Papaya and they are happy to work with companies of sizes and net values.


Oyster have posted themselves as payroll providers with a mission – to enhance high level employment in developing markets. While this is very noble, their minimum monthly charge per employee is $399 which does make them comparatively expensive considering the average employee wage in the developing world.

Still, their full remote employee management suite has earned them a lot of hoppy International clients.

Money Corp

The Financial Services giant MoneyCorp is primarily a money transfer and foreign currency provider and does not offer full payroll and HR services like others on this list.

Businesses who use Money Corp will have to handle a lot of the payroll process themselves but can rely on Money Corp to offer low cost international payments at bank beating exchange rates.

Money Corp is an excellent option for a business with less complex global payroll needs that does not want to incur unnecessary costs.


The US based firm Rippling is an excellent option for US based firms looking for a domestic payroll service. They are not currently able to handle overseas payroll.

Rippling really came into their own as a full employee management service (basically an outsourced HR).


Finally, we come to Deel. With monthly costs starting at just $49 per contractor, they are very competitive and an excellent option for the cost conscious business. Their system is also integrated with Wise meaning they are able to make payments with only an email address.

Their service is not as comprehensive and highly rated as some of the competitors but this is reflected in the price.

How To Hire Abroad Without a Foreign Subsidiary

Hiring abroad can offer a world of opportunity to business but there are some challenges too and finding a way to pay offshore employees is just the start of it.

Firstly, a company needs to pay attention to any tax liabilities it may have to the overseas workers native country. For example, in the United Kingdom employers are obligated to pay into the National Insurance on behalf of every employee working for them. Even if the company is based outside of the UK, they are not exempt from these requirements.

Next, a company hiring abroad is also obligated to comply with the relevant employment law of the worker’s native country. To offer a topical example, Twitter is now facing legal action from UK based staff it recently fired after failing to comply with British employment law regarding termination notice periods.

It is for these reasons that a lot of companies prefer to engage overseas staff as contractors or freelancers. This means that the offshore worker is technically a supplier and not an employee. To add an extra level of protection and also get some expertise, a lot of companies like to use a Global Payroll Provider who can help with recurring, hiring and onboarding overseas workers.

Final Thoughts On The Best Way To Pay Payrolls Internationally

Let’s be honest, payroll is not a glamorous business area. But, it is far more complicated than most of us realise and as such internationally operating businesses find that using a global payroll service is the best way to pay payrolls internationally.

From our list of providers, Papaya is the overall highness regarded and Deel a good option for a business on a budget.




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