The creator economy is booming, with content creators making upwards of 50K a year from their online content. While this is excellent news for current and prospective content creators, there are still setbacks these online entrepreneurs need to overcome.
Yes, you guessed it, we’re talking about getting paid.
Shockingly, as many as 87% of creators have been paid late, or clients have fobbed them off entirely!
The bottom line: Chasing client payments, whether they be sponsorships or brand endorsements, remains a significant challenge.
This is where Willa comes in.
Willa is an invoice service app that helps independent business owners to streamline their finances. Here we’ll look at what Willa has to offer, how it works, and whether it might fit your needs.
That’s lots to cover, so let’s dive in!
As hinted in the intro, Willa caters to freelancers and online creators needing reliable ways to track client payments.
Willa was founded in 2019, with headquarters in Los Angeles and Stockholm. They soon gained support from venture capital group EQT Ventures, which helped them lay their foundations in the fintech market.
Since then, the company has been featured in the Los Angeles Business Journal, Medium, and Business Wire and is widely recognized as an up-and-coming finance platform.
The Willa app is currently available for download on the Apple App Store. Unfortunately, at present, it’s not available on Android. You can only access it on iOS devices – i.e., iPhones and iPads.
Willa Review: How Willa works
To start using Willa, download the mobile app and create an account.
Currently, Willa is only available in the US. To create an account, you need a permanent US address, bank account, and US-based phone number.
If you have those, below we’ve listed a quick rundown of how Willa works:
- Set up your profile: You’ll find your business profile in your Willa dashboard. Here, you can fill in your account details, such as tax and business information. However, if you aren't registered as a business, you can use your social security number to set up your account.
- Request payments from clients: On the app’s home screen, you’ll see your balance and a ‘Request’ button. When you hit request, it creates an invoice with your billing information which you can then send to clients.
- Taking payments: On the client side, they can see how much is due, choose their preferred payment method, and deposit the amount into your Willa account. Also, instead of chasing payments yourself, Willa follows up with the client on your behalf until the payment is made. So you never have to follow up with a client! It’s also worth noting that your clients don’t need to download the app; they can pay via the Willa invoice you send. Willa also doesn’t cost your client anything to use (besides what they owe you).
- Withdrawals: Your Willa account balance automatically updates after a client has paid to reflect your earnings. You can then electronically transfer this amount into a bank or PayPal account.
Willa Review: Willa’s Core Features
Now that we’ve covered the basics of using Willa let’s see what other features you can expect.
Early Cash Out
Let’s say you have a reliable client you know will pay after completing the project. Usually, you can’t access payment until the client has paid their invoice. However, you can request payment upfront with Willa’s early cash-out feature.
So, how does this work?
In a nutshell, it’s similar to a cash advance. With the early cash-out feature, Willa pays the amount you’ll get from an invoice prematurely (i.e., before it’s been paid by the client). You can choose any amount from the total balance owed for a small variable upfront fee that Willa charges at its discretion.
Needless to say, this works wonders for ensuring a steady cash flow. To use this feature, there are no credit checks involved. Instead, they decide and apply a fee based on how long you’ve held your Willa account and other factors – like the certainty you’ll be paid the expected invoice.
If you need your money urgently, you can also opt for Willa’s Express Withdrawl.
Express withdrawals allow you to bypass the usual waiting time that banks sometimes apply to their transfers. For instance, some banks hold funds for one to five days before sending money from one account to another.
In contrast, when you withdraw funds from your Willa account, you don’t have to waste time waiting for your money to hit your bank account. In exchange, Willa charges a 1.75% Express withdrawal fee.
Here’s an overview of the security features Willa employs to protect your account and payments:
- Encryption: Willa uses 365-Bit encryption as a standard to protect personal information and data.
- Fraud prevention: Willa actively monitors for fraud and can lock accounts subject to review if there’s evidence of suspicious activity.
- Identity verification: Willa conducts various security checks to prevent unauthorized access to accounts, including two-step verification and customer screening, such as know-your-customer checks and business ID checks.
- Compliance: All payments and data are PCI (Payment Card Industry), CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act ), and FTC (Federal Trade Commission) compliant.
Willa Review: Willa’s Customer Service
You can contact Willa’s support team via the app. Just click the ‘contact us’ tab to bring up a page that allows you to send them a message via SMS or email.
Alternatively, you can reach Willa’s team by visiting Willa’s website, where you can send them a message via live chat or email. Both creators and clients can access support here. On top of that, Willa also has a support page where you can find the answers to frequently asked questions.
Willa Review: Willa’s Pricing
It’s free to download and start using the Willa app, and there are no monthly or setup fees.
This includes free access to the following:
- Account creation
- Customer support
- Invoice generation
- Payment management and collection features
- Standard fund withdrawal – i.e., from Willa to your bank account or PayPal
There are only two fees you need to remember when using Willa:
- The 1.75% express withdrawal fee
- The variable fee for early cash withdrawal
However, suppose you’re an agency or brand manager wanting more comprehensive financial features. In that case, Willa also has an Enterprise version of its software that allows you to automate payouts and get help with invoicing, payments, and compliance. You also have access to Willa’s API. So you can create custom integrations to ensure Willa works seamlessly with your existing tech stack. You can contact Willa to get their engineers to help you integrate this into your current workflow.
However, Willa doesn’t list the price of its Enterprise plan, so you have to contact them directly for a quote.
Willa Review: Willa’s Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve covered the lion’s share of what Willa has to offer, to help condense what we’ve learned, here’s a quick pro-cons list:
- Willa is free to download and use.
- Willa allows you to send payment requests and withdraw money (with no charge).
- Willa chases late and missed payments on your behalf.
- Willa is a pretty secure platform.
- With the early cash-out feature, you can receive money from invoices yet to be paid.
- Willa isn’t available outside the US.
- You can’t use Willa on Android or desktop devices.
- Willa doesn’t specify its charges for early cash-outs
Is Willa Pay Legit?
If you’re asking if it’s legal, for sure, it is. It isn’t a scam.
In fact, the app's own website states that it's loved by 50,000+ creators and their clients. Willa’s website also says that keeping your data secure is of the utmost importance to us and that the finance app meets the highest industry security standards and guidelines.
A quick internet trawl also tells us that users are by and large pleased with Willa Pay, which, again, is a testament to Willa Pay’s legitness. It ranks an impressive 4.7 out of five stars on the iOS App Store, and from these reviews, nothing suggests to us that the app isn't legit.
It also has a verifiable funding stream of $21m from seven investors, which, again, seems to strengthen the case that this platform is above board.
That said, Willa Pay is only two years old, so it's less tried and tested than other finance apps. So, as with any finance/business software, we always recommend that users road-test it themselves before diving in and using it as their primary finance app.
Willa Review: FAQs
Although we’ve covered lots of ground, you might still have questions about Willa. So we thought we’d try and preempt your queries by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about this invoicing software:
What’s the Difference Between Willa and the Likes of PayPal?
Many freelancers and content creators use Paypal to accept and manage their payments, so what makes Willa different from this service?
There are a couple of notable differences:
- PayPal doesn’t help you collect payments, whereas Willa does. Typically, when you use Paypal, the responsibility of sending invoices and chasing after late payments falls on you. However, this is where Willa stands out from other vendors because they do this job for you.
- Willa doesn’t charge expensive transaction fees. In contrast, Paypal charges several fees. For instance, as a merchant on Paypal, you pay to withdraw, transfer, and even receive donations.
- You can request payment advances on Willa with the early cash-out feature. By comparison, this isn’t something PayPal offers.
What if I’m Not a US Resident or My Client Isn’t?
As we’ve already mentioned, if you’re not a US address holder, unfortunately, you can’t use Willa’s services. However, if you’re based in the US and your client isn’t – you can still use Willa to request payments.
Willa Review: Our Final Verdict
So what do we think?
We think Willa does a great job of making it simple for freelancers and content creators to get paid for their work. There are no hidden fees, and it successfully streamlines many annoying tasks involved in invoicing and following up on client payments.
The early cash-out feature is also worth a shout-out. If you need cash quickly, perhaps to work on other projects or to continue doing what you love, it’s a huge bonus. It would be even better if Willa disclosed the cost of this service, but we can see why they don’t. It stands to reason that different accounts will come with varying risks, so it makes sense to apply variable prices. But, apart from that, Willa seems very open about their fees and costs.
However, the self-help resources available on their site could be slightly more in-depth. Although they have a blog, FAQs, and contact information available, it would be nice if their website provided a help center with more comprehensive guides on how to use Willa.
To conclude, we think Willa is an excellent choice for US-based content creators and freelancers looking for an affordable and straightforward solution to send invoices, chase up client payments, and withdraw funds into their bank/PayPal account. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
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