Tips for safe and responsible payment practices in the sex work industry

Payments are a crucial step in any sex work booking. But unfortunately, there’s little information out there to guide sex workers through safe and responsible payment practices. However, we want to change that!

Today, we’re looking at all things payment related to helping sex workers take control of their transactions and increase their confidence while working. From payment terms to protecting your personal information, we’re covering all the major bases.

Ready? Scroll down to get payment-savvy in minutes.

Why are safe payment practices important?

Ensuring you’re paid for working is a must, but knowing how to get paid safely is just as important.

Unsafe payments could leave your personal information exposed or set you up to lose your money. For example, some e-wallets and payment apps target sex-related transactions. This could result in your account getting frozen or even closed.

Opting for sex worker-friendly payment practices ensures you receive your money and don’t put you at risk for account closure. They also obscure your information, leaving you protected if you use a different name while working.

How to choose payment methods

When it comes to payment methods for sex workers, the key priorities are privacy and security. Many clients also want payment methods to be discreet, so factor anonymity into your choice, too.

A lot of mainstream payment methods don’t allow payments for sexual or pornographic services. So, when in doubt, check their terms of service. Don’t worry if you’re in a rush.

Here are some popular payment methods used by real sex workers:

  • IcePay
  • Dwolla
  • Paxum
  • Eway
  • Verotel
  • Payoneer
  • Coinbase
  • Bitpay
  • Cash App

Direct bank transfers are also used, but you have to give out personal information – not always a good idea.

Setting clear payment terms

It might not feel sexy, but you must always set clear payment terms before providing any services.

Ask your client what services they want and provide an accurate quote that covers their desires. It’s helpful to break down the price of each service (if applicable) so they know exactly what your rates are.

Payment agreements should include all services and prices or the amount of time the client is booking. Everything should be written down in clear detail, so you can reference it in the event of a dispute. Gotta’ protect yourself just in case.

Handling pre-payments

Pre-payments and deposits often split opinions within the sex worker community. Some sex workers swear by getting the payment upfront, some use a deposit system, and a minority of sex workers prefer to get the cash after the session.

Deposits and pre-payments are advised, as this shows your client is more reliable and committed to paying you. Only accept your payments via your preferred payment methods to ensure they are legitimate. Cash is sometimes more straightforward for this reason.

Don’t let potential clients talk you into using a method or currency you’ve never heard of before – if something feels wrong, it likely is. You’ll be better off working with someone else who respects your payment options.

Protecting your personal information

The best payment options for those wanting to conceal their personal information are e-wallets or cash transactions.

E-wallets are digital wallets where you can send or receive money to other people. These are connected to your bank account, but none of your personal information appears on the wallet. This is an excellent alternative to bank transfers.

Alternatively, cash is old-fashioned compared to today’s online banking options, but it keeps your personal information out of the picture.

Dealing with disputed payments

A bad client is a bad client.

Unfortunately, you never know when you’ll encounter a client who disputes payments for no reason, but it’s essential to be ready for it to happen.

While online payments are great, they do give clients the option to dispute payments. Since many e-wallets don’t allow sex work-related transactions, you can’t argue your case without risking account closure. Due to this risk, many sex workers prefer to accept cash.

If you’re keen on using online apps, some sex workers suggest only accepting deposits and gifts via electronic payment and then receiving the bulk of payments in cash. This way, you have money in your online accounts but don’t risk losing large amounts.

Disputed payments and refunds are very rare. However, they can happen, especially if you’re using online payment apps.

Educating clients on payment methods

Talking to clients about your preferred payment method is an important step that should happen upfront, like any other boundaries.

Before booking a session, explain your accepted payment methods and deposit needs. Defining your payment needs upfront allows you to see if you’re a good fit, and you can cut them off if you don’t align – saving you time and money.

To explain your payment methods, simply state the options (e.g., cash, IcePay, or Dwolla) and then explain whether you take payments upfront or use a deposit system (e.g., 30% payment upfront and the rest afterwards).

Patiently educating your clients on payment methods and privacy helps them understand why you use the specific payment method. This is extra important if clients are requesting mainstream payment methods – giving them a brief explanation will help them understand why they need to support your options.

Seeking support

Online resources and non-profit organisations can offer invaluable support and guidance for sex workers, especially on the topic of responsible payments.

For example, in the UK, NUM (National Ugly Mugs) is a charity dedicated to providing support and safety tools to anyone involved in the adult industry. Their website has excellent support for financial responsibility, privacy, and all other sex work-related queries.

Online communities can also provide helpful advice, as real sex workers share their personal experiences and give tips to help others protect themselves. If you need a specific answer, you can even create an account and chat with like-minded sex workers. Perfect for newbies and veterans alike.

The takeaway

Getting clear on what payment methods work for you is paramount as a sex worker. Make sure you know whether you want to take cash or online payments, whether you want to accept deposits and make sure you obscure your identity. It’s better to be safer every time.

Need more sex work advice? Visit our sex work 101 section here.

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