How to withdraw my money from Upwork

Layla Mansoor

Content & Learning, Elevate Pay

Jan 25, 2024

·

5 mins

Getting paid is without a doubt the most rewarding part of being a freelancer. But a lot of freelancers, especially those living in emerging market countries like Pakistan, Egypt, and Kenya are losing part of their hard-earned income because of the methods they use to withdraw funds from Upwork. Let’s take you through the different ways of withdrawing your money and set you on the right path to keeping as much of your money as possible.

Setting up a Payment Method

The process all starts with selecting the most appropriate payment method. Let's get going:

  1. Login to Upwork

  2. Go to your profile on the top right-hand side and enter “Settings” where you may be prompted to authenticate yourself again.

  3. Go to “Get Paid” under “User Settings”

  4. In the “Withdrawal Methods” section select the “Add Method” and a number of withdrawal methods should appear as in the image below.


Selecting a Withdrawal Method

Depending on your country Upwork will provide a number of “Recommendations”.  In this example of Egypt, the recommendations are a “Direct to Local Bank (EGP)” transfer and “Payoneer”.

Although Upwork has made those recommendations with the best intentions, they are not always the cheapest option, especially for freelancers working in emerging markets. Let’s take a look at the options and dig a little deeper into the fees, time taken to get paid, as well as the pros and cons.

Direct to Local Bank

This method involves Upwork sending your money directly to your local bank account. In Egypt or Pakistan for example it would be your local bank account you’ve set up with the money being received in EGP or PKR respectively.

Fees

Upwork charges $0.99 when sending to your local bank. This is relatively cheap in comparison to the other options but be aware that your bank may charge additional fees and an exchange rate that may be unfavourable. 

Time To Receive Payment

Transfers typically take 2-5 business days but can take up to 7. Any longer and you should contact the Upwork support team.

Pros
  • Relatively low Upwork fees.

  • Receive the money directly to your home account.

Cons
  • The exchange rates may not always be favourable.

  • Your bank may apply fees that are not always upfront and transparent.


Payoneer

Payoneer tends to be recommended by default for most emerging market countries and allows you to receive the payment into their USD wallet.

Fees

Upwork charges $2 when sending to Payoneer which can be expensive depending on how much you're withdrawing. Payoneer itself will then apply fees to money that is received into the account.

Time To Receive Payment

Transfers can take up to 24 hours.

Pros
  • Relatively quick time to receive your payments.

  • Payments are in USD.

Cons
  • Not great for smaller transfers because of the $2 fee by Upwork and minimums by Payoneer.

  • Expect additional fees when receiving the payment and when then sending the money back to your home country


PayPal

PayPal is a well-known payment platform that has been around for a while. Although they have a reputation of being quite expensive it’s been a popular and trusted method of accepting payments for many freelancers and businesses in emerging markets.

Fees

Upwork charges $2 when sending to PayPal which like Payoneer can be an issue with smaller amounts.

Time To Receive Payment

Transfers can take up to 24 hours.

Pros
  • Relatively quick time to receive your payments.

  • Payments are in USD.

  • PayPal is a trusted provider that has been around for a long time.

Cons
  • Not great for smaller transfers because of the $2 fee by Upwork and minimums by PayPal.

Wire

For those with a US account, domestic wires are an option, but one that is rarely used simply because of the excessive cost of the transfer. Wires are typically used for larger transactions in the U.S.  and are not really suited to freelancing.

Fees

Upwork charges $30.

Time To Receive Payment

Transfers can take up to 7 days although are generally complete either the same day or within 1-2 days.

Pros
  • Payments are in USD.

Cons
  • Transfer fees are extremely expensive.

Direct to US Bank (USD)

Last but not least, getting paid directly into a US-based USD account. This is in fact an ACH bank transfer. Although the bottom of the list on Upwork, it’s the only free method.

Fees

Free. No Upwork fees although your US bank may charge you inbound fees.

Time To Receive Payment

Up to one business day.

Pros
  • Free

  • Quick

  • Payment is in USD

Cons
  • Depending on your bank there may be fees when sending money home.


You may be wondering why the only free option of “Direct to U.S Bank (USD)” is the last suggestion by Upwork. The answer is relatively simple, most residents in emerging markets simply don’t have access to a US bank account and so are locked out of this withdrawal method. Elevate is solving that problem by offering free US-based USD accounts, in partnership with Bangor Savings Bank, to freelancers all over the world.

Enable "Direct to U.S. Bank" with Elevate

Tips on setting up your withdrawal method

Here are a few extra tips when setting up your withdrawal method from Upwork that will help prevent any issues in receiving your money.

  1. Make sure that the name you’ve registered with your bank account matches the name you have verified with Upwork. If you don’t, this may cause delays in receiving payments that will need to be resolved by the Upwork support team.

  2. Always double-check the account numbers and bank codes your entering. With “Direct to bank US” for example ensure you have entered the routing and account number correctly. You’re routing number once entered should load up your bank to display, when using Elevate this will be our partner Bangor Savings Bank.

  3. Whichever method you choose it will typically take up to 3 days for the method to be added. As an added tip always make sure that your payment account is set up under the same name as your Upwork account

  4. If you’re ever unsure of any of the information you need to enter make sure you contact your bank. Elevate prides itself on having exceptional customer support to help resolve any issues.

While there are multiple options to withdraw your money as a freelancer here’s why we think Elevate offers you the best solution:

  • You’ll get a free USD account to enable the “Direct to Bank US” option to receive and save your money in USD.

  • We offer you the ability to send money home at market exchange rates.

  • For certain countries, like Egypt and Nigeria, we offer you the ability to send USD back to your home country's USD account at rates that are 4x cheaper than SWIFT and can be as fast as same-day settlement.

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© 2024 Elevate Pay. Bloom Financial Technologies Inc trading as Elevate Pay is a financial technology company, not an FDIC insured depository institution. Banking services provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Member FDIC. FDIC insurance coverage protects against the failure of an FDIC insured depository institution. Pass through FDIC insurance coverage is subject to certain conditions. The Elevate Pay Mastercard® Debit Card is issued by Bangor Savings Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circle design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Spend anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

© 2024 Elevate Pay. Bloom Financial Technologies Inc trading as Elevate Pay is a financial technology company, not an FDIC insured depository institution. Banking services provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Member FDIC. FDIC insurance coverage protects against the failure of an FDIC insured depository institution. Pass through FDIC insurance coverage is subject to certain conditions. The Elevate Pay Mastercard® Debit Card is issued by Bangor Savings Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circle design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Spend anywhere Mastercard is accepted.