Upwork Payment Options – Which One Should You Choose?

There are many Upwork payment options, and if you are new to the platform, it might be hard to choose. As part of our series of articles on Upwork, we decided to break it down for you.

upwork payment options
Of course, a major factor in deciding which payment option you go for will be your location. What pays off in one country does not necessarily pay off in another. That’s why we’ll provide links with additional information as well. Without further ado, here’s a look at the currently available Upwork payment options:


For non-US freelancers, Payoneer can be a good choice because you can avoid bank fees and receive your money in USD. In that case only ATM conversion fees apply. You have the option of getting the Payoneer Master Card or loading the funds on your local bank account, if that is more convenient for you. In case you choose the Master Card, it should arrive within 25 business days, depending on your location, but it is usually faster than that.

There are some fees included: $2.50 if you want your funds to load immediately from Payoneer to your Payoneer  Debit Master Card (if not, it takes about two days), Upwork takes $1-$2 per withdrawal (they are not clear on this), and yearly maintenance for Payoneer Master Card is $30, which they only deduce if you have funds on your account. Other ATM or conversion fees may apply, depending on your location.

Signing up for Payoneer is easy. (Disclaimer: Note that this is an affiliate link – if you sign up for Payoneer using it, as soon as you transfer your first $100, you will get $25 as a bonus.) You have an option to sign up as an individual or company. Fill out all the required fields, wait for your activation email from Payoneer, and you have your Payoneer account!

To add it as your Upwork payment option, login to your Upwork account, go to the dropdown menu next to your name, select Settings, and choose Get Paid on the left. Then go to Add Payment Method, click Set Up for Payoneer, and add your account details. You will be prompted to choose a payment schedule. Non-US freelancers also have to fill out Tax Information to be able to withdraw funds. You will find this under User Settings in the Settings menu. Fill out your name, address and set Federal Tax Classification to N/A – Non-US.

It will take three days for your payment method to become active, so do it ahead of time.

Direct to Local Bank

We can’t tell you if this is a good choice for you specifically, since the fees will vary depending on your location and bank. It may not even be available to you, depending on the country. You will also have to keep conversion fees in mind, since you cannot receive USD via Direct Deposit outside of the US. Before you decide to use Direct to Local Bank as your Upwork payment option, check your potential expenses, and bear in mind that these are subject to change. When you choose Direct to Local Bank as your payment option, you will be able to check the most recent exchange rate Upwork used on the Get Paid Now page. Note that you will probably lose money this way, since Upwork has their own way of calculating the exchange rate, and of course, it never benefits the freelancer.

Upwork will charge you $0.99 per withdrawal. The procedure is pretty much the same – find the Get Paid menu, select Set up for Direct to Local Bank, fill out the fields with your bank account information, choose a payment schedule, and wait three days for your payment option to activate.

ACH Deposit (Direct to US bank)

ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. It is a network for electronic financial transactions that allows transfers for US bank accounts, and many banks treat incoming ACH transfers as direct deposits, so it can be a good choice for US-based freelancers.

Upwork will not charge you for using this payment option (since Upwork is a US company, it shouldn’t be surprising that US-based freelancers get a better deal). It will take two to five business days for your funds to arrive in your bank account, but keep in mind that processing and clearing times vary depending on the bank. Procedure for adding it as your Upwork payment option is the same as above: Get Paid > Set up for ACH Deposit. Fill out your bank account information and you’re all set.

In case you already have a bank account you would like to use that does not match the name on your Upwork profile, you might want to read this.

Wire Transfer

This is another option of transferring funds to your bank account, but it’s a costly one. First of all, Upwork charges $30 for each USD wire transfer. Add your potential conversion/exchange fee which depend on the bank, and you may end up losing a lot of money if you’re not withdrawing a huge amount. In some countries such as Ukraine or India, you would also have to fill out a memo with Remittance Information for every incoming wire transfer. Your bank also may ask you to fill out a Certificate of Earnings.

Still, if you wish to choose Wire Transfer as your Upwork Payment option, navigate to the Get Paid page and set it up with your bank account details. Pay special attention to adding the SWIFT code of your bank correctly – it may be an 8-digit or an 11-digit code, depending on whether your bank has several branches. Ask your local bank for it and always confirm if SWIFT code, bank name and address are correct with your bank.


PayPal is great for some, and not so great for others, depending on their location. In some countries, you can’t use PayPal without connecting their card to your bank account, which means additional fees for you, and in many countries it simply isn’t available.

The good side is that your funds load immediately or after 24 hours at the latest. Upwork recently changed the rate and they now mostly charge $2 per withdrawal (though there have been conflicting reports on this, so it may depend on the country). As with Payoneer, there may be additional fees and conversion rate to consider. You can check PayPal withdrawal fees for your country here.

T o add it as your Upwork payment option, you will need to have a PayPal account, and the email address of your Upwork and PayPal account should be the same. Set it up on your Get Paid page, choose your payment schedule and you are done.


This is a recently added option for freelancers based in Kenya, who previously had no good way of withdrawing funds. M-Pesa allows you to transfer your funds to your bank account, withdraw cash and pay for services and goods using your mobile device.

Of course, additional fees may apply. M-Pesa’s outgoing fees vary depending on method and amount, and they currently have maximums of 70,000 KES per transaction and 2 transactions per day (per mobile device).

The procedure is the same – add it as your payment method on the Get Paid page. You will need to fill out all the fields, which include your name, phone number and country. Then all the information about your fees will be available to you on the Get Paid page.

Skrill – no longer available

Following Skrill’s decision to remove their debit card service from over 100 countries, Upwork has also decided to remove it as a withdrawal option. That affected many freelancers negatively, as Skrill was one of the cheapest options for withdrawing funds, especially for freelancers who depend on USD rather than their local currency, or those who come from countries where other options such as PayPal and Payoneer are more expensive to use.

Still, despite many complaints, their decision can’t be helped, and as of April 24 2017, Skrill is no longer available as a withdrawal option on Upwork.


As you can see, there is ample information to process when it comes to Upwork payment options. Make sure to check everything thoroughly so you can pick the best one for you. Which one do you use and why?

Continue following us for more freelance-related advice!

Jana Glavonjić

Writer, freelancer, editor, avid reader of fantasy and the best sister in the world.

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