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Coming soon: updates to your payment method...

So it looks like Upwork has decided that there is money to be made in exchange rate conversions. We now have the "great option" to have our USD freelancer fees converted to local currency.


Two questions that are totally unanswered by the help article:

  • What is the rate at which USD will be converted to local currency? This makes rather a difference.
  • If we want to opt out, how do we do this? I just tried, and my settings are already on USD. Of course the email says "In the following weeks, Upwork will update your default credit card currency from USD to your local currency ..." so I guess we have to keep logging in to check when this is done? We certainly don't have any way to fix our choice in the credit card section right now.
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Twan,


When you edit your billing method and currency preference you will see the latest exchange rate for that currency. Note: The exchange rate can fluctuate daily and we use competitive market rates.


To change your preferred currency for credit or debit card billing:
Go to Settings › Billing Methods
Click the (...) options menu then select “Edit”
Click the pencil icon
Select your preferred currency for payment
Click “Save Changes”


Thank you!

~ Bojan

Hi Bojan,

I'm afraid this doesn't answer the two questions.

1. I don't want to spend the next few weeks tracking the exchange rates at different times of day, in order to understand the rate mechanism used by Upwork. Please simply specify what fixing time you use (the previous day's rate?) and what markup (%) over the wholesale market rate is used.

2. I don't want to change my billing currency - I want it to stay in USD, as it was before. How do I stop upwork from modifying this "in the coming weeks" to local currency, as the email told us upwork would be doing?



Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Twan,


Thanks for following up, let me address the two important questions you raised.


1. The currency conversion rate will be visible at the time of payment. Upwork displays foreign currency conversion rates available to you at the time of payment. These rates adjust regularly, sometimes a few times a day based on market conditions. Please note that the wholesale currency conversion rates at which we obtain foreign currency will usually be different than the foreign currency conversion rates offered on the Site.


2. You can opt-out of paying with local currency by editing your existing credit card on file to change the currency type to US Dollars. Settings > Billing Method > click the edit link. We'll share your feedback with the team.

~ Vladimir

Hi Vladimir,

Without knowing the markup, I really cannot make the switch - I would have no idea whether it is 1% or 5%. I strongly suggest that Upwork publishes a clear statement of how the exchange rates are assembled, because without that you're expecting clients to blindly hope that they will not be overcharged. Knowing what this is "at the time of payment" is not going to help me for the weekly automatic billing - by the time I see it on my statement its too late.

Thanks for confirming that we currently have no way to control the switch from USD to local currency that Upwork is applying to our account, "in the coming weeks". So I guess I need to keep my calendar full of reminders to check this regularly, so that when it happens I can switch it back to USD immediately. Seems a strange (and very client-unfriendly) approach though.


I just had a quick look. 1 CHF (my local currency) = 0.9918 USD. Market rate is hovering around 1.02 currently. So there is a 3% markup. Which rather defeats the purpose of switching the plan from Basic to Plus (as suggested by upwork support), in order to get rid of the 3% payment processing fee. I think I'll stick to CHF.

BTW, banks here treat 'foreign' charges in CHF (i.e. those executed by non-domestic players) as an attempt to circumvent their own exchange rate markup, and add 1.75% to them. This would definitely apply to Upwork charges in CHF. Another thing to add into the equation.

Woke up this morning, and happened to check the payment details (my card expiry had changed). And guess what, Upwork had "conveniently" changed my billing currency from USD to CHF. No email about this, and of course it was done just ahead of the Monday payment round (giving me a very small window of time self-discover this by having to repeatedly checking).


May I remind everyone that Upwork applies a huge exchange rate markup - todays rateis showing as 0.972 and the wholesale market rate is around 0.996. Around 2.5-3% markup that Upworks pockets without giving me the choice - its being made for me, automatically, and with no notification (except an email several weeks ago that this would be done "some time").


Sorry, but this takes the biscuit for **bleep**ty customer treatment. Upwork - you've lost any cred you had.

Community Manager
Community Manager

We apologize for the inconvenience and frustration the update caused you, Twan. We recently sent email notifications about the update to all users located within the countries of the newly launched currencies and I'll ask the team to check on our end and confirm if the email was sent and received as expected or not. We'll follow up with an update directly as soon as we receive confirmation.


Just noting that I've followed up on the conversation rate question you raised earlier in this thread and the difference between the rate available to you and the wholesale market rate you're looking at.

~ Vladimir

> We recently sent email notifications about the update

Indeed - as "recently" as several weeks ago.

The actual change was made some time over this weekend, with no notification - giving your clients no chance to change it back if desired. Can you explain why you think it is correct to be so 'helpful' in changing the currency choice for your clients? Why not just email them about the new option, and leave them to decide? (hint: try not to claim that this was done for my benefit. It wasn't. And even if someone very naive at Upwork thought it was a good idea for me, then there still is no excuse to many such changes without the explicit agreement of your client).

I happened to catch this because I checked my account this morning, although I have been doing this check ever since your email arrived - as I knew full well that you would make this change at the least convenient time for me, and with no further communication. Luckily I caught it in time otherwise I would have had last week's payment going through with the new settings.

Pretty sad way to operate really. Particularly as this is not new to Upwork - I flagged it up in this post (see above) already weeks ago.