Can I load funds into escrow in advance, and allocate them to multiple projects or multiple contracts when the need arises, or is it only on a per-contract basis (and per milestone at that)?
Reason is if I use my credit card and there are multiple payments taken out, I'll get slugged a currency conversion fee for each one. If I know how much I need to fund for all current or near-future contracts, I'd rather just load it all up in one hit.
Unfortunately I'm pretty sure you can't do this, as the funds in escrow are for a specific contract. So you may want to fund whole projects instead of separate milestones. You can still release the funds partially as the freelancer completes tasks, but I think this makes it all a bit more complicated.
This is exactly why I am eating the 2.75% fee instead of switching to the $25 flat monthly fee. I don't want to switch to a credit card in AUD and pay currency conversion fees etc when I can pay with PayPal from a PayPal balance in USD.
I've just done exactly the same thing Jennifer - already had a paypal account in USD, so I just had to add the email address I use here at upwork.
I guess the idea then will be to transfer from credit card / bank account into paypal to cover the whole lot and not have any further worries about exchange rates fluctuating or conversion fees.
Do you happen to recall, if I deposit funds from a credit card, is it immediate? I think it is, but it's been a while since I had to use paypal.
I believe so yeah, should be immediate if your funding source with PayPal is already verified. We usually have a balance of USD in PayPal so I can use that and don't have to fund it generally.