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Can Upwork charge the fees?

Community Guru

I ask this in the announcement section, but it got lost in the 80 pages of complaints. I really would like a response from Upwork on this. 


I am curious if Upwork is aware that it is banned in some states to charge a checkout fee? 


Quoted from


States Where Merchant Surcharging is Banned

If your business operates in any of the 10 states (CA*, CO, CT, FL, KS, ME, MA, NY, OK, TX) whose state laws prohibit surcharging, you may not charge checkout fees in that state. However, if you do business in multiple states, you may still surcharge credit card transactions in those states where the practice is not banned.


Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island all have legislation pending that will ban surcharging if passed.


- See more at:


* As of March 2015, courts in the state of California have ruled that the ban on surcharges is unconstitutional. The Attorney General has filed an appeal, but while that is in process, a surcharge ban cannot be enforced. However, California does have laws that still apply regarding deceptive pricing, so you may want to consult an attorney if you're considering imposing a credit card surcharge on a business operating in California. More information is available at the Office of the Attorney General of California's website. - See more at:


Debit cards are also not allowed to be charged. So how are you going to handle when someone uses their debit card to make a payment?


Also Paypal for instance states in their terms:


4.5 No Surcharges. You agree that you will not impose a surcharge or any other fee for accepting PayPal as a payment method. You may charge a handling fee in connection with the sale of goods or services as long as the handling fee does not operate as a surcharge and is not higher than the handling fee you charge for non-PayPal transactions.


Seems to me it is surcharge rather than a handling fee ... but I am sure Upwork has decided it is a handling fee.


Also a comment made in another thread:


Vaclav S wrote:

Posting this to draw some attention to it: the new 2.75% fee on all payments is even worse, because it is non-refundable. Support told me so when I asked:


Q: "If you refund a payment (due to cancelled contract), do you refund the 2.75% fee as well?"


A: "I have verified that information for you and unfortunatelythe 2.75% processing fee will not be refunded."




Don't keep checkout fees when refunding customers. When issuing refunds, you must also refund any checkout fees that were charged — even for partial refunds. For example, if you refund 50% of a customer's money, you also have to refund 50% of the checkout fee you collected. - See more at:


Here is some other links about charging a checkout fee or fees 




Eleven states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas—and Puerto Rico have laws that prohibit merchants from charging consumers with surcharges on credit card transactions. Minnesota prohibits a seller of goods or services that establishes and is responsible for its own customer credit card from imposing a surcharge on a purchaser who elects to use that credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means. The laws in California and New York have been challenged in court.


I would like to know how Upwork is going to handle this since they plan on charging the clients a fee for each transaction. I would also like to know if the fee applies to each freelancer they pay or if it is based on the weekly payout to clients who have multiple freelancers.