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ยป Forums ยป Freelancers ยป I am concerned that Mpesa Exchange rate are t...
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pilla
Community Member

I am concerned that Mpesa Exchange rate are too low

I am concerned that Mpesa Exchange rate are too low considering the dollar exchange rate is very high.

Am getting an exchange of 94 usd but the current exchange rate is 107 usd
You should keep on updating the rates to the retest market rates

17 REPLIES 17
djondinium
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Kenneth,

 

Please keep in mind that the difference in exchange rates is not something Upwork can control. When a bank converts a transaction, they will mark up the interbank rate to buy or sell a currency. Online calculators will not take into consideration the mark up that is applied. Since rates constantly change throughout any given day, the rate you received is the rate offered by our bank at the time your specific transaction was processed.

 

Thank you.

~ Aleksandar
Upwork
pilla
Community Member

Thank you for this response.
But kindly confirm with the bank why they are offering low rates on Upwork but when I use the same bank using different platform the rates are okay (103 usd today).
I think they do have a problem updating thei rrates in upwork.

pilla
Community Member

Since last week I have been trying to withdraw using Mpesa but the current exchange rate is way below the actual exchage rate. I am sure the bank is not updating these rates. Could someone probe into this matter.

Don't know if any other Kenyan freelancer is experiencing this but why is the USD to Ksh rate on Mpesa  so low today? Last time I withdrew money, which was last week, I received an exchange rate of Ksh 102 to the dollar. Since then, I understand the dollar has strengthened further against the shilling yet today Upwork is offering an exchange rate of around Ksh 94.75. Haven't seen it this low since I joined Upwork in 2017. 

Hi Wiliam,

 

Difference in exchange rates is not something Upwork can control. When a bank converts a transaction, they will mark up the interbank rate to buy or sell a currency. Online calculators will not take into consideration the mark up that is applied. Since rates constantly change throughout any given day, the rate you received is the rate offered by our bank at the time your specific transaction was processed. Thank you.

~ Goran
Upwork

Kindly there is  need to investigate into this matter with the associated bank

Goran, this is the standard response we keep getting. Can't somebody take a minute investigate this and find out why such a big difference. If anything, the dollar is strengethening against KES but they've maintained a flat rate 1 USD - 94.7 KES. 94.7 is the lowest I have seen for years!

Thanks for the reply Goran. I understand what you are saying but I refuse to believe that Upwork has no way to intervene. The bank that handles these transactions is clearly taking advantage of Kenyan freelancers. If it were purely a matter of fluctuating currency exchange rates, why is the rate we are being offered stuck at exactly Ksh. 94.7578? This represents a markup of nearly 12 shillings which is a whopping 10+ percent. I have to point out again that this is a recent issue since as recenty as last week, we were getting around the 103 mark. I also understand that the issue is only affecting some freelancers. I am sure Upwork is able to remedy this by talking to whichever intermediate bank does these transactions. 

I thought I was in this alone.
This issue needs to be looked unto in a more detailed manner since there is no way the echange rate can be this low at this time. 

samdaggy
Community Member

Somebody somewhere is taking advantage of freelancers.

The issue started 3 or 4 weeks ago in what I want to believe was a "testing phase". Different freelancers would withdrawal their hard earnings and get different rates. I know this because I am a member of a facebook group and somebody pointed out this issue and many freelancers confirmed that it was happening.

So some freelancers received:
1 USD - 103 KES
Others
1 USD - 94.7 KES

This affected freelancers withdrawing funds to their mobile Money (Mpesa). At that time all bank withdrawals to local currency were getting 1 USD - 103 KES.

As of last week, whether you are doing withdrawal to the bank or to the mobile money, the rate has flattened to 1 USD - 94.7 KES.

Currently, transferwise, a company Upwork was using until few months, has a Paypal - Mpesa KES at a rate of 1 USD - 104 KES. (Unfortunately most freelancers avoid Paypal because they've a habit of suspending account with your money for no apparent reason).

As of today, the exchange rate is at 1 USD - 107 KES.
Current rate.png

Upwork is giving an exchange rate of 1 USD - 94.7 KES.

Upwork rate.png

If I was to withdraw 500 USD today, instead of getting 53,500.00 KES, I would get 47,000.00. That is 65 USD less. We've slightly over 50K active freelancers from Kenya. Meaning if each freelancer was to withdraw 100 dollars each week, we would lose 12 dollars per freelancer, 600K USD for 50K freelancers per week.

I have heard a million times that Upwork has little or no control over the exchange rates but this is not true. They've changed companies doing the exchange rates before. It's okay if we were to get a 2 or 3 shillings below the current Central Bank exchange rate (As it has always been), but a whooping 13 Kenyan shillings is simply stealing from freelancers. I hope this gets to the right person and something is done soon! I remember few years ago Upwork refunded us for the poor exchange rate. I hope this will get to the right people and the issue will be resolved.

Exactly why they want you to work for upwork, I mean the real money is in money exchanges and forex trading.

What? That is absolutely unacceptable!!!! I hope this reaches the concerned party. It needs to STOP. We are enjoying great rates at PayPal and I believe the foreign exchange market is the same. Such a huge difference raises eyebrows for sure.

Hey Muia N, you have captured the predicament we are facing very nicely. A markup of 1 to 3 shillings is understandable but ksh 13 means giving over 10% of one's earnings to an intermediary whose only job is to remit our hard earned cash and it is unfair. I am sure it is either a system error on Upwork's website or deliberate effort by whatever bank remits the money to fleece us. 

pilla
Community Member

I did escalate this complaint and they are investigating into it.

irache
Community Member

I don't think that is the reason. In my understanding if Payer A (upwork) convets the funds to the target currency then is on upwork "banking system " to apply the rate, however if the amount is transferred in Dollars to your account, ONLY THEN your bank is applying the currency rate and the conversion. Well this possibility of choosing is not available in Upwork so in my understanding this is Upwork currency rate
pilla
Community Member

Today, the same very low rates apply.
Is it possible for someone to look unto this matter since the rates have a very huge difference and looks unscrupulous

I feel something is wrong, am a Kenyan freelancer and the dollar to Kenyan shillings conversion am getting it's not marching with the current in the market, can someone look into that?

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