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New surprise. Our money has been lost by Upwork.

Active Member
Alex S Member Since: Nov 3, 2015
1 of 16

Really crazy things happening with Upwork.

After they suspended our account due their own fault with email sending and total ignore for 3 weeks they have lost our money.


We initiated withdrawal of money via wire transfer. After 3 days of waiting we have got a feeling that something goes wrong. Asked support to check but they responded that will start tracing only after 8 business days. After 8 business days when money still didn't come that finally started tracing. And after 11 days in total get back to us with message "we are sorry, but our bank claims that they can't locate your funds. Thank you for your patience". What do you think, how does it sound?? We ask "just get money back to our account, we will withdraw via Payoneer and will never use wire transfer in future". Answer: "we can't do this. We need confirmation from our bank. We can't give you an estimate when we will get it. Thanks you for your patience".


What's **Edited for Community Guidelines** going on?? How we should pay our contractors? Or we have to get them dismissed  because we don't pay them? But seems Upwork don't care about such small issues when they have to spend their investments.

Community Guru
Melissa T Member Since: Dec 5, 2014
2 of 16

Whoa. Was there any additional information provided? Do you see the transfer in your payment history? Did you receive a confirmation email from Upwork when the transfer was made? Sorry, this isn't a solution, just more questions. It's just such a serious problem that it's hard to get anything other than questions marks. 

Active Member
Alex S Member Since: Nov 3, 2015
3 of 16

Yes, we received confirmation email, yes, of course it's in payment history, moreover Upwork finally has sent to us MT103 Swift message. And finally responded that their bank unable to locate money but they appreciate our patience.

Community Guru
Melissa T Member Since: Dec 5, 2014
4 of 16

Wow, that's a tough situation. It's often easy to overlook others' problems when you're not experiencing them yourself, but when it comes to finances it's hard to turn a blind eye. I really hope this gets resolved quickly. 

Community Leader
Ivan S Member Since: Oct 24, 2015
5 of 16

As an ex-banker I think that there are potential causes:


1. There was a mistake in MT103 and your funds went somewhere else. As long as the information you initially entered in the Upwork system is correct, than it is clearly an issue with Upwork or (much less likely) with Upwork's bank.

2. If there is no mistake in MT103, but there is no indication that the transfer was not executed, than most likely this payment is stuck in Upworks bank due to OFAC. Please check that the recipient does not have the same name or name sounding close to anyone on the OFAC list. If you are using Russian-owned bank, than the payment could also be held by the compliance, though they clearly they should not be doing that. I suggest that as a precaution you should try to open an account in one of the Western banks (Ukrsib or Credit Agricole or Unicredit).

3. If the transfer was executed, than it probably stuck somewhere in yours bank corresponding bank. Your bank should request from its corresponding bank CHIPS (I doubt that they use Fedwire) message and confirmation. If the funds reached yours bank corresponding bank than basically your bank is in default and its corresponding bank is not crediting yours bank account. 


Hope this helps

Active Member
Alex S Member Since: Nov 3, 2015
6 of 16

Hi, thank you for your comments.


1. There is no mistakes in MT103 - we received it after 11 days and checked - MT103 is correct.

2. The bank is Noor Bank, it's UAE bank, located in Dubai and is not in the OFAC list.

Will check point #3 today, thanks for an advise. But seems as there is no mistakes in MT103 this has to be headache of Upwork and not of contractor :-)

Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
7 of 16

Hi Alex,


I totally understand your frustration and how urgent and important this problem is. I checked with the team and they are currently working with the bank to locate your funds. They will update you about the status as soon as possible.



~ Valeria
Active Member
Alex S Member Since: Nov 3, 2015
8 of 16
If Upwork would understand how urgent and important this problem is they would start trace 8 days ago, when I notified them that something goes wrong but instead of this they forced me to wait 8 business days.
Active Member
Alex S Member Since: Nov 3, 2015
9 of 16

A fresh update. **Edited for Community Guidelines**


And this is really crazy. Because

- we never indicated IBAN in account credentials (IBAN number contain letters (for example: DE89 3704 0044 0532 0130 00) and used in EU mostly).

- our bank checked MT103 SWIFT message and confirmed that credentials are 100% correct.

- with the same credentials we successfully received money on Elance on the next day after the withdrawal.


So finally we came that staff of Upwork's bank are 100% **Edited for Community Guidelines** and finally we are unable to use Upwork at all. A company with 8 years history on Elance, which was in TOP-50, physically unable to work on Upwork.



Community Guru
Ramesh K Member Since: Oct 25, 2015
10 of 16

Why dont you try using an alternative method like Paypal to withdraw your fund?