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Re: Upwork disables TransferWise Borderless

Active Member
Robbin v Member Since: Sep 6, 2016
1 of 40

Like many other freelancers, I have been using TransferWise Borderless to withdraw my Upwork earnings. In my case, as I am located in Czech Republic, this is very convenient: I can directly convert USD to CZK without any unnecessary fees.


Today, Upwork support informed me that this would no longer be possible, as Upwork is discontinuing support for withdrawals via TransferWise. Their official reasoning is that it would be difficult for freelancers to track any missing payments, as they do not officially own said accounts. Instead, they recommend using the locally available withdrawal methods.


However, I think we all know that the real reason for disabling this withdrawal method is that Upwork is not making any money this way.


Just to illustrate, I am about to withdraw USD 4k to CZK. Via TransferWise, this would have net CZK 89.750 after fees. Choosing withdrawal in EUR to local bank account would net CZK 86.750 after fees and converting USD > EUR > CZK. PayPal is even worse, netting CZK 83.100 after all fees.


This means that the difference between TransferWise and the most expensive alternative is CZK 6.650 (nearly USD 300); the other alternative will cost me approximately USD 130 in fees and bad rates. These are costs I am forced to pay on top of Upwork's already high fees.


The worst is that Upwork absolutely refuses to consider re-enabling withdrawals via TransferWise. I have withdrawn thousands of dollars without ever having a single issue. And if the need arose, their support was always outstanding.


Many times, freelancers have requested official support for TransferWise or alternative services that do not cost an arm and a leg. And every time, Upwork answered something along the lines of that it will be shared with the team.


For me, it is fairly simple: the more I am being squeezed as a freelancer, the more I will take my business elsewhere and will advise other freelancers to do the same. Or for Upwork to simply let us withdraw via TransferWise, which was first suggested in 2015.


I usually cannot be bothered to publicly voice my complaints, but for me, this was the proverbial last straw. Hopefully Upwork can provide a better answer this time as to if or when we can finally expect support for TransferWise.

Goran V Moderator Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
2 of 40

Hi Robbin,


I understand your frustration with this and I would like to confirm that Upwork does not profit from on your earnings.

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.

I would also like to confirm that our team is constantly looking for new options about withdrawals, thank you. 

~ Goran
Active Member
Robbin v Member Since: Sep 6, 2016
3 of 40

Goran, thank you for your reply but you are missing the point.


We had a perfectly good withdrawal method that worked and offered good rates to freelancers. You do not need to explain the mechanics of exchange rate calculators, thank you.


The point of my message is that Upwork is forcing us into a position where we have no choice but to accept the disadvantageous rates it can offer us, whether it can influence these or not, while there was no issue with using TransferWise Borderless in the first place. Conveniently, you choose to ignore addressing this.


Goran V wrote:

I would also like to confirm that our team is constantly looking for new options about withdrawals, thank you. 

You understand the irony of this reply, right?

Community Guru
Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
4 of 40

I wonder why this message was not send to all freelancers using Transferwise. Did you check if TransferWise was removed from your payment methods?

Active Member
Robbin v Member Since: Sep 6, 2016
5 of 40

I found out when I had to update my bank account details. After submitting my new account information, it was manually reviewed and found 'not to be in compliance' with Upwork's policies. After messaging support and escalating the issue, this is the reply I received:


"This is X, the supervisor of Y. I understand that you are requesting for the manual approval of your bank account. We have escalated this issue to our Specialist who can manually approve the bank however, the request was declined as Transferwise is no longer supported."

Community Manager
Vladimir G Community Manager Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
6 of 40

Hi Robbin,


Could you please pm me a screenshot of the message you referenced here? I checked and it doesn't seem to have been shared by our Support team, which confirmed on your support ticket, among other information, that Transferwise is a third party vendor which Upwork doesn't currently support. I can also confirm TransferWise was never offered as a withdrawal method on Upwork.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 40

Vladimir G wrote:

I can also confirm TransferWise was never offered as a withdrawal method on Upwork.

It actually "sort of" was, in the form of their virtual bank account function which people use(d?) to withdraw to.


Active Member
Robbin v Member Since: Sep 6, 2016
8 of 40

Interestingly, I received the two verification payments on my new TransferWise account yesterday. Support, however, still isn't willing to verify the name of my bank account.

Active Member
Bayu S Member Since: Feb 25, 2019
9 of 40

Is there any update about this? I experienced the same problem

Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
10 of 40

Hi Bayu, 

Please know that Transferwise is currently not supported as a Payment Method on Upwork. You can check other available options by going to your Get Paid page (Settings > Get Paid), and clicking on the "Add method" button. 

You may also refer to this help article for more information on what payment methods are supported on Upwork. 

~ Avery