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Faster payouts for hourly contracts

Community Member

We have heard from many in our community that you need your earnings faster, especially now. Today, we are happy to announce that all Top Rated freelancers and agencies working on hourly contracts are eligible to receive their funds five days earlier. This is because we are eliminating the security hold on their payouts. 


For Top Rated agencies and freelancers, the earnings for hours that you worked last week will be available to manually withdraw this Friday. You will see a notification under your bell icon and receive an email about the updated payment schedule for your hourly contracts for this week. 


Because this is for Top Rated agencies and freelancers, the early release of funds will depend on when you currently have the Top Rated badge. If you lose or earn the Top Rated status during this time, your payment schedule will be adjusted to include or exclude the security hold.

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How does it work?

As long as your client’s billing method can be charged successfully and they don’t dispute your hours, we will apply their payment to your Upwork account five days earlier than before if you are Top Rated. You can then withdraw the money anytime you prefer by clicking here and choosing “Get Paid Now.” Note: If you have an automatic payment schedule set up,  this will not adjust the schedule, so if you want your earnings sooner, you also can use “Get Paid Now.”


Why are we only rolling this out to Top Rated freelancers and agencies?

We know that many of the talent on Upwork would benefit from receiving their earnings faster. However, during these unprecedented times, changing our policies also creates a higher risk of fraud. Due to the potential risk, we are initially rolling this out to the marketplace’s most successful freelancers and agencies—those who are Top Rated. In the future, we will consider expanding this to other freelancers. 


Why do we have a 10-day wait in the first place? 

There is an inherent risk in payment processing, driven by the potential of fraudulent people, disputes, and chargebacks. We also need to give clients time to review their freelancer’s billed hours and project progress before payment is released. But in these unusual times, we understand how important it is for you to get payouts as quickly as possible. As a result, we are willing to take on additional risk and remove the security-hold period for Top Rated freelancers and agencies so you can get your money five days sooner.

Will this be available only during COVID-19?

While we plan to continue the practice after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, we will be monitoring the impacts of this change. 


Why is this only available for earnings on hourly contracts and not fixed-price contracts? 

With faster payments we decided to focus on the removal of security holds from hourly contracts first because the majority of contracts on Upwork are hourly. We understand faster payments will be a benefit for all contract types and we plan to explore making fixed-price payments faster in the future.

Upwork is dedicated to our community, and all of our teams are focused on keeping independent professionals working. Please visit our Help Center article for more details and let us know if you have any additional questions.