TransferWise, the new payment method for Upwork freelancers (but not limited to) successfully tested

TransferWise is the new, transparent and cost-effective way to make money transfers around the world. I first heard about TransferWise in late autumn of 2015 and by the end of November 2015 I had already created an Upwork community post asking people if they encounter the same issues as I do when transferring money from Upwork to a local bank account.

Until Jan 2017, I was using (I'm sure, like many others) the following money route in order to get my money from Upwork into my local bank account: Upwork => PayPal => Local bank, as opposed to now using (before TransferWise) Upwork => Local bank, courtesy of Upwork facilitating a "Direct to Local Bank" payment method.

What follows is a step by step guide on what to do in order to get all set up in Upwork using TransferWise as a payment method. The big picture is as follows: you earn money (USD) by working as a freelancer on Upwork => then you transfer your money to TransferWise into the USD account you created with them => and finally, you then transfer your USD money into your local bank account (local currency) using TransferWise's amazing exchange rates. Let me start detailing those steps (with screenshot wherever I can).

If you're wondering what TransferWise supports in terms of countries and currencies please see supported countries and supported currencies (at the time of this writing).

If you don't see your currency in the list, you can visit the currency wishes page to make sure you're the first to be informed about new routes that TransferWise adds. You might also want to check out the Borderless account pricing & limits.


Step 1. Create your TransferWise Borderless account

Use the link above or click on "Get Started!" in the calculator to the right (towards the bottom on a mobile device) in order to create your TransferWise Borderless account. TransferWise gives you the choice, at the moment, to create at least one of the following: a USD account, a GBP account or a EUR account. You have to create a USD account in order to receive money from Upwork.

At this point, you'll go through a process of inserting your account details, your business details, some verifications like your ID and a recent utility bill and then you'll get to a page like in the following screenshot:


TransferWise - borderless account


Please note the "Account Holder" field. Whatever you insert there, you'll have to use in your Upwork payment setup which takes us to Step 2.

Step 2. Add your new TransferWise account details into Upwork

First of all, I had to find out whether Upwork actually accepts the USD account that TransferWise provides. Upwork Support was very helpful concerning the TransferWise USD account, their reply basically was (for reference, ticket #18827163):

"If the account your created on is considered as a US bank account then yes you can use payment method type."


Upwork Support - TransferWise


Once it was confirmed it should work just fine, I went ahead and added a new payment method in my Upwork profile by using the "Direct to U.S. Bank (USD)" payment type. It should be the last option in the list when you click "Add Method" in Upwork.


Upwork payment types


This is where you insert your USD account details that TransferWise supplies.

  • For "Account Holder" field you insert the details you entered in your Borderless account (same field name). If you're worried about the account being under a different name, please see this Upwork post on how to deal with it:
  • For "Account Type" field please select "Individual Checking".
  • Then enter the account number provided by TransferWise into the "Account number" field and also use the ACH Routing Number and then check the box that you own the account (TransferWise provided you the Borderless account so you do own it for the purposes of transactions). Please read more here about how the Borderless account works.

At this point, when you save the page Upwork will begin to deposit two small sums into your USD borderless account which takes us to Step 3 of our process.


Upwork ACH



Step 3. Verify your Borderless account

You'll see 2 transfers in your TransferWise Borderless account like below.


Upwork Transferwise verification


You'll have to insert those 2 exact sums in your Upwork payment method (Get Paid page), click the Verify link in Upwork. As soon as that's done, you can start transferring money from Upwork into TransferWise and then into your local bank account.

I have experienced 4 transfers by now using Upwork and TransferWise. My first transfer was of only $100, then the next ones of over $1000. The transfer from Upwork to my Borderless account took less than 24 hours and then from TransferWise to my local bank account again, took less than 24 hours although, TransferWise notifies you, on the transfer confirmation page, that you should expect a maximum of 4 working days. This never happened, each of the transfers until now took less than a day so, you get a great exchange rate and a fast transfer. Awesome!

That's it! You can now transfer your money from Upwork into you local bank currency using TransferWise.

Please leave your comments and suggestions below if I can help in any other way. Thank you!


Big thanks to Giovanni Pugliese Carratelli for pointing me to TransferWise's Borderless account!



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