This week marks my third successful attempt to withdraw Upwork funds to a TransferWise account. As an Upwork freelancer previously based in the Philippines, I would use PayPal to GCash or Paymaya because of their instant transfer services. But having stayed overseas for two years now, I’ve experienced ATM nondispense issues twice in a year and felt the pinch of PayPal’s exchange rates. To avoid these problems, I resorted to using TransferWise as another option to withdraw my Upwork funds.
If you are interested to try this option, here are the steps:
You have to set up a borderless account in your TransferWise app. Tap on “Open a balance”.
Choose USD from the options. Since I already opened a USD balance, USD no longer appears in the choices. For Upwork freelancers from the Philippines, you can open a balance with what you see under Balances with bank details. Open a balance option varies with other countries. For example, when I first opened a TransferWise account and uploaded my passport image for verification yet I entered Vietnam as country in my profile. I added my Vietnam bank account details but I could not see USD under Open a balance. A TransferWise agent informed me to change the country in my profile to Philippines to be able to open a balance in USD.
It won’t take you long to see the USD bank details generated by the TransferWise app.
In your Upwork account, go to Payment Methods to add your TransferWise USD bank account details. You can find it under Settings > Get Paid > Payment Methods. Click on + to add a new Payment Method. Select Direct to US Bank (USD).
Fill in the required details.
Account type is Corporation Checking. The routing and account number is the number that appears under Routing Number (ACH or ABA) under your USD balance details in TransferWise. Please refer to the third image I posted above.
Upwork will require you to verify your bank details. In a few days you will receive a notification that they have deposited two small amounts in your TransferWise USD balance.
You will be able to withdraw your Upwork funds to your TransferWise USD balance. I usually receive my Upwork funds within 39 hours. If I did a withdrawal on a Wednesday at 7am, I would get a notification from TransferWise by 10pm on a Thursday that my funds have arrived. There is no fee deduction on Upwork’s part when you withdraw from Upwork to TransferWise. Whatever fees you will incur is during the transfer of USD to your PHP account.
I usually do the USD to PHP and USD to VND transfers within my TransferWise app. For USD to PHP I would use PayMaya. My PayMaya balance would usually update in an hour and a half after the transfer. USD to VND takes less than 20 minutes to arrive in my VND account.
I find the fees and exchange rates way better than PayPal’s. I would save PhP700 a week using Upwork to TransferWise transfer compared to using PayPal to PayMaya.