Here’s How to Get Paid on Upwork in Nigeria, Kenya & Tanzania

Winner Ajibola


Upwork is a leading online platform that connects freelancers with clients from all over the world. Freelancers from Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania can use this platform to find work and get paid for their freelancing services.

However, getting paid on Upwork can be a challenge for Africans, especially if you’re not familiar with how the payment system works. That’s why in this post, we’ll show you how to set up a functional payment method on your Upwork account.

What You Need Before Setting Up a Payment Method on Upwork

Right off the bat, you’ll need a foreign bank account - preferably a US, UK, or EU bank account. This is because although Upwork offers several payment methods, the most effective ones are withdrawals to a bank account and to M-PESA for Kenyans.

Your bank account name or M-PESA details must also match your verified name on Upwork. If it doesn’t, your transaction might be delayed until you verify that you’re an authorized user - which can take weeks.

Considering how Upwork requires a 5-day security period before you can even access your funds for withdrawals, adding extra compliance times for name mismatch should be completely avoided.

To avoid all of these hassles, we recommend opening a global foreign account on Grey. Here, you’ll get a foreign account domiciled abroad and in your name. It makes withdrawals seamless and faster even.

How to Withdraw to Your Bank Account from Upwork

Once you’ve created a Grey foreign account and gotten your account details, here’s how to get your money from Upwork;

  • Login to your Upwork account and visit the settings section
  • Tap on “Get Paid” and select “Add method”
  • Choose the setup button for your preferred method and enter your banking details.
  • Select how frequently you want to withdraw your earnings and complete the payment method setup.

PS: When you add your banking details, Upwork verifies your payment method first. This takes three days. So it means you won’t be able to withdraw immediately after you enter your payment details.

This is why we recommend adding a backup payment method. For example, if you’re in Kenya, you can add your M-PESA details as another withdrawal option.

How Long Does it Take to Get Paid on Upwork?

The time it takes for your payments to get to your bank account varies. We’ll review how long it takes for US bank accounts, other foreign bank accounts, and M-PESA.

US bank accounts

Since US withdrawals on Upwork are ACH deposits, they’ll get to your bank account within 2-5 business days. This excludes banks and public holidays. Unlike other options, withdrawals via this method are completely free.

UK and EU bank accounts

Direct withdrawals to UK and EU banks can take up to 7 business days. This excludes bank and public holidays. Also, for each transfer or withdrawal you make, there’s a processing fee of $0.99.


Mobile money transfer, or M-PESA, is only available for Kenyan freelancers on the platform. Unlike bank transfers, withdrawals to M-PESA are instant. However, there are certain situations that might cause the transfer to delay for about 24 hours. The withdrawal fee is also $0.99.

Other Ways to Ensure Seamless Withdrawals on Upwork

  • Be sure to always submit your payment request on time. This way, you can receive the payments early and process your withdrawals on time.
  • Keep track of your payments. Use Upwork’s payment tracker to ensure that you get paid the right amount at the right time. Track this by visiting the “reports’ section and then tapping on your “transaction history”

Wrapping Up

Getting paid on time from Upwork in Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania is easy if you follow these simple steps. Set up your payment method with a Grey account, verify it on Upwork, submit your payment request, and keep track of your payments.

With these tips, you can enjoy a seamless payment process and focus on delivering high-quality work to your clients. Start by getting a foreign bank account from Grey.

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