different payment methods

How Different Freelancing Platforms Handle Payment: Upwork, Toptal & WINaTALENT

One of the most common questions between freelancers is how they will get paid based on their work on different freelancing platforms. And for clients, it is how the platform charges them for the service it provides. Therefore both freelancers and clients pay close attention to freelance platforms’ payment methods.

The freelancers want to be sure about their safe payments; in fact, payment is one of their concerns when they are looking for a freelancing platform to work-on. 

In so many platform reviews, we see many comments about how some freelancers didn’t get paid or were dissatisfied with how the platforms had handled their payment problems. 

Now, let’s talk about how some of the freelance platforms handle the payment for their members.


Upwork asks its clients to add a Billing Method to their account before hiring a freelancer. They accept PayPal, Credit Cards, and Bank Accounts.

To the freelancers, Upwork as one of the biggest freelancing platforms, proposes two different payment plans:

  • Basic: This plan is free, but freelancers pay to connect with potential clients. Freelancers on the basic plan pay $0.15 for each “Connection” and the platform’s internal tokens are used to submit proposals to clients. The freelancers can roll over up to 140 Connects each month.

If a client reaches out to a specific freelancer, the freelancer doesn’t need to pay for the “connection”.

Upwork’s basic plan also includes payment protection for hourly and project-based payments.

  • Plus: This plan is $14.99 per month and includes everything in the basic plan, as well as an extra 70 connects per month, visibility into what price competitors have bid for a job, option to keep earnings confidential, ability to customize freelancer’s profile URL, and the freelancer’s profile won’t get hidden due to inactivity.

Upwork takes a cut of its freelancers’ earnings. The fee structure is a sliding scale based on the total amount the freelancer bills with a client over time. Therefore, the more a freelancer works with a client, the smaller the platform’s cut will be. The commission amount for fixed prices and hourly works are the same.

Upwork’s fee is 20% of the freelancers’ income.

Payment for fixed-price projects is more straightforward.

The person or company contracting the freelancer has to set aside a certain amount of money when they come to an agreement.

The client also needs to set milestones, which are concrete deliverables on the way to the finished job. The freelancer will get paid after they finish each of these milestones.

Upwork freelancers can get secured payments via PayPal, direct deposit, or wire transfer.

The platform bills freelancers’ hourly projects weekly. After ten days the billing period ends, freelancers and clients review the work, and the freelancer will get paid. 

If a project gets dropped before it’s finished, the freelancers’ payment will be based on milestones and the hourly agreement. 

Fixed-price projects start paying out when the freelancer hits the agreed-upon going milestones.


According to Toptal, they offer the top 3% of freelancers of the market with their screening process. Therefore, hiring a freelancer from Toptal is not going to be cheap.

Toptal requires a $500 deposit that applies to the client’s first bill. If the client decides they don’t want to move forward with the freelancer, they are not liable to pay anything – Toptal refunds the $500 deposit entirely.

Just like many other freelancing platforms, Toptal does not charge clients to hire a freelancer. Instead, this platform provides freelancers at the market rate and takes a percentage from their earnings as commission.

As a freelancing platform, Toptal does the marketing for the freelancers; therefore, it is even rather convenient to get charged by Toptal.

The freelancers can not set their hourly rates, though they have the option to ask their recruiter to increase or decrease their rates.

The commission Toptal extracts from the freelancers is not above their regular pricing. Instead, the platform adds a profit margin above the freelancers’ rates.

Toptal rates for clients are as much as they expect to pay outside of the platform, and the platform typically invoices the clients twice a month.

Toptal provides gig workers with invoicing services and payment options, including transferring funds into bank accounts through a partnership with their cross-border payments company Payoneer.

The platform provides flexible payment solutions as well.

Typically, invoicing takes place every fortnight, with payments due within ten days of the invoice.

Toptal Pricing range (based on developer rates)
  • Hourly: $60-$150+/hour
  • Part-time hire (20hrs/week): $1,000-$2,400+/week
  • Full-time hire (40hrs/week): $2,000-$4,800+/week

They currently accept all major credit cards, ACH, bank wires, and PayPal.


As we’ve already talked about in our payment methods post, WINaTALENT has a escrow account. 

In this account, the client needs to transfer all of the freelancer’s payment.

After the job is done, the platform will extract the commission and transfer the money to the freelancer’s account. 

The platform extracts 25% of the project’s fee as its commission.

WINaTALENT provides a BYOC plan as well. 

BYOC stands for Bring Your Own Client. With this option, every freelancer has the opportunity to introduce their own client to the platform and the platform reduces its commission fee to only 10%. 

The platform accepts online payment and will soon add PayPal and other means for money transactions.

Freelancing platforms’ payment methods and how they handle transactions can make or break a platform.

At WINaTALENT, we take freelancing platforms’ payment methods very seriously. We offer a safe payment and transaction method to both our clients and freelancers.

As our client, experience our safe payment yourself.

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