We are committed to ensuring Upwork remains a safe and secure platform where everyone in our community can thrive. As we all work together toward this goal, it is important to be aware of suspicious activity that can sometimes occur.  


What are Direct Contracts? 


Direct Contracts is for independent professionals on Upwork to contract with and receive payment from their clients that they have relationships with outside of Upwork. This service cannot be used with clients who already have an Upwork account, those relationships need to stay within the work marketplace. 


Direct Contracts includes an escrow service. However this feature isn’t a substitute for a payment service -- and it is against our policies to use Direct Contracts for general transactions, to purchase goods, or to send money to someone that isn’t payment for services provided. 

What can I use Direct Contracts for? 


Upwork supports knowledge work, so jobs that require someone to complete physical tasks, such as cooking or cleaning, can’t be contracted through Upwork’s work marketplace or Direct Contracts.  Click here to check out Upwork’s supported job categories and specializations. 


Additionally, Upwork has zero tolerance for some types of work such as illegal activities, anything that is fraudulent or misleading, or sexually explicit content creation. You can see here all prohibited site uses. 


Things to watch out for:

We want you to stay safe on Upwork, keep these things in mind when using Direct Contracts: 


  • If another website tells you to use Upwork’s Direct Contracts feature to pay them, don’t do it or check in with us first, they are likely a fraudster or are misusing Upwork’s services. 
  • Direct Contracts are solely for independent professionals who use Upwork to invoice their clients. This feature is not a service for other websites or companies to accept payment. 
  • If you have an Upwork account already, you cannot use Direct Contracts; if the talent you’re working with is asking for a different email address than your Upwork account so you can use Direct Contracts, this is circumvention, which violates Upwork’s Terms of Service.  
  • Trust your instincts. If something seems suspicious or too good to be true, it probably is. 


For more information about online safety and security best practices, please visit our Security Center. Our door is always open, so please reach out to Customer Support if you have any questions or concerns.  

Log in to get personalized help.