Ah, that’s a trick question! All contests are paid up-front, then 99designs pays the winning designer.
After you’re selected as the winning designer, upload your final design files as soon as possible. Once the files are approved by the customer (in the Design Handover stage), we’ll credit your account with the prize money.
If, for some reason, you are contacted privately by a customer, remember that you are not obligated to send final design files without first receiving payment.
You don’t need to accept a payment that’s less than the listed prize, either, unless you want to.