Guide to getting the best rate on international transfers with Paypal

Did you know that you can use PayPal to quickly and easily transfer money overseas? Let us show you how.

PayPal is a well-known, digital payments company offering a fast, safe and effective way to send money overseas. Established in 1998, PayPal has been offering its services in Canada for almost 17 years, processing as many as 9.3 million payments every day, with more than 150 million active account holders worldwide. Trading in 100 currencies across more than 200 markets, PayPal also boasts in excess of six million active customer accounts in Canada.

PayPal exchange rates

PayPal generally offers slightly better exchange rates than most Canadian banks. That being said, in most cases, its exchange rates aren’t as high as those offered by specialist money transfer services like TransferWise and Western Union. See the comparison table below to determine how PayPal’s rates stack up against the competition.

$1 CAD inCanadian Bank (TD)
(Bank transfer)
Western Union
(Cash pickup)
(Bank transfer)
(Bank transfer)

Rates updated as of 15 June 2018 (subject to change) – you can visit many of these websites directly by clicking ‘Go to Site’ on the interactive transfer comparison table at the top of the page.

Whenever you wish to send money overseas with PayPal, you can see the conversion rate that applies when you lodge your transaction. PayPal adjusts its rates frequently to stay in line with market conditions.

How much does it cost to transfer money with PayPal?

It’s free to sign up for a PayPal account, but you will need to pay a fee for transfer, which will depend on where your money is going and whether the transaction is funded from your PayPal balance, bank account or credit card. Fees are charged based on a percentage of the money you are transferring.

Country of Recipient’s AccountFunded by your Paypal balanceFunded by a credit card or Visa Debit card
United States, most countries in Europe$2.99 $2.99 +2.9% + fixed fee based on the currency
Any other country$4.99$4.99 +2.9% + fixed fee based on the currency

PayPal’s service is fast and secure, though the company’s fee structure means this service is best used for transferring smaller amounts of money, usually up to a maximum of a few hundred dollars.

Minimum transfer amount and available countries

PayPal is available in 203 countries and 100 currencies around the world, all of which are listed on the company’s website. As PayPal is widely used for small payments, the minimum you can transfer is $0.03, with a maximum of $60,000, although this may be limited to $10,000 in a single transaction (depending on your currency).

What types of transfers can you carry out with PayPal?

PayPal is designed to take care of one-off transfers when you need to send money overseas, but regular transfers can also be arranged for a fee. Other transfer options, like forward contracts and limit orders, are not available. PayPal is handy because it’s linked directly to your bank account, which means you can easily send and receive money with the click of a mouse. If you need customer support, PayPal also has a well-organized Online Help Centre and you can call them directly on their customer service hotline at 1-888-221-1161.

The registration and transfer process

Both you and your recipient will need to be registered with PayPal, but have no fear, it’s quick, easy and free to sign up for an account. You’ll need to provide:

  • Your email address
  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Linked bank account or credit card details

Once you’ve signed up and logged in, click on the “Send Money” tab in your account overview. Enter the email address or phone number of the person you’re sending money to, the amount you wish to send and the reason for the transaction. You’ll then be shown the fees and exchange rate which will apply, before being given the opportunity to review your transaction. Once you’re satisfied, click “Send Money”. The entire process is relatively straightforward and the money typically arrives within minutes.

What are the pros and cons of using PayPal?


  • Better exchange rates than banks. PayPal’s exchange rates are typically a little bit better than those offered by Canadian banks.
  • Fast. Your money arrives within minutes.
  • Secure. PayPal transactions are protected by state-of-the-art security technology.
  • Great for small transactions. PayPal’s fee structure is perfect for sending smaller amounts of money.


  • Large fees for large amounts. The fee you have to pay for international money transfers is based on the amount of money you send.
  • Exchange rates could be better. You’ll usually be able to find better exchange rates with specialist money transfer companies.

What other products and services does PayPal offer?

PayPal offers a variety of products and services to customers, including:

  • Online shopping. You can use PayPal to checkout faster at tens of thousands of online and mobile stores.
  • Business solutions. PayPal allows businesses to accept payments from credit cards, debit cards, linked bank accounts and PayPal accounts online.
  • PayPal Here App and Chip and PIN card reader. These services allow you to accept payments on the go.

Frequently asked questions

If you’re looking to transfer no more than a few hundred dollars overseas, PayPal could be the best money transfer option for you. However, compare PayPal’s fees and exchange rates with those of banks and money transfer companies to ensure you end up with a great deal.

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