Did you know that you can use PayPal to quickly and easily transfer money overseas? We show you how.
PayPal is a well-known, digital payments company. Owned by eBay Inc., PayPal offers a fast and safe way to send money online.
Established in 1998, PayPal has been offering its services in Canada for almost 17 years. The company processes some 9.3 million payments every day, and it has more than 150 million active account holders worldwide. Trading in 100 currencies and across more than 200 markets, PayPal also boasts in excess of six million active customer accounts in Canada.
Though perhaps best known for its ease of use when making purchases from online merchants, PayPal also makes it easy to send money overseas. 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.
PayPal exchange rates
PayPal generally offers slightly better exchange rates than most Canadian banks like RBC, TD, Scotiabank, BMO and CIBC. However, in most cases, its exchange rates aren’t as high as those offered by specialist money transfer services like TransferWise. See the comparison table below to determine how PayPal’s rates stack up against the competition.
|$1 CAD in||PayPal||World Remit||TransferWise|
* Rates as of 9:00pm on 07/12/2017
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. However, as well as exchange rates, you’ll also need to take fees into account when transferring funds. The fees which apply when you send money via PayPal depends 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.
There is no fee to use PayPal to purchase goods or services or to send money to friends and family using your PayPal balance or bank account. You will pay a fee if you receive money for goods or services, where the fee is 2.9% + $0.30 or if you send money using a credit or debit card to friends and family. To send money to the US, there is a 3.7% transaction fee + a fixed fee based on the currency. Furthermore, international payments draw a 3.9% transaction fee + a fixed fee based on the currency.
Minimum transfer amount and available countries
As PayPal is widely used for small payments, the minimum you can transfer in CAD is $0.03. PayPal is also available across 100 currencies around the world.
PayPal is available in 203 countries, a list of which can be found on the company’s website. While no such list exists of countries excluded from PayPal international money transfers, you probably won’t be able to use PayPal to send money to places like Afghanistan, Burma, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan.
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 to someone. While it’s possible to set up regular scheduled transfers, this will incur a fee. Other transfer options, such as forward contracts or limit orders, are not available. Your PayPal account is linked to your bank account, which is how you can access the funds you receive and withdraw them.
If you need customer support, PayPal has a well-organized Online Help Centre. However, you can also phone or email the company with any queries you may have.
The registration and transfer process
Both you and your recipient will need a PayPal account, but these are quick, easy and free to sign up for. You’ll need to provide:
- Your email address
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- 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 are 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 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.