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Remitly vs. PayPal

We compare fees, rates and transfer speed between Remitly and PayPal to see which service comes out on top.

For decades, PayPal has been helping millions of people transfer money. How does newer online money transfer service, Remitly, compare to the payments industry giant? Let’s take a look at fees, exchange rates and transfer speed to find out.

The information on this page is current as of April 7, 2022.

Which offers lower fees?


It’s free to transfer money from your PayPal account or bank account to someone in Canada. It costs $2.99 to transfer from your PayPal account or bank account to someone living in the US or most European countries. For all other countries, the fee is $4.99.

If you pay by card instead, you’ll be charged an additional 2.9% of the transfer amount plus a small fixed fee (often under $0.50 CAD) based on the receiving currency. This makes it expensive to send large amounts if you need to pay by debit or credit. Instant Transfers cost an extra 1% (up to a maximum of $10.00).


Remitly’s transfer fees often start between $1.99 and $3.99 but ultimately vary based on the destination country, transfer amount and the speed you select (Express or Economy).

Economy transfers are cheaper, but Express transfers arrive more quickly. $0 fees are available for some transfers.

Trophy iconWinner: Remitly
Both PayPal and Remitly offer $0 fees for some transfers. But Remitly doesn’t charge a percentage-based fee, making it cheaper for large transfers. Additionally, Ria’s fees don’t change based on how you pay.

Which offers better exchange rates?

The midmarket rate is the “true” exchange rate between 2 currencies, or the real value of one currency when exchanged for another currency. The exchange rate you get from money transfer services like Remitly and PayPal is the midmarket rate minus a small fee worth a percentage of the midmarket rate. This fee is sometimes referred to as a markup on the exchange rate.

A lower exchange rate means more of your money is pocketed by the transfer service and your recipient gets less money. A higher exchange rate means the transfer service pockets less of your money and more goes to your recipient.


We found that PayPal’s exchange rates are often under the midmarket rate by around 3.5% or more. For perspective, a 2-3% margin on the exchange rate means you could lose hundreds of dollars when sending $10,000 or more.

Here’s how PayPal’s exchange rate markup could work if you’re sending CAD to euros (EUR):

  • If the midmarket rate is 1 CAD = 0.7311 EUR
  • PayPal’s exchange rate might be 1 CAD = 0.7055 EUR (3.50% markup)


When we checked, Remitly’s exchange rate margins for a number of popular currencies ranged from less than 1% to around 2.7%.

Here’s how Remitly’s exchange rate markup could work if you’re sending CAD to euros (EUR):

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 CAD = 0.7311 EUR
  • Remitly’s exchange rate might be 1 CAD = 0.72 EUR (1.52% markup)
Trophy iconWinner: Remitly
We found that Remitly typically deducted a lower margin from the exchange rate than PayPal, although the exact rate you get from either service could differ depending on the type of transfer.

Which is faster?


Standard transfers are free and take between 1 and 3 business days. Instant Transfers come with an additional 1% fee (up to a maximum of $10.00) but arrive within minutes.


Remitly Economy transfers arrive within 3-5 business days. Express Transfers arrive within minutes but cost more.

Trophy iconWinner: PayPal
Both services offer options that transfer funds within minutes. However, PayPal’s free standard transfers arrive within a shorter time frame than Remitly’s cheapest transfer option.

PayPal vs. Remitly: Sending $500 to the Philippines

Here’s how fees, exchange rates and transfer speeds break down if you send $500 from Canada to the Philippines through PayPal and Remitly. In this example, we assume funds are sent to a bank account, payment is made by debit and the fee is paid on top of the sending amount (not deducted from it). This information is current as of April 7, 2022.

Transfer fee$19.86$6.99
Exchange rate1 CAD = 39.0173 PHP1 CAD = 40.60 PHP
Transfer speed1-3 business days3-5 business days
Total received19,508.65 PHP20,300.00 PHP

In this case, Remitly offers a lower fee, a stronger exchange rate and more money in your recipient’s pocket. However, PayPal might be faster. It might also be cheaper if you paid from your PayPal account balance or by bank transfer instead of by debit (thereby eliminating the fee).

AvailabilitySend to 200+ countries in 25 currenciesSend to 100+ countries
FeesIf you pay from your PayPal or bank account balance:
  • Free for domestic transfers
  • $2.99 to the US and most European countries
  • $4.99 to all other countries

If you pay by debit or credit, add 2.9% + fixed fee (often under $0.50 CAD)

Varies but often starts between $1.99 and $3.99. Some transfers come with $0 fees.
Exchange rate marginTypically around 3.5% or moreTypically less than 1% to around 2.7% or more
  • Standard: 1-3 business days
  • Instant: Within minutes
  • Economy: 3-5 business days
  • Express: Within minutes
Transfer limits
  • Minimum: None
  • Maximum: $60,000 CAD per transfer (requires account verification; other limits may apply)
  • Minimum: $10.00
  • Daily max: $999 ($9,999 for verified accounts)
  • 30-day max: $10,000 ($30,000 for verified accounts)
Payment methods
  • PayPal account balance
  • Bank account
  • Debit
  • Credit
  • Bank account
  • Debit
  • Credit
  • Prepaid cards
Receiving methods
  • Deposit to PayPal account (can be withdraw to a bank account or debit card)
  • Cash pickup
  • Direct deposit to bank account
  • Mobile money
  • Home delivery (select countries)
Read our review

Check out our review of Xoom to learn more about how PayPal has positioned itself to stay competitive in the international money transfer services market.

Compare international money transfer services

Our table below lets you compare services you can use to send money abroad. Compare fees, exchange rates and discounts from different money transfer services, and when you have made your choice, click Go to site.
Name Product _compare_ Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
Wise (TransferWise)
24 hours
From 0.43%
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Xe Money Transfers
Within minutes
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Within minutes
From $0
Use code HELLO to get $20 off on first two transfers on a min transfer of $250. Valid until November 30, 2023.
Instarem offers zero transfer fees on all transfers.
Within minutes
From $0
Send money in CAD to Africa on this blockchain and P2P powered provider.
Finder Award
Within minutes
From $0
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Within minutes
From $0
Use promo code 3FREE and pay no fees on your first 3 transfers. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Finder Award
Within minutes
From $4.99
For a limited time, get $0 fees on your first money transfer from Canada. Conditions apply.
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
Finder Award
24 hours
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 50+ currencies.

Bottom line

Remitly tends to offer stronger exchange rates and lower fees. But you may get faster transfers with PayPal, which also supports sending to a wider range of countries (although in a limited number of currencies).

Learn more about convenient, cost-effective ways to send money overseas in our guide to international money transfers.

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