PayPal vs Travelex

Discover which one is better suited for your next money transfer.

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Travelex is well known for its prepaid travel cards and travel insurance, but it also offers online international payments. Similarly, PayPal is almost synonymous with online payments, but it’s not as recognised for its international money transfer capabilities.

We’ll highlight major features of both, so you can decide if either is your new go-to for sending money across borders.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 21 July 2019.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
CAD 15 3 - 5 days CAD 2.99 0.73 USD
7,301
Show details

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The “Rate” and “Amount Received” displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

Which has lower fees?

PayPal

When sending money with PayPal and paying with a credit card or Visa debit card, you’ll be charged 2.9% of the amount you’re transferring plus a fee of either $2.99 or $4.99, depending on the currency being transferred. You’ll also have to pay a small fixed fee (usually around $0.50 CAD), also based on the currency being transferred.

However, if you pay with your PayPal balance instead of a credit or debit card, you won’t have to pay the 2.9% fee or the fixed fee. You’ll simply pay either $2.99 or $4.99, depending on the currency being transferred.

Travelex

Travelex has a very clear-cut fee structure of $15 for any transfer under $10,000, and no fee for transfers over that amount.

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Winner: Travelex

PayPal’s fees might be less than Travelex’s in some cases, such as sending very small amounts and paying with a PayPal balance instead of a credit or debit card. However, Travelex takes this one with a straightforward fee structure that can help keep costs low for most types of transfers.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 and $10,000 to the US

The table below shows you what a transfer with both PayPal and Travelex looks like, assuming payment is by credit or debit card.

Sending $1,000 to the US
PayPal Travelex
Transfer fee $32.29 $15
Exchange rate CAD$1 = US$0.7399 CAD$1 = US$0.7508
Transfer speed 2-3 business days 2-4 business days
Total US dollars received US$716.01 US$739.54
Receiver gets US$23.53 less US$23.53 more
Sending $10,000 to the US
PayPal Travelex
Transfer fee $293.29 $0
Exchange rate CAD$1 = US$0.7399 CAD$1 = US$0.7508
Transfer speed 2-3 business days 2-4 business days
Total US dollars received US$7,181.99 US$7,508.00
Receiver gets US$326.01 less US$326.01 more

In this case, Travelex is much more cost-effective, given its better exchange rate and lower fees. For a $1,000 transfer, the receiver gets an extra $23.53 USD (roughly $30 CAD), and for a $10,000 transfer, the receiver gets an extra $326.01 USD (roughly $425 CAD).

Note that if you pay with your PayPal balance instead of by credit or debit card, your fees would go down substantially, however, Travelex’s exchange rate still puts it in the lead. And even if PayPal had offered a less expensive transfer than Travelex, the Travelex International Payment Price Promise would let you take the PayPal quote to Travelex to see if the company would beat the quote.

Which offers better exchange rates?

PayPal

PayPal receives a wholesale rate quote twice per day from its bank. Add 3.0% or more to the rate received, and that’s used for all transactions that require a currency conversion. Here’s an example of what it might look like if you sent money to the US:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 CAD = 0.7656 USD
  • PayPal’s exchange rate may be 1 CAD = 0.7399 USD

Travelex

Currency rates are updated live throughout the day on Travelex’s International Payments site. Rates can be up to 4% above mid-market rates, but you’re able to lock-in rates with a spot trade and take out forward contracts and limit orders.

Travelex also provides the International Payment Price Promise wherein if you get a better rate within 30 minutes of placing your order, Travelex will exceed that competing rate. Using the same example of sending money to Australia:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 CAD = 0.7656 USD
  • Travelex’s exchange rate may be 1 CAD = 0.7508 USD

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Winner: Tie

The exchange rates offered by Travelex and PayPal vary based on the type of transaction. Travelex’s vary and may be better or worse than PayPal’s in different situations. Neither is consistently better or worse than the other.

Which is faster?

PayPal

It depends on whether you already have the funds loaded into your PayPal account. Transfers may take only a few minutes from one PayPal account to another but can take several days if you need to transfer funds to or from a bank.

Travelex

You can expect the funds to transfer in 2-4 business days with Travelex.

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Winner: PayPal

PayPal can offer potentially instantaneous transfers, which is hard to beat.

General features

Payment methods Receiving Options Max and Min Transfer speeds Currencies
PayPal PayPal balance, bank transfer, credit and debit card PayPal account, bank transfer Minimum: $15

Maximum: $60,000

3 - 5 days 25+ currencies
Travelex Bank transfer Bank transfer Minimum: $500

Maximum: No limit

1 day 40+ currencies

PayPal

You’ll need to register for a free PayPal account before you can send money using it. Once you log in, simply choose who you want to send the money to via the email or mobile number associated with their PayPal account (also referred to as a PayPal wallet) and choose how to fund it.

Some locations don’t require the recipient to have a PayPal account and can have the funds transferred directly to their bank account.

Travelex

Travelex also requires that you create an account. You may need to verify your identity with Travelex, a process that can take one to several business days.

Once the account is fully verified, you can start sending money. You’ll need to enter your information as well as your recipient’s information, including their bank account details. Only bank-to-bank transfers are accepted.

Bottom line

Travelex wins out when it comes to a clear fee structure, but PayPal offers instant delivery. Meanwhile, the one with better rates will vary depending on the situation and the timing. Your needs will dictate which is the better service in terms of saving you money and getting the most to your destination.

But you’ll find much more than just these two transfer companies out there. Take the time to compare your options before you settle to find the one that serves you best.

Looking for more options?

Enter your transfer details into the table below to see which one can help you save on international transfers.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 150 1 day CAD 0.00 0.749 USD
7,491
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies.
Go to site Show details
CAD 0 Within an hour CAD 3.99 0.749 USD
7,484
Use code FINDERCA and pay zero fees on your first transfer. Conditions apply.
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
Go to site Show details
CAD 1 1 - 2 days CAD 90.00 0.752 USD
7,454
Make online transfers with transparent exchange rates, low fees and low minimum amounts. Go to site Show details
CAD 0 1 day CAD 0.00 0.749 USD
7,491
Send money in more than 60 currencies. Fee-free international money transfers with a global brand. Go to site Show details
GBP 5,000 1 - 2 days CAD 0.00 0.749 USD
7,489
Aimed at larger transfers, CurrencyTransfer is an online marketplace that lets you shop around for the best exchange rate. Go to site Show details
CAD 2,000 1 day CAD 0.00 0.749 USD
7,491
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 45 currencies.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers


The “Rate” and “Amount Received” displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

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