XE vs PayPal

We take a look at 2 well-known money transfer services to see which will send your money faster and cheaper.

Last updated:

PayPal is one of the most well-known payment methods globally, but how does PayPal’s international money transfers fair when compared side-by-side to XE? Let’s find out.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 18 October 2019.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
CAD 0 1 day CAD 0.00 0.753 USD
7,529
Send money in more than 60 currencies. Fee-free international money transfers with a global brand. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Which has lower fees?

XE

XE doesn’t charge fees on international money transfers, however, it does warn you that some third parties might.

Check the fees of all the providers involved in your transaction.

PayPal

PayPal has a flat fee structure that’s dependent on the amount you’re sending internationally:

  • If you’re sending $0-$49.99, the fee is $0.99 for transfers to the US or Europe and $4.99 for transfers anywhere else.
  • If you’re sending $50-99.99, the fee is $2.99 for transfers to the US or Europe and $4.99 for transfers anywhere else.
  • On all transfers $100 or more, the fee is $2.99 for transfers to the US or Europe and $4.99 for transfers anywhere else.

If you pay by credit or debit card, you’ll be charged an additional 2.9%, plus a small fixed fee that changes based on the currency. It’s free to transfer Canadian dollars to recipients with Canadian PayPal accounts.

Trophy icon
Winner: XE

XE never charges a fee, while PayPal charges a fee on all transaction amounts. This makes XE the clear winner when it comes to fees.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 to the Philippines

Let’s compare what a $1,000 transfer to the Philippines looks like with both XE and PayPal to see which provider puts more money in the receiver’s pocket.

Sending $1,000 to the Philippines

XE PayPal
Transfer fee $0 CAD$4.99
Exchange rate 1 CAD = 38.3536 PHP 1 CAD = 37.3782 PHP
Transfer speed Same day 1 day
Total Philippine Peso received PHP38,353.60 PHP37,191.77
Receiver gets PHP1,161.83 more PHP1,161.83 less

XE is more cost effective in this insistence, saving you PHP1,161.83. It doesn’t charge any fees and its Philippine peso exchange rate is better than PayPal’s in this instance.

Which offers better exchange rates?

XE

XE adds a margin to the exchange rate. It varies across the currencies, but it’s typically between 0.4% and 1%.

Keep in mind that the exchange rate you’ll pay when using XE is not the same as the rate displayed on XE’s currency converter tool. That tool is a live feed of the mid-market rates, not XE’s exchange rates.

PayPal

PayPal also adds a margin, but it’s a flat percentage markup. If you send money to someone in a different currency than what they will receive or buy something in a different currency in which it’s listed, the markup is 3.5% for amounts received in US or Canadian dollars or 4% for amounts received in all other currencies.

For most other transactions in which a currency conversion is involved, the margin is at least 3.0%.

Trophy icon
Winner: XE

Both providers add a markup to the mid-market exchange rate, but generally speaking, XE’s markup is lower. PayPal’s markup is quite high and you’re more likely to find a better rate elsewhere.

Which is faster?

XE

The majority of XE transfers are completed within the same day, but some transfers can take longer. When you set up your transfer, XE will give you an estimated transfer completion date.

PayPal

How long PayPal transactions take depend on whether you’re just moving money between PayPal accounts, or between bank accounts. It can take over a week to get the money to the recipient’s bank account, but is considerably faster to send it to their PayPal account.

Trophy icon
Winner: XE

XE is more consistent and faster in many situations.

General features

Payment methods Receiving Options Max and Min Transfer speeds Currencies
XE Bank transfer Bank account Minimum: $0

Maximum: $500,000

1 day 40+ currencies
PayPal Bank transfer, debit card, credit card, Paypal credit PayPal transfer, bank account Minimum: $15

Maximum: $60,000

3 - 5 days 90+ currencies

XE

Set up your XE account, then get a quote for your transfer. Once you’ve agreed on the details of the transaction, you send your payment to XE and your money will be sent on from there.

PayPal

You must have a PayPal account to transfer through PayPal. Once you’ve set it up or logged in, you go to the “send money” section and enter the transfer details. PayPal will then complete the transaction.

Bottom line

Overall, XE is a better choice when looking to do an international money transfer. XE has no fees, and their exchange rates are better than PayPal’s. By using XE, you can save money and get more for your Canadian dollars.

However, if XE doesn’t support the currency or country you want to send to, it’s very likely that PayPal will.

Looking for more options?

Use our comparison calculator below to weigh up the fees, exchange rates and other details of money transfer providers out there.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 150 1 day CAD 0.00 0.753 USD
7,529
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 0.752 USD
7,522
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 0.756 USD
7,492
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 0.753 USD
7,529
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 0.753 USD
7,527
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 0.753 USD
7,529
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

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.
Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Go to site