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Wise (TransferWise) vs PayPal

Which offers the best value for money on international transfers?

Wise and PayPal are two convenient options for sending an online money transfer, but which one will net you a better deal on your next transfer?

To find out, we’ll compare Wise and PayPal side by side to see who offers the lowest fees, the best exchange rates and the fastest transfer speeds.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 26 April 2020.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 10 1 - 2 days HKD 70.00 0.128 USD
632
以透明的匯率,低收費及低最低金額的網上服務作匯款。 Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money 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.

Which has lower fees?

Wise

Wise’s fee is usually a combination of a small percentage of your transaction amount (typically ranging from 0.4% to 1.5%) plus a flat fee.

The flat fee starts from 5.05 HKD for most major currencies, but can climb above the 30 HKD mark in some cases.

Bank transfers attract lower fees than if you pay with a credit or debit card.

PayPal

PayPal’s fee structure is quite complicated. The amount you pay depends on your transfer amount and whether you pay for the transaction with your PayPal balance, bank account or credit/debit card.

Trophy icon
Winner: Draw

If paying for your transfer from your PayPal balance or bank account, PayPal’s international transfer fees can be quite competitive. However, fees quickly add up if paying with your credit/debit card, and the complicated fee structure can be difficult to understand.

Wise also offers minimal fees for most transactions, and offers a handy online tool to help you calculate the total cost of your transaction.

Compare fees between the two providers for your specific transaction to find the best value for money.

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

Let’s take a closer look at how Wise and PayPal compare when sending two different amounts to the UK. In this example, we’ll assume the PayPal transaction will be funded from your bank account and the Wise transaction paid for with a bank transfer.

Sending $1000 to the UK
WisePayPal
Transfer fee9.38 HKD16.87 HKD
Transaction cost$1000 HKD$1000 HKD
Exchange rate1 HKD = 0.104324 GBP1 HKD = 0.1000 GBP
Transfer speed1 hourInstant
Amount received (in GBP)£103.35£100.09

As you can see, not only the fee is less with Wise (Wise deducts the fee from your $1000 transfer amount), your recipient will end up with £3.26 more.

Sending $10,000 to the UK
WisePayPal
Transfer fee47.02 HKD16.87 HKD
Transaction cost$10,000 HKD$10,000 HKD
Exchange rate1 HKD = 0.104324 GBP1 HKD = 0.1000 GBP
Transfer speed1 hourInstant
Amount received (in GBP)£1,038.33£1,000.9

Wise is a clear winner in this second comparison. Though the fee is higher, your beneficiary receives an extra £37.43 which is quite a significant difference.

Which offers better exchange rates?

Wise

Wise offers international money transfers using the mid-market exchange rate. This is the rate which you see listed on Google and sites like XE, and it represents the real market value of one currency relative to another.

PayPal

PayPal adds a margin on top of the mid-market rate. While this margin is typically smaller than that offered by the banks, it’s generally around the 3.5-4% range.

Using the same example as we did for Wise:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 HKD = 0.129021 USD
  • PayPal’s rate might be 1 HKD = 0.125795 USD

Trophy icon
Winner: Wise

Wise’s exchange rates are much better than those offered by PayPal, which means more of the money you send arrives in your recipient’s bank account.

Which is faster

Wise

Transfer times vary depending on the currency you send and the payment method you select.

While most transactions take between 1 and 2 business days, it’s possible to send funds to some destinations within minutes.

PayPal

Your recipient should be able to access the funds you send to their PayPal account almost immediately. However, please note that if the recipient doesn’t want to leave this balance in their PayPal account, withdrawing to their bank account will take one or more business days.

Trophy icon
Winner: PayPal

PayPal transfers are generally faster – but only if your recipient is happy to spend the money you send directly from their PayPal account. If they want it sitting in their bank account, you may find that Wise will get the money there quicker.

General features

Payment methodsReceiving optionsMinimum and maximum transfersTransfer speedsCurrencies
Wise
  • Bank transfer
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Android Pay
  • Apple Pay
Bank transfer
  • Minimum: 0.01 HKD
  • Maximum: 20,000,000 HKD
Same day – 2 days61 currencies
PayPal
  • Bank transfer
  • Credit or debit card
  • PayPal Credit
PayPal account transfer
  • Minimum: 0.01 HKD
  • Maximum: 9,999,999.99 HKD
1 day26 currencies

Wise

While Wise offers a handy fee and exchange rate calculator on its website, you’ll need to sign up for a Wise account before you can make a transfer. You can then initiate a transfer by specifying the amount and currency you want to send and providing your recipient’s bank account details.

You’ll receive email updates throughout the transfer process and can track your transaction online or using the Wise app.

PayPal

Before you can send money overseas with PayPal, both you and your recipient will need to have your own PayPal accounts. You can then link your bank account or credit/debit card to your PayPal account to fund your transaction.

To send a transfer, enter the email address or phone number of your recipient. You will then have to enter the details of your transaction, specify the reason why you are sending funds, and then take a moment to review the full cost of your transaction before submitting your transfer.

Bottom line

Wise generally offers much better value for money than PayPal on international transfers. While fee amounts often work out fairly similar between the two companies when paying from your bank account, Wise’s commitment to offering the mid-market rate means that more of the money you send will end up in your recipient’s pocket.

While PayPal can be useful when sending a small amount or when you need to make a quick transfer, Wise usually comes out on top.

Looking for more options?

Use our calculator below to compare the fees, exchange rates and transfer speeds of a range of international money transfer services. Simply enter your transaction details in the calculator to find out what fees and exchange rates are on offer.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 10 1 - 2 days HKD 140.00 0.128 USD
1,265
以透明的匯率,低收費及低最低金額的網上服務作匯款。 Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
USD 10 1 - 2 days HKD 25.00 0.127 USD
1,267
新客戶可享有首三個月無限次免手續費匯款。New customers get 3 months of unlimited free transfers.
可用15+種貨幣匯款,享有超越銀行的匯率以及快速轉賬時間。 CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
SGD 1 1 day HKD 42.00 0.128 USD
1,277
你首兩次港幣$15,000或以下的匯款,手續費全免。Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to HK$15,000.
象徵式收費以及中間價匯率,可匯款至高達30多個國家。 SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
Go to site Show details
USD 50 1 day HKD 35.00 0.128 USD
1,278
獨家優惠:使用代碼FINDER10,你的頭一次匯款即能享有$10美元折扣。Use code FINDER10 to receive US$10 off your first transaction.
InstaReM 提供簡單的匯款服務,大部分的匯款劃一收取0.5%的手續費。InstaReM offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers.
Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour HKD 20.00 0.128 USD
1,275
使用優惠代碼FREE,你的首次匯款即可享免手續費。條款及條件適用。Use promo code FREE to send your first transfer with no fee. T&Cs apply.
提供現金提取、銀行戶口之間轉賬與及Airtime匯款選擇的網上匯款服務,。 WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
GBP 5,000 1 - 2 days HKD 0.00 0.126 USD
1,263
可匯款至20+個國家,無手續費。 CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace. Go to site Show details
USD 2,000 1 day HKD 0.00 0.126 USD
1,263
TorFX保證提供最佳的匯率。需受條款約束。TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate.
以30種貨幣匯款到全球。登記後,將會有一個客戶經理提供支持和引導。 TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
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.

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