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PayPal overview: Personal and business services

Send funds worldwide to more than 200 countries.


Fact checked

PayPal does more than process online payments. This digital giant offers credit, a mobile wallet and business services to move your money worldwide. But watch for currency conversion fees that can get pricey, depending on your destination.

What types of accounts does PayPal offer?

PayPal serves two types of customers with international payment services:

Personal account

Securely pay for online orders or submit payments for utility and other bills. You can also use this digital payments service to transfer money directly to other PayPal accounts, often for free domestically

Business account

Accept secure payments through your e-commerce site and sign up for products like PayPal Checkout for one-time API payments. Accounts come with a separate email address for customer support.

What currencies are supported by PayPal?

You can withdraw funds in 57 currencies and hold an account balance in 26 currencies as of June 2019, including:

PayPal is available in more than 200 countries, though it doesn’t offer services in Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan.

What is PayPal?

Established in 1998, PayPal is a leading global provider of digital payments headquartered in San Jose, California. It claims to process some 12.5 million payments every day as an alternative to checks and money orders, boasting a massive customer base of more than 165 million active accounts worldwide.

PayPal separated from its parent company, eBay, in July 2015 to become an independent, publicly traded company listed on NASDAQ. It has a history of purchasing competitors like Braintree, Venmo and Tradera, which today are subsidiaries.

What other products does PayPal offer?

PayPal can help you or your business beyond moving money worldwide or supporting your e-commerce business.

Personal products
  • Online shopping. Sign up for an account to pay for purchases at digital retailers without pulling out your credit or debit card. You can also donate to a series of charities or fund a gaming hobby directly from your account.
  • Credit and debit cards. Earn rewards on gas, dining and digital spending with the no-fee PayPal Extras Mastercard. Or gain instant access to your PayPal account funds with the reloadable PayPal Cash Card.
  • Lines of credit. Buy now and pay later with PayPal Credit — up to six months later with no interest.
  • Mobile wallet. Use PayPal’s mobile wallet app to pay for in-store purchases at a growing list of brick-and-mortar retailers.
  • Xoom money transfers. Send money to friends and family overseas as bank deposits or cash pickups in select locations.
Business services
  • PayPal Ventures. The company invests in fintech startups and other early-stage companies looking for a lift off the ground.
  • Digital loans. Your PayPal business accounts grants you access to flexible business for a fixed fee with no credit check.
  • Card processing. Add a PayPal button to your e-commerce site to accept debit and credit cards and simplify your accounting.
  • Mobile card reader. Use your phone or tablet for on-the-go payments to your business through PayPal’s mobile card reader.
  • Point of sale solutions. Accept business payments through PayPal Here or PayPal Chip and Swipe POS systems.

Shopping for an alternative? Compare these services to PayPal for sending money to someone.

Customer praise and complaints for PayPal

More than 6,000 reviews on Trustpilot result in a one-star score as of June 2019, with many customers complaining about poor support, ineffective buyer protections and weak exchange rates. Still, 25% rate the company excellent or great, saying it’s a must for safe online shopping.

It’s been accredited by the BBB for 20 years, earning an A+ from the agency based on internal criteria that excludes the one-star average based on more than 500 mostly negative customer reviews. Overall, your mileage with this company will vary based on whether you’re a personal or business customer.

In 2018, the company ranked No. 5 on Forbes’s global list of Top Regarded Companies, which takes quality of product and workplace perks into account.

How does PayPal keep my money safe?

PayPal uses SSL technology and industry best practices to keep your cash and sensitive financial details safe throughout online and in-store transactions. Your recipient never gains access to your bank account or credit card number.

When you use PayPal at sites that accept it, your purchases are further protected against nonreceipt or damage through PayPal Purchase Protection.

Compare PayPal to other popular providers

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.88 EUR 4,401 No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.88 EUR 4,401 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.
Go to site Show details
USD 1 Same day USD 0.00 0.885 EUR 4,426 Offering no maximum and no minimum limit transfers with $0 fees. Go to site Show details
USD 2,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.88 EUR 4,401 $0 transfer fees with rates at never more than a 2% markup. Go to site Show details
USD 0 1 - 2 days USD 1.99 0.871 EUR 4,355 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 - 2 days USD 40.00 0.889 EUR
Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour USD 3.99 0.885 EUR 4,423 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. 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.

Bottom line

PayPal has become a household name based on its ability to securely move your money to people and places in more than 200 countries worldwide. Learn more about its features, fees and exchange rates for personal money transfers and its range of services for e-commerce businesses before deciding which account is best for your needs.

Frequently asked questions about PayPal

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AdepojuFebruary 9, 2017

    Empower asks me to open a Paypal account so that my money can be paid into. I am in Nigeria. Is it possible for me to receive the money?

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJune 25, 2017

      Hi Adepoju!

      PayPal doesn’t allow receiving funds in their Nigerian accounts. You can check our full-guide to see other money transfer services that can be considered.

      Hope this helps.


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