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PayPal vs Malaysian banks for international transfers

Which offers the best deal for sending money overseas?

PayPal and bank transfers can get your money where it needs to go. By comparing fees, rates and speeds, we look at which is quicker and can save you money.

PayPal logoMajor Malaysian bank logos
FeesVaries by transferFrom RM10 to RM30 or more
Exchange ratesMid-market rate plus 2.5% marginMore than the mid-market rate plus margin
SpeedMinutes to 1 dayVaries by bank
Max Transfer AmountMaximum US$10,000 or equivalent per transferVaries by bank
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How they work?

Both PayPal and your major Malaysian bank can send your money next door or around the world online.


To transfer money through PayPal, you’ll need to create a free PayPal account. You then send a transfer to your recipient’s PayPal account, funding it with your PayPal balance, bank account, credit or debit card or PayPal Credit. After your recipient receives the money, they can either keep the funds in their PayPal account or withdraw the money to their bank account.

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Bank transfers

Bank wire transfers are a quick, efficient way to move your money from one bank account holder to another through existing banking networks. While in the past you had to visit a bank branch to initiate a money transfer, these days most banks allow you to initiate transfers online and by phone as well. However, delivery options are typically limited to bank account deposits, usually within a few days.

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Who offers lower fees?


There’s no transaction fee when you send payments with PayPal as the recipient covers that. If you send a payment overseas in a different currency, a small conversion fee ranging from 3.5% to 4% applies.

Take note that if you pay by credit or debit card, your provider may charge you fees such as currency conversion fees, international transactions fees, or other fees.

Bank transfers

While most major Malaysian banks offer free bank-to-bank domestic transfers, they’re typically your most expensive option when sending money internationally.

Banks charge higher fees – anywhere from RM10 to RM30, depending on the details of your transfer – and a bigger variety of fees. In general, there’s also a sending and receiving fee, which your recipient may have to pay.

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Winner: Paypal

While bank transfer fees vary, for most transfer amounts it’s unlikely they’ll be lower than the competitive prices offered by PayPal.

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Compare other transfer services

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 1 Same day MYR 3.99 0.237 USD
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
USD 60 1 day MYR 0.00 0.238 USD
Skrill offers easy transfers to many popular destinations, but keep an eye out for added fees. Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 day MYR 50.00 0.238 USD
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
USD 200 1 day MYR 25.00 0.238 USD
Exclusive: Use code FINDER10 to receive US$10 off your first transaction.
InstaReM offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers.
Go to site Show details
USD 120 1 - 2 days MYR 5.00 0.237 USD
Malaysia-based MoneyMatch offers competitive exchange rates for overseas money transfers from MYR to more than 70 countries. 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.

Who offers better exchange rates?

The exchange rates for both PayPal and bank transfers depend on the mid-market rate on the particular day. Here’s what we know about PayPal and bank transfer exchange rates.


To calculate the exchange rate it offers to customers, PayPal takes the mid-market rate it gets from its bank and adds a 2.5% margin. PayPal updates this rate twice a day.

For example, for a transfer in US dollars (USD):

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 MYR = 0.23 USD
  • PayPal’s exchange rate might be 1 MYR = 0.22 USD

Bank transfers

Nearly all banks skew the mid-market exchange rate for a profit, but you’ll typically pay higher margins than you’ll find with PayPal.

Using the example of a transfer to US dollars (USD):

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 MYR = 0.23 USD
  • Your bank’s exchange rate might be 1 MYR = 0.21 USD

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Winner: PayPal

Here again, PayPal’s exchange rates are typically more competitive than those offered by your local bank.

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Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending RM1,000 to the US

Let’s bring this into context a little. In our scenario, we’re going to send RM1,000 to the US using both PayPal and a local bank to see which is better. Keep in mind, rates vary for other countries.

PayPalMajor Malaysian bank
Exchange rate1 MYR = 0.22 USD1 MYR = 0.21 USD
Transfer feeRM0RM30
Transfer speed1 business day3 to 5 business days
Transfer optionsBank transferBank transfer
Total euros receivedUS$220US$204
Receiver getsUS$16 moreUS$16 less

The result? A transfer through PayPal results in your recipient receiving US$16 more and you save on transfer fees as well.

Who’s faster?


Money transfers with PayPal are speedy. If you’re transferring between PayPal accounts, funds are available immediately. If you withdraw money from your PayPal account into a bank account, you can expect the funds to get there within the next business day.

Bank transfers

Most banks offer international money transfers that will arrive within two business days, but your transfer speed will depend on your specific bank and type of account.

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Winner: PayPal

Even though both PayPal and bank transfers can get your money where it needs to go pretty quickly, PayPal edges out the competition with instant transfer options between PayPal accounts

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Who offers more options?

Payment methodsMinimum and maximum transfersDelivery methodsTransfer speedsCountries
PayPalBank transfer, credit or debit card, PayPal CreditMinimum: RM1
Maximum: US$10,000 or equivalent per transaction
PayPal transfer, bank transferFrom minutes to next business day190+ countries
Bank transferOnline, in person, app (when available)Varies by bankBank transferTypically within two business days190+ countries

Bottom line

Although much of the comparison between PayPal and bank transfers can vary depending on your bank account, PayPal tends to come out on top thanks to lower transfer fees, stronger rates and faster service.

Ultimately, you’ll want to compare your options to find the service that best fits your individual needs.

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