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PayPal review: international money transfers

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Domestic transfers are fast and free. But you'll find lower fees and stronger rates on international transactions elsewhere.

finder.com’s rating: 4.0 / 5.0

★★★★★

How’d we get our score?

Fees & rates: 4.0 / 5.0
Speed: 4.0 / 5.0
Services: 4.0 / 5.0
User experience: 4.0 / 5.0

PayPal supports easy, no-fee money transfers in the US to your recipient’s email address. Internationally, however, you face a complicated fee structure and weak exchange rates that can take a significant bite out of your recipient’s transfer.

3 days

Fastest Transfer Speed

$10,000

Maximum Transfer Amount

Credit card,Debit card,Bank transfer

You Can Pay By

Within minutes

Fastest Transfer Speed

Does PayPal work internationally?

Yes. PayPal international transfers work similarly to regular PayPal transfers, allowing you to send, receive and store money digitally. But while many domestic PayPal transfers are free, international PayPal transfers typically come with a fee.

Pros and cons of PayPal

Carefully weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks before making an international money transfer using this service.

Pros

  • Fast transfers to other PayPal users. Transfers direct from one PayPal account to another are almost always instant.
  • Security. PayPal monitors all transactions for fraud, uses industry-standard encryption and has many dispute resolution options. Additionally, AI systems add to PayPal’s resiliency against fraudulent transactions.
  • Worldwide network. PayPal is available in more than 200 countries around the world, but you’ll be limited to the 20+ currencies that PayPal supports.
  • Free domestic transfers. When sending domestically from one PayPal balance to another, your transaction will be free if you send through the “Friends and Family” option.

Cons

  • Expensive international transfers. You face a layer of fees that vary by method, amount and country. Many transfers to recipients outside the US come with fees based on your transfer amount in addition to a flat fee in the currency you’re transferring to.
  • Weak exchange rates. When sending money to foreign currencies, you’ll be forced to accept an exchange rate below the mid-market rate.
  • Fees when using credit and debit cards. Expect yet more fees if you plan to fund your transaction with plastic, rather than your PayPal account or a linked bank account.
  • Extra steps when receiving money. When someone pays you on PayPal, you have to manually go into your account and request a bank payout — further increasing the time it takes for that money to hit your bank account.

Must read: Our experience transferring money with PayPal

Here’s what we found when we sent live transfers to Mexico and France through the digital wallet PayPal.

  • While PayPal offered accurate delivery estimates, it took three days for our recipient to transfer money from their PayPal account to a French bank.
  • PayPal offered exchange rates that were 2.7% above the mid-market rate on average, with rates updated multiple times a day.
  • PayPal’s easy-to-use website allowed us to sign up and initiate a transfer in under 4 minutes.

Compare money transfer services now

PayPal international exchange rates and fees explained

PayPal international transfer fees depend on where you’re sending money to, how you’re sending it and how you plan to fund it. For international deliveries, you face layers of fees that include flat rates and percentages of your transaction amount. PayPal does not have any hidden fees, but its fee structure is complex, to say the least. When using PayPal, pay close attention to fees and exchange rates to avoid feeling like hidden fees snuck up on you.

PayPal fees in USD

The following fees apply when sending money to friends and family.

Funding methodDestination countryFees
PayPal balance or linked bank accountUnited States$0
Credit card, debit card or PayPal CreditUnited States2.9% of transaction amount + $0.30
PayPal balance or linked bank accountAny other country5% of the transaction ($0.99 minimum, $4.99 maximum)
Credit card, debit card or PayPal CreditAny other country5% of the transaction ($0.99 minimum, $4.99 maximum) + 2.9% of the transaction amount paid using a credit card, debit card or PayPal Credit + a fixed fee based on currency

PayPal goods and services selling fees

When selling goods and services through PayPal, these are the fees you’ll have to pay based on what country the PayPal account of the person buying from you comes from.

Sale occurs:Buyer’s PayPal account is from:Fee
OnlineIn the US2.9% of the transaction amount + a fixed fee based on the currency.
OnlineOutside of the US4.4% of the transaction amount + a fixed fee based on the currency.
In-storeIn the USa fee of 2.7% of the transaction amount
In-storeOutside of the USa fee of 4.2% of the transaction amount

Fixed fee based on currency

CurrencyFee
Australian dollar0.30 AUD
Brazilian real0.60 BRL
Canadian dollar0.30 CAD
Czech koruna10 CZK
Danish krone2.60 DKK
Euro0.35 EUR
Hong Kong dollar2.35 HKD
Hungarian forint90 HUF
Israeli shekel1.20 ILS
Japanese yen40 JPY
Malaysian ringgit2.00 MYR
Mexican peso4.00 MXN
CurrencyFee
New Zealand dollar0.45 NZD
Norwegian krone2.80 NOK
Philippine peso15 PHP
Polish zloty1.35 PLN
Russian ruble10 RUB
Singapore dollar0.50 SGD
Swedish krona3.25 SEK
Swiss franc0.55 CHF
Taiwan new dollar10 TWD
Thai baht11 THB
UK pounds sterling0.20 GBP
US dollar0.30 USD

PayPal international exchange rates

When we checked on May 11, 2020, PayPal’s exchange rate markups were anywhere from 3 – 4% or more, depending on the currency.

1 USD =Mid-market ratePayPal’s markup
AUD1.48181.543.78%
CAD1.34881.43.66%
EUR0.8920.923.04%
GBP0.77810.813.94%
MXN22.890623.894.18%
PHP48.844450.373.03%

How to check PayPal’s exchange rates:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account.
  2. Select Wallet, which should be near the top of your screen.
  3. Choose Currencies Calculator, which is under your PayPal balance.
  4. Pick the currencies you want to convert to see rates.

Compare PayPal to other money transfer services

Our table lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Compare services on transfer speeds and fees, then click Go to site when you're ready to send.
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
OFX
24 hours
$0

View details
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
$0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally £5,000)

View details
Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
Dunbridge Financial
Dunbridge Financial
24 hours
$10

View details
Dunbridge Financial offers diverse transfer options to more than 120 countries.
XE
Within minutes
$3

View details
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within an hour
From $2.26

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Remitly
Within minutes
From $0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers

View details
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
WorldRemit
Within an hour
From $1.99

View details
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Western Union
Within an hour
From $0

View details
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world.
MoneyGram
Within an hour
From $0

View details
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Fees Fastest available transfer speed Maximum transfer amount (verified)
Zelle
To send:

No fees


To receive:

No fees

Instant
Varies
Supported banks enjoy direct bank-to-bank transfers with the tap of a button.
Cash App
To send:

No fees


To receive:

1.5% for instant withdrawal

Instant
$2,500
Split the bill, pay your friends, buy and sell cryptocurrency and even spend money through a connected debit card.
Google Pay
To send:

No fees


To receive:

No fees

Instant
$10,000
Google’s take on money transfers — use this free service to quickly send and receive funds in a variety of ways.
PayPal
To send:

By bank account: No fee
By credit/debit card: 2.9% + fixed fee


To receive:

1% for instant withdrawal

Instant
$10,000
Friends and Family is a free way to send and request money in the US, with fee-based options for international transfers.
Venmo
To send:

No fees


To receive:

1% for instant withdrawal

Instant
$4,999.99
Pay and request money to both friends and businesses through this peer-to-peer, socially driven payment app.
Walmart
Walmart
To send:

Starting from $4


To receive:

No fees

Instant
$2,500
Send and receive money at any Walmart in the US and Puerto Rico. Transactions can also be sent from the Walmart app.
Apple Pay
To send:

No fees


To receive:

1% for instant withdrawal

Instant
$10,000
Pay and get paid directly through iMessage, but you’ll need an iOS device to use this payment service.
Facebook Messenger
To send:

No fees


To receive:

No fees

Instant
$9,999
Connect a debit card or PayPal account to send money directly to friends through Facebook’s messaging service.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Want to compare PayPal to other services side-by-side?

Case study: Katia's experience

Katia Iervasi profile photo
Katia Iervasi
Writer
I mostly use PayPal for online shopping. My account is connected to my Australian bank account and debit card, so I rely on PayPal when I’m shopping on my favorite Australian sites so I don’t have to worry about currency conversion.

Thanks to its ironclad security, I also like using PayPal for eBay purchases or whenever I’m shopping on a site for the first time. I know that if I have any issues, PayPal’s team will step in to help me to recover my money — which they’ve done in the past.

However, PayPal’s fees and charges can seriously stack up, especially if I opt to pay with my card. For that reason, I still turn to trusty Wise whenever I need to send money to and from Australia and my adopted home in the US. I like Wise’s interface better, too.

Is PayPal safe?

PayPal takes many measures to keep your money and transactions safe and secure, but how you use PayPal still factors into whether or not it is safe for you to use. PayPal helps keep you and your money safe by:

  • Protecting your sensitive information. PayPal doesn’t share your full financial information with sellers, which may help protect you from identity theft.
  • Monitoring transactions 24/7. Both humans and algorithms monitor PayPal transactions to spot fraud.
  • Encrypting your data. PayPal uses bank-level encryption, including SSL 3.0 with an encryption key length of 168 bits.
  • Offering fraud prevention. PayPal will never contact you asking for sensitive information by email or telephone — always contact PayPal if anything about your account history seems suspicious.
  • Providing dispute resolution. PayPal will help resolve disputes between buyers and sellers when PayPal is used as the payment method.

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 account grants you access to flexible loans 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.

Bottom line

PayPal is a strong solution for fee-free direct domestic transfers to other PayPal accounts. But international transfers come with a complicated fee structure you’re likely better off avoiding with a money transfer specialist offering lower fees and stronger rates — especially on large transfers.
Compare services like PayPal to get the best rates and fees

Methodology

Our team analyzes money transfer providers offering services in the US — from big names to digital upstarts. We rank rates and fees, speed, services and user experience for:

  • Wise
  • XE
  • OFX
  • WorldRemit
  • Currencies Direct
  • Western Union
  • RIA Money Transfer
  • MoneyGram
  • Remitly
  • Payoneer
  • Remit2India
  • Xoom
  • PayPal

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

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Avatar

Review by


Zak Killermann is a writer at Finder. He’s ghostwritten hundreds of articles on fintech, finding his love for publication at St. Cloud State University. Traveling internationally for nearly half his life — and getting burned once by an OTC money exchange — Zak's vowed not to settle for anything short of the mid-market rate again.

Expert review

PayPal is one of the most well-known ways to pay online, particularly helpful for users who want an added layer of security when online shopping. Although PayPal is a popular option for buying and selling online domestically, you can also use it to send money both domestically and internationally.

When it comes to sending money to loved ones both near and far, PayPal may not be your best bet due to higher fees and weaker exchange rates. Using PayPal to send money within the US is a viable option as long as you use the Friends and Family option, but when sending money abroad be sure to shop around to save some money.

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48 Comments

    Default Gravatar
    Ehikes
    July 28, 2019

    Hello,
    I am Kester. I have a dollar denominated account with a bank in Nigeria which means it doesn’t accept Naira currency(the Nigerian currency). How can I use PayPal to transfer dollars directly into this account?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      fayemanuel
      July 29, 2019

      Hi Ehikes,

      Thanks for contacting Finder.

      At this time you can’t send money using PayPal to Nigeria. If you are looking to send money to Nigeria, you can compare international money transfer companies that support outgoing transfers to Nigeria, from the US to find one that might work for you.

      Once you have chosen a particular provider, you can use the “Go to site” button to access the provider’s website where you can proceed with the application or get in touch with their representatives for further inquiries you may have.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind Regards,
      Faye

    Default Gravatar
    Sujata
    April 29, 2019

    I’m from India. Could I send some money to my friend who is in China and not blood related to me? Is it possible according to the rules?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      Mai
      April 30, 2019

      Hi Sujata,

      Thank you for contacting Finder.

      With PayPal, you can send money to overseas even if you are not blood related. Sending money from India to China is possible.

      Hope this helps.

      Kind Regards,
      Mai

    Default Gravatar
    Lois
    April 9, 2019

    Hello my name is Lois ,can I send money to my brother in Nigerian and how can he withdraw the money cash when I send it to him if possible .please I need a good guide line on this

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanes
      April 10, 2019

      Hi Lois,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      Our page on sending money to Nigeria offers tips and guidance on how you could accomplish this task. Kindly review and compare your options on the table displaying the available providers. Once you have chosen a particular provider, you may then click on the “Go to site” button and you will be redirected to the provider’s website where you can proceed with the application or get in touch with their representatives for further inquiries you may have.

      Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

    Default Gravatar
    King
    February 9, 2019

    It stated that Nigerian Paypal accounts cannot receive fund. What about refunds, from an online store for example and payment has been made via PayPal?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      Joshua
      February 18, 2019

      Hi King,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Generally speaking, you can’t receive money to your PayPal account if it is opened in Nigeria. However, when it comes to refunds from online merchants, I have read people saying that it is possible. They also mentioned that it takes about 2-3 days for the refund to get through. Moreover, the refund would go directly to your linked bank account and not in your PayPal account.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

    Default Gravatar
    Lucky
    January 3, 2019

    It is possible for me to receive money from US PayPal account to my Nigeria PayPal account..

      Default Gravatar
      Ellie
      January 3, 2019

      Hi Lucky,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. At this time Nigerian PayPal accounts cannot receive funds. However, you can send money through PayPal.

      I hope this helps. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us again if you have additional questions.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Regards,
      Ellie

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