PayPal vs. Currencies Direct for international money transfers

Find out which of these two money transfer services best fits your needs.

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PayPal and Currencies Direct have been in business for 20 and 22 years, respectively. Both have addressed the money transfer needs and changed as the use of online transfers increased. PayPal emerges as a much larger payment platform that not only makes online transfers, but merchant payments and more. We’ll explore which has the lower fees, is faster and has the better exchange rates so you can make an informed decision.

Paypal logo Currencies Direct Logos
Fees Varies by provider 0% for new members and a 0.1% receiving fee for online sellers
Exchange rates Wholesale rate Paypal gets from the banks and a 2.5% margin No more than a 2% markup to the currencies
Speed As soon as next business day 1-2 days
Max Transfer Amount $10,000 per transaction No limit
Read review Read review

PayPal vs. Currencies Direct: How they work

PayPal works a bit differently from most money transfer services when you use a direct wallet-to-wallet transfer.


A free PayPal account is required to send money. Once you sign up, you can choose among bank transfer, credit or debit card payment, PayPal wallet or PayPal credit to fund the transfer. Depositing funds directly in their PayPal wallet can be done through the site, and the recipient can transfer it to their bank account or keep it in the wallet. If you want to transfer directly to the recipient’s bank, let them pickup cash or get it delivered to them, you’ll need to go through PayPal’s Xoom service.

Read review: Paypal

Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct also requires you to open a free account. Once you have an account, choose the currency and amount you want to send and where you want to send it. From there you make your payment and as soon as it clears with Currencies Direct, the transfer is complete.

Read review: Currencies Direct

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Which offers lower fees?


Fees vary based on the country you’re sending to and your payment method. It doesn’t cost any money when you’re sending funds from the US to Canada or somewhere else in the US using your PayPal wallet or bank transfer. Otherwise, transfer fees are generally a percentage of the transfer amount, plus a flat currency rate

Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct has zero transfer fees and zero monthly fees for new members. Funds collected in your account incur a 0.1% receiving fee for online sellers.

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Winner: Currencies Direct

It’s hard to beat free — Currencies Direct takes this one easily.

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Compare other transfer services

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 0 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.892 EUR 4,460 Offering no maximum and no minimum limit transfers with $0 fees. Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 - 2 days USD 40.00 0.896 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 0.892 EUR 4,456 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
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.887 EUR 4,433 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 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.887 EUR 4,433 No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details
USD 5,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.887 EUR 4,433 Venstar will support you through the entire process of your international transactions, from start to finish. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Which offers better exchange rates?


PayPal adds a 2.5% markup to the wholesale rate that is quoted to PayPal’s bank. Any transaction that requires currency conversion uses that rate. Sending money to Hong Kong, for example, might look like this:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 7.82 HKD
  • PayPal’s exchange rate may be 1 USD = 7.58 HKD

Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct applies no more than a 2% markup to the currencies they buy in bulk. Rate alerts, forward contracts and limit orders are also offered so you can secure the exchange rate you want. Using the same example of sending money to Hong Kong, your rates might be:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 7.82 HKD
  • Currencies Direct might have an exchange rate of 1 USD = 7.74 HKD

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Winner: Currencies Direct

With more choices to try, the ability to secure the rate you want and a smaller markup, Currencies Direct is the clear winner.

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Which is faster?


Sending to a person’s PayPal wallet only takes a few seconds. Transferring via Xoom may take anywhere from three to five days.

Currencies Direct

Transfers generally take one to two days once a quote is settled on.

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Winner: Tie

While Currencies Direct is able to transfer bank-to-bank faster, PayPal has an instantaneous option.

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Which offers more options?

Payment Methods Minimum and maximum transfers Delivery methods Transfer speeds Countries and currencies
PayPal Bank account, PayPal balance, PayPal credit, debit and credit card Minimum varies by country; no maximum when sending to PayPal wallet, $10,000 maximum otherwise PayPal wallet; some locations offer direct-to-bank transfer, cash pickup, mobile phone reload and home delivery PayPal wallet; some locations offer direct-to-bank transfer, cash pickup, mobile phone reload and home delivery 200+ countries and 24 currencies
Currencies Direct Bank transfer $135 minimum; $33,900 maximum Bank transfer 1–2 business days 22+ currencies
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Case study:$10,000 to Austria

Ellie needs to send $10,000 to her mother in Austria to repay a loan she’d received for her new house. They decide that going through a bank will be too expensive, and look into PayPal’s Xoom service and Currencies Direct. Here’s what a bank-to-bank transfer of $10,000 to Austria might look like for these two companies.

PayPal via Xoom Currencies Direct
Transfer fee $4.99 $0
Exchange rate 1 USD = 0.80 EUR 1 USD = 0.79 EUR
Transfer speed 5 days or less 1–2 days
Total received 8,000.00 EUR 7,900.00 EUR

PayPal’s Xoom service takes longer and costs Ellie $4.99 more than Currencies Direct, but it also delivers over 100 euros more. In this case, PayPal wins out.

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Bottom line

Both companies have some good and some not-so-good. PayPal offers a lower minimum and a higher maximum, but the wallet-to-wallet service can be more costly than Currencies Direct. Your needs may not be met by either service, so it’s important to compare your options.

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One Response

  1. Default Gravatar
    WilmarSeptember 16, 2018

    Yes thank you so much

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