PayPal vs. Travelex: Which should you use to send money? | finder.com

PayPal vs. Travelex for international money transfers

Discover the side of these two providers that many overlook.

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Travelex is well known for its prepaid travel cards and travel insurance, but it also offers online international payments. Similarly PayPal is almost synonymous with online payments, but not as recognized for its international money transfer capabilities. We’ll highlight major features of both so you can decide if either is your new go-to for sending money across borders.
Paypal Travelex
Fees 3.9% of the transaction amount plus a fixed fee based on the currency. $5 for transfers under $5000 and no fee for transfers over $5,000.
Speed Whitin minutes in Paypal account – 1 business day from paypal to bank 2-4 business days
Max Transfer Amount No maximum when sending to PayPal wallet, $10,000 maximum otherwise. No maximum
Read review Read review


PayPal vs. Travelex: How they work

While PayPal and Travelex are both online-only processes, they each work a little differently.

PayPal

You’ll need to register for a free PayPal account before you can send money using it. Once you’re logged in, simply choose who you want to send the money to via the email or mobile number associated with their PayPal account (also referred to as a PayPal wallet) and choose how to fund it. Some locations don’t require the recipient to have a PayPal account and can have the funds transferred directly to their bank account by using PayPal’s service Xoom.
Read review: Paypal

Travelex

Travelex also requires that you create an account. You may need to verify your identity with Travelex, a process that can take one to several business days. Once the account is fully verified you can start sending money. You’ll need to enter your information as well as your recipient’s information, including their bank account details. Only bank-to-bank transfers are accepted.
Read review: Travelex

Who offers lower fees?

PayPal

If you’re sending a personal transfer to any country other than Canada, you’ll find there may be a fee that varies based on your payment method and the country you’re sending it to. The highest fees come with using a credit or debit card or PayPal credit to send funds to any country except Australia, which is 3.9% of the transaction amount plus a fixed fee based on the currency. You can find the full table and list of fees on our full review.

Travelex

Travelex has a very clear-cut fee structure of $5 for any transfer under $5,000, and no fee for transfers over $5,000.

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Winner: Travelex

Travelex takes this one easily with a straightforward fee structure that keeps costs low for senders.

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 19.35 MXN 96,751 Offering no maximum and no minimum limit transfers with $0 fees. Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 19.342 MXN
96,712
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 0.00 19.346 MXN 96,731 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
USD 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 19.319 MXN 96,595 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 19.315 MXN 96,576 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 5,000 1 day USD 0.00 19.331 MXN 96,654 Venstar will support you through the entire process of your international transactions, from start to finish. Go to site Show details
USD 50 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 19.333 MXN 96,663 Simple, zero-margin exchange rates, plus earn loyalty points on sign up, referral and every transaction. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Who offers better exchange rates?

PayPal

PayPal receives a wholesale rate quote twice per day from its bank. Add 2.5% to the rate received, and that’s used for all transactions that require a currency conversion. Here’s an example of what it might look like if you sent money to Australia:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 1.26 AUD
  • PayPal’s exchange rate may be 1 USD = 1.23 AUD

Travelex

Currency rates are updated live throughout the day on Travelex’s International Payments site. You’re able to lock-in rates with a spot trade and take out forward contracts and limit orders. Travelex also provides the International Payment Price Promise wherein if you get a better rate within 30 minutes of placing your order, Travelex will exceed that competing rate. Using the same example of sending money to Australia:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 1.26 AUD
  • Travelex’s exchange rate may be 1 USD = 1.24 AUD

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Winner: Travelex

Despite having similar exchange rates, Travelex pulls ahead with its forward contract and limit order options, as well as its best-price guarantee.

Who’s faster?

PayPal

Transfers take only minutes to go through to a recipient’s PayPal wallet. From there it usually takes a business day to transfer from the recipient’s PayPal wallet to their bank account.

Travelex

You can expect the funds to transfer in two to four business days with Travelex.

Trophy icon
Winner: PayPal

Instantaneous is hard to beat — PayPal easily takes the win this round.

Who has 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 Minutes to 1 business day for wallet transfers 200+ countries and 24 currencies
Travelex Bank transfer $500 minimum; no maximum Bank transfer 2–4 business days 50 countries and 46 currencies

Case study: Sending $4,000 to the Philippines

Jess needs to send $4,000 to her cousin in the Philippines. After consulting with her cousin, they decide PayPal or Travelex will probably be better than going through her cousin’s bank. Here’s what a bank-to-bank transfer using PayPal and Travelex to get money from the US to the Philippines might look like.

PayPal via Xoom Travelex
Transfer fee $4.99 $5
Exchange rate 1 USD = 50.62 PHP 1 USD = 50.12 PHP
Transfer speed 5 days or less 4 days or less
Total received 202,480.00 PHP 200,480.00 PHP

PayPal and Travelex have similar transfer speeds, so it comes down to which service gets more money to Jess’s cousin at less of an expense to her. PayPal wins out by delivering $2,000 Philippine pesos more for a cool cent less than Travelex.

Bottom line

Travelex wins out when it comes to a clear fee structure, but PayPal offers instant delivery. Your needs will dictate which is the better service in terms of saving you money and getting the most to your loved ones.

You’ll find much more than just these two transfer companies out there. Take the time to compare your options before you settle to find the one that serves you best.

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