PayPal international money transfer review

Sending money overseas from the Philippines is fast and convenient, but you'll find lower fees and stronger rates on international transactions elsewhere.

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PayPal supports easy money transfers in the Philippines 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.

How much will I pay to send money with PayPal?

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 outside of Canada or Europe, you face layers of fees that include flat rates and percentages of your transaction amount.

How are PayPal’s exchange rates?

PayPal keeps its conversion rate margin close to the vest. Its rates are calculated by a third-party financial institution and updated multiple times a day to reflect the fluctuating market. PayPal’s bank then adds 2.5% to a wholesale rate price to calculate the service’s retail foreign exchange rate. It means that you could pay up to 4% or more above the mid-market rate — or the rate banks use when trading money among themselves.

To get an idea of the exchange rate that applies to your transaction:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account.
  2. Click Details next to your PayPal balance on your dashboard.
  3. Click Manage currencies and enter your transaction details.
  4. Click Calculate to review the exchange rate before initiating your money transfer.

What types of personal transfers does PayPal support?

Send money from your PayPal account balance, bank account or credit cards to domestic and international recipients:

  • Instant domestic transfers. Send money directly from your PayPal account balance or a linked funding source to recipients using only an email address or phone number. They can then transfer the money to their own bank accounts.
  • International bank deposits. Deposit money to bank accounts or mobile accounts worldwide through Xoom, a subsidiary of PayPal. Xoom also offers cash pickups and home delivery to select countries.

PayPal does not offer the flexibility of rate locks or forward contracts, but you can schedule recurring transfers using PayPal’s Balance Manager for yet another fee.

Benefits and drawbacks of PayPal

Pros

  • Fast direct transfers. Transfers from one PayPal account to another are easy to set up online or from an app.
  • Secure. PayPal offers 24/7 transaction monitoring, industry-standard encryption and dispute resolution options. “Deep learning” AI results in a resiliency against fraud.
  • Low fees for small transfers. PayPal’s fees are a percentage of your transaction amount, making it a cost-effective solution for transferring smaller amounts.
  • Worldwide network. PayPal is available in more than 200 countries around the world, allowing you access to a wealth of possible transfer destinations.

Cons

  • Costly 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, which means it won’t be your best option for transferring large amounts.
  • Higher fees for credit or debit funding. Expect yet more fees if your plan to fund your transaction with plastic, rather than your PayPal account or a linked bank account.
  • Weak exchange rates. PayPal adds a margin of up to 4% or more to the mid-market rate — which eats into the amount your recipient receives.

How does PayPal compare to other services?

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
PHP 1 1 - 2 days PHP 0.00 0.02 USD
196
WorldRemit Philippines lets you use your debit, credit or pre-paid card to send instant mobile airtime top-ups. 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.

How do I send money through PayPal?

If you don’t already have a free PayPal account, you’ll need to sign up for one before you can transfer money internationally. Prepare to submit information like:

  • Your name and date of birth
  • Your email address and phone number
  • Your residential address
  • Details of your linked bank account or credit card

Once you’ve signed up, you can also start transferring money domestically or overseas. From start to finish, the whole process takes just a few minutes.

  1. Log in to your account and click Send Money.
  2. Enter your recipient’s phone number or email address, the amount you want to send and a description of the transfer.
  3. Review the total cost for your transaction, including transfer fees and the currency exchange rate on international transfers.
  4. Click Send Money if you’re ready to transfer your funds.

Funds are available in your recipient’s PayPal account almost immediately. They can then keep the money in their PayPal account or transfer it to a linked bank account, which can take several days.

How do I track my PayPal transfer?

Track the progress of your transfer by logging in to your account. Click Activity to see a list of all your recent transactions, selecting the one you’d like to track.

How do I withdraw funds from a PayPal account?

Withdraw money from your PayPal account in three ways:

  1. Request a paper check. Select Transfer to Your Bank under your balance, and then click Request a Check By Mail Instead. Your check should arrive in one to two weeks in the US and in up to six weeks elsewhere.
  2. Transfer to your bank account. Indicate how much money you’d like to transfer and then select your destination bank account. Transfers are free and takes about a business day to complete.
  3. Visa or MasterCard debit or prepaid card. Link an eligible card to your account for transfers in 30 minutes or less at US$0.25 per transfer. Use a PayPal Debit MasterCard to withdraw up to US$400 a day from ATMs.

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.

Frequently asked questions about PayPal money transfers

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