Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.
Remitly vs. PayPal
Compare a well-known payments giant to the newer Remitly and see which one can give you a better deal.
PayPal is a renowned and well-known service used by millions to pay online. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best option.
The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of August 6, 2019.
Which has lower fees?
The Remitly fee structure is varied. Fees change depending on whether you do an economy or express transfer, what currency you’re transferring and how much you’re transferring.
Express transfers have higher fees, which tend to get higher the more you send. Slower economy transfers often stay quite low, around $2 to $4 no matter how much you send.
PayPal charges 5% of your send amount, with a minimum fee of $0.99 and a maximum fee of $4.99.
But if you pay with a credit card, debit card or PayPal credit, you’ll be charged an addition 2.9%, plus a small fee based on the destination currency.
There isn’t a clear winner as it depends on where and how much you’re sending. While some transfers will be cheaper with PayPal, other will have lower fees with Remitly.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 to the Philippines
Let’s compare a $1,000 transaction to see which provider wins out when fees and exchange rates are taken into consideration.
Sending $1,000 to the Philippines
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 50.58 PHP||1 USD =49.7517 PHP|
|Transfer speed||Same day||Same day|
|Total Philippine Peso received||PHP₱50,580.00||PHP₱49,503.44|
|Receiver gets||PHP₱1,076.54 more||PHP₱1,076.54 less|
Remitly saves you money in the end, as both the fee and exchange rate are better. Remitly charges a lower fee, and its Philippine peso exchange rate is better than PayPal’s.
Which offers better exchange rates?
Remitly doesn’t have a standard rate rule, meaning the exchange rates they offer vary greatly and change daily. There’s a margin added to most exchange rates, but that margin varies from currency to currency.
For example, if you want to send money to Thailand:
- Mid-market rate: 1 USD = 30.7275 THB
- Remitly’s exchange rate: 1 USD= 29.89 THB
This is a margin of 2.7%.
PayPal’s exchange rates also include a margin. While it can also vary based on the currency, on average PayPal has a higher markup.
For example, if you want to send money to Thailand with PayPal:
- Mid-market rate: 1 USD = 30.7275 THB
- PayPal’s exchange rate: 1 USD = 29.6451 THB
This is a margin of 3.5%
While Remitly’s exchange rates vary based on the currency, the margin is lower than PayPal’s overall. It’s always worthwhile comparing based on the currency you’re transferring, but it’s likely Remitly will net you a better rate.
Which is faster?
Remitly offers an express option that will get your money to the destination within hours, if not minutes. However, it does mean you’ll pay higher fees. If you opt for the cheaper economy option, you’re looking at a transfer time of two to five business days.
If you transfer from one PayPal account to another, the transaction is instant. For all other transactions, it generally takes one business day.
Between the express option Remitly offers and PayPal’s quick turnaround, it’s hard to pick a winner. Both can get your money there fast – you’ll just have to be willing to pay a higher fee and/or exchange rate.
|Payment methods||Receiving options||Maximum and minimum transfers||Transfer speeds||Currencies|
|Remitly||Bank transfer, debit card, credit card||Bank account, cash pickup||Minimum: $0|
|1 - 2 days||30+ currencies|
|PayPal||Bank transfer, debit card, credit card, PayPal Credit||PayPal transfer, bank transfer||Minimum: $1|
|3 - 5 days||20+ currencies|
To use Remitly, you sign up for a free account using your email on the website or app. Once you’ve signed up, just enter the amount of money you want to send, your recipient’s information and your payment information. Remitly will do the rest.
To transfer money through PayPal, you’ll need to create a free PayPal account. You can then send a transfer to your recipient’s PayPal account, funding it with your PayPal balance, bank account, credit card, 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.
Although it’s completely dependent on the transfer amount, Remitly is likely to beat PayPal on most transfers. But the two providers offer different currencies, and your currency may not be available on both. To get the best deal, compare other money transfer providers that send in your currency.
Looking for more options?
Find out more about the cost to use an alternative money transfer provider using our calculator below.
Image source: Supplied, photographer: Remitly, PayPal
Ask an Expert