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Wise (TransferWise) vs PayPal

Which offers the best value for money on international transfers?

Wise and PayPal are two convenient options for sending an online money transfer, but which one will net you a better deal on your next transfer?

To find out, we’ll compare Wise and PayPal side by side to see who offers the lowest fees, the best exchange rates and the fastest transfer speeds.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 19 February 2019.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details

Compare up to 4 providers

The “Rate” and “Amount Received” displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

Which has lower fees?

Wise

Wise’s fee is usually a combination of a small percentage of your transaction amount (typically ranging from 0.4% to 1.5%) plus a flat fee.

The flat fee is between $1 and $2 for most major currencies, but can climb above the $5 mark in some cases.

Bank transfers attract lower fees than if you pay with a credit or debit card.

PayPal

You don’t have to pay any transaction fees when you’re sending payments. If you send a payment overseas in a different currency, a small conversion fee ranging from 3.5% to 4% applies.

On the other hand, the recipient will need to cover a fee consisting of 3.9% of the total amount requested plus a fixed fee of S$0.50 for every paid request. If you’re using the payment request service for your business, you may be eligible for a lower fee.

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Winner: Tie

There isn’t a clear winner as it depends on where and how much you’re sending. For example, if you’re sending via Paypal, your recipient may require you to transfer extra to cover for the transfer fee incurred on their end – such as the comparison below.

Wise also offers minimal fees for most transactions, and offers a handy online tool to help you calculate the total cost of your transaction.

Compare fees between the two providers for your specific transaction to find the best value for money.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $50 and $1,000 to the UK

Let’s take a closer look at how Wise and PayPal compare when sending two different amounts to the UK. In this example, we’ll assume that you’d be covering for the transaction fee that’d be incurred by your recipient if you’re transferring through PayPal.

Sending $50 to the UK
WisePayPal
Transfer fee$0.72$2.45
Transaction cost$50$52.45
Exchange rate1 SGD = 0.5995 GBP1 SGD = 0.5736 GBP
Transfer speed1-2 daysInstant
Amount received (in GBP)£29.54£30.09

While your recipient ends up with £0.55 (approximately S$0.96) more when you transfer with PayPal, you’re also paying $1.73 extra for transfer fees. In this example, the difference between the two providers is negligible when you’re transferring small amounts.

Sending $1000 to the UK
WisePayPal
Transfer fee$4.88$39.50
Transaction cost$1,000$1,039.50
Exchange rate1 SGD = 0.5995 GBP1 SGD = 0.5736 GBP
Transfer speed1-2 daysInstant
Amount received (in GBP)£596.57£596.26

Although it seems like your beneficiary only receives an extra £0.31 with Wise, you pay $34.62 less in fees for the transfer than PayPal.

Which offers better exchange rates?

Wise

Wise offers international money transfers using the mid-market exchange rate. This is the rate which you see listed on Google and sites like XE, and it represents the real market value of one currency relative to another. For example, if the mid-market rate is 1 SGD = 0.73 USD, that’s the rate you’ll get for your transfer.

PayPal

PayPal adds a margin on top of the mid-market rate. While this margin is typically smaller than that offered by the banks, it’s generally around the 3.5-4% range.

Using the same example as we did for Wise:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 SGD = 0.73 USD
  • PayPal’s rate might be 1 SGD = 0.71 USD

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Winner: Wise

Wise’s exchange rates are much better than those offered by PayPal, which means more of the money you send arrives in your recipient’s bank account.

Which is faster

Wise

Transfer times vary depending on the currency you send and the payment method you select.

While most transactions take between 1 and 2 business days, it’s possible to send funds to some destinations within minutes.

PayPal

Your recipient should be able to access the funds you send to their PayPal account almost immediately. However, please note that if the recipient doesn’t want to leave this balance in their PayPal account, withdrawing to their bank account will take one or more business days.

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Winner: PayPal

PayPal transfers are generally faster – but only if your recipient is happy to spend the money you send directly from their PayPal account. If they want it sitting in their bank account, you may find that Wise will get the money there quicker.

General features

Payment methodsReceiving optionsMinimum and maximum transfersTransfer speedsCurrencies
Wise
  • Bank transfer
  • POLi
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Android Pay
  • Apple Pay
Bank transfer
  • Minimum: $1
  • Maximum: $1,000,000
1 - 2 days48 countries
PayPal
  • Bank transfer
  • Credit or debit card
  • PayPal Credit
PayPal account transfer
  • Minimum: $1
  • Maximum: $60,000
1 day190+ countries

Wise

While Wise offers a handy fee and exchange rate calculator on its website, you’ll need to sign up for a Wise account before you can make a transfer. You can then initiate a transfer by specifying the amount and currency you want to send and providing your recipient’s bank account details.

You’ll receive email updates throughout the transfer process and can track your transaction online or using the Wise app.

PayPal

Before you can send money overseas with PayPal, both you and your recipient will need to have your own PayPal accounts. You can then link your bank account or credit/debit card to your PayPal account to fund your transaction.

To send a transfer, enter the email address or phone number of your recipient. You will then have to enter the details of your transaction, specify the reason why you are sending funds, and then take a moment to review the full cost of your transaction before submitting your transfer.

Bottom line

Wise generally offers much better value for money than PayPal on international transfers. While fee amounts often work out fairly similar between the two companies when paying from your bank account, Wise’s commitment to offering the mid-market rate means that more of the money you send will end up in your recipient’s pocket.

While PayPal can be useful when sending a small amount or when you need to make a quick transfer, Wise usually comes out on top.

Looking for more options?

Use our calculator below to compare the fees, exchange rates and transfer speeds of a range of international money transfer services. Simply enter your transaction details in the calculator to find out what fees and exchange rates are on offer.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
SGD 0 Same day EUR 4.99 1.59 SGD
56
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.
Go to site Show details
SGD 1 Same day EUR 3.99 1.599 SGD
58
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
SGD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 1.598 SGD
59
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers


The “Rate” and “Amount Received” displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

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