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WorldFirst vs PayPal

Find out which money transfer service offers the best value when you next send money overseas.

If you need to send money overseas, WorldFirst and PayPal both offer more-affordable international transfers than the major banks. In this guide, we’ll compare the fees, exchange rates and transaction speeds of WorldFirst and PayPal to find out which one is the best choice for your international transfer needs.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 15 March 2019.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
SGD 2,000 1 - 2 days SGD 0.00 0.745 USD
WorldFirst sends 60+ currencies at competitive rates with no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it. 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.

Which has lower fees?


WorldFirst doesn’t charge any fees on international money transfers. However, it’s worth remembering that your beneficiary’s bank may charge a receiving fee.


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: WorldFirst

With zero fees, WorldFirst takes the win in this category. However, please note this doesn’t necessarily mean your transfer will be cheaper with WorldFirst. You’ll also need to factor in the exchange rate, which we’ll explain below.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending S$2,000 to the UK

How do WorldFirst and PayPal compare in a real-life situation? Let’s look at what would happen if you wanted to send S$2,000 from Singapore to the UK. Because of PayPal’s confusing fee structure, let’s assume the PayPal transaction will be funded from your bank account rather than from a credit/debit card. In this example, we’ll also assume that you’re transferring extra to cover for the transfer fee incurred on their end.

Sending $2,000 to the UK
Transfer fee$0$78.50
Exchange rate1 SGD = 0.5921 GBP1 SGD = 0.5815 GBP
Transfer speed1 working dayInstant
Total British pounds received£1,184.20£1,163.10
Receiver gets£21.10 more£21.10 less

As you can see, not only will WorldFirst save you S$78.50 in transfer fees compared to PayPal, but it will also allow you to send £21.10 more to your recipient.

Which offers better exchange rates?


WorldFirst adds a margin on top of the mid-market exchange rate. This margin varies depending on the currency you send, but is generally between 0.5% and 1%. For example, if you’re sending SGD to USD:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 SGD = 0.731 USD
  • The WorldFirst rate might be 1 SGD = 0.724 USD


PayPal also imposes a margin on top of the mid-market exchange rate. This margin is usually smaller than that imposed by major banks, but typically falls between 3% and 4%. Using the same SGD to USD example:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 SGD = 0.731 USD
  • PayPal’s rate might be 1 SGD = 0.702 USD

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Winner: WorldFirst

WorldFirst consistently offers better exchange rates than PayPal. This means that more of the money you send will arrive in your recipient’s bank account.

Which is faster?


WorldFirst processing times vary depending on the currency you transfer, the amount you send and your bank. Transfers to major currencies, such as USD, GBP and EUR, are usually completed the same day. However, if you’re sending to another currency, expect your transaction to take 1–4 working days.


Your recipient should be able to access the funds you send to their PayPal account within seconds. However, please note that if your recipient then wants to withdraw that money to their bank account, this could take several business days.

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Winner: Tie

PayPal can do instant transfers within PayPal accounts, but it will take significantly longer if your recipient wants to withdraw the money from their PayPal account to their bank account. On equivalent transfers between two bank accounts, both WorldFirst and PayPal transfers can take several days.

General features

Payment methodsReceiving optionsMax and minTransfer speedsCurrencies
WorldFirstBank transferBank accountMinimum: $2,000

Maximum: No limit

1 - 2 days55+ currencies
PayPalBank transfer, credit or debit card, PayPal CreditPayPal account transferMinimum: $1

Maximum: $60,000

1 day20+ currencies


WorldFirst offers an online transfer service and allows you to send transactions of S$2,000 or more in over 50 currencies. To send a transfer, you’ll first need to register for a free online account. You can then choose the currency and amount you want to send and enter your recipient’s bank account details. WorldFirst also offers a smartphone app for convenient transfers on the go.


You’ll need a PayPal account if you want to send money overseas with PayPal and you can pay for your transaction using your bank account, credit/debit card or PayPal account balance. Your recipient will also need their own PayPal account to access the money you send.

Bottom line

If you need to send a quick transfer or you only need to send a small amount of money, PayPal is worth considering. But if you’re sending S$2,000 or more and you want the best exchange rate and lowest fee, WorldFirst is the clear winner.

Before deciding how to send your money overseas, make sure you compare a range of international money transfer services to find one that’s right for you.

Looking for more options?

Want to compare WorldFirst and PayPal with the competition? Use our calculator below to compare fees, exchange rates and transfer speeds across a range of money transfer services.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
SGD 0 Same day SGD 4.99 0.74 USD
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 250 1 day SGD 0.00 0.745 USD
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Go to site Show details
SGD 2,000 1 day SGD 0.00 0.745 USD
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
SGD 1 Same day SGD 3.99 0.745 USD
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 250 1 day SGD 0.00 0.745 USD
Send guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Send has fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
Go to site Show details
SGD 1 1 - 2 days SGD 45.00 0.748 USD
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
SGD 5 1 - 2 days SGD 3.00 0.744 USD
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
SGD 1 1 day SGD 43.00 0.748 USD
Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to S$3000.
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
Go to site Show details
SGD 200 2 days SGD 50.00 0.742 USD
Exclusive: Use code FINDER10 to receive US$10 off your first transaction.
InstaReM offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers.
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.

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