XE vs PayPal

We take a look at two well-known money transfer services to see which will get your money there cheaper and faster.

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PayPal is one of the most well-known payment methods globally, but how does PayPal’s international money transfers fair when compared side-by-side to XE? Let’s find out.

At the time of writing, XE Money Transfer only lets you send money from Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, the UK and the US, so you won’t be able to use it in Singapore.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 13 March 2019.

Which has lower fees?


XE doesn’t charge fees on international money transfers, however, it does warn you that some third parties might.

Check the fees of all the providers involved in your transaction.


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: XE

XE never charges a fee, while PayPal charges a fee on all transaction amounts. This makes XE the clear winner when it comes to fees.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 to the Philippines

For this comparison, we’ll base the numbers on a currency that is available on both transfer specialists since XE does not allow transfers from Singapore at the time of writing – Australian dollars (AUD).

Here’s how much it may cost to send AUD$1,000 to the Philippines, so you can see the difference between different providers to see which provider puts more money in the receiver’s pocket.

Sending $1,000 to the Philippines

Transfer fee$0AUD$5.99
Exchange rate1 AUD = 36.3 PHP1 AUD = 35.9 PHP
Transfer speedSame day1 day
Total Philippine Peso receivedPHP36,320.34PHP35,689
Receiver getsPHP631.34 morePHP631.34 less

XE is more cost effective in this instance, saving you PHP631. It doesn’t charge any fees and its Philippine peso exchange rate is better than PayPal’s in this instance.

Which offers better exchange rates?


XE adds a margin to the exchange rate. It varies across the currencies, but it’s typically between 0.4% and 1%.

Keep in mind that the exchange rate you’ll pay when using XE is not the same as the rate displayed on XE’s currency converter tool. That tool is a live feed of the mid-market rates, not XE’s exchange rates.


PayPal also adds a margin, but it’s a flat percentage markup. If you’re transferring to US or Canadian dollars, it’s 3.5%, while to all other currencies, it’s 4%.

If you’re transferring to another currency within your PayPal account and it isn’t a purchase, the margin is lowered to 2.5%.

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Winner: XE

Both providers add a markup to the mid-market exchange rate, but generally speaking, XE’s markup is lower. PayPal’s markup is quite high and you’re more likely to find a better rate elsewhere.

Which is faster?


The majority of XE transfers are completed within the same day, but some transfers can take longer. When you set up your transfer, XE will give you an estimated transfer completion date.


How long PayPal transactions take depend on whether you’re just moving money between PayPal accounts, or between bank accounts. It can take over a week to get the money to the recipient’s bank account, but is considerably faster to send it to their PayPal account.

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Winner: XE

XE is more consistent and faster in many situations.

General features

Payment methodsReceiving OptionsMax and MinTransfer speedsCurrencies
XEBank transferBank accountMinimum: $1

Maximum: $500,000

1 day40+ currencies
PayPalBank transfer, debit card, credit card, Paypal creditPayPal transfer, bank accountMinimum: $1

Maximum: Maximum: $60,000

1 day90+ currencies


Set up your XE account, then get a quote for your transfer. Once you’ve agreed on the details of the transaction, you send your payment to XE and your money will be sent on from there.


You must have a PayPal account to transfer through PayPal. Once you’ve set it up or logged in, you go to the “send money” section and enter the transfer details. PayPal will then complete the transaction.

Bottom line

Overall, XE is a better choice when looking to do an international money transfer. XE has no fees, and their exchange rates are better than PayPal’s. By using XE, you can save money and get more for your Aussie dollars.

However, if XE doesn’t support the currency or country you want to send to, it’s most likely PayPal will have it.

Looking for more options?

Use our comparison calculator below to weigh up the fees, exchange rates and other details of money transfer providers out there.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
SGD 2,000 1 - 2 days SGD 0.00 0.713 USD
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it. Go to site Show details
SGD 250 1 day SGD 0.00 0.713 USD
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies.
Go to site Show details
SGD 1 Same day SGD 3.99 0.713 USD
An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available. Go to site Show details
SGD 250 1 day SGD 0.00 0.713 USD
SendFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
Go to site Show details
SGD 1 1 - 2 days SGD 45.00 0.716 USD
Make online transfers with transparent exchange rates, low fees and low minimum amounts. Go to site Show details
SGD 5 1 - 2 days SGD 3.00 0.712 USD
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
Get bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
SGD 1 1 day SGD 75.00 0.716 USD
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and is based locally in Singapore. Go to site Show details
SGD 200 2 days SGD 50.00 0.71 USD
Quick and simple international money transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers. Zero-margin rates on some currencies. Go to site Show details
GBP 5,000 1 - 2 days SGD 0.00 0.713 USD
Aimed at larger transfers, CurrencyTransfer is an online marketplace that lets you shop around for the best exchange rate. 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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