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.

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

Xe vs PayPal (incorporating Xoom) calculator

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Name Product Fastest transfer Fee Key benefits Amount received
Within minutes
From £0
Refer a friend and you'll each get a £25 Amazon voucher when they transfer over £1,000. T&Cs apply.
Within minutes
From £0
PayPal International Transfers
PayPal International Transfers
24 hours
From £0.99

Please note: You should always refer to quotes you receive from transfer services themselves directly for exact amounts as they may vary from our estimates.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 4 May 2021.

Which has lower fees?

With Xe, you pay £2 on money transfers below £250. The fee is scrapped for transfers above that amount.

PayPal charges you 5% of the amount you’re sending, with a minimum of £0.99 and a maximum of £2.99. If you pay by credit or debit card, you may be charged extra.

Trophy icon
Winner: Xe

Xe’s £2 fee for transfers under £250 is pretty low, while PayPal charges a 5% fee on all transaction amounts no matter how much, so Xe wins.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending £5,000 to Australia

Let’s compare what a £5,000 transfer to Australia looks like with both Xe and PayPal to see which provider puts more money in the receiver’s pocket.

Sending £5,000 to Australia

Transfer fee£0£50
Exchange rate1 GBP = 1.78 AUD1 GBP = 1.71 AUD
Transfer speed1-2 daysSame day
Total Philippine Peso receivedAUD$8,936AUD 8,378
Receiver getsAUD$558 moreAUD$558 less

Xe is far more cost effective in this insistence, giving your recipient an extra AUD 558. It doesn’t charge any fees as the transfer is over £250, and its Australian dollar exchange rate is much 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

Within minutes40+ currencies
PayPalBank transfer, debit card, credit card, Paypal creditPayPal transfer, bank accountMinimum: £1

Maximum: £1,000,000

Same day to other Paypal accounts only90+ 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 provides low-fee or fee-free money transfers and its exchange rates are better than PayPal’s. By using Xe, you can save money and get more for your money.

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

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

Written by

Isabel Sandercock-Brown

Isabel Sandercock-Brown was an international money transfers writer at Finder. She's written for a number of organisations, from the Salvos to Bumble. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Technology, Sydney. See full profile

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