PayPal review: International money transfers and overseas payments

Take advantage of quick and easy international money transfers when you send funds overseas using PayPal

If you’ve ever indulged in online shopping you’ll most likely have come across PayPal, a company which offers fast and secure payment services for online purchases. What you might not realise, however, is that PayPal also offers you a fast and easy alternative when you need to transfer money overseas.

With low fees on small transfer amounts and fast transfer processing times, PayPal can take the stress out of international money transfers. PayPal makes it possible to send over 20 currencies across more than 200 countries, allowing you to send money to a long list of destinations around the world. Read our review of their international money transfers below.

Product NamePaypal International Money Transfers
Min. Transfer AmountGBP 1
Max. Transfer AmountGBP 1,000,000
Transfer MethodsOnline, Phone, Agent, Cash Transfer
Transfer Speed
Minimum transfer time
Same day
Customer ServicePhone, Email, Branch
Available CurrenciesAED, AUD, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HKD, HUF, INR, JPY, MXN, NOK, NZD, PLN, SEK, SGD, USD
Exchange Rate UpdatesReal time

Make a transfer with Azimo

  • Make the first THREE transfers for free using code AZ-FIND
  • Send money to bank accounts, phones or cash pick-up locations
  • Most transfers take less than a day
  • Send money to 195 countries in 60 different currencies
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PayPal exchange rates

PayPal’s exchange rates are calculated by a financial institution and updated regularly to reflect fluctuating market conditions. PayPal’s bank provides a wholesale rate price twice a day and adds 2.5% to produce a retail foreign exchange rate. Compare the rates offered by PayPal and you will see that they can be competitive against the rates offered by banks and some other foreign exchange providers.

To view PayPal’s current exchange rates, you’ll need a PayPal account. Log in to your PayPal account, click ‘Profile’ and then click ‘My Money’. Next, click ‘Currencies’, enter the relevant information under the ‘Currency Exchange’ and click ‘Calculate’. The exchange rate will then be displayed and you can review it before you lodge your international money transfer.

How much does it cost to transfer money with PayPal?

When you send money outside the UK with PayPal, the fee depends on the recipient country. If the transaction is fully funded by your PayPal balance or your linked bank account you’ll pay a fee equivalent to 0.3% – 2.0% of your transfer. If you pay via credit or debit card, the fee will be 3.9%, plus an additional fixed fee depending on the final desired currency, a cross border fee and a currency conversion fee.

Pros

  • Fast and simple. Sending money overseas with PayPal is easy, intuitive, and faster than many other international money transfer options.
  • Good for small transfers. PayPal’s fees are a percentage of your transaction amount, making it a cost-effective solution when you need to transfer smaller amounts.
  • Secure. PayPal is a trusted provider of digital payments and has a range of procedures and technological safeguards in place to prevent fraud.

Cons

  • Not ideal for large transfers. PayPal’s fee structure means that transferring large amounts can incur high processing fees.

Paypal’s fees can quickly add up. If you’d like an explanation of their fees, see our PayPal’s Fees Explained page.
 

Compare PayPal to other international money transfer options

Given PayPal’s multifaceted fee structure, it’s useful to compare the cost of the same transfer with different providers. On 20 February 2017, finder.com calculated that transferring £10,000 to Australian dollars with PayPal would have cost £550 from a PayPal or bank account, or £790.02 via credit or debit card. The same transfer from another provider randomly chosen from the list below would have been significantly cheaper at £48.33.

Clearly, large transfers are not PayPal’s strong point. However, its fee structure does mean that it can become cost-effective for smaller transfers, which is why it’s always useful to check and compare.

I want to send

to

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 1 2 days GBP 0.00 1.137 EUR
5,684
Transfer money at the mid-market rate with no nasty surprises and excellent customer support. Go to site Show details
GBP 3,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.136 EUR
5,679
Make an informed decision with a personal touch, whether it's a business or personal transfer, with rate alerts, charts and live rates to help you make your choice. Go to site Show details
GBP 50 2 days GBP 2.99 1.133 EUR
5,663
Send money online anytime, anywhere, with a simple to use platform and transparent fees and exchange rates shown upfront. Go to site Show details
GBP 2,500 1 day GBP 0.00 1.136 EUR
5,678
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction (conditions apply)
(Conditions apply)
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Compare all international money transfer providers

What types of transfers can you carry out with PayPal?

PayPal is mainly used when you need to send a one-off money transfer to someone overseas. However, it’s possible to set up recurring payments. Keep in mind that doing so will incur a fee. Flexible transfer options regularly offered by specialist money transfer companies, such as limit orders that allow you to take advantage of changes in market rates, are not available from PayPal.

There’s no cash pickup option available for your recipient, with all transfers handled electronically.

The registration and transfer process

In order to send money using PayPal you will need to sign up for a PayPal account. This is free to do and requires you to enter your name, email address, residential address and mobile number. You’ll also need to link your credit/debit cards and/or bank accounts to your PayPal profile, and then you can get started by logging into your account and entering the recipient’s email address and phone number.

Next, enter the amount you wish to send in your desired currency, and review the fees and exchange rates that apply to your transaction. Once you’re satisfied with all the details you can send the money to your recipient.

You can track the progress of an international money transfer by logging into your PayPal account. Simply view the ‘Account Activity’ section to monitor every stage of the transaction process.

If something goes wrong or you have a question, PayPal offers a useful Help Center where you can find the answers to many frequently asked questions. Phone and email help is also available if you need individual support, or you can ask a question of fellow users in the Community Help Forum.

Minimum transfer amount and available currencies

The minimum amount you can transfer via PayPal is £0.01, reflecting the fact that PayPal regularly handles a range of smaller payments. Similar minimum transfer amounts apply if you’re sending a different currency, such as CAD$0.03, USD$0.02 and EUR€0.02.

PayPal is available in 203 countries, a full list of which is available on the PayPal website, although countries like Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan are excluded from this list, meaning you are unable to send funds to these destinations.

Overall, PayPal users can withdraw funds to their bank accounts in 57 currencies and hold a balance in their account in 26 currencies.

PayPal allows its customers to transfer the following currencies overseas:

  • Canadian Dollar
  • Euro
  • British Pound
  • US Dollar
  • Japanese Yen
  • Australian Dollar
  • New Zealand Dollar
  • Swiss Franc
  • Hong Kong Dollar
  • Singapore Dollar
  • Swedish Krona
  • Danish Krone
  • Polish Złoty
  • Norwegian Krone
  • Hungarian Forint
  • Czech Koruna
  • Israeli Shekel
  • Mexican Peso
  • Brazilian Real (only for Brazilian members)
  • Malaysian Ringgit (only for Malaysian members)
  • Philippine Peso
  • New Taiwan Dollar
  • Thai Baht
  • Turkish Lira (only for Turkish members)
  • Russian Ruble

Other services offered by PayPal include:

Pay for purchases. Once you create an account and add a payment method, save time by making payments without pulling out your credit or debit card.

Access credit. Take advantage of PayPal Credit and purchase goods now and pay for them later. Please be aware that interest will be charged to your account from the posting date (which is usually within a few days of the purchase date) if the purchase balance is not paid in full within 6 months.

Pay with your mobile wallet. Pay for your purchase in stores with PayPal’s mobile wallet app. Pay with PayPal without even taking out your wallet.

Make eBay payments. Pay for your purchase on eBay with your PayPal account and rest assured your purchase is protected with PayPal’s Purchase Protection feature.

Merchant services. With a PayPal business account you can accept payments on your website or app, in person or in your store, or by email or phone.

Borrow for your business. A PayPal business loan allows you to get funding within minutes while paying one affordable fixed fee. They also offer flexible payments and no credit check.

Credit card processing. Accept debit and credit cards by adding the PayPal button to your site, and simplify accounting while saving money in the process.

Mobile card reader. Use your phone or tablet while on the go to accept payments with PayPal’s mobile card reader.

Point of sale solutions. PayPal offers a range of solutions for accepting payments. Choose a full POS solution with their PayPal Chip Card Reader setup, or try the PayPal Here app to accept payments.

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