Remitly vs PayPal

Compare a well-known payments giant to the newer Remitly and see which one can give you a better deal.

PayPal is a renowned and well-known service used by millions to pay online. But is the juggernaut as good when it comes to international money transfers? We compare Remitly and PayPal side-by-side to see which international transfer service comes out on top.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 4 March 2020.

Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
Remitly
Within minutes
From £1.49
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Free transfers and better exchange rates for new customers

View details
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
PayPal
Within an hour
£0

View details
Use PayPal to safely send money and receive payments from around the world in over 25 currencies with just an email address or mobile number.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Which has lower fees?

Remitly

The Remitly fee structure is varied. Fees change depending on whether you do an “economy” or “express” transfer, what currency you’re transferring and how much you’re transferring.

Express transfers have higher fees, which tend to get higher the more you send. Slower economy transfers often stay quite low, around £1 to £3 no matter how much you send.

PayPal

PayPal has a flat fee based on the amount you are sending, no matter where you send it.

  • If you’re sending £0-£49.99, the fee is £0.99.
  • If you’re sending £50-£99.99, the fee is £1.99.
  • If you’re sending £100 or more, the fee is £1.99 to Europe, the US and Canada and £3.99 to the rest of the world.

If you pay by credit or debit card, there is an additional 2.6% plus a small fixed fee (based on currency).

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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 less than £49.99 with PayPal, you’ll only pay 99p, while many transfers less than £49.99 incur a fee with Remitly. However, if you transfer £500 or more with Remitly, it’s often cheaper than PayPal’s £3.99.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending £1,000 to Thailand

Let’s compare a £1,000 transaction to see which provider wins out when fees and exchange rates are taken into consideration.

For the purpose of this comparison, we’ll calculate it based on a bank account transfer, and a Remitly “express” transfer so that your money is getting there in the same amount of time.

Sending £1,000 to Thailand
RemitlyPayPal
Transfer fee£3.99£3.99
Exchange rate1 GBP = 39.86 THB1 GBP = 38.91 THB
Transfer speedSame day1 day
Total Philippine Peso receivedTHB 39,860THB 38,911.60
Receiver getsTHB 948.40 moreTHB 948.40 less

With a better exchange rate, Remitly saves you money in the end. Keep in mind that if you were doing an economy transfer with Remitly, you could save even more.

Which offers better exchange rates?

Remitly

Remitly doesn’t have a standard rate rule, meaning the exchange rates they offer vary greatly and change daily. There’s a margin added to most exchange rates, but that margin varies currency to currency and normally ranges between 0.4% and 2%.

For example, if you want to send money to the Philippines:

  • Mid-market rate: 1 GBP = 65.18 PHP
  • Remitly’s exchange rate: 1 GBP = 64.54 PHP

This is a margin of 1%.

PayPal

PayPal’s exchange rates also include a margin. If you’re transferring to US or Canadian dollars, it’s 3.5% above the exchange rate. To all other currencies, it’s 4% above the exchange rate. If you use your credit card to send a payment, you can usually opt to use your credit card provider’s conversion rate instead of PayPal’s, but remember to check your credit card provider’s exchange rate first – its rates may be even less favourable.

For example, if you want to send money to the Philippines with PayPal:

  • Mid-market rate: 1 GBP = 65.18 PHP
  • PayPal’s exchange rate: 1 GBP = 62.84 PHP

This is a margin of 3.6%.

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Winner: Remitly

While Remitly’s exchange rates vary based on the currency, the margin is lower than PayPal’s overall. It’s always worthwhile comparing based on the currency you’re transferring, but it’s likely Remitly will net you a better rate.

Which is faster?

Remitly

Remitly offers an express option that will get your money to the destination within hours, if not minutes. However, it does mean you’ll pay higher fees. If you opt for the cheaper economy option, you’re looking at a transfer time of two to five business days.

PayPal

If you transfer from one PayPal account to another, the transaction is instant. For all other transactions, it generally takes one business day.


Winner: Tie

Between the express option Remitly offers and PayPal’s quick turnaround, it’s hard to pick a winner. Both can get your money there fast – you’ll just have to be willing to pay a higher fee and/or exchange rate.

General features

Payment methodsReceiving optionsMaximum and minimum transfersTransfer speedsCurrencies
RemitlyBank transfer, debit card, credit cardBank account, cash pick-upMinimum: £5

Maximum: £15,000

Same day or up to 5 days30+ currencies
PayPalBank transfer, debit card, credit card, PayPal CreditPayPal transfer, bank transferMinimum: £1

Maximum: £1,000,000

1-5 days20+ currencies

Remitly

To use Remitly, you sign up for a free account using your email on the website or app. Once you’ve signed up, just enter the amount of money you want to send, your recipient’s information and your payment information. Remitly will do the rest.

PayPal

To transfer money through PayPal, you’ll need to create a free PayPal account. You can then send a transfer to your recipient’s PayPal account, funding it with your PayPal balance, bank account, credit card, debit card or PayPal Credit. After your recipient receives the money, they can either keep the funds in their PayPal account or withdraw the money to their bank account.

Bottom line

Although it’s completely dependent on the transfer amount, Remitly is likely to beat PayPal on most transfers.

PayPal’s flat fees and rate approach mean that you are often paying more, particularly when it comes to the exchange rate margin. While PayPal will offer small fees on some transfer amounts, it’ll make up for it in the exchange rate margin.

Looking for more options?

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Our table below lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Choose if you want to send under or over £10,000, and you’ll be shown a list of services that can help you.
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
Wise (TransferWise) for large transfers
Within an hour
From £3.75

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
TorFX
24 hours
£0

View details
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Central FX
24 hours
£0

View details
Central FX's dedicated team will guide you or your business from first call to final payment.
Currencies Direct
Within an hour
£0

View details
CurrenciesDirect makes transferring money abroad simple with bank-beating exchange rates.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
£0

View details
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
XE Money Transfer
Within minutes
£2
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ £25 Amazon voucher when you refer a friend

View details
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within an hour
From £3.75

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
CurrencyFair
24 hours
€3
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Zero fees on your first 10 transfers

View details
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Azimo
Within minutes
From £0.99
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ First two transfers free for new customers.

View details
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries.
Remitly
Within minutes
From £1.49
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Free transfers and better exchange rates for new customers

View details
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
WorldRemit
Within an hour
From £1.99
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.

View details
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
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