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PayPal app

As a pioneering purveyor of online payments, PayPal has been making waves within the industry since it’s inception in 1998. What started as an ecommerce platform has rapidly evolved over the last few decades, growing into an all-encompassing payment solutions provider. We want to know if the PayPal app, which is widely revered as a useful payment tool for sending money between friends and family, is as useful for those making international payments.

Updated: 10/06/2021
Read time: 5 minutes
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What is the PayPal app?

PayPal burst onto the money transfer scene in the early 2000’s as part of the first-wave of digital wallets. With never before seen features, the company attracted the attention of e-commerce giant eBay and quickly became a popular go-to payment solution for online transactions. 

PayPal has continued to develop at a rapid pace, branching out to provide other financial services and it has become a hugely profitable business in the process. In 2020, the company set a new record when they reported annual revenue of $6.12 billion. 

By acquiring fellow digital payment providers Xoom, Venmo, and iZettle, PayPal has firmly established its role as a dominant player in the world of money transfer apps. 

PayPal’s own app allows you to spend, send and receive money using your secure online account. It is available to download on iOS and Android for free, has the same look and feel as the PayPal website and is easy to use.

How do you add money to your PayPal balance?

The PayPal app has changed a great deal over the years and it is now possible to load funds into your PayPal account using your bank account, credit or debit card. To do this, you simply choose which payment method you want to connect to PayPal, enter your personal details then choose which account you want to pay with when making transactions. It is also possible to set up a default payment method for ease of use when using your PayPal balance to send money or make a purchase.

The other way to add money to your PayPal balance is to leave funds received via your PayPal account, in your balance, as a digital wallet to dip into as and when you need it.

Who can you send money to using the PayPal app?

It is easy to send money to people you know who also have an active PayPal account. Using the “Friends and Family” payment option you will be able to search for your recipient, select the amount you wish to transfer and send it to them within minutes. There is also the option to make payments for “Goods and Services” but the PayPal app’s best known Send Money feature is the “Friends and Family” payment type.

Can I make international payments with the PayPal app?

It is possible to make international payments using the PayPal app, however, as stated on the website: “Fees apply when converting currency and when sending money to an account in another country”.

How long does it take to send money with the PayPal app?

When using money available in your PayPal balance to send money between PayPal accounts, domestically or internationally, this will nearly always be instant. 

If you require PayPal to withdraw the money from your bank account, credit or debit card before transferring to another account, this can take up to 4 – 5 working days.

How much does it cost to send money with the PayPal app?

Domestic transfers – for example, Friends and Family payments sent within the same country – are free to send. When sending money to other PayPal accounts, without the need for currency conversion of any kind, there are zero fees. 

However, international money transfers which involve a currency conversion, will incur fees as stated earlier in this guide. PayPal often faces criticism for their high percentage fees on top of the fixed fees incurred for international payments. 

A multitude of costs are incurred when arranging an international money transfer using the PayPal app, with various layers of fees determined by the amount, country and payment method. While these costs are diminished when customers use their PayPal balance (rather than payment via card or bank account) a substantial amount of money is usually lost as a result of the currency conversion. 

Further fees are charged when receiving certain payments in your PayPal account; for example PayPal charges a 2.9% transaction fee for customers using e-commerce platform Depop. 

How to send money with the PayPal app?

In this next section we will take you through a step-by-step guide to sending a money transfer using the PayPal app.

Step 1. Sign up with PayPal
Step 2. Tap the “SEND” button
Step 3. Enter your recipient’s details
Step 4. Enter the details of your money transfer
Step 5. Review the payment details
Step 6. Confirm the details and SEND
Take care when entering your recipient's details

Due to PayPal’s vast customer base, when you search for a recipient using their username or email address, you must review the details before confirming the payment. Take care when spelling the recipient’s name or email so as to avoid selecting the wrong person, which can easily be done when there are millions of active account holders around the world using the platform. Make sure your hard-earned money is being sent to the right place, every time.


In conclusion, PayPal has forged a well established network and is now widely accepted, with over 300 millions users worldwide. It is also a very safe payment provider due to its Buyer Protection policy which is essentially ironclad, safeguarding customers and issuing refunds when necessary. Other security measures in place include the app’s 2-factor authentication and customers bank details are not stored in PayPal’s database.

The main drawback of using the PayPal app is the excessive costs incurred when sending money overseas. More favourable exchange rates and cost-effective transfer fees can be found elsewhere. If you are a fan of PayPal and want to maintain brand loyalty, we would recommend using Xoom for international payments instead. Xoom is a PayPal service which provides an easy and convenient international payment services for money transfers to friends and family abroad. Have a read of our Best Money Transfer Apps guide to find out more about suitable overseas payment providers. 

April Summers

April is a journalist and full-time content writer for MoneyTransfers.com. Over the last decade she has written for a number of different online and print publications. Having lived overseas in Canada and Vietnam, April hopes to see more of the world as soon as possible, with Japan at the top of her travel list. As a former expat, April has first-hand experience of managing finances from overseas. She enjoys writing about forex trends and the future of banking.

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