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PayPal international Transfers

PayPal is one of the most well-known names in the money transfer industry. The American company was originally founded as “Confinity” in 1998. Now, it’s one of the most widely recognized and accepted payment methods online.

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About PayPal

In addition to its merchant services, PayPal has also become a common tool for international money transfers. The company is well-known for its security, ease of use, and acceptance as a payment method. So, let’s look at how PayPal international money transfers compare.

PayPal Exchange rates and fees

Like other international money transfer services, PayPal charges a mix of fees and an exchange rate margin.

Exchange rate

PayPal charges a margin on all currency exchanges. Their exchange rates are above the mid-market rates, meaning that it produces a “hidden” cost not reflected when you confirm a transaction. You will only see the difference when you compare the rates PayPal offers you with the mid-market rate. You can find the mid-market rate for your currency exchange transaction with a quick Google search.

Exact exchange rate margins depend on the currencies used in the transaction. Let’s look at a common example: exchanging US Dollars USD for Euros (EUR).

At the time of writing, the mid-market rate for USD 1 would get you EUR 0.84. With PayPal, the rate is USD 1 for EUR 0.81. This demonstrates a currency conversion cost of approximately 3%. This rate is fairly high for currency exchanges.

At the time of writing, the mid-market rate for USD 1 would get you XCD 2.70 (East Caribbean Dollar). With PayPal, the rate is USD 1 for XCD 2.61. This demonstrates a currency conversion cost of approximately 3%. This rate is also high for currency exchanges.

Most of PayPal’s exchange rates fall within a similar range. PayPal claims a flat 3% rate for all currency conversions. This seems to be consistent.

You can expect to be charged 3% in exchange rate margins. However, keep in mind that these rates may be subject to change at any time. For example, US users were subject to increased exchange rates in 2019.

When it comes to payments, rates are higher but more transparent than with similar services.

Transfer fees

In addition to exchange rate markups, PayPal also charges a transparent transfer fee for each transaction.

There is a fixed fee for sending money. That base fee depends on the currency you’re sending them. You will then be charged 1% of the transfer amount, with a maximum of $10.

Additional costs

When a recipient withdraws money from their PayPal account to their bank, they will be charged a flat 2.50% fee. If the currency they receive via your PayPal transfer is different from their local currency, they will also have to pay currency conversion costs.

How do PayPal transfer fees compare to using other money transfer providers?

PayPal’s costs add up to a sum that is higher than average in the money transfer industry. When you combine all the costs of sending money, you can spend 5% of the transaction balance if you send small amounts of money. But because the transfer fee is capped at $10, larger transfers are cheaper to make. But either way, you’re paying more than you would with many other money transfer providers.

 PayPal pros and cons

Trust. While you pay a lot for PayPal’s services, you benefit from one of the most secure and trustworthy infrastructures in the money transfer industry. If you ever encounter a security concern, PayPal offers great customer support.
PayPal offers very fast transfers between PayPal accounts. When transferring to a bank, you can expect longer wait times. But if you and the recipient are both using PayPal, they will receive the funds almost instantly.
PayPal is ubiquitous. Because it’s so widely trusted, it’s become one of the most widespread brands in the world. The service is available in more than 200 countries and supports dozens of currencies. However, PayPal doesn’t support the local currencies of every country it offers services in. But they do support most major currencies.
PayPal is expensive when it comes to international transfers. There’s no way to overlook the fact that PayPal charges more than many similar services. Domestic transfers are free, but if you need an international transfer service, PayPal will cost you more.
High currency conversion rates. The exchange rate margins charged by PayPal are only visible if you pay attention and compare it to the mid-market rate. When you make that comparison, you’ll see how expensive their currency conversions are.
PayPal isn’t very efficient for international money transfers. Your recipient may receive the transfer immediately, but they will have to manually go into their account and request a bank transfer. This takes more time and more steps than you’ll have to take with other services.

Answers to key questions about PayPal

 Can I open a PayPal account in any country?

You can open a PayPal account in any of the 200+ countries supported by PayPal. This covers the vast majority of the world’s countries and population.

 Does PayPal have an app?

Yes. You can download the PayPal app from Google Play or the App Store.

 Are there transfer limits?

After your account is verified, there are no ongoing maximum transfer limits. However, there is a single-transaction limit of $10,000 in the US. Most limits are similar to the US limit when measured in USD. However, each currency has its own single-transaction limit.

How long do transfers take with PayPal?

PayPal transfers between accounts take no more than 30 minutes. However, withdrawing funds from your PayPal account into your bank account can take between 2 and 5 business days.

 What customer support options are available?

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Automated instant messaging
  • Community forum
  • Support tickets

Can I use a PayPal debit card when travelling abroad?

You can use a PayPal Cash Card or PayPal Debit Card anywhere where Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard isn’t as widely accepted as Visa globally, but you still have many options with PayPal’s cards.

The PayPal cards don’t carry minimum fees or balances and don’t require credit checks.

How to open an account and transfer money with PayPal

Opening an account

Opening a PayPal account is easy. You just need to follow a few simple steps:

  1. Go to the PayPal website and click “Register”
  2. Fill out the basic information required to create an account
  3. Confirm your email address
  4. Confirm your identity with PayPal’s Customer Identification Program
  5. Connect your bank account to your PayPal account

Transferring money

Once your PayPal account is set up, you can start sending money right away.

  1. Sign in to your PayPal account or open the app
  2. Select “Send”
  3. Choose an existing recipient or fill out the details for a new recipient
  4. Fill out the amount of money you want to send
  5. Review the transaction details
  6. Accept the transaction details and wait for the recipient to receive the funds

Customer service details for users of PayPal

Unfortunately, PayPal doesn’t have a single phone number. You can look on the PayPal website for your country to find the relevant phone number.

Likewise, you can send an instant message to PayPal on their website. Because of how international PayPal is, we cannot provide a universal contact method for their customer support.

Can I use PayPal for international bank transfers?

No, you cannot directly transfer money to the recipient’s bank account. However, the recipient should have a bank account attached to their PayPal account. So, after they receive your funds, they can withdraw them from their PayPal account and into their bank account.


PayPal offers one of the most widespread, secure, and trusted platforms for sending money internationally. It’s an expensive option, but it’s not the most expensive international money transfer service on the market. You also get a lot of utility and good customer support when you use PayPal. In addition, PayPal is one of the more widely accepted payment options for online transactions around the world.

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