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Can I Use PayPal to Transfer Money Internationally?

PayPal operates in over 200 countries worldwide and is well-known for providing a convenient way of sending money to friends and family, as well as for making secure online payments to merchants and subscription services. In this guide, we’ll look at using PayPal to transfer money internationally and whether that’s the best option for you.

Updated: 15/11/2021
Read time: 6 minutes
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At a glance…
  1. Can I use PayPal to send money internationally?
  2. PayPal international transfer fees
  3. Alternatives to using PayPal to send money internationally
  4. How to send an international transfer with PayPal
  5. Bottom line: Is sending money internationally with PayPal the best option?

Can I use PayPal to send money internationally?

Yes, you can certainly use PayPal to send money internationally. The company supports international transfer to over 200 countries and can process your transfer in a few working days. If you’re going to be using this option to transfer funds abroad, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the fees that will be associated with this type of transaction.

Here, we’ve covered the fees and charges associated with sending money internationally from a U.S. PayPal account. It’s worth keeping in mind that charges may change depending on where you are sending from.

PayPal international transfer fees

When sending money internationally from a PayPal U.S.A. account, you should first understand what costs will be associated with a transfer of this type. The two main costs to be aware of are PayPal’s fixed fee structure, plus the conversion fee for converting your currency (essentially, the exchange rate).

Sending money to friends or family within the U.S. with your PayPal account is free, but sending money to another country does come with fees. PayPal will charge you up to 5.00% of the transaction amount for personal international payments.

This transaction fee assumes that you are making the international transfer from your PayPal balance. If you were to pay for your transfer with a credit card or debit card, you’ll be charged a funding fee of 2.9% plus a fixed fee which depends on the currency involved in the transfer.

Currency conversion fee

The second cost you need to be aware of when using PayPal to transfer money internationally is the conversion rate applied to your transfer.

The currency conversion rate is applied to the base exchange rate for converting between the two currencies involved, and can range from 3.75 – 4% depending on where you are sending to. 

This is a similar process applied by most banks and money transfer operators, although the exchange rate you are offered may be higher or lower than what is offered by competitors. You’ll be able to see the difference in the mid-market exchange rate (considered the most accurate and ‘fair’ rate for sending money on any given day) by looking it up on Google and then comparing the exchange rate you are offered by PayPal.

Why are these fees important to know?

When you take fixed transfer fees, currency conversion fees, and fees for using a debit or credit card all into account, it’s easy to fee how quickly the costs can add up when sending money internationally with PayPal.

This can amount to either your recipient losing a significant portion of the funds you are sending in fees, or you paying more than you expected to transfer your money. With so many alternative options for international transfers available today, it’s worth informing yourself of the costs involved and deciding if you can get a better deal elsewhere.

Alternatives to using PayPal to send money internationally

PayPal is a well-known service for sending money both domestically and internationally, as well as for making online payments. However, that doesn’t mean it’s your only option. If you want to consider some alternatives to PayPal for sending money internationally, you have a few options:

Use an alternative money transfer service

In the past couple of decades, there has been a significant increase in the number of companies able to offer quick international money transfers for low fees.

Specialist money transfer operators will usually have a digital focus to make sending money internationally as convenient and hassle-free as possible. Most do involve both transfer fees and a markup on the exchange rate (although some, such as TransferWise, offer transfers at the mid-market rate with a fixed fee while others, such as XE, offer transfers with no fees but add a small markup onto the exchange rate). 

Ultimately, the best provider for you will depend on a number of mitigating factors to do with your transfer. Things that can affect this include:

  • Where you are sending from
  • Where you are sending to
  • What payment option you want to use 
  • How you want your funds to be delivered to your recipient

Our comparison engine provides a real-time breakdown of the best money transfer providers for your specific transfer, so you can accurately compare your options based on costs, speed, security, and more.

Send money internationally with your bank

Another alternative to using PayPal to transfer money is to use your own bank. There are pros and cons to this option.

On the upside, using your bank is a familiar option that some users may feel more comfortable with. Additionally, all you need is your recipient’s bank details and name to set up a transfer, rather than needing to provide additional verification of your identity as may be required with a money transfer provider.

However, using your bank to send money internationally often comes with high fees – potentially even higher than sending with PayPal – and slower transfer times. Be prepared for an international transfer with your bank to take anywhere up to 5 working days, factoring in the additional delay weekends or bank holidays can contribute.

How to send an international transfer with PayPal

Follow these steps to make an international transfer with PayPal:

Login to PayPal: Go to paypal.com and login to your account
Navigate to Send: Go to the ‘Send & Request’ tab and select ‘Send Money Abroad’
Select Country: Select the country you are sending to
Choose Delivery Method: Choose how you want the funds to be delivered to your recipient. If you are sending money to someone who does not have a PayPal account, you might find that you are directed to Xoom, which is also owned by PayPal but has slightly more flexible options for sending money abroad.
Enter Amount: Enter how much you would like to send and the currency you are converting to.
Check the Fees: You should automatically be shown the fees you will be charged and how much your recipient will receive on the other end. If you are happy with all the information displayed, click ‘Next’.
Enter Details: Enter your recipient’s details (email address or phone number).
Confirm and Send: If you’ve confirmed all the details are correct, you can click ‘Send Money’ and complete the transfer.

Bottom line: Is sending money internationally with PayPal the best option?

PayPal supports international transfers to over 200 countries and is used by millions of people to send payments every single year. It’s a well-known company, has a clear and easy-to-use process for sending money, and has a secure way of getting your money to your recipient.

That being said, you may find that there are cheaper and faster alternatives for getting your money abroad. Use our comparison engine to find a real-time analysis of the best money transfer services for you, based on cost, speed, and more.

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Sources

Yasmin Purnell

Yasmin is the content writer for MoneyTransfers.com. With an English degree from the University of Nottingham and over 5 years’ experience freelancing in the personal finance niche, Yasmin joined the team with a mission to make international money transfers accessible and easy to understand for all. When she’s not writing, you’ll find Yasmin on her yoga mat or planning her next escape to the mountains.

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