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Sending Money Internationally with PayPal

PayPal is a globally recognized financial technology brand, with a user base of over 400 million users at time of counting. It offers a range of services, including money transfers domestic and international - here’s what you need to know about their international money transfers and whether they’re the best option for you.

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Can I use PayPal to send money internationally?

You can use PayPal to send money internationally, however the method depends on whether the recipient has a PayPal account to receive the funds. If they do, you’ll be able to use your normal PayPal account, but if the recipient doesn’t use PayPal then you’ll need to use the PayPal money transfer service known as Xoom.

How does a PayPal international money transfer work?

If both the sender and recipient have PayPal accounts, then you need to do the following:

  1. Log into your PayPal account

  2. Head to the ‘Send & Receive’ tab and select ‘More’

  3. Click on ‘Send Money’ under ‘Send money abroad’

  4. Choose which country you want to send money to

  5. Choose how you want the funds to be delivered - if they don’t have a PayPal account you’ll be redirected to Xoom

  6. Enter the amount and currency you want to send and you’ll automatically see how much the recipient will get

  7. If you’re happy with the amount, add their phone number or email address

  8. Review the transfer, and click ‘Continue’ when ready

  9. Click ‘Send Payment Now’ to complete the transfer

What is Xoom?

Xoom is a PayPal service that lets you make an international money transfer to non-PayPal members across the world. You can use Xoom to send money internationally via a bank transfer, cash pick up, door-to-door delivery, mobile top-ups and bill payments.

You’ll be able to use your PayPal account to send money via Xoom - it’s a useful money transfer provider for PayPal members, however it does involve more fees than just using PayPal.

How much does PayPal charge for international money transfers?

If you send money internationally using PayPal from the US, you’ll pay the following fees:

  • An international transfer fee of 5% of your transaction, with minimum and maximum caps depending on your country and currency

  • The standard domestic fee of 2.9% plus a fixed amount based on the currency being received if using PayPal credit, or a debit or credit card. This is waived if you use money directly from your PayPal account, linked bank account, or the PayPal Cash app

However, on top of this you’ll also pay an exchange rate spread of 3-4% on top of the wholesale rate.

PayPal international transfer conversion and exchange rates

As well as PayPal’s international transfer fee, you’ll also pay an exchange rate markup for sending money in a currency different to the base currency in your PayPal account. PayPal use their own exchange rate which includes this markup fee in the total amount you’ll see when you make a transaction.

This markup is usually between 3% and 4% but it may be different depending on the currency you send and country you send to.

It’s important to compare this rate to the mid-market rate, which you can search online - the difference will be the amount you are paying to PayPal, so you can use this to see if there are better deals elsewhere.

How much money can I send internationally with PayPal?

If your PayPal account is verified you’ll be able to send up to 60,000 USD in a single transaction, although this may be 10,000 USD in some cases. This can vary by currency.

If your account is unverified you may be limited to a maximum of 4,000 USD per transaction.

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What countries can I send money to with PayPal

PayPal lets you send money to over 200 countries - to check if you'll be able to send to the country you need to, just log in to your PayPal account and begin a transfer.

How long does a PayPal international money transfer take?

The benefit of using PayPal to send money internationally is that the transfers are usually completed instantly if sending to another PayPal account. However it may take a few days for the recipient to then withdraw this money into their bank account, depending on their country and the currency of the amount being received.

Pros and cons of using PayPal for international money transfers


Easy to use, especially for PayPal users
Many people across the world use PayPal
PayPal to PayPal transfers are instant


The exchange rate mark-up can be expensive
There is an extra fee for using debit or credit cards
Cannot be used for non-PayPal users
Extra time or money involved in withdrawing funds for recipient

What are the alternatives to sending money internationally with PayPal?

There are a number of ways to send money internationally if you don’t feel PayPal is the right option for you, or you are interested in alternative methods. You can:

  • Use a money transfer operator: PayPal’s service known as Xoom is one of many money transfer operators that let you send money abroad. You can use them to send money to a recipient’s bank account, to a pickup point where they can collect the cash, to their mobile wallet, or even arrange a door-to-door delivery. This is often the cheapest and quickest way to make an international money transfer

  • Send directly via a bank transfer: You could also send money directly from bank account to bank account, but this can involve big fees if the sender and recipient do not use the same bank - and they can also take longer to complete than using a money transfer operator

  • Send an international money order: International money orders can be a cheap way to send money abroad, but they do tend to take the longest to complete of all the options

Should I use PayPal to send money internationally?

PayPal is a convenient way of sending money, and is popular with users across the world - however, sending money internationally using PayPal isn’t usually the cheapest option. While transfers are instant, there are a range of fees and markups involved that push the overall cost up.

If you need a transfer in minutes, other money transfer operators may be able to offer what you require - it’s best to compare your options using to see what’s available.

If cost is a priority, then you’ll be better off searching for better deals with more favourable fees and exchange rates.

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Keith Hodges
Keith Hodges
Keith is a digital specialist with a background in the financial industry, both as a marketeer and a journalist. Keith joined in order to take the business to the next level and expand our offering in multiple international money transfer markets.