Should You Send Money to Canada Through PayPal?

When it comes to sending money to our neighbors in the north, convenience is key, and what could be more convenient than PayPal? The transfer platform is one of the largest in the world and with over 300 million customers. Unfortunately, if you look deeper into the costs, you may discover that PayPal isn’t the best fit for your remittance. Our helpful guide will break down the costs of using peer-to-peer apps, such as PayPal, and help you find an alternative option for US-to-Canada remittances.

The Cost of Sending Money to Canada Through PayPal vs. Apps

While there are myriad options for users in America to send cash to their friends and family across states, in most cases these don’t work for international remittances. With CashApp, Venmo, and Zelle not working on cross-border transactions, it may seem like PayPal is the best bet.

This isn’t usually the case at all, and we’ll start by looking at the costs to see why. There are four main charges you’ll encounter when using PayPal.

Exchange Rate Margin

The exchange rate margin is the difference between the mid-market rate (also known as the interbank rate) and the exchange rate charged by PayPal. PayPal’s exchange rate margins change all the time in line with fluctuations in the market but are often a little on the high side with the current exchange rate (Sep 20, 2022) at 3.90% above the interbank rate.

An alternative is to use a money transfer company like WorldRemit which has a current exchange rate margin of 2.30% over the interbank rate.

Transaction Fees

If you use PayPal to send money to friends and family in Canada, you will have to pay transaction fees on your remittance. These range from 99c to the maximum international fee of USD 4.99 USD. These fees might look manageable on their own, but PayPal also charges a standard 5.00% of the total transaction cost as a fee.

Finally, your recipient will be charged a fixed fee of 30c (CAD) which applies to all transfers made in Canadian dollars. This means that a USD 1,000 remittance could be subject to up to USD 55.22 in transaction fees.

Most money transfer companies charge fees, but when you compare PayPal’s USD 55.22 to WorldRemit’s fee of USD 2.99 for the same transaction, it’s hard to justify the convenience of the transaction. It pays to shop around, so why not look at our helpful comparison rate table to see the current best rate for your transaction.

Credit Card Fees

Your credit card company will also charge a percentage of the fee for an international transaction. You’ll need to check your terms and conditions to find out the specific amount, but PayPal charges a standard 2.90% on international credit card transactions.

At the checkout, you’ll be asked to confirm if you wish to pay the 2.90% levied by PayPal or the transaction fees charged by your bank. In almost all cases, and unless you have a specific travel credit card it is cheaper to opt for PayPal’s fees.

Withdrawal Fee

Once your recipient has received your transaction that sadly isn’t the end of the fees. While most money transfer companies offer the advantage of paying straight into a bank account, if your remittance is sent to a PayPal account, your family member will be charged an additional 2.50% of the transaction once they withdraw it into a bank.

To give a brief overview, this is the total amount you should expect to receive on a USD 1,000 USD-CAD transaction with PayPal vs. one for the same amount using WorldRemit.

ProviderAmount (CAD)

Sending Money to Canada through PayPal Pros and Cons


Trust: PayPal has some of the most secure and trustworthy infrastructures in the business. Any security concerns that you may have will be dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Fast Transfers: When transferring between PayPal accounts your transfer will be received instantly.
Reputation: PayPal is widely trusted in both the US and Canada and due to its reputation has become one of the most well-known brands in the world.


High exchange rate margins: The exchange rate margins on the USD/CAD route are 3.90% which is high compared to other companies on the market.
Non-transparent fees: PayPal’s fees are unclear and can only be found by using the Currency Calculator which can only be accessed by account holders.
High transaction fees: PayPal charges several different transaction fees, from 5% of the total transaction fee to a charge for receiving Canadian dollars. Once these fees are added together your transaction quickly adds up.
PayPal isn’t overly convenient for international payments. If users chose to send money through PayPal, the recipient will need to log into their account to request a bank transfer which is subject to an additional charge.

Sending Money to Canada through WorldRemit Pros and Cons


WorldRemit has a good relationship with all the major Canadian banks and users can send money between the US and all Canadian banks.
Fast transactions: 90% of all transactions between the US and Canada arrive on the same working day.
Low exchange rate margins: WorldRemit offers favorable rates with low exchange rate margins which average below 3.5% above the interbank rate.


Limited pick-up options: Whilst WorldRemit usually offers a range of different pick-up options, on the US-Canada route bank transfers, are the only option available.
Limits on large transfers: WorldRemit imposes a maximum sending amount of USD 10,000 per transfer.
No live chat option: WorldRemit does not offer a live chat customer service channel; instead, users should contact the customer service team by online form, email, or phone.

The Speed of Sending from the USA to Canada

When using PayPal to send money from the USA to Canada, your payment should appear instantly. However, PayPal transfers into a bank account can take anywhere from 1-5 business days with the majority between the US and Canada appearing the next business day.

Which is the best provider?

Whilst PayPal has built a name for itself in both Canada and the United States, our guide shows that it isn’t the best option when it comes to international transfers. The high exchange rate margins in addition to the multiple transaction fees soon make the cost of that quick transfer to a family member stack up. There are several different money transfer companies set up with the mission of getting you a better deal on your remittance, such as WorldRemit which enables your friends and family members in Canada to receive a higher cut of the money you’re sending them. If you need to send a remittance to Canada quickly why not also look at our guide on the fastest way to send money?

Related content

Mehdi Punjwani
Mehdi Punjwani
Mehdi is a writer and editor with over five years of experience in personal finance, writing for brands including MoneySuperMarket, Equifax and The AA. He graduated from Brunel University with a BA and MA, and likes to spend his free time hiking, travelling, and reading.