Can I Use Paypal to Transfer Money Internationally?

Last Updated on April, 2024

PayPal, ah! The ever-so-reliable payment transfer service on earth! 

It’s easy, fast, and cheap compared to traditional bank transfers when making international payments. 

Did you know? More than 7 million companies across the globe accept payments through PayPal.

They say you can send and receive money no matter where you are. 

But is it really the truth? Is there a catch to it? 

Well, we’re about to learn all about that, so keep reading until the end. 

Quick Summary

PayPal is a widely accepted and reliable payment transfer service for international payments, used by over 7 million businesses globally.

It is available in over 200 countries and can be used to send money directly to another PayPal account or through their subsidiary service, Xoom.

PayPal charges various fees and has limitations on international transactions, but there are alternative options available such as international money transfer service providers and wire transfers through the SWIFT system.

Can I Use PayPal for International Transactions?

paypal logo

In short, yes, you can use PayPal for sending money overseas. 

It is available in more than 200 countries, so businesses and individuals can make cross-border payments using the PayPal mobile app or their website. 

But wait, there’s more!

The payment process varies slightly based on whether the recipient and sender have PayPal accounts. 

If both parties have a PayPal account, the payment will go straight to the recipient’s personal account (depending on the country) through Xoom (another service by PayPal, and we’ll get into its details in a bit).

Xoom is connected with your PayPal account for a purpose. With it, you can track your payments more easily, and the transfer process becomes relatively faster. 

How to Transfer Money Internationally With PayPal?

PayPal makes the money-transferring process easy, and it also has Xoom, an international transfer service provider. Despite offering international money transfers, PayPal urges users to choose Xoom to make personal payments in various countries (more on that later). 

Here’s how you transfer money internationally with PayPal,

Send Money Using the PayPal Mobile App

a screenshot of the send button in paypal app
a screenshot of adding recipients user credentials
a screenshot of adding amount to be send
a screenshot of choosing currency
a screenshot of choosing payment type
sending money via paypal

You must follow the steps when sending money internationally using the PayPal app on your mobile:

  • Open the PayPal app on your mobile device.
  • Tap the “Send” button that is located at the bottom of your screen. 
  • Add the recipient’s name, PayPal username, phone number, or email address. 
  • The next step is to confirm the currency and transaction amount you want to transfer. 
  • Then, enter a note for the recipient to recognize your payment, and tap “Next.”
  • Confirm whether it’s a business payment for services or goods or a personal payment to family or friends. 
  • Then, choose how you want to make the international transfer and tap “Next.”
  • Finally, confirm if all the details are correct and tap “Send,” and voila!

Send Money Using PayPal Website (From a Browser)

login option in paypal website
send/request option in paypal website
recipients details
amount to be sent
payment option
sending payment

The process here is pretty much similar to how you send cash while using the PayPal app:

  • On your computer, open your browser and log into your PayPal account.
  • Choose “Send & Request,” which is located at the top of your screen. 
  • Now, add the details of your recipes (name, PayPal username, phone number, or email address)
  • Enter and confirm the amount and the currency you want to send. 
  • The next step is to add a note for your receipts to recognize your international transfer and click “Continue.”
  • Choose whether you’re sending money to a friend/family or paying for a service or an item (but the receiver must also have a PayPal account, otherwise get ready for a refund). 
  • Then choose how you want to transfer money.
  • Double-check all the details at the end and click “Send Payment Now,” and you’re done. 

What Are PayPal’s International Fees?

a screenshot of the paypal fees are calculated

Now, let’s talk about the fees (yeah, we see some lips pursing and eyebrows rising). Well, here’s something to release the tension. 

PayPal waives transaction fees if you send your money using your PayPal account, PayPal Cash app, or your linked bank account.

However, a 2.9 percent fee along with a fixed 30-cent transaction fee will be smacked on each transaction you make using your debit or credit card or PayPal credit. 

Plus, as per PayPal terms and conditions, international money transfers also have various rules and regulations (uh-oh, things aren’t looking too bright here). But hold up, not everything is going south here… keep reading.

You have two different transfer options for making international payments using PayPal. Each of these options has its own fee structure. 

PayPal will charge 5 percent of the transaction along with a fee ranging between $0.99 to $4.99. This is when you are sending money abroad directly to a PayPal account (assuming the transfer is made using your PayPal balance). 

However, if you make a transfer using your PayPal credit or a debit or credit card, an additional 2.9 percent fee and a 30-cent fixed fee are added. Woah, so better have your PayPal balance topped up, or you’ll find yourself knee-deep in charges.

PayPal’s International Currency Conversion Fees

If you want to convert to a different currency before you transfer your money, there will be a currency conversion fee (4 percent). 

The currency conversion fee for US to Canadian dollars is 3.5 percent, but it increases to 4 percent for all other currencies. It might be something different if disclosed during the transaction.

However, if you want to directly transfer to the recipient’s bank account, use Xoom. As Xoom is a PayPal subsidiary, these two work seamlessly together. Plus, you can fund your transaction with a linked bank account or a PayPal account.

PayPal’s Fixed Fee

CurrencyRate for Business TransfersRate for Personal TransactionsCurrencyRate for Business TransfersRate for Personal Transactions
Australian dollar AUD 0.59AUD 0.30New Taiwan dollarTWD 14.00TWD 10.00
Brazilian realBRL 2.90BRL 0.60New Zealand dollarNZD 0.69NZD 0.45
Canadian dollarCAD 0.59CAD 0.30Norwegian kroneNOK 3.90NOK 2.80
Czech korunaCZK 9.00CZK 10.00Philippine pesoPHP 25.00PHP 15.00
Danish kroneDKK 2.90DKK 2.60Polish zlotyPLN 1.89PLN 1.35
EuroEUR 0.39EUR 0.35Russian rubleRUB 39.00RUB 10.00
Hong Kong dollarHKD 3.79HKD 2.35Singapore dollarSGD 0.69SGD 0.50
Hungarian forintHUF 149.00HUF 90.00Swedish kronaSEK 4.09SEK 3.25
Israeli new shekelILS 1.60ILS 1.20Swiss francCHF 0.49CHF 0.55
Japanese yenJPY 49.00JPY 40.00Thai bahtTHB 15.00THB 11.00
Malaysian ringgitMYR 2.00MYR 2.00UK pounds sterlingGBP 0.39GBP 0.20
Mexican pesoMXN 9.00MXN 4.00US dollarUSD 0.49USD 0.30

An Explanation of PayPal Exchange Rate Calculation

a screenshot of the exchange rate and surplus charge explained

PayPal has a specific procedure to calculate their exchange rates. They receive a wholesale exchange rate quote from the bank twice a day. 

PayPal adds a percentage to that quote, which enables them to determine retail foreign exchange rates that they can apply to all transactions involving currency conversions. 

Here’s a table for you to comprehend what we’ve gone through here about PayPal international fees,

Transaction feesSurplus charges
Transferring money directly (PayPal-to-PayPal account)5 percent of the total transaction amount Transaction fee ranging from $0.99 to $4.992.9 percent funding fee along with a 30-cent fixed fee when using PayPal credit, debit card, or credit card to fund the transaction  A currency conversion fee (if converting before sending money) of 4 percent unless a different rate is disclosed within the transaction
Transferring via Xoom directly into the recipient’s bank accountThe exchange rate markup that PayPal charge, varies for different currenciesAdditional transfer fees with the use of debit/credit cards (fees vary depending on currency and amount of the transaction)

PayPal’s International Money Transfer Limits

Besides the fees, here’s another thing you must keep in mind! You have to deal with some limitations when using international money transfer services by PayPal. 

With a verified PayPal account, there’s no cap on money that you can transfer. Up to $60,000 can be sent in one go. But PayPal can reduce that to $10,000 for unverified accounts or other conditions. The limitations can also differ depending on your currency and country. 

How Long Does it Take When Receiving Money Through PayPal Internationally?

The process is usually quick, and the money appears almost instantly. Nevertheless, there can be a slight delay if the recipient wants to withdraw directly to their bank. 

Standard bank transfers through PayPal can take 1 to 3 working days. However, with the instant transfer feature (available in some countries), funds can appear in the bank account within a few minutes. 

You must link a card for instant transfers because PayPal will send the money to a Visa debit card. 

What Works With PayPal & What Doesn’t?

What Works?

  • It works for money transfers within the US.
  • It works for sending money in small amounts internationally. 
  • With a PayPal business account, you can quickly create invoices and request payments using an online dashboard. 
  • Paying your vendors and suppliers easily using your PayPal balance (or linked bank account). 
  • With Xoom, you can transfer to family and friends and pay utility bills in a jiffy. 

What Doesn’t Work?

  • Their fee structure is complicated and can add up costs if you use it frequently. 
  • There are country-wise limitations associated with receiving/sending and withdrawals. 
  • Neither PayPal nor Xoom offers multi-currency accounts. 

What is Xoom, and How Can it Come in Handy?

Xoom is a service by PayPal, and it can help you where PayPal can’t. 

a screenshot of xoom service by paypal

For instance, PayPal only supports 25 currencies at the moment. But if you are looking for a different currency, Xoom is the way to go. 

With Xoom, you can send money abroad to over 160 countries. It also supports other services, including direct bank transfer, bill payment, phone top-up, and cash pickup. 

Xoom Fees

Xoom has a fee structure similar to PayPal, along with the mid market exchange rate markups (yeah, it’s truly the mirror image of PayPal). 

Funding or payment methods and how the recipient wants the money can further drive higher costs. 

Transfer Time

Money sent via transfers funded by debit or credit card or cash pick-ups is received within minutes. However, transfers via bank accounts or larger transfers can take a few days (3 to 5 working days). 

Limitations

Xoom is only available for sign-ups in the US, the UK, Canada, and the Eurozone. Moreover, it is only available for personal transfers (no business transactions here). Not only that but the transfer amount is capped and varies by country. 

PayPal Alternatives

If you feel PayPal is not the right option for you, there are other ways to send money internationally. Here are a few for you to consider. 

International Money Transfer Service Providers

These companies specialize in sending money abroad, offering faster and cheaper transfers in a routine. They have their own network of banks across the globe, enabling them to make cross-border transactions with ease. 

You pay the money to the company’s account in your home country, and they will credit it to the destination country for the receipt. They will deduct any currency exchange rate markups and fees during the transactions. It’s that simple. 

International Wire Transfer (Bank Account Transfer)

It is exactly what it sounds like. You can send money directly from one bank to another without any money transfer company or payment provider (PayPal, Xoom, or any other).

Banks communicate with each other using the SWIFT banking system. It’s a system that links almost every country across the globe. 

a screenshot of the alternative swift homepage

Sending and receiving banks use this system to confirm the details regarding the transaction using a network of intermediaries processing the transfer (fees applicable). As a result, the amount is entered into the recipient’s bank account. 

However, money transfer service providers are faster and cheaper alternatives to wire transfers through the SWIFT system.

For instance, Wise is one of the best money transfer service providers right now. And it does have an upper hand over PayPal. How?

wise logo

Well, Wise offers lower rates and more transparency, and this is particularly the case with international transfers. They use a small fixed fee and mid market exchange rate. Moreover, Wise transfers are pretty swift and they deal in more than 40 currencies

On the other hand PayPal fees tend to vary depending upon various factors, including currency and payment destination. And to add to that PayPal also charges a currency conversion fee that can drive costs higher. Plus, they only work in 25 currencies

International Money Order

Besides the SWIFT system, international money orders are another outdated method for international transfers. They are secure, but they are limited in terms of how much money you can send and how frequently.

So, Does PayPal Work Internationally for You?

PayPal is convenient, don’t get us wrong. There’s a reason why it’s so popular across the globe. Choose PayPal if you want a reliable international payment service with no hidden charges. 

Nevertheless, it ain’t the cheapest option out there. Transfers might be fast, but you have to deal with a range of markups and fees that can drive your costs higher. 

There are some cheaper alternatives available as well. So, make an informed decision before you choose your service. 

Frequently Asked Questions

No, you can simply sign up for a PayPal account and link your bank account, debit cards, or credit cards to fund transactions. Once verification is complete, you can start making international transfers.

Yes, PayPal is available in over 200 countries and supports 25 currencies. However, certain features may not be accessible in all countries.

If your PayPal transaction is being declined due to “International Regulations“, you can contact PayPal support by visiting their website and navigating to the Contact page. PayPal is required to review all transactions to ensure they comply with international regulations, so if your transaction is within the regulations, you should hear back from PayPal within a few days.

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Author
Allen Morning
I'm Allen Morning, with a background spanning over 15 years in international finance and education from Harvard and Stanford. I founded Currenciap with a vision to demystify and streamline global financial transactions. My journey in finance has fueled my commitment to creating a platform that is both user-friendly and efficient, making international finance accessible to everyone. You can find more about me here.

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