PayPal revolutionised ecommerce when they launched nearly 20 years ago, and today are one of the largest payment companies on the planet. You can use PayPal to shop online, pay for goods and services, and send money to people all over the world. However, if you’re considering using the service, it’s good to know the fees you’ll be charged. While PayPal typically offer a great service for domestic transfers and payments, international transactions, and especially those funded with a card, can be costly.
Before you decide if PayPal is the right provider for your transfer, do check out the other options out there as a comparison. TransferWise is a great place to start, with low cost, fast and safe international payments all over the globe.
Here’s all you need to know about transferring money internationally with PayPal.
If you’re making a domestic transfer to a friend or family member based in Australia, who has an Australian PayPal account, and the payment is funded using PayPal balance, or a linked Australian bank account you won’t be charged. However, it’s good to know that if any part of the payment is funded with a credit, debit or prepaid card, you’ll be charged 2.6% and a small fixed fee.
For international transfers, the fees can be much higher - here’s what you need to know:
|Service||PayPal Australia Fee|
|Sending money to friends and family overseas - transfer funded from your PayPal balance or linked Australian bank account||Sending $0-$49.99: $0.99 + exchange rate markup Sending $50-$99.99: $2.99 + exchange rate markup Sending $100+: $4.99 + exchange rate markup|
|Sending money to friends and family overseas - transfer funded with a credit, debit or prepaid card||Sending $0-$49.99: $0.99 + exchange rate markup + 2.6% of the transaction amount + a fixed fee based on currency Sending $50-$99.99: $2.99 + exchange rate markup + 2.6% of the transaction amount + a fixed fee based on currency Sending $100+: $4.99 + exchange rate markup + 2.6% of the transaction amount + a fixed fee based on currency|
|Exchange rate markup||3.5% if sending to US or Canadian dollars 4% for all other currencies|
The fixed fee which is payable for some transactions, depends on the currency that you’re sending money to. It’s typically quite small and charged in the currency of your recipient’s account - sending money in CAD will cost a fixed fee of $0.30, and sending a payment to a UK PayPal account will cost £0.20 for example. The full list of fixed fees is available on the PayPal Australia website.
PayPal allows international payments from Australia to the following currencies:
- Argentine peso
- Australian dollar
- Brazilian real
- Canadian dollar
- Czech koruna
- Danish krone
- Hong Kong dollar
- Hungarian Forint
- Israeli shekel
- Japanese yen
- Malaysian ringgit
- Mexican peso
- New Zealand dollar
- Norwegian krone
- Philippine peso
- Polish zloty
- Russian ruble
- Singapore dollar
- Swedish krona
- Swiss franc
- Taiwan new dollar
- Thai baht
- UK pounds sterling
- US dollar
To check out how the exchange rates and terms offered by PayPal compare with other providers, look at an online currency converter. If you don’t like what you see, try an alternative like TransferWise, for low cost transfers all around the world.
We mentioned earlier that there is a markup on the exchange rate used by PayPal, when you’re sending money to a friend or family member who has a PayPal account in another currency. This is 3.5% if sending to US or Canadian dollars, and 4% for all other currencies, on top of the other fees that you need to cover. Here’s what PayPal says about this extra cost, which is called a conversion fee:
“The transaction exchange rate is adjusted regularly and includes a currency conversion fee … applied and retained by us on a base exchange rate to form the rate applicable to your conversion.”
So what exactly does that mean?
PayPal takes what’s known as the mid-market exchange rate, and adds a markup of 3.5-4%, which they then keep as their profit. This matters, because the mid-market exchange rate is the only real exchange rate. It’s what you’ll find if you google your currency pairing - so if you don’t check the rate PayPal are using for your payment, your recipient might get less than you’re expecting.
This is not at all uncommon. Many banks and exchange services add a markup to the real exchange rate, and use this for their international transactions. However, this can make it very hard to work out the real cost of your transfer, especially as exchange rates move up and down all the time, and you might not spot the markup.
If you’re looking for the best available exchange rate, you need to find a provider, like TransferWise, which offers the mid-market exchange rate on all transfers. The fee structure is refreshingly simple, with just a small transparent fee to pay, so you can see exactly what you’ll pay for your transfer. Transfers are fast, and convenient - and it often works out a lot cheaper than other services, too.
PayPal payments are typically processed very quickly. Your recipient will receive an email or SMS to tell them that they have a PayPal payment. If they don’t have a PayPal account already, then they are prompted to open one to access the money.
Paypal is used for lots of different things, including sending money to others based in Australia and overseas. You can use it to split a restaurant bill with your friends, remit money home to your loved ones, or buy goods online.
To get started, you’ll need a PayPal account. This is pretty easy to set up, simply by entering your personal details, and choosing a password. To make payments you can then link bank accounts, credit or debit cards to your PayPal account.
Once you have a linked bank account or card, you can make transfers to friends and family, as long as you have their name, and email or phone number. Payments will be deposited in your recipient’s PayPal account directly, and they can either withdraw the money to their bank account, or spend it online.
The recipient will need to sign up with PayPal to access their money. They’ll be prompted to do so with an email, when the payment is processed.
PayPal don’t have a fixed limit to the amount that can be transferred - this will depend on your own account, the account status of the person you’re transferring to, and the country and currency of the payment.
PayPal can be used by anyone who’s legally adult in their own country - which usually means you have to be over the age of 18. You’ll also have to register your account and give your personal and contact details.
If you’ve already got a PayPal account, getting in touch online is easy. If you don’t have an account yet, you’ll need to call the customer team.
- If you don’t have a PayPal account yet, you can call as a guest
- If you have an account with PayPal, you’re asked to log in, to call as an active user, or email the customer care team with your details
- There is also a large community of other users who answer questions, and a large help section on the website
Whatever you need to transfer money for, you’ll want the fastest, cheapest and safest service for your needs. PayPal is often excellent value, and can be quick and easy for domestic transfers - but the fee structure for international payments is somewhat complex, and the costs can mount up. Make sure you compare the prices with other providers before you commit, and you’ll be able to find the right deal for you.
All sources are accurate as of 03 December 2018
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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