If you’re using PayPal, you might choose to hold a balance within your account for ease, which you can then use to pay for goods and services, or send to your friends and family.
It’s good to look at the fees PayPal charge before you decide if it’s the best way to make payments - as it might not always be the cheapest option, especially if you need to make international payments.
This article covers how you can add money to your account, and what the costs of payments might be. As well as introducing an alternative: TransferWise.
If you’d rather hold a PayPal balance to cover your purchases, you can add funds using a bank transfer or debit card payment. To add money you will need to have a PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus account.
PayPal advise that you link a bank account with your PayPal account, so that you can make payments quickly and simply.⁶ To add money from a bank account:
- Login to your PayPal account.
- Select the ‘Wallet’ button.
- Select *‘Transfer Money’. *
- Select ‘Add money to your balance’.
- Provide your bank information, by following the on-screen instructions.
To add money from the app:
- Tap your balance.
- Tap ‘Add Money’.
If you link a bank account to your PayPal account, you’re able to move money from your bank to PayPal easily. However, if the account is not linked you can still make payments, as the money will be debited from your bank account when you make a purchase.⁷
You don’t need to add money directly to your PayPal balance using a bank card to pay for purchases or send money to a friend. Rather, the next time you make a transaction, PayPal can debit the money from your card.⁶
This means if you link a card to your PayPal account, you won’t need a balance to send money to people or pay for things. You can add more than one card to your PayPal account, but the cards can only be used on one PayPal account at one time.⁷
To link a card to your account:
- Login to your account.
- Go to your ‘Wallet’.
- Go to ‘Link a debit or credit card’.
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
If you’re sending money to friends or family in the UK, in pounds, and the payment is funded using your PayPal balance, linked bank account, debit card or a prepaid card, then there’s no fee to worry about. However, if you want to pay for the transfer using a credit card, you’ll have to pay a charge.² Here are some of the fees to consider:
|PayPal Personal||TransferWise Personal Profile|
|Add money to balance from bank account (in GBP, from UK account)||Free⁷||Free|
|Conversion Fee between balances||2.5%⁵||0.3% to 1%*|
|Sending money in the UK, in GBP||Free||0.60 GBP**|
|Sending money in the UK, in any currency other than GBP||3.75-4%||0.35%*** (There may be additional fees applied by your bank)|
|Sending money outside the UK, in any currency other than GBP||3.75-4%³||0.3% to 1%|
* Depending on currency route.
** Varies by source currency.
*** TransferWise can only send GBP and USD to accounts in the UK. Percentage listed, is based on sending from a GBP balance to a USD account in the UK.
Information is accurate at the time of writing. For full details, always see PayPal directly.
Need to pay for goods and services abroad, or send money to friends and family overseas? TransferWise can help.
They specialise in international payments to make it simple and cheap to send and spend all over the world, just like a local.
It’s on average 8x cheaper than leading UK banks and you can receive money for free with your own US, UK, EU, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hungary and Romania bank details (currently only available to the residents of the UK and Romania).
|Get started and save when you spend in any currency.|
You can pay and be paid from your PayPal account, and just like your main bank account, you can hold money in your PayPal account until you need it. You might have a positive balance if you’ve sold something online, and taken payment via PayPal, or if you’re a freelancer working with clients who pay using PayPal, for example.
When it comes to making payments or shopping, you can either use the balance you hold already, or link your PayPal account to your regular bank account, credit or debit card. If you use a linked bank account or card, the payment comes directly from that card or bank account whenever you send money using PayPal.
You might use PayPal to collect money from friends, if you’re arranging a holiday together, to buy things on eBay, or to make a charity donation, for example. You can send money to someone easily, using their name, email address or mobile number. To access the payment, the recipient will need to have a PayPal account, or will be prompted to set one up to get their money.¹
Making a payment is easy. You’ll need to:
- Login to your PayPal account.
- Find the ‘Send Money’ button.
- Click on this, and you’ll be asked to give the recipient’s details, and the amount you want to send.
Top Tip: PayPal remembers previous payments you’ve made, so it’s even easier if you’re making a transfer to someone you’ve already sent money to before.
Although PayPal payments are easy, they’re not necessarily always cheap, so you’ll need to watch out for the fees charged. The fees can increase if you have a UK based PayPal account, and you make an international payment in a currency other than pounds.
Sending money in a different currency to someone with a UK PayPal account will mean you have to pay a conversion fee, and there's a charge for funding your payment using a credit, debit or prepaid card, too. Sending money in a different currency, to someone with an overseas PayPal account is even more expensive, as there's a cross border fee, as well as a conversion fee, and potential other charges depending on how the transfer is funded³. The fees add up quickly, and can be really confusing, so it might be a bit of a struggle to understand what your international payment is really costing you.
We will look at these costs in detail later, but one which often catches people out is the currency conversion fee. This is applied whenever PayPal change your payment currency - so if you’re sending money from your UK PayPal balance, to a friend in France, using euros, for example.
If you’re sending money to someone based abroad, you may be able to get a better deal with TransferWise.
You can choose to hold a balance in your PayPal account, either by keeping funds in the account after someone has paid you using PayPal, or by topping it up yourself.³
You can top up your PayPal balance using your linked bank account or debit card - explained below - and then hold your funds in a range of different currencies. However, switching your PayPal balance between currencies can be costly, as whenever you convert with PayPal, you’ll pay a currency conversion fee of around 2.5%.⁵
If you need to convert money you may want to consider an alternative to PayPal, such as a provider that specialises in international payments - such as a multi-currency account from TransferWise.
PayPal is immensely popular, and has a huge user base in the UK. For domestic payments, made in pounds, the PayPal system offers quick and easy payments, usually with no fee.
However, the fees can ramp up quickly if you’re paying someone based overseas, or in a different currency. It’s worth checking out alternatives to PayPal, as using a specialist in international payments can be much better value. TransferWise is a great alternative for international payments, allowing you to hold money in 40+ currencies using the multi-currency account.
- PayPal: Send Money Online
- PayPal: Fees
- PayPal: User Agreement
- PayPal FAQ: Exchange Rate and Currency Conversion
- PayPal: Fees - Cross Border and Conversion
- PayPal FAQ: Why should I link a bank account or a card to my PayPal account?
- PayPal FAQ: How to add money to PayPal balance?
Sources checked: 25 November 2019.
Information is based on holding a personal PayPal account, so if you’re a business user, you’ll need to double check directly with PayPal before proceeding.
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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