How to beat PayPal’s rates for international money transfers
PayPal is popular, convenient and easy to use for sending money to others around the world, but it enjoys that success at its users’ expense.
How much less PayPal delivers from every $1,000 transferred
The following table shows how much less you’d receive from every $1,000 in an international money transfer through PayPal that was converted into each country’s native currency. Exchange rates were accurate as of 3 October 2017.
|Service||TorFX||WorldFirst||OFX||FC Exchange||Compass Global Markets||Western Union||PayPal|
|Amount received in the UK||GBP£590||GBP£590||GBP£589||GBP£591||GBP£580||GBP£557||GBP£540|
|Amount received in the US||USD$781||USD$781||USD$780||USD$782||USD$774||USD$751||USD$725|
|Amount received in New Zealand||NZD$1,091||NZD$1,091||NZD$1,090||NZD$1,091||NZD||NZD$1,048||NZD$1,008|
|Amount received in China||CNY5,199||CNY5,202||CNY5,194||CNY5,155||CNY5,152||CNY5,150||N/A|
|Amount received in the Philippines||PHP39,879||PHP39,899||PHP39,839||N/A||PHP39,532||PHP39,135||PHP36,838|
You stand to gain close to 8% with a transfer specialist compared to what you’d get from PayPal.
PayPal charges a fee for any money that crosses national borders, and there’s an additional currency conversion fee if the money is exchanged between Australian dollars and another currency. For money sent to the United Kingdom, for example, PayPal would charge a 1.5% international transfer fee plus a currency conversion fee of 4% on top of the wholesale GBP exchange rate. For transfers to the United States, the international transfer fee is 1% and the currency conversion fee is 3.5% over the wholesale USD rate.
Note that PayPal’s fees are much higher if your funds are drawn from a credit card instead of a bank account.
As one of the biggest online payment services around, PayPal can charge those fees because it quickly and easily connects you with more than 210 million other account holders across the globe, allowing you to send, receive and store money in 25 different currencies.
If you find yourself often sending or receiving funds outside of Australia, there may be alternatives to PayPal that could save you money.
Based on our research of international money transfer options, TorFX fared best for sending money to the places Australians use most. It’s a versatile provider with some of the best rates and a low minimum. If you’re sending a lot of money (more than $2,000), WorldFirst can sometimes get you slightly better rates in some currencies. OFX is another versatile and competitive service provider with a low minimum.
Each of these transfer specialists stands to save you close to 8% compared to what you’d get from PayPal.
PayPal vs TorFX
You can easily send money internationally with both PayPal and TorFX as each offers online transactions. With PayPal, funds will be delivered in just minutes, while the transfer will take at least one day with TorFX.
However, if the amount you wish to send overseas is more than TorFX’s minimum of $200, you can avoid PayPal’s fees, which are at least 4.5% to the places Australians send money to most frequently. TorFX doesn’t charge a fee for international money transfers, and its currency exchange rate often differs from PayPal’s. Check to see which is more competitive.
PayPal vs WorldFirst
Sending money online with just the click of a button is convenient using both PayPal and WorldFirst. While PayPal is known for its nearly instant receipt of funds sent between two people, you will have to wait at least one day for WorldFirst to get your money where it needs to go.
However, if you have a large sum that you’re sending, WorldFirst may cut your costs down by several percent. That’s because it doesn’t charge a fee to transfer money overseas if you send the minimum of $2,000. In comparison, PayPal charges at least 4.5% to some of Australia’s favourite transfer destinations.
Also watch out for differences in the exchange rates. A small difference in rate could really add to your costs when sending thousands of dollars.
PayPal vs OFX
OFX also offers frequent PayPal users a chance to eliminate having to pay fees with a minimum money transfer of $250. PayPal adds two fees to many international transfers, the first when money crosses national borders and the second when it needs to be converted to a different currency. OFX doesn’t charge a fee, and its currency exchange rate changes with the market. It's definitely worth comparing rates between OFX and PayPal.
An OFX transaction can be completed online just like PayPal, but it will take longer to show up in the recipient’s bank account. An OFX transaction will take at least one day.
PayPal vs FC Exchange
|FC Exchange||1 day+||$3,000||£10|
FC Exchange is another option for sending large amounts of money to people in other countries. Its minimum transfer sum is $3,000. Both FC Exchange and PayPal allow you to initiate a transfer completely online, and both charge a fee for the service. FC Exchange charges a flat-rate GBP£10 fee, while PayPal adds a percentage of the total transfer amount. The more money you send overseas, the more it will cost you via PayPal. Compare and see for yourself which option saves you more money, and don’t forget to check out FC Exchange and PayPal’s different currency exchange rates, which can also make a significant difference in how much money your recipient will ultimately get.
With PayPal, funds will be delivered in just minutes, while the transfer will take at least one day with FC Exchange.
PayPal vs Compass Global Markets
|Compass Global Markets||1 day+||$1,000||$10|
With a $1,000 minimum money transfer and a $10 fee, Compass Global Markets balances savings and convenience. Between Compass Global Markets and PayPal, the two biggest differences in the amount of money your recipient will receive are likely to be the cost of fees and the currency exchange rate. Be sure to consider both factors when deciding how to send money to other countries.
PayPal’s fees increase with the total amount of money transferred, and its rate is based on the wholesale exchange rate. You can send as little as a few cents via PayPal.
Both services offer easy-to-use online platforms for making international money transfers, although PayPal’s will get your money where it needs to go in minutes while Compass requires at least one day to move the funds.
PayPal vs Western Union
|Western Union||Agent: MinutesBank: A few days||$0(Max: $5,000)||$4+|
Western Union works a little differently than other money transfer services because it has a global network of locations where transferred money can be easily picked up. It also offers online transfers, just like PayPal. With both services, funds can be delivered as quickly as a few minutes if using a Western Union agent. Funds transferred to a bank account through Western Union could take a few days.
However, Western Union charges a flat fee for its international money transfers, while PayPal’s fees represent a percentage of the total amount sent – at least 4.5% to the places Australians send money to most frequently. So depending upon how much you want to send overseas, Western Union could be the more affordable route. Its currency exchange rate often differs from PayPal’s as well. Check to see which represents the better deal. Note also that like PayPal, Western Union doesn’t require a minimum amount to be sent, but its maximum transfer amount is $5,000 per day.