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TransferWise vs PayPal

Which offers the best value for money on international transfers?

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TransferWise and PayPal are two convenient options for sending an online money transfer, but which one will net you a better deal on your next transfer?

To find out, we'll compare TransferWise and PayPal side by side to see who offers the lowest fees, the best exchange rates and the fastest transfer speeds.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 19 February 2019.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 1 1 - 2 days AUD 22.50 0.712 USD
3,545
Make online transfers at the mid-market rate with transparent fees in 45+ currencies. Show details
AUD 1 1 day AUD 5.99 0.683 USD
3,412
Send money overseas to more than 20 countries. Rate last updated on 17/08/2018 at 1:30 pm. Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

The "Rate" and "Amount Received" displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention "Finder" before you commit to a brand.

Which has lower fees?

TransferWise

TransferWise's fee is usually a combination of a small percentage of your transaction amount (typically ranging from 0.4% to 1.5%) plus a flat fee.

The flat fee is between $1 and $2 for most major currencies, but can climb above the $5 mark in some cases.

Bank transfers attract lower fees than if you pay with a credit or debit card.

PayPal

PayPal's fee structure is quite complicated. The amount you pay depends on your transfer amount and whether you pay for the transaction with your PayPal balance, bank account or credit/debit card.

Trophy icon
Winner: Tie

If paying for your transfer from your PayPal balance or bank account, PayPal's international transfer fees can be quite competitive. However, fees quickly add up if paying with your credit/debit card, and the complicated fee structure can be difficult to understand.

TransferWise also offers minimal fees for most transactions, and offers a handy online tool to help you calculate the total cost of your transaction.

Compare fees between the two providers for your specific transaction to find the best value for money.

Let's crunch the numbers: Sending $50 and $1,000 to the UK

Let's take a closer look at how TransferWise and PayPal compare when sending two different amounts to the UK. In this example, we'll assume the PayPal transaction will be funded from your bank account and the TransferWise transaction paid for with a bank transfer.

Sending $50 to the UK
TransferWisePayPal
Transfer fee$1.34$2.99
Transaction cost$50$52.99
Exchange rate1 AUD = 0.55179 GBP1 AUD = 0.5286 GBP
Transfer speed1-2 daysInstant
Amount received (in GBP)£26.85£26.43

As you can see, not only will you pay $2.99 less to send the money with TransferWise (TransferWise deducts the fee from your $50 transfer amount), but your recipient will also end up with £0.42 more.

Sending $1000 to the UK
TransferWisePayPal
Transfer fee$5.22$5.99
Transaction cost$1,000$1,005.99
Exchange rate1 AUD = 0.55179 GBP1 AUD = 0.5286 GBP
Transfer speed1-2 daysInstant
Amount received (in GBP)£548.91£528.60

TransferWise is a clear winner in this second comparison. Not only does it allow you to pay $5.99 less for the transfer than PayPal, but your beneficiary receives an extra £20.31.

Which offers better exchange rates?

TransferWise

TransferWise offers international money transfers using the mid-market exchange rate. This is the rate which you see listed on Google and sites like XE, and it represents the real market value of one currency relative to another. For example, if the mid-market rate is 1 AUD = 0.7130 USD, that's the rate you'll get for your transfer.

PayPal

PayPal adds a margin on top of the mid-market rate. While this margin is typically smaller than that offered by the banks, it's generally around the 3.5-4% range.

Using the same example as we did for TransferWise:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 AUD = 0.7130 USD
  • PayPal's rate might be 1 AUD = 0.6876 USD

Trophy icon
Winner: TransferWise

TransferWise's exchange rates are much better than those offered by PayPal, which means more of the money you send arrives in your recipient's bank account.

Which is faster

TransferWise

Transfer times vary depending on the currency you send and the payment method you select.

While most transactions take between 1 and 2 business days, it's possible to send funds to some destinations within minutes.

PayPal

Your recipient should be able to access the funds you send to their PayPal account almost immediately. However, please note that if the recipient doesn't want to leave this balance in their PayPal account, withdrawing to their bank account will take one or more business days.

Trophy icon
Winner: PayPal

PayPal transfers are generally faster – but only if your recipient is happy to spend the money you send directly from their PayPal account. If they want it sitting in their bank account, you may find that TransferWise will get the money there quicker.

General features

Payment methodsReceiving optionsMinimum and maximum transfersTransfer speedsCurrencies
TransferWise
  • Bank transfer
  • POLi
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Android Pay
  • Apple Pay
Bank transfer
  • Minimum: $1
  • Maximum: $1,800,000
1 - 2 days48 countries
PayPal
  • Bank transfer
  • Credit or debit card
  • PayPal Credit
PayPal account transfer
  • Minimum: $1
  • Maximum: $60,000
1 day190+ countries

TransferWise

While TransferWise offers a handy fee and exchange rate calculator on its website, you'll need to sign up for a TransferWise account before you can make a transfer. You can then initiate a transfer by specifying the amount and currency you want to send and providing your recipient's bank account details.

You'll receive email updates throughout the transfer process and can track your transaction online or using the TransferWise app.

PayPal

Before you can send money overseas with PayPal, both you and your recipient will need to have your own PayPal accounts. You can then link your bank account or credit/debit card to your PayPal account to fund your transaction.

To send a transfer, enter the email address or phone number of your recipient. You will then have to enter the details of your transaction, specify the reason why you are sending funds, and then take a moment to review the full cost of your transaction before submitting your transfer.

Bottom line

TransferWise generally offers much better value for money than PayPal on international transfers. While fee amounts often work out fairly similar between the two companies when paying from your bank account, TransferWise's commitment to offering the mid-market rate means that more of the money you send will end up in your recipient's pocket.

While PayPal can be useful when sending a small amount or when you need to make a quick transfer, TransferWise usually comes out on top.

Looking for more options?

Use our calculator below to compare the fees, exchange rates and transfer speeds of a range of international money transfer services. Simply enter your transaction details in the calculator to find out what fees and exchange rates are on offer.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.709 USD
7,095
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 30+ currencies with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.709 USD
7,095
SendFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.709 USD
7,095
Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.709 USD
7,095
$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. No transfer fee over AUD$10,000.
Go to site Show details
GBP 3,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.709 USD
7,095
Global Reach will match any competitor's exchange rates. Conditions apply.
Get no fees for both business and personal transfers when you send your money overseas with Global Reach.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 day AUD 52.00 0.709 USD
7,051
Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to $3,000.
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
Go to site Show details
AUD 0 Same day AUD 2.99 0.704 USD
7,043
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options. Express transfers delievered in as little as 10 minutes for an extra fee.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 0.00 0.709 USD
7,087
Get fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 - 2 days AUD 50.00 0.711 USD
7,076
Exclusive: Use code FINDER10 to receive US$10 off your first transaction.
Quick and simple international money transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers. Zero-margin rates on some currencies.
Go to site Show details
AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.705 USD
7,050
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
Get bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 3.99 0.704 USD
7,035
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers


The "Rate" and "Amount Received" displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention "Finder" before you commit to a brand.

Frequently asked questions

More guides on Finder

International Money Transfer Offers

Important Information*
Logo for TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX International Money Transfers

TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 30+ currencies with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.

Logo for SendFX International Money Transfers
SendFX International Money Transfers

SendFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.

Logo for WorldFirst International Money Transfers
WorldFirst International Money Transfers

Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.

Logo for OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers

$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. No transfer fee over AUD$10,000.

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