PayPal - Independent review

Should you use PayPal to send money abroad?

While PayPal is great to send money to friends living in your country, it's probably not a good idea to use PayPal for your international transfers.

5.90/10 Ok
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PayPal review by Monito

PayPal is the largest internet payment company in the world, with nearly 200 million active account holders. Over 6 billion transactions are made through PayPal every year, representing a total volume of $354 billion. PayPal is mainly used by consumer and merchants for e-commerce payments (i.e. payments for goods and services online), but it also allows users to make personal payments to friends and family around the world.

With PayPal, you can send money from 161 countries to PayPal accounts in 78 countries and in 26 currencies. Your recipient can then use their PayPal balance to withdraw funds to their bank account, or to pay for goods and service online.

While PayPal’s service is very convenient and safe, it comes at a high price. Indeed, the total cost of a cross-border personal payment with a currency conversion with PayPal is at least 2.8% of the transaction amount, including both payment and currency conversion fees. You will generally pay much more than this, and in the most extreme cases you could incur a total cost of close to 10%! Since much cheaper services are almost always available, we recommend you always compare all your options here. If you decide to make a money transfer with PayPal nonetheless, read our “PayPal Exchange Rate & Fees” section to find out how to save on costs.




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3,142 customer reviews on PayPal on Trustpilot


15 hours ago
by Alex H.

4 stars

Very good service for money sending

Very good service for money sending. I've never had a problem in 3 years of using it.

15 hours ago
by Amit B.

1 stars

One of the froud company I have seen

One of the froud company I have seen ever in my life. Their rules are only beneficial to company. Paypal is cheater company. They locked your account, you...Read more

One of the froud company I have seen ever in my life. Their rules are only beneficial to company. Paypal is cheater company. They locked your account, you can not do anything as per rule, but you can send money to that paypal account so Paypal(froud company) can use your money. They choose world class jocker for their support team who are not able to solve your problem ever. My advice to Paypal is, close your company and start begging from people like me as you are doing same thing now.

15 hours ago
by Marcia Harcourt

1 stars

AVOID at all costs this so called …

AVOID at all costs this so called company is nothing more than a bunch of thieves as they paid some sellers twice from my father's account so ended up...Read more

AVOID at all costs this so called company is nothing more than a bunch of thieves as they paid some sellers twice from my father's account so ended up with 5 duplicate transactions totaling over £65 and it stated in the paypal account it had been refunded but 13 days later still no sign of it in the bank account on contacting paypal customer services was basically told it had nothing to do with them as they had played there part and it must be the banks fault and the bank say they have no refunds pending so it looks like my dad of nearly 85 as been robbed by PayPal and there unhelpful and down right insufferable customer services .


More reviews

1 day ago
by MR D A FISHER

1 stars

I understand the delay in holding funds …

I understand the delay in holding funds but it's been weeks with nothing, customer service team have no power to do anything but state the obvious, the...Read more

I understand the delay in holding funds but it's been weeks with nothing, customer service team have no power to do anything but state the obvious, the conditions of sale for first time sellers are not clear from the start, I sold an item for a rent payment now 3.5 weeks later I have nothing to show for it but they seemed to take their fees instantly! They heavily rely on branding and being accepted by most companies as a means of payment but fail to deliver on the basic customer service

1 day ago
by Simon Danielsson

3 stars

PayPal Buyer Protection is five stars …

PayPal Buyer Protection is five stars for helping me refund my money from a scam supplier. General conditions and customer support could still use some...Read more

PayPal Buyer Protection is five stars for helping me refund my money from a scam supplier. General conditions and customer support could still use some improvement though...

2 days ago
by Andrew Abrass

1 stars

there is really no condition where …

there is really no condition where paypal is superior. they have the worst incompetent customer service and your money is not protected via paypal if you...Read more

there is really no condition where paypal is superior. they have the worst incompetent customer service and your money is not protected via paypal if you get scammed, just avoid this company. use venmo or your own bank, as credit card companies are much

2 days ago
by AJ

1 stars

Complete bully of a company

Complete bully of a company. Holding money for months on end with no solid explanation, incompetent customer service team, horrible management. Held my...Read more

Complete bully of a company. Holding money for months on end with no solid explanation, incompetent customer service team, horrible management. Held my payments on a long standing account, told me I had to close the old account and set up a new one, continued to hold my payments and said they will be terminating my account. Garbage, avoid at all costs. Boycott Paypal.

2 days ago
by Thomas Hopwood

1 stars

Holding my money and making me wait …

Holding my money and making me wait 7plus days and everyone gives you lies

3 days ago
by Yassen Kantchev

1 stars

PayPal customer service NIGHTMARE !!!

While most of my colleagues in the 501.c.10 org were hesitant or openly against opening a donation account managed by PayPal, i've managed to convince...Read more

While most of my colleagues in the 501.c.10 org were hesitant or openly against opening a donation account managed by PayPal, i've managed to convince them to give them a chance. I personally have an account since 2001 and with minor hiccups i would say my experience wasn't that nightmarish. However, i understood through empirical experience what they've reservations were provoked by. So i created the account and used a generic name for the account instead of some real person. The person responsible for the account may change at any time and i didn't want to go through the painful process of name change (i realized the pain afterwords) every time we make a change. Anything else was just fine, provided my SSN (being currently the account administrator), business name, business bank account, address, were approved for a 501.c.10 non profit org which adjusts the fees, etc. All went well and we started operating. We received few donations, moved funds between accounts, one would say - wow, it is so easy, i can't imagine why everyone is so negative about the experience with PayPal. Well, until one day I decided to place a request for they PayPal Here, and then and there all hell broke loose. Firstly, my account immediately rendered inoperable. Suddenly all the information we provided when opening the account was deemed unsatisfying some requirements. I was asked to provide additional 5 documents, plus changing the name on the account. That was on June 27th. I thought, well these are their requirements, i will comply. Provided most of the required documents, in random order, then the last document i submitted was the formal letter for name change, on a corporate letterhead, etc. Then waited. 10 days later, this past friday, i made a call and was connected with a gentleman (i call him now gentleman simply because i didn't got his name), told him the reason of my call and asked for assistance. Well, no chance of getting one. He was utterly unprofessional, his passive-aggressive demeanour drove me to the point of asking for his manager. He responded that there is one available and he will put me through then he came back and said - there is no one working that day, so in the next 24-48 hours i will receive a call. At the time of writing this is past 48 hours. Anyhow, i few hours later i called back and spoke with someone else. In fact, very nice lady who listed to my story, restored all previously uploaded document, which her colleague removed/deleted from the history of the case and promised to follow up as soon as i upload the last required document - my SS card. Later that day i asked myself, why are you so masochistically continue dealing with them, while you can call WF and get the same service, discount, discount and most importantly - customer service. The answer, because i can't even close the account now, until i go through all nine circles of hell. Once i change the name i will close the account and never think twice again opening another one with PayPal. I called WB and arranged all i needed in a less than 15 phone conversation - DONE, PERIOD.

4 days ago
by Luv

1 stars

PayPal disgusts me

PayPal disgusts me! I don't even want to carry on about ALL the bad experiences I've had with them. I do want to make sure that I let the buyers and...Read more

PayPal disgusts me! I don't even want to carry on about ALL the bad experiences I've had with them. I do want to make sure that I let the buyers and sellers know to BEWARE its a living NIGHTMARE! I am going to post a 1 STAR rating on every consumer review site possible for this FRAUDULANT company. Not just because PayPal is so despicable but because the people need to know!!!

5 days ago
by Liiz Harris

1 stars

The rudest people I have ever dealt …

The rudest people I have ever dealt with! Stay clear. If you are business or a buyer DO NOT USE PAYPAL! Customers hate it despite what they tell you, as a...Read more

The rudest people I have ever dealt with! Stay clear. If you are business or a buyer DO NOT USE PAYPAL! Customers hate it despite what they tell you, as a customer they tell me you only sell using PayPal! If you do, I won't be buying from you.

5 days ago
by Stacey Dungworth

1 stars

absolutely disgusting company

absolutely disgusting company. play with peoples money like its a toy. had to ring 4 times about a pending balance and every call was misleading...Read more

absolutely disgusting company. play with peoples money like its a toy. had to ring 4 times about a pending balance and every call was misleading information. people at the call centre do not know their job and the managers there when you eventually get 1 on the phone speak down to you like there a better person. awful company stay well clear. my account is now deactivated and i will never ever use again

5 days ago
by brad

1 stars

Not wish to help at all, not patient, not trying to listen

I had a quick question regarding my account and the person on the line was like he is in rush and has no wish to help. he quickly answered and was waiting...Read more

I had a quick question regarding my account and the person on the line was like he is in rush and has no wish to help. he quickly answered and was waiting for me to hang up. I was trying to make sure that I have got my answer but he was rude and unpolite in response. shame.

5 days ago
by BornFree, BornBritish

1 stars

Paypal are the worst ever....

Paypal are the worst ever..... Hold your money for 21days for no reason what so ever..... How can a company stop you from accessing your own money..... It...Read more

Paypal are the worst ever..... Hold your money for 21days for no reason what so ever..... How can a company stop you from accessing your own money..... It should be illegal.... Hope some company comes along and puts these criminals out of business...

5 days ago
by michal gomez

1 stars

Beware of Paypal!

They do not notify you ahead of time that they will hold your funds. They hold all new payments for 21 days. Good way to lose your business. If I had it...Read more

They do not notify you ahead of time that they will hold your funds. They hold all new payments for 21 days. Good way to lose your business. If I had it to redo I would go through a bank for online payments instead. At least then you can get your money.

6 days ago
by Brandon

1 stars

It's like a ransom

PayPal decided now that any amount I run for over $500 in a week will be held for 30 days. I have had my account for nearly four years, I had a card...Read more

PayPal decided now that any amount I run for over $500 in a week will be held for 30 days. I have had my account for nearly four years, I had a card reader 3 years ago and did not have a hold. Now they say my account is new and that is why there is a hold. I told them to release the money or I would cancel my account and go with a different Payment processing company. Now there is a hold on my account and I have no access at all. Hold my money for 30 days is bad enough but now holding my account hostage has to be illegal but they say it was in my agreement

6 days ago
by Andreas Siedentopp

1 stars

PayPal is the worst ever

PayPal is the worst ever, don't ever trust them with your money! You will be lucky if you ever get them back to your account again. Most of the time you...Read more

PayPal is the worst ever, don't ever trust them with your money! You will be lucky if you ever get them back to your account again. Most of the time you will be met by a screen saying "Something happend, try again later" whenever you try to transfer money, open an account, link your bank account, link your credit card or whatever you want to do. When you then call their customer service their are uterly hopeless and have no clue what they are talking about or what to do! "Try again later" - It's my money!

6 days ago
by Glen Fletcher

1 stars

Thanks PayPal!

'Buyer Protection' was just a waste of time. The strict time limits forced me to rush a claim through as I received faulty goods, I could probably have...Read more

'Buyer Protection' was just a waste of time. The strict time limits forced me to rush a claim through as I received faulty goods, I could probably have gotten a little bit further with the sellers directly. The whole process took about a month and then PayPal found against me because the seller arranged their own collection so I didn't have the tracking ID. Now I have neither the product I bought nor the £400 I paid. Thanks PayPal.

1 week ago
by Alex Barber

5 stars

Excellent Service

Excellent Service, easily transfer, send and receive money.

1 week ago
by Maria

1 stars

Paypal is holding my money ransome.

I have never in my life had this many problems trying to access my account and transfer my money from paypal to my bank account. I had forgotten my...Read more

I have never in my life had this many problems trying to access my account and transfer my money from paypal to my bank account. I had forgotten my password because I rarely use paypal and when trying to get access it kept sending me through the security measure such as calling me up - typing a code - the voice on the phone saying t was correct and that I would get access just so that the website told me it couldn't confirm it was me and I haf to try again. After days of not being able to get acces or even be able to contact paypal because ironically you have to login to send an email - I finally got access. Just to have the exact same problems when trying to transfer the balance on my paypal account to my bank account. After yet another week of trying I senf them an email because I'm getting desperate and impatient. I get a response on my email and i have to login to see the response - just to find out that the SECURITY MEASURES yet again are not allowinh me to go in and see my account. Great job paypal. I am an extremely unsatisfied customer. If it wasn't because you were holding my money ransome I would quit your service.

1 week ago
by Veronika Steuxner

1 stars

Unhelpful and greedy company

I have returned an item that I paid with through PayPal. The refund I was owed has never been received and the seller never responded to any of my emails....Read more

I have returned an item that I paid with through PayPal. The refund I was owed has never been received and the seller never responded to any of my emails. Despite all this PayPal chose to not issue a refund and dealing with them was an absolute nightmare.

1 week ago
by Mr God-Elect

1 stars

Degenerates

Today I noticed a huge deduction of my funds in my bank account, only to discover that it was sourced from PayPal on a transaction I initiated and,...Read more

Today I noticed a huge deduction of my funds in my bank account, only to discover that it was sourced from PayPal on a transaction I initiated and, because of what the seller wrote to me, cancelled within hours, which happened a few days ago. Upon looking on my PayPal account, it transpired that they placed a hold on my refund. That's right, they placed a HOLD on my refund, but were happy to pull the funds from my bank account days after I had the transaction cancelled. Another thing that evokes a cry to kill is the lack of actual customer service. I emailed them immediately, only to receive a robot reply with a long-a$$ list of "answers" to every inquiry under the sun, and if I want to get in virtual contact with an intelligent life form, or lack thereof, I have to go out of my way to message them again, which is, fundamentally, a complete waste of time. As far as I'm concerned, PayPal's integrity, both structurally and morally, is about as adequate as a broken compass.

1 week ago
by Katya Pavlyuchenkova

1 stars

Paypal supports Fraudsters

Scammed on ebay/paypal £500. Bought Samsung Galaxy S8 on ebay. Seller sent a special delivery label to his friend but used my surname. The fake recipient...Read more

Scammed on ebay/paypal £500. Bought Samsung Galaxy S8 on ebay. Seller sent a special delivery label to his friend but used my surname. The fake recipient signed it so it showed as delivered. He put this tracking no. in ebay. The fraudster's name is Olumide Ebitanmi. Royal Mail confirmed it was never sent to my address so i had no chance of ever receiving it. After hours of calls to Paypal, first they said the buyer isn't at fault because he sent it. Then they said "don't worry your money is fully protected by Paypal". They woman even said the seller has 4 other cases open against him. "We'll try to contact the seller. If we can't contact him in 7 days we will refund you". Six hours later i get an email saying we decided the case in the seller's favour. What a joke! They didn't even check with Royal Mail. Most lazy and useless people at Paypal. So the fraudster stole my money and listed more of these phones to rip other people off. Unbelievable. Now the only option left is to appeal the case. If i lose i will try a chargeback or take Paypal to court to recover my money. Paypal let's fraudsters get away with scams. They whole system is open to cheating. I'm not someone who lets people cheat me. I already know how useful the police is in England. As i have "connections" I will be hunting down the seller very shortly. Already found his address and will send people to have a word with him.

1 week ago
by GM

1 stars

Awful

Absolute DISGUSTING company!

1 week ago
by fatima

1 stars

Paypal is the wost company to use if …

Paypal is the wost company to use if you are the seller. I sold my handbag worth over 1200 dollars. The money was held as the owner of the paypal account...Read more

Paypal is the wost company to use if you are the seller. I sold my handbag worth over 1200 dollars. The money was held as the owner of the paypal account said her account was being hacked and someone else purchased the handbag, I had no choice but to return the money to her paypal account and lost my handbag. There is a big security loop hole in there security system. ebay confirmed bag to be delivered and said you need to speak to paypal to release the money but paypal said that they cannot release the money because it was not purchased by the owner of the paypal account. I WILL NEVER EVER USE PAYPAL AGAIN and I hope everyone sees this

1 week ago
by Andrew London

1 stars

Beware.

Beware. I had my first dispute. I sold app code on Flippa.com for $90. I transferred the source code as agreed. But was unable to transfer the app due...Read more

Beware. I had my first dispute. I sold app code on Flippa.com for $90. I transferred the source code as agreed. But was unable to transfer the app due to an Apple bug. I sent over 10 emails to the buyer explaining the problem. Two months later he decides to follow through with a Paypal dispute. Paypal sides with the buyer, and then he leaves a negative comment. So the buyer got free source code for an already low fee of $90 and my account is in the negative. And there is no more recourse I can take, due to the 'arbitration' process. Ultimately, this is Flippa.com (small shizzt company) Paypal.com (billion dollar company) and Apple.com (billion dollar company) they have to rip me off of a measley 90 bucks. AND I get negative feedback, all for doing nothing wrong. Do NOT trust Paypal. You can literally get 'zapped' at anytime from any sale as far back as two years. I learned my lesson.

08/09/2017
by Lad Rudik

1 stars

PayPal is as unreliable as ZORO is!

The case you opened regarding the payment to Zoro was automatically closed because you didn't log in to the Resolution Center and escalate it before...Read more

The case you opened regarding the payment to Zoro was automatically closed because you didn't log in to the Resolution Center and escalate it before August 3, 2017. I tried, I tried several times - PayPal web site is as useless as ZORO itself which sends out items which I did not ordered. Tried to cal PayPal - you talk to a machine! Seems like I lost $1200 dollars - both companies lost me.

08/08/2017
by Peter Naumann

5 stars

I think that Paypal is a fantastic payment …

I think that Paypal is a fantastic payment system. It's smart that you do not have to disclose your credit card information anywhere, but also because...Read more

I think that Paypal is a fantastic payment system. It's smart that you do not have to disclose your credit card information anywhere, but also because it's smart that I can see all my subscriptions at once. And that I can change credit card information at one time when they expire.

08/07/2017
by J

1 stars

I am so disappointed with their ruling …

I am so disappointed with their ruling in my dispute case. I can't believe PayPal would side with the seller when I never received my item! I filed a...Read more

I am so disappointed with their ruling in my dispute case. I can't believe PayPal would side with the seller when I never received my item! I filed a complaint after trying to contact the clothing company numerous times (once I actually got through and the customer service rep told me he would issue a refund immediately as he could see in his database that the package was in fact sent BACK to them - and never did!) So basically they stole my money. Because my package never came, as was confirmed by the company themselves, but they kept my money. AND the company sent Paypal a fake tracking number to make it seem like I received the package! PayPal has an option to ask for a repeal against their ruling, however ONLY if I actually did received the item and by it was not what I expected. But I didn't! I received nada. So I'm stuck. I used to trust making my purchases through PayPal but I won't be doing so any longer.

08/07/2017
by daryl jones

1 stars

With holding my money sent the item 3 …

With holding my money sent the item 3 days ago called them up they told me they have to wait until the The person leaves positive feedback via eBay they...Read more

With holding my money sent the item 3 days ago called them up they told me they have to wait until the The person leaves positive feedback via eBay they also informed me every transaction will be on hold until they receive positive feedback from other buyers on a bik The person leaves positive feedback via eBay they also informed me every transaction will be on hold until they receive positive feedback from other buyers on eBay Absolute con merchants


PayPal has very poor reviews on Trustpilot, with close to 50% of the over 2’700 customers who have given their feedback rating the company 1 star out of 5. However, the reviews on Trustpilot concern all of PayPal services and might not reflect the opinion of people using PayPal’s specific personal payments service.

Note: PayPal is not inviting its users to share their experience with TrustPilot which could explain part of the reason for the high proportion of bad ratings.



Can I trust PayPal?

PayPal is one of the largest independent, publicly traded, consumer financial technology companies in the world. Headquartered in San Jose, California, the company was founded in 1988 and now employs more than 18’000 employees across the world. PayPal is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol PYPL, and has a current market capitalization of approximately US$50 billion.

PayPal’s brand is recognized worldwide and used by 200m people for its convenience, security, and global availability. More than US$354 billion have been transacted using PayPal, including US$102 billion from mobile devices. That’s 6 billion transactions in total, and 2 billion on mobile!

PayPal offers its service worldwide, which requires the company to be registered, authorized and/or licensed in many jurisdictions. In the US, Paypal is licensed as a money transmitter in 55 states. In the European Union, PayPal is licensed as a bank in Luxembourg. Thanks to EU regulations, PayPal can “passport” this license and operate in other countries throughout the EU. PayPal also holds local entities in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico and Russia. In every other country, PayPal provides its service through PayPal Pte. Ltd., a Singaporean company.

Clients’ funds are held in pooled accounts which are segregated from PayPal’s own accounts. The funds are never used by PayPal for its own expenses, and are not voluntarily paid to creditors in case of a bankruptcy.

PayPal’s dedicated security team monitors every transaction 24/7 to identify theft, and prevent fraud and email phishing tactics. All transactions and private information are secured with state of the art encryption and security measures.

So, can you trust PayPal with your money? Yes, definitely. PayPal is a leading financial institution with a worldwide recognized brand, duly regulated, with pioneering technology and millions of customers. We have to note that some customers, mostly merchants, have expressed complaints that PayPal was holding their funds for some time for security and compliance reasons, but it doesn’t seem to concern individuals making international money transfers.

 




How PayPal works


1. Log into your PayPal account.

2. Click on “Tools” and then “Send Money” at the top of the page.

3. Click on “Send money to friends and family” and enter the address of their PayPal account. If your recipient doesn’t have a PayPal account yet, simply enter their email address and they will be invited to open a PayPal account to receive the funds.

4. Enter the amount you wish to send, and which currency to send the money in.

5. Review the details (including PayPal’s exchange rate if your payment includes a currency conversion), and if everything looks good, click “Send Money Now”.


 


PayPal Payment Methods

PayPal will use the first available payment method in the order above to fund the transaction. If any of these payment methods are not available in your account (or are only partially sufficient for your transfer amount), PayPal will automatically use the next available method in the list to fund the transaction (or its remainder). If multiple payment methods are available to fund a transaction, PayPal will sometimes let you choose your preferred payment method.

Note that not all payment methods are available in every country. More importantly, the payment method chosen can also significantly influence the cost of your transaction, as certain payment methods attract additional fees and/or more expensive currency conversions. The cheapest solution is usually to add funds to your PayPal account, convert your balance into the receiving currency, and then use this balance to fund your payment. See the section on “PayPal Exchange Rate & Fees” for more information on this topic.

The sources used by PayPal to fund a transaction are the following, in order:

  1. Your PayPal balance in the receiving currency
  2. Your PayPal balance in another currency
  3. (An instant bank transfer from your linked bank account)*
  4. (PayPal credit)*
  5. (Your PayPal-branded debit or credit card)*
  6. Your debit or credit card
  7. (A regular bank transfer from your linked bank account)*
* Only available in a few countries

To better understand how this works, imagine you are in the United Kingdom and wish to send EUR 100 to your mother in France. Let’s consider a few examples:

  • You have a balance of EUR 150. In this case, PayPal will use your EUR balance to entirely fund the transaction.
  • You have a balance of GBP 50, and a balance of EUR 75. In this case, PayPal will first use your entire balance of EUR 75, and will then use part of your GBP 50 balance which it will convert into EUR to pay for the remaining EUR 25.
  • You have a balance of GBP 50 and have a credit card linked to your PayPal account. In this case, PayPal will use your entire balance of GBP 50 which it will convert into EUR (e.g. giving you EUR 55), and will then charge your credit card for the remainder of the transaction. (e.g. GBP 40.91 which it will convert into EUR 45).

PayPal Exchange Rate & Fees

PayPal fees

For personal payments to friends or family members, PayPal charges a fee if the payment is international, i.e. if the PayPal accounts of the sender and the recipient are in different countries. Domestic personal payments generally carry no fees, unless you pay with a credit card or debit card.

The fee for international personal payments depends on the payment method, the country of the sender, and the country of the recipient. The fee is calculated as a percentage of the payment amount, plus a fixed fee for payments funded by a debit or credit card.

The personal payments fee is much lower for payments made from your PayPal balance (or linked bank account) than with every other payment method (e.g. debit or credit card). Therefore, if your payment isn’t urgent, it’s much cheaper to add funds to your PayPal account through a bank transfer to pay for your transaction, or to use your linked bank account (this can also give you a much better exchange rate as explained in the “PayPal exchange rates” section).

PayPal generally does not charge fees for adding or withdrawing funds to or from your PayPal account, so you and your recipient should not have to pay any other fees.


PayPal fees calculator

As you can see, calculating PayPal’s fees for an international personal payment can be quite complex. If you’re looking for a PayPal fees calculator, look no further. You can calculate PayPal’s fees and compare them to all other money transfer services here.


PayPal exchange rate

The exchange rate which PayPal applies to personal payments is calculated based on PayPal’s wholesale exchange rate. PayPal’s exchange rate for personal payments includes a 2.5% to 4.5% margin subtracted from the wholesale rate, depending on the sender’s country and the receiving currency.

PayPal usually applies different exchange rates for the conversion of balances in different currencies (a “balance conversion”) than for the conversion of currency during a personal payment (a “payment conversion”). What is the difference between the two?

  • In a balance conversion, you first must hold a balance in one currency, which you convert into a balance in another currency.
  • In a payment conversion, you convert your currency into another currency while making a personal payment. The currency you are converting into is entirely sent to your recipient, you will not hold a balance of the new currency after a payment conversion.

If you use any other payment method than your balance in the receiving currency, PayPal will automatically make a payment conversion. Since the exchange rates for balance conversions are nearly always much better than those for payment conversions, it’s best to load money on your PayPal account (which also attracts less fees as explained in the “PayPal fees” section), make a balance conversion and then use that balance to fund your transaction. This will give you the best exchange rate (and the lowest fees).


Mobile apps

PayPal’s mobile app is available for Apple iOS and Google Android. It is beautifully designed, and is a real pleasure to use. The PayPal app allows you to view your balance and account activity, add and withdraw money, and send and request money. The app is very highly rated across both app stores, with a 4.5/5 rating on the Apple App Store and a 4.3/5 on the Google Play Store.

The only feature which the PayPal app is missing is the ability to convert your balance between different currencies. If you send money through the app in a currency for which you do not hold a (sufficient) balance, you will be forced to make a payment conversion which is more expensive than a balance conversion (as explained in the “PayPal exchange rates” section). Therefore, if you frequently use that PayPal mobile app to send money, it is best to make a balance conversion on the PayPal website before making your transfer from the mobile app.

 


Additional services

PayPal offers many services in addition to personal payments to friends and family. In fact, PayPal’s main and original territory is e-commerce. PayPal is now a group of several different companies offering various payment-related services.

Commercial payments

PayPal is one of the most widely accepted methods to pay merchants for goods and services online. PayPal can also be used on mobile applications and at offline retail locations (through the “PayPal Here” service, available only in the US, the UK, Australia and Japan).

For consumers, PayPal provides a wide array of different payment methods for their purchase (as described in the “ PayPal Payment Methods” section). Another key value proposition is the PayPal Buyer Protection Program, which completely insures consumers against the risk of unauthorized charges to their account, as well as damaged and incorrect orders, or orders which are never delivered. Consumer’s financial information is also never shared with merchants, which protects consumers’ privacy.

For merchants, the advantage of using PayPal is that it is a payment system used and trusted by millions of consumers worldwide, allowing them to cater to a wider variety of consumers and needs. While accepting payments through PayPal can be costly for merchants, PayPal’s end-to-end solution takes care of everything and provides an instant access to funds. Merchants are also protected against fraudulent or abusive claims.

Xoom

Xoom, founded in 2001 as one of the first digital remittance providers in the world, was acquired by PayPal in 2015. The service allows migrants in the United States to send money back home to 41 countries, pay bills in 7 countries, and reload prepaid phones in 25 countries. For more information, read our review of Xoom.


BrainTree

BrainTree is a payment gateway allowing merchants to accept payments with credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, Venmo, Bitcoin, Apple Pay, Android Pay, among others. In addition to the wide array of payment methods accepted, BrainTree’s simple pricing and the ease of integration are key features of its service.


Venmo

Venmo is a mobile and social payment service which allows users in the United States to make payments to each other, and is typically used to split bills with friends, give a relative a gift, or reimburse small loans. Venmo wallets can be funded by a bank account, debit card or credit card. Transactions are free unless a credit card is used, in which case a 3% fee is charged. Venmo was acquired by BrainTree in 2012, which was itself absorbed by PayPal in 2013.


PayPal Credit

PayPal Credit offers credit lines to consumers in the US. This can be used to delay payments on purchases or money transfers made with PayPal. There are currently no annual fees, and no interest is charged if the credit is fully reimbursed within 6 months. The annual percentage rate (APR) on PayPal Credit lines is currently 19.99%. Applying for PayPal Credit requires providing only a birth date and a social security number (SSN), and a credit decision is made within seconds. .


The story behind PayPal

PayPal was founded by legendary entrepreneurs Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, Luke Nosek, and Jack Selby in 1998 in San Jose, California. PayPal was launched as an e-wallet service allowing merchants to process payments, and individuals to send money to one another. Shortly after the company’s IPO on the Nasdaq Stock Market in 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay, as it was the payment method used by most of eBay users. PayPal grew exponentially inside eBay, generating up to 40% of eBay’s revenue. At that point, it was time to separate the two companies and for PayPal to become independent again. The spin-off of PayPal was completed on July 2015, the same month the company announced it was acquiring the digital money transfer company Xoom. In 2016, PayPal employed more than 18’000 people, had 198 million users, and generated US$10 billion in revenue.

 


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Key facts about PayPal

Service information

Time to open an account A few minutes
Pay-in options Credit card
Debit card
Bank Account
Paypal
Pay-out options Bank account
Minimum amount -
Maximum amount -
Available languages
Français
English
Deutsch
Polski
Español
Português
Italiano
Personnal transfers Yes
Business customers Yes
Advanced currency contracts No
Required documents -
iOS app Yes
Android App Yes

Company information

Type of service provider Digital Wallets
Active since 1998
Headquarter Palo Alto

Contact information

Contact support -
Service hour -
Twitter @paypal
Facebook paypal


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