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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
|Time to open an account||A few minutes|
|Advanced currency contracts||No|
|Type of service provider||Digital Wallets|