PayPal Transfers From Australia to the US: Beware the Fees

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com
Jul 8, 2022
Affiliate disclosure

The United States was the second-most popular destination for international payments originating from Australia on Monito's comparison in 2022, and PayPal, with its 300 million customers, is one of the most widely-used P2P mobile transfer platforms across the globe.

However, while speedy and convenient, using PayPal to send money from Australia to the US is a pricey choice due to the transaction fees and exchange rate margins involved. In this guide, we look at how to send money from Australia to the US with PayPal, what the costs are, and how to find cheaper alternatives instead.

PayPal is pricey to the US. Compare alternatives instead:

How to PayPal From Australia to the US

Sending money from Australia to the US with PayPal may be expensive, but it's there's no doubt that it's convenient. To get the job done, all you'll need to do is log in to your PayPal account and make a transfer to any American PayPal user whose balance is in US dollars. This can be done as follows:

  1. Log in to your PayPal wallet;
  2. Click the 'Send & Request' button;
  3. Enter your recipient's email address, username, or mobile number;
  4. Specify the 'Sending to a friend' option;
  5. Enter the amount you'd like to send and choose USD;
  6. Click 'Send Money Now'.

Using this method, you'll be able to choose whether to pay by credit card, or using the balance in your PayPal wallet. The latter option will subject your transaction to PayPal's exchange rate fees, while the former option gives you a choice between paying at PayPal's or your card issuer's exchange rates.

Take a look at Monito's in-depth PayPal review to learn more.

PayPal's Fees and Exchange Rates

Weighing up total fees and exchange rates for international payments, it quickly becomes clear that PayPal is one of the most expensive ways to transfer into a different currency. Ultimately, this is because of the highly variable, nontransparent fees and exchange rates that you'll be charged along the way. We go through them both below:

PayPal Australia to the US — Exchange Rates

In most cases, the bulk of the fees PayPal will charge you when sending money from Australia to the US will come in the form of the exchange rate margin, the difference between the mid-market exchange rate (i.e. the one you see on Google) and the exchange rate that PayPal offers.

According to PayPal's fee schedule, this fee constitutes a margin that's 4% above the mid-market rate. However, according to our own analysis of the exchange rate that PayPal displays on its pricing calculator for AUD/USD transfers compared to the mid-market exchange rate, PayPal's exchange rate margins fluctuate constantly and can be slightly lower or higher than this amount. In effect, this means that for every AUD 1,000 you transfer over to the US, PayPal will convert only around AUD 960 of that amount into US dollars at the true exchange rate.

PayPal Australia to the US — Transfer Fees

With PayPal, whenever you send money to the account of somebody else in a different currency, you'll pay a currency conversion fee in addition to the margin we touched on above. These fees break down as follows:

  • Via PayPal balance/bank account: AUD 5.99 fixed fee.
  • Via credit/debit card: AUD 2 fixed fee + 2.90% commission.

To get a better picture of how the above transfer fees and exchange rate margins fit into the picture, take a look at the chart below:

Sent (AUD)

Margin (AUD)

Transfer Fee (AUD)

Total Cost (%)

Received (USD)

$100

$3.74

$5

8.7%

$62

$500

$13.68

$5.99

3.9%

$324

$2,500

$91.75

$5.99

3.9%

$1,635

Quoted: 6/7/2022 10:30 GMT +01:00

Other Fees to Anticipate

If you make a PayPal transfer from Aussie dollars to US dollars using a debit or credit card, you could be charged an exchange rate margin fee by your card issuer. However, PayPal gives users the choice of whether to pay their own exchange rate fees or those of the card issuer. Because currency conversion costs at major card providers can easily be as steep as at PayPal, we recommend choosing PayPal's exchange rates unless you know that your card provider offers you favourable exchange rates.

Find the Best PayPal Alternatives

Because PayPal is one the most expensive ways to send money to a different currency, we only recommend it for in-app transfers where using PayPal is the only option. Where it can be avoided, we recommend running a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine to find the best deal instead.

For example, by comparing your options and making a bank transfer from Australia to the US with SingX (the cheapest bank transfer service on around 80% of searches on Monito over the past year), your recipient would receive around USD 21 extra for every AUD 1,000 you send across the border.

For the sake of comparison, below you can see how much PayPal costs for a AUD 500 transfer to the US compared to SingX and Commbank:

Fees (AUD)

$5.75¹

$19.67

$56.07²

Fees (%)

1.2%

3.9%

11.2%

Arrives (USD)

$340

$324

$303

Quoted: 6/7/2022 10:30 GMT +01:00
¹ Standard pricing. Get zero transfer fees on your first 2 transfers with code WELCOME3K
² Includes third-party SWIFT fees.

In addition to SingX, other services such as Wise and Instarem offer great fees and exchange rates for transfers from Australia to the US too. For larger transfers (i.e. those above AUD 25,000), then specialized foreign exchange brokers such as OFX and Currencies Direct become the better-priced services to suit your needs and will save you a considerable amount over PayPal in the long run.

Run a search on Monito's comparison engine to compare the market and find the best deal in real-time:—

Find the best PayPal alternatives from Australia to America:

FAQ About PayPal in Australia and the US

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