PayPal Transfers From Canada to the US: Beware the Fees
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The United States is the most popular destination for international payments originating from Canada, 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 Canada 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 Canada 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 Canada to the US
Sending money from Canada 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:
- Log in to your PayPal wallet;
- Click the 'Send & Request' button;
- Enter your recipient's email address, username, or mobile number;
- Specify the 'Sending to a friend' option;
- Enter the amount you'd like to send and choose USD;
- 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 Canada to the US — Exchange Rates
In most cases, the bulk of the fees PayPal will charge you when sending money from Canada 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 CAD/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 CAD 1,000 you transfer over to the US, PayPal will convert only around CAD 960 of that amount into US dollars at the true exchange rate.
PayPal Canada to the US — Transfer Fees
With PayPal, whenever you transfer 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: CAD 2.99 fixed fee.
- Via credit/debit card: CAD 2.99 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:
Other Fees to Anticipate
If you make a PayPal transfer from Canadian 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 Canada to the US with Wise (the cheapest bank transfer service on around 83% of searches on Monito over the past year), your recipient would receive around USD 21 extra for every CAD 1,000 you send across the border.
For the sake of comparison, below you can see how much PayPal costs for a CAD 500 transfer to the US compared to Wise and Scotiabank:
In addition to Wise, other services such as CurrencyFair, WorldRemit, and MoneyGram are highly competitive for transfers from Canada to the US too. For larger transfers (i.e. those above CAD 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 PayPal Canada to US Alternatives
FAQ About PayPal in the US
🗽 Can I send money from Canada to the US through PayPal?
Yes, it's possible to send money from Canada to the US using PayPal. To do so, you simply need to log in to your PayPal account and instruct a transfer in US dollars. However, while convenient, PayPal is one of the most expensive ways to exchange currencies, and we recommend finding a cheaper alternative by running a search on Monito's comparison engine instead.
🍁 Can I use my Canadian PayPal account in the US?
Yes. From a user's perspective, PayPal can be used in Canada in just the same way as in the US and around the world.
🏡 Can I change my PayPal account from Canada to the US?
You cannot change your PayPal account from Canada to the US because you cannot change your residence in PayPal. However, you will still be able to use your Canadian PayPal account in the US in much the same way. To use your American residential address on the platform, you'll need to open a brand-new PayPal account in US.
⏱ How long do PayPal transfers from Canada to the US take?
PayPal transfers from one wallet to another are nearly instant, taking only a few seconds to arrive. However, if you include the time it takes to move funds from your bank account to your PayPal account or vice versa, the process takes a lot longer, usually around three to five working days. To out more about making instant international transfers, take a look at our in-depth guide here.
💱 What is PayPal's CAD to USD exchange rate?
PayPal's Canadian to US dollar exchange rate is constantly fluctuating, meaning it's practically never the same value over time. To find the latest exchange rate, you'll need to log in to your PayPal account and, in your 'Wallet' page, click on the 'Currency Converter' function and specify CAD and USD as your currencies. Insofar as exchange rate margins go, these fees can be rather pricey and can be anywhere between 2.5% and 4.5% worse than the mid-market exchange rate, which is the rate you'd see on Google, for example.
💵 What are PayPal's Canada to the US foreign transfer fees?
If you're sending money to a PayPal account in the US from Canada, you'll pay a CAD 2.99 fixed fee and an additional 2.90% commission if you pay by credit or debit card.
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