How to open a PayPal account in the UK?

Gert Svaiko

If you’ve ever shopped online, you’ll be aware of PayPal. It’s one of the world’s biggest payment services, used by 173 million people¹ to shop on millions of websites worldwide.

With PayPal, you can pay for online purchases, as well as sending and receiving money within the UK and internationally.

If you don’t yet have an account but are interested in opening one, read on. We’ve put together a complete guide on how to open a PayPal account in the UK, covering everything you need to know. We’ll run through what documents and details you need, and the process for creating your new account.

And while you’re comparing all the different accounts out there, check out the Wise account from the money services provider Wise. It’s an ideal alternative if you need to make international transfers and spend abroad.


Please see the Terms of Use for your region.

Table of contents

Requirements for opening an account with PayPal?

Like UK banks and other account providers, PayPal does have some eligibility requirements for new customers.

But the good news is that most people will be eligible for a personal account. You only need to be 18 years old and have full legal capacity to enter into a contract with PayPal and use its services.²

PayPal doesn’t have savings accounts or cash ISAs, but it does have business accounts. These have a whole other set of requirements, such as being registered in the UK (or another country that PayPal operates in) and only using the account for business purposes.²

📚 Read more: PayPal Friends and Family feature in the UK

What documents do you need to open a PayPal account?

To apply online for a PayPal account, you’ll need to provide some information about yourself along with a few key documents.

Here’s what you’ll need:³

  • Proof of identity - any government-issued ID, such as your UK passport or driving licence
  • Proof of address - for example, a utility bill or bank statement featuring your residential address and dated within the last 12 months.

Don’t have proof of address? Here’s a handy guide on how to get hold of documents to prove your address in the UK.

You’ll need to verify your identity in order to use all the features of your PayPal account, such as sending money and receiving payments.

You’ll also need to provide some personal details, such as your name, address, phone number and email address. ⁴

How to open a PayPal account online?

You should find it relatively straightforward to open an account online with PayPal. There are a couple of ways to do it, either through the PayPal website or the dedicated PayPal mobile app.

To sign up online, simply go to and click the ‘Sign Up’ button at the top of the page. You’ll be prompted to enter your email address, and then all you need to do is follow the on-screen instructions to set up your account.

To apply through the PayPal app, just follow these steps:⁵

  1. Download the free PayPal app from the Google Play Store or iOS App Store
  2. Enter and confirm your phone number - PayPal will send you text containing a secure code, which you’ll need to enter in the app to complete the verification process
  3. Link a debit or credit card, or your bank account, by entering the relevant details. This is what will be used to fund your PayPal purchases when you don’t have a current PayPal balance.

And that’s it - aside from a few steps to verify your identity, your new PayPal account should be ready to use right away.

📚 Read more: How does PayPal work for personal users in the UK?

How long it takes to open a PayPal account?

PayPal doesn’t say exactly how long it takes to open a new account, but it should be pretty quick. You can complete the process online or in the app in just a few steps, so it could take as little as 15 minutes to do.⁶

Just be aware that it may take a little longer to add your linked bank account or card details, and to verify your identity.

📚 Read more: How to close a PayPal account: the process

How to contact PayPal customer service?

Having trouble opening an account? If you need help verifying your ID or linking a bank account, you’ll need to know how to contact PayPal customer services.

Here’s the information you need to get assistance:⁷

  • Call 0203 901 7000 - lines are open 8am to 6:30pm, Monday to Sunday. You’ll perhaps get a faster response if you sign in to your account first.
  • Chat with PayPal Assistant or leave a message for a customer services agent - for all personal account queries, including closing an account and how to top up your balance.

Wise - An alternative to a PayPal account

While you’re comparing accounts and providers, make sure to check out the Wise account. It’s a fantastic alternative to PayPal, especially if you need to spend overseas or send payments between countries.

When you sign up online with Wise, there’s no initial or monthly fee to pay.

You’ll get a powerful account for managing your money in 40+ currencies, including making international payments for low fees and mid-market exchange rates.

For a one-time cost of just £7, you can get a Wise debit card which has no foreign transaction fees for spending abroad, just a small conversion fee for cross-currency transactions. You can withdraw up to £200 a month in up to 2 transactions from overseas ATMs with no Wise fees.

Sign up with Wise today 💰

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

After reading this, you should have all the info you need to open a PayPal account in the UK. It should be pretty easy and quick to do, and it’s convenient that everything can be done online. Just make sure you have your ID documents to hand.

Sources used for this article:

  1. PayPal - What is PayPal?
  2. PayPal - User Agreement
  3. PayPal - How do I confirm my identity?
  4. PayPal - What information is required to open a personal PayPal account?
  5. PayPal - Digital Wallet - How PayPal works
  6. Stilt - How to set up a PayPal account
  7. PayPal - Contact Us

Sources checked on 27-Oct-2023.

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money without borders

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location