How to send money via PayPal internationally from the UK?

Gert Svaiko

Need to send money to someone in another country? Perhaps you want to contribute to a friend’s honeymoon fund, cover your share of a restaurant bill or pay an international business for a recent order.

You have a few options available, including using a payment service like PayPal. In this guide, we’ll give you the lowdown on how to send money via PayPal internationally. This includes how to set up an overseas payment, how much it costs and other essential info.

And while you’re comparing options for international payments, make sure to check out Wise. You can send money worldwide with Wise and only pay small, transparent fees. What’s more, Wise uses the fair mid-market exchange rate, so your money will go further.


Learn more about the Wise International money transfer

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.

PayPal international payments: There are a few catches

PayPal is one of a number of providers that allow you to send and receive money internationally. So, using its service, you can receive a lovely birthday present from a friend in the U.S. or help out with the bills back home if you’re currently living abroad. It can all be done securely and conveniently online.

There’s a catch though. Unlike sending money to friends and family in the UK, PayPal charges fees for international payments.

The PayPal international fees structure only charges the sender, so you won’t have to shell out for receiving money from abroad.

As a sender using PayPal, you’ll be charged a fee of 5% of the transfer amount. This will be a minimum of £0.99 and a maximum of £2.99

This fee is only for personal payments to friends and family. If you want to pay international PayPal invoices or receive international business payments from abroad, a whole different set of PayPal business fees will apply.

PayPal currency conversion costs

It’s just as important to check the exchange rate as the fee when making an international transfer. On top of its 5% cross border fee, PayPal also chooses the exchange rate to use to convert your money.

PayPal’s exchange rate is likely to include a margin or mark-up on top of the mid-market exchange rate. This is the one you’ll find on Google and it’s known as the fairest rate you can get.

To show how this can affect your transfer, let’s run through a quick example. Say you want to send £100 to a friend in France. Here’s how it looks:

Sending GBP to EUR

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.

How to send money via PayPal from the UK?

It’s pretty simple to use PayPal to send money to a friend. All you need is an account and you’re ready to go.

Here’s how to send money through PayPal in just a few simple steps:²

  1. Login to your PayPal account and head to the ‘Send & Request’ section.
  2. Type in the recipient’s email address or mobile number – these details need to be those used to register their PayPal account, so it’s worth double-checking with your friend beforehand.
  3. When asked what the payment is for, select ‘Sending to a friend or to family’ and you won’t be charged any additional business fees.
  4. Enter the amount you want to send and an optional note to tell the recipient what the payment is for (i.e. birthday present).
  5. Check the amount and funding source – this will usually be set as your bank account or current PayPal balance, but you can change it if you wish.
  6. Send the payment, and your friend will receive their money almost instantly – it’s that easy.

How do I send money to a friend’s PayPal account?

Follow the steps above to quickly and easily pop money into a friend’s PayPal account.

If your friend doesn’t have a PayPal account yet, you can still enter their email address and they’ll receive a prompt to set one up. It’s quick and free, and you’ll be able to send cash to each other in future.² You can also send money using the PayPal app.

How to send money through PayPal without an account?

It’s possible, if a little more complicated, to send money using PayPal if you don’t have an account. The easiest option is to set one up, as it’s free and relatively quick.

If you’d prefer not to, follow these steps:

  1. Ask the recipient to send you a PayPal invoice or a money request.
  2. You’ll receive an email – click on the ‘Pay now’ button embedded in this email or in the invoice.
  3. Pay using your credit or debit card details.

It’s important to remember that this option is likely to incur fees. You could swerve any extra costs by setting up your own PayPal account instead, as it’s free to send money to friends and family in the UK.

Using the PayPal request money feature

Need to give your friend a gentle nudge to send over their share of last night’s dinner? Or want to request the money for a service provided? The PayPal request money feature may be able to help.

This is also a good option if you’d prefer not to open a PayPal account, as friends can ‘request money’ and you can pay by clicking an email link and paying using your credit or debit card.

Here’s how to receive money through PayPal:

  1. Login to your PayPal account and head to the ‘Request money’ section.
  2. Tap in the email address or mobile number of the person you want to request payment from.
  3. Enter the amount and choose whether you’d like to request money or split a bill. You can also add other people at this stage, plus an optional note on what the payment is for.
  4. Request the payment and an email/text notification will be sent to your friend. You’ll receive an update when they’ve paid the requested amount.

After reading this, you should have all the info you need to send your first international payment with PayPal. Just make sure you check the fee and exchange rate first, as it may not be the cheapest way of getting your money overseas.

And, if you value transparent fees and don’t want to pay for an exchange rate mark-up, consider using Wise. You can send money worldwide in 50+ currencies for low fees and a fair mid-market exchange rate.

Register 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.

Sources used:

  1. PayPal - Fees
  2. PayPal - How do I send money?

Sources last checked on date: 18-Dec-2022

*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.

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