How to add money to PayPal account - Your guide

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Need to add money to your PayPal account? This guide covers all you need to know.

Table of contents:

PayPal Cash and PayPal Cash Plus

In March 2019 PayPal launched the PayPal Cash and PayPal Cash Plus accounts. If you want to hold a PayPal balance, you’ll need to get one of these accounts. ¹

If you already had an active PayPal account before the March 2019 deadline, and had confirmed your identity with PayPal, a Cash account will have been opened automatically for you. If not, you’ll need to open one before you can add a balance to your PayPal account.

Wise's multi-currency card can be up to 4x cheaper when spending abroad, compared to banks and PayPal

Adding money from a computer

Top up your balance without ever needing to leave your home.

If you want to add money to your PayPal account online, you have a few different options. Let’s take a look at how to top up your account online.

Using a linked bank account

Here’s how to add money to your PayPal account using a linked bank account.

  1. Select Add money - you’ll find the button under your PayPal balance
  2. Choose the linked bank account you want to use
  3. Confirm how much you want to transfer, and click Add
  4. Check the details, and hit the Submit button

Your money should be available in 3 to 5 days. There is no fee for this service. ² ³

Receive money from family or friends

You can also have family or friends send you money through PayPal, which will be added to your balance. It’s worth noting that they may pay a fee to do this.

**If you’re receiving money from another US PayPal account, the sender will pay no fee as long as they fund the transfer with their own balance, or a linked bank account. **

When using a credit or debit card to make a transfer, the sender will pay 2.9% of the transfer amount, plus a fixed fee based on the currency sent. ⁴

Costs are even higher if you’re receiving money from someone based overseas. Read more about PayPal international fees, here.

If you’re receiving payments in a foreign currency - or if you need to send money to people based overseas - you could be better off with Wise. The Wise borderless account lets you hold multiple currencies in one place, and switch between them when you need to, using the mid-market exchange rate.
You’ll also get a linked debit card for simple spending.

Wise Mastercard with balances

With Wise you won’t need to pay any foreign transaction fees when you travel, or shop online with retailers based overseas. Simply top up your balance in dollars for free, switch to the currency you need, and use your debit card to spend like a local. You’ll only ever pay a low, transparent fee for the currency conversion.

Get free access to 40+ currencies and bank details to use as a local for US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and UK with Wise

How to add money using the PayPal app

Here are the basics of adding money through the PayPal app.

Add money online using the PayPal app

If you use the PayPal app, you can add money easily from a linked bank account.³

  1. Open the app and tap PayPal balance
  2. Select Add money
  3. Confirm how much you want to top up, and follow the onscreen prompts to complete the transaction

Add cash using the PayPal Cash app

You can also add cash using the PayPal app, if you have a PayPal Cash Plus account. Just visit a selected retailer, and hand over the cash you want to add to your account, along with the barcode generated from your app.⁵ Here’s what to do.

  1. Click the More button on the bottom of the app’s home screen
  2. Tap Add cash, select the retailer you want to visit, and generate a barcode
  3. Show the store clerk the barcode, and give them the money to add to your account

Barcodes last for only 1 hour, so you’ll need to do this just before you visit your chosen store. There’s a fee of $3.95 for this service.

How to add money to PayPal without a bank account

PayPal can be used without a bank account, too. You can add cash if you have a PayPal Cash or Cash Plus account, or add your checks to your account if they’re approved. There are fees for these services, so take a look at the small print before you decide to go ahead.

How to add money to PayPal with cash

Add cash in selected retail locations, for a fee.

Using a PayPal Cash card

Add cash to your account at branches of CVS, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Rite Aid, 7-Eleven, Walgreens and Wal-Mart. Here’s how.

  1. Give your PayPal Cash card, and the money you want to load to the clerk in your chosen store
  2. The clerk will swipe your card to add the cash
  3. You’ll get a notification by phone or email to confirm the amount has been added

There’s a fee of up to $4.95 for this service, depending on the retail location you choose.⁶ ⁷

Using the PayPal Cash app

You can also add cash to your account using the PayPal Cash app, as outlined above.

Adding money to PayPal using a check

If you have a PayPal Cash account you can add cash using a check, too. Here’s how.

  1. Click the More button on the bottom of the app’s home screen
  2. Select Cash checks
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions, to take a photo of your check and send it to PayPal for verification

If your check is approved, it’ll be added to your account for free within 10 days, or with a fee if you want an expedited service. The charge for priority service is 1% for government checks with a printed signature, or 5% for all other checks, up to a maximum of $5. ⁷ ⁸

PayPal has long been a convenient way to pay for goods and services online. And with PayPal Cash Plus, it got even easier to spend using PayPal while you’re out and about, thanks to the linked debit card. However, depending on your personal needs, PayPal might not offer the best value out there, as some of the fees to top up and spend can be considered relatively high.

Before you choose to use PayPal Cash and PayPal Cash Plus, it’s worth researching to see if alternative providers might serve you better. For example, if you’re looking to spend while traveling, or love to shop online with international retailers, a Wise borderless account might be cheaper. Don’t spend money you don’t have to, on high fees. See if you can save with Wise today.


  1. PayPal - Help Center - What can I do with my personal PayPal account, PayPal Cash account or PayPal Cash Plus account?
  2. PayPal - Help Center - How do I add money to my PayPal account from my confirmed bank account
  3. PayPal - Help Center - How do I add money to my PayPal account?
  4. PayPal - Credit card fees, send money fees and other fees
  5. PayPal - Help Center - Add cash
  6. PayPal - Help Center - How do I add cash to my PayPal Cash Plus account at the register with my PayPal Cash Card?
  7. PayPal Cash Card, Direct Deposit, and Cash Load
  8. PayPal - Help Center - What is the Cash a Check service in the PayPal app?

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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