How to pay someone with PayPal – with or without an account

Adam Rozsa

PayPal can offer a convenient way to send money to friends and family, and also to make payments for goods and services.

In this article, we'll show you how to send money to someone with PayPal – with or without an account.

For international payments, you could save a lot of money if you choose an alternative provider, such as Wise. More on that later.


📝 This article will touch on:

With that said, here’s all you need to know about making a payment with PayPal — with or without an active PayPal account.

Using PayPal to pay internationally? There are a few catches.

Through PayPal Friends and Family, PayPal allows users to send and receive payments more or less anywhere in the world whether if you want to pay back a friend or family member; and with PayPal Goods and Services you get paid as a freelance worker, or simply indulge in a little online shopping.

However, different services with PayPal come with different costs. It’s well worth understanding the PayPal fee structure before you decide if PayPal is the right way to make your payment.

If you’re sending money to a family member or friend, based overseas, there are several charges to pay.

Some of the costs depend on how you choose to fund the payment.

PayPal International transfer feesCost
Paying by balance or linked bank account5% (minimum: $0.99, maximum: $4.99)¹
Paying by credit or debit card5% (minimum: $0.99, maximum: $4.99)¹
Currency conversion feeYou’ll be charged a fee of 3% to 4%, depending on the situation. The fees are usually removed from the transfer amount as it’s processed.²
Payments for goods or servicesThese international fees can be even higher — more on that in a moment.

For many customers, when you’re making an international money transfer, it’s most likely better value to use an alternative provider like Wise. There’s just a small transparent fee⁸, and the exchange rate used is the mid-market rate.

That means there’s no currency conversion fee to worry about, and you’ll be able to see upfront exactly how much cash your recipient will get. What’s more, Wise charges the same fee, whether you’re sending money to a friend, or paying a supplier for a business transaction.

Learn more about Wise

Sending money to a business through PayPal? You’ll want to be informed

As mentioned above, PayPal fees can be high if you’re paying for goods and services, and especially so if you’re making an international payment:

2.99% + international transfer fee + a currency conversion spread⁷.

That means that it’ll cost more to make a payment to a business than it would do to a friend — and it’ll be much more expensive to send money in a foreign currency than it would be to use US dollars.

In most cases, the costs are charged to the person creating the invoice.

This can mean that businesses using PayPal choose to roll up these costs into the invoice amount to make sure they finish up with the right amount in the end.

If this is the case, you might find that both you and the person you’re paying are better off if you choose an alternative way to pay your bill.

💡 One option to consider is the Wise Business account. Using an alternative provider such as Wise Business may be cheaper compared to using providers like PayPal. You can also create and send your invoices by using the free invoice templates or invoice generator from Wise.

Some key features of Wise Business include:
  • Better visibility and organization of business finances. This is helpful for account reconciliations and audits.
  • Major local account details for a simple one-off fee to receive international payments with ease
  • No monthly account fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Receive payments from e-commerce platforms such as Amazon or via Stripe.
  • Create invoices using the free Wise invoice generator or invoice templates.
  • Accounting integrations, including a QuickBooks Bill Pay connection
  • Batch payment options. Fast payment of up to 1,000 people.

Discover the difference between
Wise Business vs Personal

How to send money through PayPal using your account

You can make a payment easily using PayPal if you’ve received a money request or invoice. Or you can set up the payment yourself, as long as you have the email address or telephone number of the person you want to pay. Here’s how.

Step 1: Start the payment

If you’ve been emailed an invoice or money request, you’ll simply need to click on the ‘Pay now’ button to get started. Depending on the device you’re using, you might then be asked to log into your PayPal account before progressing.

If you need to start the payment yourself, you’ll need to log into your PayPal account and then click the ‘Send and request’ button.⁵

Step 2: Select whether you’re making a personal or business payment

If you’re structuring the payment yourself, PayPal will ask you to confirm if you’re paying for goods and services, or making a payment to a friend or family member, either in the US or internationally.⁵ Remember, the fees and charges could be different for each service, so make sure you pick the right one for your needs.

Step 3: Enter the details for the recipient

You’re asked to input the email address or phone number of the person you wish to pay.⁵ Make sure you’ve got this information correct before you proceed.

Step 4: Confirm the amount and currency

You’ll then need to confirm the amount you want to pay, and the currency to use. This is done using the drop-down boxes — just click on the currency you want.⁵

Step 5: Hit confirm, and choose a funding source

Confirm that the payment has been entered correctly, and choose how you wish to pay. You can usually choose between a few different funding sources at this stage — using PayPal balance, a linked bank account, or a credit or debit card.⁵

There are pros and cons to each payment option. So it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into.

PayPal's payment optionProsCons
PayPal balanceFully funded domestic payments: fee-free⁶

Funding domestic payment with balance and linked bank account: free⁶

International payments carry fees⁶

Payments in currencies other than USD carry fees

Partially funding with credit/debit card also carries fees⁶

Linked bank accountFully funded domestic payments: fee-free⁶

Funding domestic payment with balance and linked bank account: free⁶

International payments carry fees⁶

Payments in currencies other than USD carry fees

Partially funding with credit/debit card also carries fees⁶

Debit/credit cardPossible to make a payment on PayPal without an account if you pay with credit/debit cardPaying with card brings much higher fees than paying with balance or linked bank account

Domestic payments cost 2.9% of the amount + $0.30³

International payments cost even more

Step 6: Review the payment and you’re done

Once you’ve added your funding source, you’re more or less done. Click the button to confirm the payment, and you’ll receive an emailed receipt showing the payment has been processed.

How to send money through PayPal without an account

To make a payment through PayPal without opening an account yourself, you’ll have to have the recipient send you an invoice or money request. This means you’ll receive an email with either a detailed invoice — usually if you’re paying a business — or a simple note explaining what the money is needed for.

Embedded in the email will be a ‘Pay now’ button, which is all you need to make the payment without opening a PayPal account yourself.

Step 1: Click on ‘Pay now’ in the email or invoice you’ve received

Assuming you’ve received the email detailing the payment, simply click on the ‘Pay now’ button.⁴ If you can’t see the email, it’s worth checking your trash or spam folders, in case it has been sent there.

Step 2: Enter your credit or debit card details

You’ll now be given the option to open a PayPal account yourself and pay that way. However, if you don’t want to do that, you just select the credit or debit card option and enter the details for the card you wish to use.⁴

It’s worth remembering, however, that payments through PayPal using a credit or debit card are much more expensive than payments made using a PayPal account with balance or a linked bank account.¹ You can look at the table in the previous section to get more of an idea of the cost differences.

Step 3: Confirm the payment

Here you’ll get a final chance to review the payment and make sure everything’s in order. If it’s all as you want it, just click confirm and the payment will be processed. You’ll receive an emailed receipt of your payment for your records.⁴


Try a Wise account - And save money on international transfers

If you need to make a payment — whether to pay back a friend who bought you dinner, or to cover a supplier invoice for your small business — you have choices. PayPal can be convenient for some transaction types, but there are fees to take into consideration.

And if you’re making an international payment, the costs can be pretty steep. Before you make your decision, it could save you money to check all the options available to you to make sure you’re not paying too much for your particular transaction.

You could consider using Wise as an alternative, and if you need to make international payment regularly, opening anaccount for free could also be a good option for you. For a fee⁸, you can also get the Wise debit card, which you can use to pay for goods and services all over the world.

See how much you can save with Wise:

The true cost of sending USD to GBP

Get a Wise account today


¹PayPal - Consumer Fees - Transfers
²PayPal - Consumer Fees - Currency Conversion
³PayPal - Consumer Fees - Card Payments
PayPal - How do I pay a money request or invoice?
PayPal - How do I send money?
PayPal - What are the fees for PayPal accounts?
PayPal - Merchant Fees
⁸Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing: Only Pay for What You Use for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

All sources checked on 22 September 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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