The 5 best PayPal alternatives for personal use

Adam Rozsa
30.09.21
5 minute read

Looking for a PayPal alternative for personal use? Check out this handy guide to alternatives to PayPal. We’ll cover 5 great PayPal competitors, looking at their pros, cons, features and fees. You never know, you might even find one that’s better than PayPal for your regular transactions.

And if you’re not sure if PayPal is right for you, get this comprehensive PayPal review to start you off.

One of the PayPal alternatives to consider is Wise. With Wise, you can send money overseas with low, and transparent fees – there are no markups, international fees or currency conversion fees – but more about this later.

Save up to 6x with Wise

📝 The 5 best PayPal alternatives for personal use

Google Pay

Google Pay¹ - which you may have previously known as Google Wallet - is a digital wallet which lets you hold a balance, pay friends and family, and make mobile and online payments to merchants. Much like PayPal, you can easily split bills with friends, transfer money without needing a recipient’s full bank details and spend when you’re out and about right from your phone.

Google Pay does have some fees to consider - but notably, the fee to withdraw money from your Google Pay balance to a debit card is lower than the equivalent for PayPal². Learn more about Google Pay here.

Google Pay advantages:

  • Easy options to send money to friends in the US, split bills and make mobile payments
  • Google Pay integrates with other Google products and services
  • Link several accounts and cards to see where you spend your money more easily

Key fees:

  • Many transactions are free, however there are a few fees to check out
  • Transferring money out of Google Pay to a debit card will cost 1.5% or 0.31 USD, whichever is higher
💡 Want to learn more about Google Pay? Find out more in this comprehensive guide.

paypal alternative for personal use

Wise

Wise - formerly known as Wise - offers international payment services as well as the smart, flexible Wise multi-currency account. If you’re looking for a PayPal alternative which cuts the costs of sending money abroad, Wise might be the one for you.

It’s cheap, fast and easy to send money either as a one off payment or using your Wise account - and you can send to over 80 countries 6x cheaper than some other providers.

All currency conversion uses the real mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent conversion fees. Get a Wise account online to hold 50+ currencies, receive fee free payments using local receiving accounts for a broad range of countries, and spend with your linked debit card to avoid foreign transaction fees.

Wise advantages:

  • Currency exchange uses the mid-market rate with low, transparent fees
  • Access to both one off transfers and a Wise international account for more regular use
  • Business and personal accounts available, which can be far cheaper than regular banks
  • Get a Wise Mastercard debit card for offline transactions

Key fees:

  • Free to open a Wise account online
  • Free to get local bank details for 10 currencies including USD, GBP, EUR, AUD and SGD
  • Free to hold 50+ currency balances
  • No hidden fees, currency markups, international transaction fees or currency conversion fees.

See how much you can save with Wise:

Skrill

Skrill⁴ has been around since 2001, and lets customers open online wallets to hold, send and spend money all over the world. You can use your Skrill balance to make payments to friends and family, or for spending where Skrill is accepted online by merchants. There’s even a loyalty reward program, which can mean you earn extra perks.

Skrill isn’t as widely accepted as PayPal, but does have some other benefits, like the reward scheme. As with PayPal, the fees for international transfers are on the high side when you use Skrill - there’s a 4.99% markup on currency conversion, and you’ll pay an equivalent fee in lieu of conversion if you choose to send an international payment in USD instead⁵.

Skrill advantages:

  • Flexible digital wallet with a range of functions - and the opportunity to earn reward and loyalty points
  • Send money to friends and family or use Skrill to shop online and in apps
  • Merchant and consumer accounts are available

Key fees:

  • Skrill to Skrill payments are free when they’re made in the same currency
  • International transfers include a currency conversion markup of up to 4.99%, with an additional fee of 2.99% if you pay with a credit card⁵
  • Inactivity fee of 5 USD/month applies if your account is dormant for a year⁵
💡 Interested in learning more about Skrill? Get this guide.

paypal alternative for personal use

Venmo

Venmo⁷ is a very well known way to pay friends and family in the US. Set up in 2009, Venmo is part of the PayPal family, so you know you have the backing of PayPal’s technology and payment processing power.

Use Venmo to split a restaurant bill, send a gift or to pay your rent to your roommate. Venmo is also increasingly accepted by businesses for online and mobile purchases. The key difference for Venmo against many other payment platforms is that the user interface is designed to be social. You’ll be able to send messages when you make payments to friends, or even show some transaction information so your connections can see where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to.

Venmo advantages:

  • Social payments - send a message or emojis when you make a payment, and make some transaction information public so your friends can see what you’re up to
  • Instant payments to friends within the US
  • Minimal fees for most transactions - the fees that do apply can usually be avoided by choosing different ways to arrange your transaction

Key fees:

  • 3% fee to make a payment funded by credit card⁸
  • Fees to add money to your account by check deposit or through business payments⁸
  • Instant withdrawals from your Venmo account cost 1.5%, to a maximum of 15 USD⁸
  • Out of network ATM charge 2.50 USD⁸
💡 New to Venmo? We’ve got you covered. Get your full introduction to Venmo here.

Popmoney

Popmoney⁹ is available through the Popmoney app or in some cases via your own bank’s online banking system. You can use Popmoney to send payments to friends and family in the US - you can not send money to an international account this way.

Use Popmoney to make one off or recurring payments - handy to contribute to a joint gift or repay a friend, as well as for more regular transfers like paying your share of the utility bills. You can also use the Popmoney app to request payments from friends, and have them pay you directly to your bank account for convenience.

Popmoney advantages:

  • Send money using just a recipient’s email or phone number - bank account details not required
  • Relatively low, fixed send and request fee
  • No need for recipient to have a Popmoney account as the money lands directly in their bank account

Key fees:

  • Send money 0.95 USD¹⁰
  • Request money 0.95 USD¹⁰

paypal alternative for personal use

💡 Want to find out more about Popmoney? Get your full guide here.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use PayPal for personal payments?

Yes, you can. PayPal offers both personal and business accounts.

If you’re mainly sending money to friends and shopping online, you’ll need a PayPal personal account. If you’re a merchant, e-commerce seller or other business owner, you’ll probably require a business account to get the functionality you need.

Is Google Pay better than PayPal?

Google Pay - which used to be called Google Wallet - is another way to shop and send money online, and make mobile payments to friends and family. There are some advantages to Google Pay compared to PayPal - such as slightly lower fees for some transaction types - but Google Pay can only be used to make online payments to friends based in the US, India and Singapore.

Whether Google Pay will suit you better than PayPal depends broadly on the type of transactions you’re planning on making. Get a full review of Google Pay vs PayPal here. And if you’re considering Skrill as an alternative to PayPal, get your Skrill vs PayPal review here.

Is Cash App an alternative to PayPal?

While Cash App and PayPal do have some similar services, the fee structures and features vary quite broadly.

Cash App, like PayPal, lets users send and receive money online and using a mobile device. You can also get a linked debit card for spending and withdrawals, and even use Cash App to buy and sell cryptocurrencies or investments.

While Cash App and PayPal do have some similar services, the fee structures and features vary quite broadly. Check out our full guide to how Cash App works here.

Is personal PayPal free?

It is free to open a personal PayPal account. However, there may be transaction fees when you use PayPal, depending on the type of payments you make.


Sources:

1]Google Pay - about
2]Google Pay - transfer fee
3]Google Pay - international transfer
4]Skrill - account levels
5]Skrill - fees
6] Wise - pricing
7] Venmo - about
8] Venmo - fees
9] Popmoney - about
10] Popmoney - fees

All sources checked on 30 September 2021


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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