In this article, we'll make a comparison between Wise vs. TorFX. Which one is better for US customers? Which one is cheaper? Find out more here.
PayPal is widely used as a way to make payments online, but that’s not all it can do.
You can also hold money within PayPal, in what’s known in the US as a PayPal Balance account (formerly called PayPal Cash & Cash Plus account).
A PayPal Balance account is simply the place within PayPal where you can store money – not money in your bank account or on your credit card, but money kept in PayPal itself.
In 2021, PayPal unified the features of PayPal Cash and PayPal Cash Plus accounts, and renamed the feature to PayPal Balance accounts.
The PayPal Balance account offers various features, including the ability to receive, hold, and transfer funds, convert currencies, withdraw funds to linked bank accounts or debit cards, and make purchases using a PayPal-branded debit card.
However, it’s important to note that you don’t need a PayPal Balance account to continue to use PayPal itself: you can keep using PayPal to send and receive money, so long as you’ve got a bank account and/or credit or debit card linked up.
In that case, the money will just go straight through PayPal without stopping there.
If you don’t technically need one to keep using PayPal, you might be wondering if you really need to get a PayPal Balance account at all. Here are some of the features offered by a PayPal Balance:
- Receive funds.
- Store your funds in your PayPal Balance account
- Convert your funds from one currency to another
- Withdraw funds to your linked debit card or bank account
- Transfer funds for the purchase of goods and services
- Send and request "personal transactions" from friends and family
- Buy, sell, and hold certain cryptocurrencies
- Make in-store purchases using a debit card linked to your PayPal Balance account
- Withdraw cash from ATMs using a PayPal-branded debit card linked to your PayPal Balance account
- Set up Direct Deposit.
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to fees. The good news is that the PayPal Balance account doesn’t have any specific fees to set up or maintain.
There’s a second piece of good news, too: it’s often cheaper to make a payment from a PayPal Balance account than it is to use a credit or debit card with PayPal.
The bad news is that there are still a range of fees that you might end up having to pay as you use the various available services.
Those fees include the following.
|PayPal fee||Amount and notes¹|
|Move money from PayPal balance to your bank account instantly – Instant Transfer||1.75% (minimum $0.25 fee; maximum $25 fee)|
|Send money abroad from a PayPal Balance account||5% (min $0.99, max $4.99)|
|Load cash into PayPal Balance account using app||$3.00-3.95|
|Load cash into PayPal Balance account using PayPal Debit Card||$3.00-4.95|
|ATM withdrawal||$1.50 + 1% international transaction fee abroad|
|International transaction fee||2.5% of the purchase amount if you buy from a non-US merchant or use an ATM abroad. This is charged whether there’s a currency conversion|
That’s not a definitive list of the fees, just some of the most likely to affect you. Watch out in particular for international fees with PayPal, whether you’re using a PayPal Balance account or not.
With a Wise Account, you’ll get access to a multi-currency balance, that lets you store money in 50+ currencies. You’ll also get local account details for the UK, Eurozone, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, the US and more. It’s easy to pay and get paid from all over the world. Plus, if you order a Wise card for a fee, you can spend online without a foreign transaction fees.
- Low-cost money transfers, using the mid-market rate plus a small fee²
- Manage 50+ currencies on your account
- Local bank details to get paid in 10 different currencies
- Multi-currency direct debits
- For a fee, order the Wise card, for low-cost spending in 174 countries.
With Wise, you’ll get the mid-market rate applied on all transactions - and there’s no foreign transaction fee. Just a transparent fee².
Still want to know more about the PayPal Balance account? Here are a few further answers for you
No, you don’t. You can use PayPal perfectly well without one.
If you want to store money in PayPal, though, you do indeed need one. You can set one up for no fee.
This is easier than it might sound, because it’s just an extension of your main PayPal account, using the same login details.
One option to create a PayPal Balance account comes when someone sends you money. When it arrives to PayPal, and you’ve accepted it, you’ll be given the option to either transfer it straight to your bank, or “Keep it in PayPal.” If you select “Keep it in PayPal,” you’ll find yourself setting up a PayPal Balance account.
While it’s likely your money will be OK inside a PayPal Balance account, it’s worth noting that it isn’t FDIC assured unless you get the PayPal Balance account with the PayPal Debit Card.
That means that if anything were to happen to your PayPal Balance account, you wouldn’t be able to claim it back in the same way you would with a bank account covered by the FDIC.
All in all, it’s easiest to think of the PayPal Balance account as an extension of a regular PayPal account. If it’s useful to you to keep money stored within PayPal rather than using your bank balance or credit/debit card each time, then this is the way to do it.
Otherwise, you might be OK without one. And if you do decide you need to use one, it could well be worth considering the PayPal Balance account with the PayPal Debit Card, which comes with FDIC coverage and of course all the benefits of a cash debit card.
As ever, though, make sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for – including all the possible fees you might face. International fees especially are often an issue with PayPal, but there’s also the 1.75% fee¹ you have to pay on instant transfers if you need to get the money out of the PayPal account and into your bank account fast. Is it worth it? That’s ultimately down to you.
- PayPal Balance - Terms and Conditions
All sources last checked on 21 March 2023
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 Wise Payments 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.
Going abroad and in need of foreign currency? In this article, we'll explore where to exchange currency - from good deals to the places you should avoid.
In this article, we made a comparison between Western Union vs. Ria. Find out which has the better fees & check out an alternative option.
In this article, explore Sentbe: Its Features and Benefits. Discover how this service streamlines transactions & check out a great alternative option.
Should I exchange money before traveling to Europe? Gain insights in this article for making informed decisions about currency exchange before your trip.
Sendwave vs Wise: Comparing features, benefits, and more. Explore this article for insights on international money transfers.