How to make international money transfers with PayPal

Gabriela Peratello

PayPal is known for its long history in transforming ecommerce and online payments. You can use your PayPal account to shop, to send and receive money to family and friends, to invoice clients if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner and more.

However, if you’re considering sending money abroad using your PayPal account, there are a few things you need to know about how to set up your international money transfer.

Read on to find out all you need to know about international money transfers with PayPal.

📝 Table of contents

Does PayPal work internationally?

Yes, PayPal can be a useful tool for sending money internationally. And if you’re going to send money abroad with PayPal from the US¹, then it pays to know a little about the fees and charges² you’ll encounter along the way.

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Transfer money internationally with PayPal: step by step

These are the steps you need to follow if you want to make an international transfer with PayPal:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account at

  2. Go to Send and Request

  3. Enter the name or email address of the recipient.

  4. Select the amount of money you’d like to send to the recipient and press Continue. Here you should see the conversion rate of the exchange.

  5. Confirm the payment type and choose how to pay

  6. Review everything and click Send Payment Now

Other ways to send money abroad with PayPal

So, the guide above is what you need to follow when you want to send money quickly to friends and family.

However, if you do decide to make an international money transfer with PayPal, you’ll have a couple different options³ as well:

  • Set up a home delivery of cash
  • Make a direct bank deposit
  • Have your recipient pick up the money you send from a participating location

Some of these services are delivered through Xoom³, which is a PayPal subsidiary specializing in certain types of payments and transfers.

If you send cash to your recipient’s PayPal wallet, then they’ll need to have a PayPal account themselves to be able to access it.

However, for the other options you can transfer cash via PayPal, even if the recipient doesn’t have a PayPal account themselves.

💡Note: Not all transfer options are available in all countries and currencies.

PayPal international transfer fees

When you arrange an international transfer with PayPal, from a PayPal account based in the USA, you need to understand both the fee structure, and the currency conversion rate applied.

The international transfer fees you’ll be charged depend on where you’re sending money to — and how you pay for the transfer. It’s free to send money within the US to friends and family (except for card transfers).

But if you want to send cash to another country using either your PayPal balance, a linked bank account, or card it’ll cost you 5.00% of the transaction amount. The fee in this case can range from $0.99-$4.99².

The international transfer fee is on top of the domestic transfer fee, which in case of card transfers is 2.90%+ a fixed fee based on the received currency.¹

See the PayPal most important international transfer fees on this table:

PayPal Fees
Domestic card fee2.90% + fixed fee based on currency²
Sending money using your Paypal balance or bank account5.00% (ranging from $0.99-$4.99)²
Sending money using your card or Amex Send account5.00% (ranging from $0.99-$4.99)²
💡 Learn more about PayPal international fees and how to avoid them


PayPal conversion rate vs bank exchange rates

PayPal charges international transfer fees, but that’s not all you need to know about. Whenever you send a payment with PayPal overseas you’ll also usually pay an exchange rate markup.

This is common among international money transfer services and banks. Bank exchange rates usually include a similar markup — which overall pushes up prices, and makes it hard to know what you’re really paying for your transfer.

The PayPal exchange rate markup is known as a currency conversion spread, usually set at 4.00%¹ added onto the wholesale exchange rate.

What that means, is that PayPal takes the mid-market exchange rate, and adds their markup or conversion spread. You can see this if you compare the PayPal exchange rate with the mid-market rate, sometimes called wholesale, spot, or interbank rate.

Between this and the international transaction charges described above, you can find that the costs of making an international money transfer with PayPal mount up pretty quickly.

Here are some of the most common PayPal currency conversion fees:

 PayPal fees
Currency conversion fees when sending money to a friend or family²4.00% or such other amount, which may be revealed during the transaction¹
Currency conversion fees when sending paying for goods and services²4.00% or such other amount, which may be revealed during the transaction¹
💡 Learn more about PayPal's currency conversion rates with our handy guide


Alternatives to PayPal for sending money abroad

If you decide against sending money abroad with PayPal, you have a couple of other options.

  • Try a different money transfer service: which might be cheaper that PayPal
  • Turn to your regular bank: which could be slower, but at least it’s familiar

Use an international money transfer provider

International money transfer services are specialists in sending money overseas, and can often provide fast payments with low overall fees. Here are a few to consider:

WiseFor low cost international transfers with the mid-market exchange rate
Western UnionFor a great range of payout options including cash collections around the world
RemitlyFor low cost Economy payments, or faster Express transfers for a higher charge

Wise is a fast and secure way of moving your money internationally. It can also help you save on exchange rate markup and hidden fees.

See below how Wise compares to PayPal when sending money abroad:

Wise also offers a business account, if you need to make international business transfers.

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

Make an international wire transfer (SWIFT) with your bank

If you’d rather process your international money transfer — also known as a wire transfer — in person, then you can always call your local bank.

However, the costs of making an international transfer with your bank are a shock for many people. You may find you pay up to 3 different fees:

  • Your bank’s wire fee
  • An exchange rate markup
  • SWIFT charges (paid to third parties)

The trickiest charges tend to relate to the SWIFT network. In this common bank transfer method there could be several intermediaries working on a single international transfer.

Each of these banks take a fee of their own — which can mean that the recipient gets less money than you might expect in the end.

Alternatives like PayPal are convenient and simple to use — but while PayPal is great for local transfers and shopping online, the fees for international transactions are fairly high.

Make sure to do your research before sending money abroad with PayPal, you might find that providers, such as Wise, can be a good solution for your international money needs.

Get started with Wise

Need more information? Check out these PayPal articles:


  1. PayPal - User agreement
  2. PayPal - Consumer fees
  3. Send money abroad with PayPal

* The speed of transaction claim depends on funds availability, approval by Wise’s proprietary verification system and systems availability of our partners’ banking system, and may not be available for all transactions
** Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information

Sources checked on 12.09.2022

*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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