If you often find yourself waking up in one country and going to sleep in another, managing money across borders can be difficult. Repeatedly exchanging cash into foreign currencies can cost a lot in fees.
Wise, a company focusing on “borderless banking,” makes managing money in multiple currencies a breeze. It’s also possible to do regular money transfers through the platform without setting up its borderless bank account. (Disclaimer: The author of this post had a TransferWise borderless bank account.)
How it works: Setting up a borderless bank account with Wise is free, and each section of the bank account can be designated for a certain currency. For example, if you add a euro balance, the bank account comes with a SWIFT number, just as it would in Europe; if you add a GBP balance, that balance will have a sort code. The bank account can hold and manage more than 50 currencies.
The debit card tied to your Wise account is a Mastercard, and funds can be added in a variety of ways. The account has the ability to convert currencies across balances (for a small fee), and withdrawing cash from a foreign ATM is about one-sixth the cost incurred with other debit cards, according to the company.
Payment options: Direct debit, wire transfer, debit card, credit card, Apple Pay. Fees for payment options depend upon the currency being paid or converted to.
Fees: $0 monthly account fee; converting currencies using your card is subject to a fee of at least 0.41%; ATM withdrawals of up to $100 per month are free, while anything over that is subject to a 2% fee.
Speed: The time it takes to receive funds on the debit card depends on how they’re added—some are available within seconds.
Transaction limits: There are no limits for how much you can receive and keep in all currencies other than USD. There is a $250,000 limit per transaction a day and a $1 million limit per year.
In an era of unprecedented globalization, it’s easier than ever for businesses to connect with international clients, customers, and partners.
One of the most critical developments has been the creation and adoption of money transfer services like PayPal. In contrast to traditional bank transfers, PayPal offers a relatively cheap, fast, and easy solution for businesses to make international payments to partners outside of the United States.
But the question on everyone’s mind is – is there a catch? Are there hidden fees or fine print you should be aware of? Let’s walk through all of your questions about Paypal fees.
Does PayPal Charge a Fee to Send Money?
The PayPal transaction fee is waived if you send money from your online PayPal account, a linked bank account, or from the PayPal Cash app. But you’ll be hit with a 2.9% fee and a 30-cent fixed transaction fee if you make a payment with your PayPal credit, debit or credit card. International money transfers also come with different rules, according to PayPal’s terms.
Can PayPal be Used for International Transactions?
PayPal can be used for international transactions and is available in over 200 countries, giving companies the option to make cross-border payments and transfers via the app or website at PayPal.com. However, the process differs slightly depending on whether or not both the sender and recipient have a PayPal account.
If both users have a PayPal account, the transaction can be processed through PayPal. If the recipient does not have a PayPal account, the payment can be sent directly to their personal account (depending on the country they are in) via Xoom, another payment service owned by PayPal.
Both options offer relatively fast payment and Xoom conveniently links with your PayPal to make tracking payments easier.
What Are PayPal’s International Fees?
PayPal offers two different payment methods for international money transfers and each has its own fee structure. When sending money directly to another PayPal account, PayPal charges 5% of the transaction with a minimum fee of $0.99 and a maximum fee of $4.99.
This assumes the transfer is funded by a PayPal balance. If the transfer is funded by a credit card, debit card, or PayPal credit, a funding fee of 2.9% plus a fixed fee (based on the currency used) is also applied.
PayPal’s International Currency Conversion Fee
Additionally, if the sender needs to convert to a different currency before sending, the currency conversion fee is 4% or a different percentage amount if disclosed to you during the transaction.
PayPal’s currency conversion fee to US or Canadian dollars is 3.5%, but is 4% for other currencies. PayPal also charges a 4.5% fee for conversion service, so it’s important to factor this cost in as well to any currency conversion you do.
See the table below to better understand how these fees are applied.
On the other hand, in order to transfer directly to a recipient’s bank account, you’ll need to send the payment via Xoom. Because Xoom is owned by PayPal, the two work seamlessly together and the transfer can be funded from a PayPal account or linked bank account.
Unlike the fixed percentage fee for transferring to another PayPal user, Xoom adds a mark up to the current market rate.
For example, if the currency exchange rate from EUR to USD is 0.913, Xoom might offer to process the transfer at a slightly lower rate of 0.902. This means the recipient will receive less than the market exchange rate and the sender will have to factor that into their payment.
PayPal Exchange Rate Explained
PayPal uses a specific process to set their exchange rate.
Twice a day, PayPal receives a wholesale rate quote from their bank. PayPal then adds a percentage to the wholesale rate quote. This helps them determine the retail foreign exchange rate to apply to currency conversion transactions.
When you transfer money from your PayPal account to your personal bank account, PayPal automatically converts your funds into your bank’s local currency. PayPal boasts competitive exchange rates comparable to banks and currency exchanges.
PayPal Fee Structure for International TransfersTransaction FeeAdditional ChargesTransferring to another PayPal Account5% of the transaction amount$0.99 minimum$4.99 maximum2.9% funding fee + a fixed fee based on the currency used when using a credit card, debit card, or PayPal credit to fund transaction.
Conversion fee if converting currency before sending. As of June 2022, the current currency conversion spread is 4%, unless a different percentage is disclosed in the transaction.Transferring directly to a bank account via XoomMark-up on exchange rate that varies by currency.Added fees when using a debit card or credit card. Fees vary based on currency and transaction amount
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How Do I Avoid PayPal Fees?
PayPal is free only for personal payments made to friends and family within the United States. For international transfers and business transactions, there are transfer fees as described above as well as merchant fees for goods and services.
Depending on the size and frequency of international transfers, the cost starts to add up. While there isn’t a way to avoid PayPal’s transaction fees altogether, there are ways to mitigate cost.
Here’s how you can best avoid paying full costs with PayPal’s international transaction fees:
Fund transactions using your PayPal account.
This is the easiest way to reduce the different fees charged by PayPal. Funding transfers with a Paypal account avoids the additional fees tacked on when using credit cards and debit cards.
For one-off situations, this might not make a major impact, but over time, those fees add up.
Make larger payments.
When transferring money directly to another PayPal account, the fee is capped at $4.99. This means that sending $100 costs the same as sending $1,000 dollars and so on.
Making fewer payments in larger amounts keeps the relative cost low. Xoom, on the other hand, is not capped in this way.
Factor PayPal costs into pricing.
It’s important to work the details out beforehand. The frequency of payments, transaction amounts, and exchange rates should all be factored into the cost of the service. That way, there are no surprises down the road.
Deduct fees at tax time.
PayPal and other payment processing fees are considered a necessary cost of doing business and can be deducted from your taxable income at the end of the year. While this doesn’t necessarily reduce the cost of using PayPal, some of that loss can be recouped in the form of tax savings.
Are There Other Options?
It’s hard to beat the convenience of PayPal because of its global popularity, but there are a number of options available for transferring money abroad.
Factors like the transaction amount, frequency, and currency can all greatly affect the cost of sending money. So, it’s important to take this into account when deciding which money transfer service is the most cost-effective.
At some point, your company may outgrow PayPal. How will you know when it’s time to add other options to the mix? Read more about it in our eBook: Comparing the Top Global Payment Methods.