How Can I Use PayPal to Transfer Money Internationally

PayPal is a money transfer platform that entirely relies on the internet. PayPal works on smartphones, tablets, and computers. PayPal users rely on the PayPal website to transact although the company has a mobile application for the same. While PayPal is an American company, the question remains, ‘can I use PayPal to transfer money internationally?’ well, PayPal is an international company and allows you to transfer money internationally.

There are millions of people working virtually for various companies and getting their payments via PayPal from employers in different parts of the world. PayPal supports over 20 currencies of the world although the American dollar is the most used currency by the majority of PayPal users. You can easily convert the incoming currency to your local currency when withdrawing into your bank account.

Moreover, PayPal allows you to recharge your account from your bank account via direct deposit. You need to understand how to transfer money using the routing number and account number for you to perform the process. If you want to pay for an item online that has PayPal as the only payment option, then you must load money from your bank account as long as you have linked your bank account with PayPal.

What is PayPal?

can i use paypal to transfer money internationally

As I had briefly mentioned earlier, PayPal is an American company that deals with money transfers both domestically and internationally. The company acts as an alternative to traditional methods such as checks and money orders. It was founded in 1998 as a Confinity by Ken Howery, Luke Nosek, Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, Yu Pan, and Elon Musk. Later on, it became a subsidiary of eBay.

The company’s headquarters are in San Jose, California, in the U.S. Its main products are credit cards and payment systems. In 2019, the company posted revenue of US$17.772 billion and an operating income of up to US$2.719 billion. The net income in 2019 was US$2.459 billion and its total assets amounted to US$51.333 billion.

How does PayPal work?

The operation of PayPal is easy to understand within a few days of account opening. If you want to send money to someone using PayPal, you need to link your bank account with your PayPal account or even a payment card such as debit, credit, or prepaid.

To link your card, you need to provide your card number, expiry date, and the credit card verification code (CVV). Once you have linked your account or card, you can transfer funds easily to your PayPal account.

As well, you can transfer funds from PayPal to your bank account and either send money with a checking account number to another account of your bank or even buy goods and services. Either way, you have to link your PayPal account to your bank account.

Can PayPal be used for international transactions?

Yes, PayPal can be used for international money transfers. Many countries of the world accept PayPal to operate and users can send and receive money in various currencies. The company operates in over 200 countries of the world. Users can access their accounts via an app or the PayPal website

For a convenient transfer of funds from one account to the other, both the sender and the recipient need to have PayPal accounts. Money reflects in the receiver’s account in minutes. However, if the recipient has no PayPal account, you as the sender can send money directly to their accounts via Xoom which belongs to PayPal. Xoom links to PayPal.

If you have the PayPal Cash Card, you can easily transfer money to other supported cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express if you know how to transfer money from a debit card to another debit card. The PayPal Cash Card can as well help you purchase goods and services conveniently.

Does PayPal charge any fee to transfer money internationally?

Yes, PayPal charges fees for international money transfers. The only free transfers are within the US. Each of the payment methods for international money transfers has its fee structure. When sending money to another PayPal account, you part with 5% of the amount to transfer.

The minimum fee is $0.99 while the maximum fee is $4.99. This applies if the amount to transfer is funded by PayPal balance. If a payment card or PayPal credit funds the money to transfer, then a funding fee of 2.9% plus a fixed fee applies. This depends on the currency involved.

What Fees does PayPal charge?

PayPal charges various fees for various types of transactions. As I had indicated above, PayPal charges 5% of the transaction amount when performing an international transfer. For domestic transfers, PayPal charges zero fees. Irrespective of the amount you are transferring, the minimum amount won’t be below $0.99 nor will it exceed $4.99.

Below is the PayPal fee structure for various transactions.

Type of Transfer
Transaction fee
Extra charge
Paypal to PayPal account
5% of the transaction amount, $0.99 minimum and $4.99 maximum
2.9% funding fee + a fixed fee depending on the currency you are funding your transaction using a credit card, debit card, or PayPal credit. Conversion fee if you are converting to preferred currency before sending.
Direct transfer from PayPal to a Bank account using Xoom
The fee varies with currency
Direct transfer from PayPal to a Bank account using Xoom The fee varies with currency Varying fees when using debit, credit, or PayPal credit to fund the transaction.
Type of Transfer
Transaction fee
Paypal to PayPal account
5% of the transaction amount, $0.99 minimum and $4.99 maximum
Direct transfer from PayPal to a Bank account using Xoom
The fee varies with currency
Type of Transfer
Extra charge
Paypal to PayPal account
2.9% funding fee + a fixed fee depending on the currency you are funding your transaction using a credit card, debit card, or PayPal credit. Conversion fee if you are converting to preferred currency before sending.
Direct transfer from PayPal to a Bank account using Xoom
Direct transfer from PayPal to a Bank account using Xoom The fee varies with currency Varying fees when using debit, credit, or PayPal credit to fund the transaction.

Fortunately, Xoom does not have a fixed rate when it comes to charging PayPal to bank account direct transfers. It goes with the current exchange rate. If the current exchange rate from let’s say USD to Euro is 1 USD =0.84 Euro, then Xoom may convert with a lower value to cater for the fees.

So you have to figure out the Xoom’s rate to send the right amount to the recipient. So in short, Xoom adds a mark up to the current exchange rate.

Xoom enables you to transfer funds to recipients without a PayPal account thus creating convenience. However, PayPal to PayPal transfers remains the cheapest kind of transfers.

Why should you choose PayPal to transfer money?

Being one of the best ways to transfer money internationally, there are numerous advantages associated with PayPal transfers that anyone will see as genuine. For instance, it is very convenient to transfer funds from one person to the other irrespective of the location. Some of the reasons why you should choose PayPal to transfer money include the following.

1. Fast transfers to other PayPal users

When you send money to someone else, the funds reflect immediately in their PayPal account. However, it may take between 3-5 days for the money to reflect in your bank account depending on your bank.

2. Security

You can be sure that your money is safe when using PayPal. When you make a payment using PayPal, the seller does not get the money until you receive that product and confirm that it is what you ordered. PayPal may hold the money up to 21 days in some cases. Also, PayPal accounts have strong security mechanisms to prevent online fraud.

3. Worldwide network

The company operates in around 200 countries of the world and it is possible to send money to various parts of the world. In the same way, you can receive money from different parts of the world. Currencies supported include AUD, BRL, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HKD, HUF, ILS, JPY, MXN, MYR, NOK, NZD, PHP, PLN, RUB, SEK, SGD, THB, TWD, and USD.

4. Free domestic transfers

If you live in the US, you will transfer money for free. This is contrary to the international transfers that are costly and especially when sending large amounts of money.

What you should be aware of about PayPal

Understanding how PayPal operates as well as the charges involved is important before you start using the services. Beware of the following before you start using the PayPal services.

i) Expensive international transfers

Even though domestic transfers are free, transferring money to other people internationally is expensive. For instance, you have to part with 5% of the total amount to transfer to someone in another country. If you are sending $5,000, 5% will be $250, which is a lot of money.

ii) Weak exchange rate

PayPal’s exchange rate is very low and only benefits the company. It would be better that you let the receiving bank convert for you instead of first converting before sending it to the recipient. That way, you will have saved a lot of money.

iii) Fees when using credit and debit cards

Understand that there are extra fees when you use debit and credit cards to fund your transaction. Apart from the 5% transaction fee, there is a  2.9% funding fee plus a fixed fee depending on the currency you are funding your transaction. The total amount of money used as fees will eventually be huge more so when sending large amounts of money.

iv) Extra steps when receiving money

When you receive money in your PayPal account, you have to initiate a withdrawal to your bank account. It can take 3-5 days for the money to reflect in your account. If the money was for emergency cases, it may not help you as expected.

How to send money through PayPal

Sending money using PayPal is easy. You only need the recipient’s PayPal account email address to initiate the process. Your PayPal account needs to be verified so that you can eliminate the spending limit. First, you need to log into your account and follow the following steps.

  • Navigate to Payments
  • Enter the recipient’s name or email address.
  • Click next.
  • Select sending to a friend or paying for an item or service.
  • Follow the steps.

You can either use your PayPal balance to transfer funds or fund the transaction with either a credit card or debit card. You can also fund it with a PayPal credit.

Even when the person receiving the money does not have a PayPal account, you can still send money to them. Once they receive it, PayPal will guide them to open their account and access the funds.

Opening an account together with account verification takes around 2-3 days. Account verification is whereby your banking details are added to your PayPal account. It is just adding additional details to your PayPal to make it secure. Even an account for a second chance credit card with no security deposit can qualify for linking to PayPal. It’s just a channel where your money from PayPal moves to your bank.

Once the transfer is complete, you will get a confirmation email from PayPal signaling you that the transfer was successful. Usually, it takes a few minutes for the funds to appear on the recipient’s account. You can always signal them to check their accounts upon sending them money.

When sending money, ensure that you confirm the recipient’s details. You can only reverse money sent to the wrong recipient if it is unclaimed. Once claimed, PayPal cannot assist you on that and you need to contact the recipient. They might agree to send the money back or not.

How to receive money on PayPal

If you are expecting money from someone, you need a PayPal account. To create a PayPal account, you have to provide;

  • Your first and last name
  • Your physical address
  • Phone number, and
  • Email address
  • Your names should appear the same as in your Government ID.

Next, you will need to create a password and also choose two security questions that will help you to recover your account in case you forget your password or login into an unfamiliar device. You can add a payment method, like a credit or credit card, or even a bank account to be able to send money to your friends and relatives.

You can also use the payment methods to pay bills as long as you know how to withdraw money with an account and routing number. Adding your bank account secures your account even further since any withdrawals must go to that account. PayPal gets to know you further and secures your money as much as possible.

Remember that you must have a device that can assess the internet such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer. You also need an internet connection to log into your account online via the app or using

To access your money, you need to navigate to the summary page where you can see your balance. You can then choose to transfer the money to your bank account, or Keep it in your PayPal account and use it to shop online or send money to friends and family.

You can access your money through either a PayPal Cash account or PayPal Cash Plus account. A PayPal Cash account is just the special entity in PayPal where you can store money online. PayPal Cash Plus account allows you to do what a PayPal Cash account can do but has FDIC coverage for your balance if you have a PayPal Cash Mastercard. Open a PayPal account here.

Does PayPal have any hidden fees?

I think that PayPal has hidden charges because they deduct their transaction fees from the conversion rates. They normally have a lower conversion rate as compared to the current one and you might not notice it unless you are keen on the prevailing conversion rates.

 Also, PayPal does not issue receipts with transaction charges and that to me is hiding what they deduct from their customers. And another thing, PayPal will just force on conversion rates no matter how you try to avoid it. Some sources indicate that you can avoid PayPal fees by applying for the PayPal Cash Card and use it for various transactions just like the normal debit card.

Bottom line

You can use PayPal to transfer money internationally. PayPal is one of the most known money transfer platforms in the world. It is not a must for the recipient to have a PayPal account as you can send money directly to their bank account. If you have a PayPal account, you need to verify it to make your funds secure. Withdrawal also becomes convenient.