PayPal Fees much does PayPal charge for international money transfers?

PayPal is a huge global online shopping and digital payment provider, with a presence in almost every country in the world. 

Thanks to its convenience, many people use it when making purchases abroad, transferring money overseas, or receiving payments from other countries. 

However, PayPal's handling fees can be high compared to other providers. If you want to reduce the cost of spending and sending money overseas, there are other alternatives such as Wise or OFX, that can offer cheaper and more transparent fees. 

In this article we’ll explain everything you need to know about PayPal fees, how they compare to alternative providers, and we’ll share some useful tips to help you avoid some of the fees that PayPal charges. 

PayPal fees: an overview

If you’re spending online or in person with a retailer based here in Singapore there’s no fee as long as no currency conversion is needed. 

If you’re sending a payment domestically in SGD, there are also options available to let you avoid PayPal fees entirely. Simply pay with your PayPal balance, or a linked bank account for a fee free PayPal domestic transfer. Fees do creep in if you’re using a card to make your SGD payment - in this case you’ll pay 3.4% + a fixed fee based on the currency involved (0.50 SGD if you’re sending locally).

Where PayPal fees become unavoidable - and on the high side - is when you’re converting currencies or moving money across borders. Here’s what you’ll pay in this case:

Payment type/feeSend a personal PayPal payment overseasShop online internationally
Cross-border transaction fee

4.99 USD if you pay with a linked bank account or PayPal balance


4.99 USD + 3.4% + fixed fee for card payments

No fee
Exchange rate4% on top of the wholesale rate4% on top of the wholesale rate

The exact charges you pay when using PayPal may vary depending on how your account is set up, and your location. Check your account terms and conditions to learn more before you get started.

Once you add up all the PayPal fees that apply to your international transaction, you may be surprised by how much it pushes up your overall costs. We’ll dive into this a little more later - and look at a comparison with alternative providers  like Wise and OFX, which may present a cheaper alternative for your payment.

PayPal currency conversion fee

PayPal adds a 3% - 4% markup fee to the conversion rate used to switch your dollars to the currency you need whenever you send a payment overseas, convert currencies in your account or shop with an international retailer.

What this means is that PayPal takes the wholesale or mid-market exchange rates, and adds this markup to calculate the rate used for your transaction. This makes it difficult for users to see the full costs of the transfer, whether these are charged to their own bank account or to that of the beneficiary.

You can check the PayPal exchange rate of the day by following these steps:

  • Go to "Wallet"

  • Open the menu to the right of any currency balance and select "Convert Currency"

  • Select the desired currency and click "Next"

  • Enter the remittance amount to check the exchange rate

PayPal transaction fees

The transaction fee applies when you sell products and services in-store or online.

There are different rates for each type of transaction. You might also hear this fee described as a payment processing fee, or seller fee. The exact fees you pay will depend on whether the transaction is considered domestic or international, and the payment method. 

There are lots of different ways to get paid as a seller with PayPal, so you’ll need to check out the full details online if you’re looking to compare all the alternatives - but here are the standard PayPal transaction fees for some of the most popular types of payment method:

Payment typeDomestic International
Receive money for goods/services3.9% + fixed fee (0.5 SGD)4.4% + fixed fee
Receive money using Alternative Payment Methods (APM)3.9% + fixed fee (0.5 SGD)4.4% + fixed fee
PayPal micropayments

5% + fixed fee


5.5% + fixed fee for digital goods

6% + fixed fee

PayPal withdrawal fees

Once you have money in your PayPal account you may want to withdraw it to your regular Singapore bank account or card. There may be a fee for this service, depending on exactly how you want to process the withdrawal. Here are the PayPal Singapore withdrawal fees for consumer and merchant accounts:

Withdrawal typePayPal fees
Standard withdrawal to local bank account

No fee  for withdrawals over 200 SGD


1 SGD for lower value withdrawals

Standard withdrawal to USD bank account

3%


Currency conversion fees apply if PayPal funds are held in a currency different to the account

Withdraw to a linked card

1%


Currency conversion fees apply if PayPal funds are held in a foreign currency

Currency conversion fee

3% - 4%

PayPal fees: a comparison

Choosing an international payment specialist like PayPal is almost certainly cheaper than sending money using your bank. However, some providers might offer more competitive fees and rates. 

Let’s look at how a few different payments from PayPal compare to other well-established providers in the market: Wise and OFX. 

Payment/providerWith PayPal recipient gets:With Wise recipient gets:With OFX recipient gets:Winner
1,000 SGD to GBP579.24 GBP608.99 GBP604.09 GBPWise
5,000 SGD to GBP2,912.95 GBP3,046.88 GBP 3,021.21 GBPWise
1,000 SGD to EUR663.41 EUR698.78 EUR692.48 EURWise
5,000 SGD to EUR3,335.80 EUR3,496.29 EUR3,462.81 EURWise
  • Fees and rates correct at time of research - 18th November 2022

As you can see in our comparison, Wise and OFX are both cheaper options to send money abroad compared to PayPal

Specialist services like these also tend to offer their own specific competitive advantages. For example, Wise also has a multi-currency account and the Wise card which you can use to hold and exchange 50+ currencies with the mid-market exchange rate, and spend in 170+ countries around the world. OFX on the other hand offers currency risk management solutions to individuals and businesses with a 24/7 phone service when you need support or advice.

Send money with Wise
Try OFX

How to avoid PayPal fees?

Let’s look at some tips on how to help lower the cost when using PayPal to send payments or shop internationally. 

  • Try to avoid using your credit or debit card with PayPal where possible as this often means extra fees to pay

  • Look at your PayPal currency conversion options carefully - the charge varies depending on the transaction type, so you may find it’s cheaper to switch currency within your account before making your payment for example

  • PayPal merchant transaction fees vary according to the way your customers pay - check out which works best for your business as you may be able to minimize fees here

  • Consider using alternative ways to process your payments, like Wise or OFX

Conclusion: is PayPal a good deal?

PayPal is easy for both business customers and personal customers to use. It’s also extremely commonly used and globally accepted. 

If you’re a merchant or business customer, the benefits of offering PayPal payments may outweigh the fees you pay, at least for domestic transactions. But if you’re making or receiving regular international transactions for business or personal use, you may want to compare PayPal to a few other providers which could offer lower fees and better exchange rates, with just as convenient and quick a service.

On our Exiap comparison page, you’ll find the best deals to send your money abroad depending on the currency and amount that you need to exchange. 

FAQ

How much are PayPal fees?

PayPal fees vary depending on your account type and the specific transaction. 

Domestic fees are often low, with many transactions completely fee free to personal customers. However, international payments can be more costly: sending money overseas has a charge of 4.99 USD + conversion fee of 3% or 4% on top of the wholesale rate.

How can I avoid PayPal fees?

Cut the costs of using PayPal domestically by sticking to SGD payments funded from your bank account or PayPal balance. To avoid PayPal’s fees when sending money internationally, pick an alternative provider which offers lower charges and a better exchange rate.

How much are PayPal seller fees? 

PayPal seller fees vary based on the type of transaction. Usually you’ll find costs of 3.9% to 4.4% depending on whether the payment is made from abroad.

How can I send money with PayPal without fees?

Send domestic PayPal payments from your linked bank account or PayPal balance fee free. For international payments you’ll need to pick a different provider to avoid PayPal fees, as charges apply to all payment methods.

How do I avoid PayPal conversion fees?

Avoid PayPal conversion fees by sticking to local transactions funded with your bank or PayPal balance only - or pick a different provider like Wise or OFX when you need to send or spend in a foreign currency.

Is PayPal free to send money internationally?

No. Sending money overseas with PayPal has a charge of 4.99 USD + conversion fee of 3% or 4% on top of the wholesale rate.

How do I avoid PayPal foreign transaction fees?

Pick a different provider like Wise or OFX when you’re sending payments internationally or spending in foreign currencies. Otherwise you’re likely to find that conversion and international transaction fees apply.

Ileana Ionescu
By Ileana Ionescu
Updated 13 December 2022