- Find out how to transfer money via one of the world's largest and most accessible digital payment systems.
- Check out PayPal's transaction fees and currency exchange rates.
- Discover where you can send money to, and how long it takes.
PayPal is one of the largest, if notthe largest, online money transfer services currently available.
But how good are the services they provide, and can they be trusted to protect you when you send money online through their platform?
In our PayPal review we share our thoughts on this worldwide platform, and whether or not it is worth your time and money.
See how PayPal's rates, fees, and features stack up against other services with our money transfer comparison.
Inside this review
- What is PayPal?
- Currencies and countries supported
- How PayPal money transfers work
- How much does it cost to transfer money using PayPal?
- Are money transfers through PayPal safe and secure?
- Who is PayPal designed for?
- Does PayPal have an app?
- Why choose PayPal over other money transfer services in Australia?
- Pros and cons
What is PayPal?
PayPal is an online money platform that allows its users to link their credit card or bank accounts so they can make payments or receive money online. If you have ever used an eCommerce site then you are probably already familiar with PayPal.
It was originally founded in 1998 and was added to the eBay brand in 2002. However, in 2015 it became a separate listed company and is now a worldwide recognised way to send money.
It is available around the globe in countries such as the US, UK, Australia and Germany, as a way to pay for goods, receive payments and transfer money online.
Currencies and countries supported
PayPal is currently supported in over 200 countries. It is most commonly used in countries such as:
- United Kingdom
How PayPal money transfers work
First of all you'll need to open a PayPal account, if you don't already have one. There's no charge to open an account, and you can sign up online at PayPal's website, or download the app. You'll be prompted to choose either a personal or a business account, and provide your name, email address, street address and phone number, and create a password.
The next step is to either add money upfront to your PayPal account to fund the transfer, or link a bank account or credit card from which funds can be withdrawn when you're ready to make the transfer.
To make a money transfer, log in to your account online or via the app, and click 'Send'. You'll be asked to enter a name (from your PayPal address book) or email or mobile number for your recipient, plus an amount you want to send and your payment method. There's an option to add an accompanying message. You'll get a chance to review your transaction, and any fees attached, before confirming the transfer.
How much does it cost to transfer money using PayPal?
Transfers within Australia
If you use PayPal for personal use, you can start sending money from your bank account or PayPal balance to friends and family in Australia, without any added fees where there is no currency conversion involved. Business accounts, however, may have to pay additional charges.
But if you need to fund the transfer using a credit card, you'll be charged a fee calculated as a percentage of the amount sent (2.6% at the time of writing) plus a fixed fee (currently $0.30).
Sending funds overseas is more expensive. For transfers funded from your bank account or PayPal account, you'll be charged a percentage of the transferred amount (5% at time of writing, with a $0.99 minimum and a $5.99 maximum). Once again, there's the same additional percentage charge plus small fixed fee for funding the transfer with a credit card.
Receivers may pay a small fee
Your funds recipient needs to have a PayPal account to receive funds. If they don't already have an account, PayPal will send them an email (using the address you supplied) explaining how to open an account so that they can receive their money. Overseas recipients will also have to pay a small flat fee, charged to their PayPal account in the currency they receive.
PayPal foreign exchange rates
PayPal will add a 3% margin to the base exchange rate if you choose to send a payment in a currency other than Australian dollars. If you decide to send Australian dollars and have the conversion into local currency done when it arrives in your funds recipient's account, they will be charged an exchange margin of 4% above the base rate.
Are money transfers through PayPal safe and secure?
PayPal has over 300 million customers in a wide range of time zones, which suggests it is a fairly secure site to use. They also have over 20 million merchant accounts, and when it comes to paying for goods online, it is easily one of the most used and trusted ways to send payments.
The company uses a high level of data encryption, plus fraud monitoring, and your bank account information isn't shared with your funds recipient.
Who is PayPal designed for?
Transferring money online using PayPal is fairly straightforward and suitable for a range of users. Its fee-free transfers within Australia make it ideal for anyone wanting to send funds across the city or the country, or just across a restaurant table. But it can be an expensive option for sending money overseas, especially if you pay from your credit card. And, unlike many competing money transfer services, it doesn't offer a cash pick-up.
Does PayPal have an app?
PayPal offers its users a mobile app providing the means for money transfers and paying for goods on the go quickly and easily. The app can be downloaded from most mobile stores ,such as Google Play and the Apple app store.
Why choose PayPal over other money transfer services in Australia?
The main reason you would choose it over its competitors is that it makes sending money around the globe accessible, without the need for the recipient to either have a bank account or be prepared to pick up cash. Funds can be safely stored in the recipient's online PayPal account or PayPal mobile wallet.
Although there are a lot of excellent competitors, it can be difficult to find one that is available in as many countries, although there are some countries that are not available, such as Afghanistan, Myanmar and South Sudan.
Pros and cons
- A large number of existing users. So many users in so many different countries mean it is one of the most frequently available payment options online.
- Extremely easy browsing experience. Even people who aren't particularly tech-savvy or familiar with payment apps can start sending money with little effort.
- Linking accounts is straightforward. Adding your bank account or credit card is simple and only takes a couple of minutes.
- Free transfers of Australian dollars within Australia, as long as you don't pay with a credit card.
- Business accounts must pay fees. Although personal users are exempt from paying transfer fees within Australia, transactions through a business account may incur an additional fee when sending money.
- Costly exchange rates. Converting your currency from one type to another requires you to pay an exchange rate well above the base rate.
- International transfers can be extremely expensive. When transferring money to international destinations, you may have to pay a costly transfer and currency conversion fee.
- Credit card funding is expensive. There are significant extra fees to pay if you don't fund your transfer from a bank account or PayPal balance.
Does PayPal steal your money?
PayPal itself will never steal your money, however, there may be instances where scammers will try to either get access to your account or trick you into sending them money.
Never share your account details with anyone, and never click on a link in an email claiming to be from PayPal and asking you to supply or confirm your account login details or other financial or personal information. If PayPal needs information from you, you will be asked to log in and provide information via your account.
What are PayPal's foreign exchange rates?
Currently, when converting from one currency to another, you will be required to pay a 3% or 4% margin above the base conversion rate, depending on whether you are sending or receiving funds. This is higher than the rate charged by many Australian banks, so it may not be ideal for large money transfers.
Are there maximum or minimum transfer amounts?
Users who have verified their account won't be faced with a maximum send amount. If you are yet to verify your account, however, you will be limited to $60,000 in a single transaction, which may be reduced to $10,000 in some cases.
Again, this amount varies depending on the currency you use and the currency of the recipient.
Is it safe to transfer money via PayPal?
PayPal uses a high level of data encryption for online communications, and is constantly monitoring transactions to detect possible fraud. Their outgoing emails use authentication technology, so that major email providers will mark unauthenticated emails as hoaxes, either preventing delivery or putting them in your spam folder.
How much does it cost to transfer money using PayPal?
Transfers of Australian dollars within Australia are free, unless you pay for them using a credit card. Credit card payments attract a fee, currently 2.6% of the amount transferred plus a flat fee of $0.30.
International transfers cost 5% of the amount transferred (minimum fee $0.99, maximum $5.99), plus the extra charge if you pay by credit card.
Currency conversions are charged at a base rate plus 3% for the sender or 4% for the receiver.
How long do PayPal money transfers take?
It depends on how the transfer is funded. Transfers from one PayPal account to another PayPal account happen in seconds, but transfers paid for from a bank account or card can take several days to clear.
Which countries can I transfer to?
PayPal is available in more than 200 countries and 25 currencies.
PayPal is a good option if you want an easy way to pay for online purchases — especially on marketplaces like eBay — or to transfer Australian dollars to someone else in Australia whose bank account details you don't have.
If you need to transfer a small amount of money overseas and don't mind the fees and exchange rate margin — for example paying freelancers — then PayPal is a useful service to have.
However, if you want to transfer a large amount of money overseas, there are much cheaper options with better exchange rates that will save you a large amount of money.