How to make international money transfers with PayPal

International Money Transfer

Sending money across international borders has become a routine necessity for many, and technology continues to simplify the process. Today, you can send money internationally through various platforms, and PayPal is one of those options. However, questions about PayPal international fees often arise.

This article explores everything related to PayPal's international money transfer to help you confidently decide if it’s right for your needs.

Does PayPal work internationally?

The PayPal international transfer service is widespread. PayPal operates in over 200 countries, enabling individuals to perform cross-border transactions virtually anywhere. However, the exact transfer method varies depending on whether the sender and recipient have PayPal accounts.

If you and the recipient have PayPal accounts, the transfer occurs through PayPal. But if the recipient lacks a PayPal account, the process is a bit different. You’d potentially have to send the money through Xoom (a PayPal subsidiary) to the recipient’s personal bank account (subject to their country's regulations).

How to Set Up a PayPal Account

Here's a step-by-step guide to get you started with PayPal.

  1. Visit PayPal’s website at (or get the app from the App Store or Google Play).
  2. Click Sign Up, usually located at the top right of the page. This option is placed prominently on the app.
  3. Choose the account type you’d like to create. PayPal offers Personal and Business accounts.
  4. PayPal may ask you for your country, and if so, enter it. If PayPal doesn’t ask, you can typically look at the top left to verify your country is correct.
  5. Enter your email address. Be sure to use one that you frequently check since PayPal will send important notifications and confirmations to it.
  6. Enter your phone number, which is required.
  7. Follow the next steps to create a secure password and provide personal information like your name, address, and phone number. This is a must as part of verifying your identity.
  8. Connect or link a payment method to your PayPal account. You can attach a debit card, credit card, or bank account. You may also skip this for later if preferred.
  9. PayPal will send a confirmation email to the address you provided. Click the confirmation link in that email.
  10. Complete any additional verification necessary. 

And that's it! You should have a functioning PayPal account for conducting various domestic and international transactions. 

How to send money through PayPal internationally?

The procedure is straightforward if you plan to send money abroad using PayPal. As you follow these steps, don’t forget to consider the PayPal fees for receiving money, as they’ll vary.

  1. Sign in to your PayPal account.
  2. Once logged in, click Send and Request or Send Money, both usually available on your account dashboard.
  3. Enter your recipient's email address, phone number, or name into the designated field.
  4. Specify the amount you wish to transfer and click Continue. You'll also see the applicable exchange rate at this point.
  5. Choose your desired method of payment. This could be your PayPal balance, a linked bank account, or a credit/debit card.
  6. Review all the details to ensure accuracy, then click Send Payment Now.

PayPal international fees

It's a good idea to be aware of any PayPal fees for sending money that may apply to your transaction.

PayPal provides two options for making international money transfers, each with its fees. If you're transferring money directly to another PayPal account, a 5% fee of the transaction amount is applied ($0.99 minimum charge and a max of $4.99). 

However, that’s if the money is coming from your PayPal balance. Should the funds come from a credit card, debit card, or PayPal credit, an additional fee of 2.9% applies for funding. A fixed price determined by the currency used will also apply.

In addition, a 4.5% fixed fee will apply if you need to convert currencies before sending the money. Note that this fee is for the currency conversion service, not currency conversion. Also, PayPal bases the amount on the current retail exchange rate, which means the percentage may change occasionally. But they will disclose this to you before completing the transaction. 

The currency conversion fee is 4%, but slightly lower if the conversion is to US or Canadian dollars (3.5%).

Alternatively, as noted earlier, you can use Xoom to send funds to the recipient's bank account. Being a subsidiary of PayPal, Xoom lets you fund transfers with your PayPal account or a connected bank account. However, the fee structure is different. 

Xoom marks up the exchange rate instead of a fixed fee. For example, if the going rate between the Swiss Franc and the US Dollar is 0.912, Xoom could offer the customer a slightly less favorable rate, like 0.901. 

As a result, the recipient will get a smaller amount than what you send. Be sure to take that into account when making the transfer. 

Please refer to the table below for a more comprehensive understanding of the PayPal fees for sending money.

  Transaction Fee Additional Charges
Sending to a PayPal Account

5% of the transaction

  • $0.99 min
  • $4.99 max
  • 2.9% fee + a fixed fee based on the currency used if via credit card, debit card, or PayPal credit.
  • Conversion fee if you convert the currency before sending. As of this article, the currency conversion is 4% unless otherwise noted by PayPal.
Sending to a bank account via Xoom The markup on exchange rates will vary by currency. You can calculate your rate using this calculator. 1
  • The fees they add when using a debit or credit card. Prices will vary based on your currency and transaction amount.

PayPal fees for international payments

Knowing the fees involved is essential if you're wondering how to use PayPal to shop internationally. PayPal will charge domestic plus international transaction fees. 

Here’s a breakdown.

Payment Method Fee
PayPal or bank account balance


  • $0.99 minimum international fee 
  • $4.99 maximum international fee 
Debit or credit card


  • $0.99 minimum international fee
  • $4.99 maximum international fee 

Remember that all fees for currency conversion will apply if PayPal needs to convert your money. 

PayPal international money transfer limits

There are some limitations when sending money overseas. If your PayPal account is verified, there's no ceiling to the money you can transfer. You can send up to $60,000 in one go, although PayPal may reduce it to $10,000 under certain circumstances. 

These limits also vary depending on your country and the currency. You can see limitations for an unverified PayPal account when initiating the money transfer.

Payment declined due to "international regulations"

Sometimes, you may have trouble sending or receiving international payments with PayPal. One common error is the following. 

“Transaction declined due to international regulations.”

This is because PayPal needs to pause and scrutinize the transaction to ensure it aligns with international regulations. So support should message you about what to do in a few days. 

If you’re still encountering problems and haven't heard back via email, visit their Contact page. You can do that by clicking Contact at the bottom of any PayPal web page.

How long does it take to receive money from PayPal internationally?

Receiving international funds through PayPal is usually quick, appearing almost instantly. However, there will be a slight delay if the recipient chooses to withdraw funds to their bank account. 

PayPal's standard bank transfers usually take 1-3 business days. But if they choose the instant transfer feature (available in supported countries), the funds can show up in their bank account within minutes. The exact timing depends on the receiving bank's processes. 

Also, you'll need a linked card for instant transfers. That's because PayPal sends the money to the Visa debit card.

Top 3 alternatives to PayPal

PayPal is a well-known service for sending money across borders, but it's not the only option. Here are the top three alternatives to PayPal for sending money internationally.

BOSS Revolution

BOSS Revolution is a communication and money transfer service that helps people stay connected with family and friends worldwide. You can send money to supported countries using your credit or debit card — and see your rate when sending, which means no surprises. 

You can even send funds in cash by placing the money transfer order online and paying for it in-store (USA only). Just use the BOSS Revolution website or BOSS Money app, or find the nearest agent location with this store locator. Recipients can receive their funds via direct bank deposit, debit card deposit, cash pickup, mobile wallet, or home delivery. 

Further, fees are incredibly low, plus your money is guaranteed to arrive safely to the recipient. Otherwise, you’ll get a full refund.


Stripe is an online payment processing platform mainly suited for e-commerce. However, the company offers solutions that individuals can use to send money internationally, supporting over 135 currencies.2

In terms of fee structure, they are very different from PayPal's. Stripe charges 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, though these fees may vary by country. So be sure to read the fine print.

Google Pay

This is a mobile payment service that also offers international money transfers. However, it currently only supports sending money to India (as of this article). The feature is only available on Android and iOS app versions 130 and up.3 

FAQ on sending money abroad with PayPal

How do I set up a PayPal account for international transactions?

Start by signing up for an account on PayPal's website. Once registered, link your bank account, debit card, or credit card so you can fund transactions. After PayPal verifies your account, you can start making international transfers.

What are the PayPal fees for receiving money from abroad?

There are no fees for receiving personal transactions. However, the currency conversion fee is still applied. For business transactions, it’s 2.9% + $0.30 if both accounts are US-based or 4.4% + $0.30 if the recipient is in another country.

When should I use PayPal?

PayPal is most convenient when the sender and receiver have PayPal accounts. 

Does PayPal work in all countries?

PayPal operates in over 200 countries, but not all features are available in every country. So check to ensure PayPal provides the specific services you or your recipient needs before making an international transfer.

What are the hidden costs of using PayPal for international transfers?

PayPal is upfront about its fees, so there are no hidden costs. However, conversion and bank fees for receiving international funds can add up quickly. Plus, if you're using a credit card to fund the transfer, there will also be additional charges. 

Sources: All third-party information obtained from applicable websites as of September 20, 2023.