How to pay someone with PayPal
PayPal is a popular option for secure online spending and money transfer, widely accepted in the US and internationally. If you want to send money to someone with PayPal you’re in the right place.
This guide covers how to pay someone with PayPal (with or without an account), including domestic and international transfers, limits and charges. As a bonus we’ll also touch on how to avoid the costs of PayPal payments with alternatives like Wise and OFX.
Can you use PayPal for International Transfers?
Yes. You can send a payment using PayPal to anyone with an active PayPal account, in most countries in the world. However, it may not be the very best option for your PayPal international transfer based on the fees and currency conversion rates available.
We’ll take a more detailed look at a few alternative options a little later – for now, let’s look at some considerations if you’re thinking of making a PayPal international transfer, alongside a comparison of PayPal’s fees against some popular specialist services.
- PayPal international payments are deposited into the recipient’s PayPal account rather than their bank – there may be an extra fee to withdraw to a bank later, paid by the recipient
- PayPal’s exchange rates include a markup which can be 3% – 4% on top of the Google rate
- PayPal international transfers have a percentage fee which is subject to minimum and maximum caps – some other providers have lower transfer fees, or even no transfer fees at all
Here’s a summary of the fees and exchange rates you’ll find with PayPal US vs a few alternative providers:
|International transfer fees||5% (Minimum fee $0.99, maximum fee $4.99).||No fee||Low fee, varied by destination. To learn more: Wise Fees.||Low fee, varied by destination|
|Exchange rates||Mid-market rate + 3% to 4% fee||Mid-market rate + small markup||Mid-market rate||Mid-market rate + small markup|
How to pay someone on PayPal safely
PayPal is a pretty safe way to send a payment, as long as you take common sense steps like double checking you’re sending to the correct email or phone number, and only sending to people you trust.
It’s also super easy to pay someone on PayPal. Here’s how:
- Log into PayPal online or in the app, and tap Send and Request
- Enter the recipient’s name, PayPal username, email address, or mobile number and click Next
- Enter the amount, choose the currency, add a note and click Continue
- Confirm if it’s a personal or business payment
- Select the source of funds you want to pay from and click Next
- Check everything over and click Send Payment Now
How to pay someone with PayPal without an account
If someone has sent you an invoice through PayPal but you don’t have a PayPal account yourself you’ll still be able to make a payment as a guest. This service is also commonly available when shopping online.
You’ll just need to tap the link in the invoice, or select checkout as a guest on the ecommerce site, and follow the prompts to add your card details for payment. You’re usually directed to set up a PayPal account in the process, but if you really don’t want to, you can just skip this step.
Alternatives to PayPal
PayPal has lots of great features, but it’s not the only option out there if you need to make a local or international payment.
If you’re sending money overseas in particular, you may find an alternative service can help you cut the overall costs. Here are a few to consider. We’ll dive into a more detailed comparison of the fees and features from our PayPal alternatives in just a moment.
OFX is a specialist in currency conversion and international payments, with offices around the world which allow it to offer a 24/7 phone service to customers. OFX is a good pick if you prefer to talk to someone about your payment before you get started, and can also offer a range of more complex currency products like limit orders and forward contracts, which are used to minimize the risks of buying and selling foreign currencies.
OFX charges no transfer fee, and uses exchange rates which include a small margin that can make them better value compared to banks.
Wise offers international payments and account services for individuals and businesses in a broad range of countries around the world. You can open a personal Wise Account online or in the Wise app, to hold 50+ currencies, send payments to 80+ countries, and spend with your linked card in 170+ countries. You’ll also get local bank details to get paid fee free from 30+ countries.
Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate with low sending and conversion fees, from 0.41% depending on the currencies involved.
WorldRemit is a good bet if you want to send a payment to someone who might not have easy access to a bank account. Payments can be sent to a range of countries, with pay out options including cash collection, deposits to mobile money accounts and airtime top ups, as well as to bank accounts.
WorldRemit fees vary based on the destination country and the way you want the recipient to get the payment in the end. Exchange rates may include a markup on the mid-market exchange rate.
Comparing PayPal Alternatives for International Payments
Let’s look at how PayPal can compare to other well-established providers in the market: OFX, Wise and WorldRemit. We’ll start with an example payment – sending 1,000 USD to a friend in the UK – and then run through some key features and costs to help you compare.
|Received amount when sending 1,000 USD to GBP||803.57 GBP||838.55 GBP||842.15 GBP||826.31 GBP|
|Exchange rates||Mid-market rate + 3% to 4% fee||Mid-market rate + small markup||Mid-market rate||Mid-market rate + small markup|
|Transfer fees||0.99 USD – 4.99 USD depending on value||No fee||Low fee, varied by destination||Low fee, varied by destination|
|Delivery time||Some payments are instantly deposited to PayPal accounts – others may take several days||1 – 2 days on average||50%+ arrive instantly, 90% arrive in 24 hours||Some payments are instantly deposited or available for collection|
|Other features available||Broad range of digital payment services||Currency risk management options and 24/7 phone service||Multi-currency account and card available to hold and exchange 50+ currencies||Broad range of pay out options including cash collection|
- Fees and rates correct at time of research – 15th November 2022
OFX – great for people who want to talk through their options on the phone before committing, plus currency risk management solutions for individuals and businesses
Wise – low cost international payments which use the mid-market exchange rate, and multi-currency accounts with linked debit cards and no ongoing fees for personal and business customers
WorldRemit – broad range of payout options make this a good way to get money to someone in a hurry, even if they can’t get to a bank account or ATM
Making Payments to Businesses with PayPal
When you send a PayPal payment you’ll usually be prompted to confirm if it is a personal payment, or a business transfer to pay for goods or services. If you choose the business payment option, the seller has to pay a small fee to receive your money.
If you’re an ecommerce seller, or a freelancer using PayPal to invoice clients, you might find you can keep more of your money if you pick an alternative provider with a multi-currency business account like Wise or OFX. These specialist providers give you your own bank details for different countries and currencies so you can get paid by local transfer from customers around the world. That usually means no fees for the person sending the payment, and absolutely nothing for you to pay to receive the money either.
What information do I need to pay someone on PayPal?
To send a payment on PayPal all you need is the recipient’s email address, phone number or PayPal ID.
PayPal Fees for Domestic and International Transactions
Let’s look at the costs of using PayPal to send a personal payment to someone locally in the US, or internationally. The exact price you pay may vary a little depending on how your PayPal account is set up – so you’ll want to double check all the details for your specific account before you get started. However, here are the standard PayPal US local and overseas payment fees to consider:
|Payment type/fee||Send a personal PayPal payment domestically||Send a personal PayPal payment overseas|
|PayPal fee||Funded by linked bank account, PayPal balance or Amex Send: no fee|
Funded with a card:
2.9% + a fixed fee based on the currency involved (0.30 USD if you’re sending locally).
|5% (Minimum fee $0.99, maximum fee $4.99)|
|Exchange rate||If you’re sending from a foreign currency balance to USD, a 3% – 4% fee is added on top of the wholesale rate||3% – 4% on top of the wholesale rate|
How to avoid PayPal fees
While PayPal is fee free for some domestic transfers, PayPal’s costs to send money to friends and family overseas can be on the high side, with extra charges for currency conversion to consider.
Let’s look at some tips on how to lower or avoid costs and fees when using PayPal to send payments.
- If you send money internationally with PayPal, it may be cheaper overall to send one single payment versus several smaller ones
- PayPal card payment may mean extra fees to pay – use a linked bank account or PayPal balance if possible
- Avoid PayPal currency conversion where you can as this comes with extra costs
- Alternative providers, like Wise or OFX may be able to offer lower overall fees and more transparent exchange rates when sending abroad
PayPal Transfer Limits
If you’re sending a payment or making a withdrawal from PayPal you might run into some limits and fees. These do depend on how your PayPal account is set up, but here are the standard PayPal US sending limits it’s worth knowing about:
- From an unverified PayPal account you can send one payment worth up to 4,000 USD
- From a verified PayPal account you can send payment worth up to 10,000 USD
To withdraw money from PayPal to a bank there may also be limits:
- Instant transfer to a bank – 25,000 USD per transaction
- Instant transfer to a card – 5,000 USD per transaction/day/week, up to 15,000 USD per month
How long does it take for PayPal to send money?
PayPal payments can be instant or take a day or two, depending on how they’re funded.
Don’t forget also that the money you receive from PayPal is deposited to your PayPal account, not your bank account. If you want to withdraw funds to your bank there will be either another fee for an instant transfer, or a wait of 3 – 5 days.
Here’s how long PayPal payments usually take:
- PayPal payments funded by PayPal balance or card – can arrive in minutes
- PayPal payments funded by linked bank account – can take 2 or 3 days to arrive
Here’s how that compares with the providers we looked at earlier:
- Wise: 50%+ arrive instantly, 90% arrive in 24 hours
- OFX: 1 – 2 days
- WorldRemit: Some payments are instant, others take a day or two
How to Accept payments on PayPal
If you’re a PayPal business account holder you can get paid into your PayPal account in a broad range of ways, including:
- Integrate PayPal with your ecommerce checkout
- Have customers pay with a QR code
- Invoice customers and clients directly through PayPal
- Receive credit or debit card payments
- Venmo for USD transfers
The PayPal fees for each payment type do vary, so it’s worth weighing up all the available options to pick the one which will maximize your income without incurring unnecessary fees. And of course, comparing PayPal against a few competitors to see if there’s a better deal out there for you makes good business sense, too.
PayPal is a very popular provider in the US and globally. However, while PayPal payments can be fast and convenient it’s not usually an ideal service for international transfers. PayPal’s international fees can be on the high side, and include a currency conversion markup on top of the transfer fee you pay.
Alternatives like OFX and Wise may be able to offer lower fees and better exchange rates for international payments – as well as having a broad range of extra perks and features for people who transact or do business internationally often.
Paying Someone with PayPal FAQs
Can you pay someone on PayPal with just their email address?
Yes. Make local and domestic PayPal payments with just your recipient’s email, PayPal ID or phone number.
Is it free to pay someone on PayPal?
Domestic transfers can be free depending on how you pay, but international transfers are not and include foreign transactions fees like conversion fees. In the US sending money overseas with PayPal has a charge of 5% (Minimum fee $0.99, maximum fee $4.99) + conversion fee of 3% or 4% on top of the wholesale rate.
Can I send money on PayPal without linking a bank account?
You can send money on PayPal US with a linked card – but this incurs a higher fee for domestic transfers of 2.9% + a fixed fee based on the currency involved (0.30 USD if you’re sending locally). International fees apply for all payment methods, and are the same whether you pay by card or bank account.
How much does it cost to send money with PayPal?
Domestic transfers are fee free to personal customers unless there’s currency conversion required, or you pay by card. If you pay by card there’s a fee of 2.9% + a fixed fee based on the currency involved (0.30 USD if you’re sending locally).
International payments can be more costly: sending money overseas has a charge of 5% (Minimum fee $0.99, maximum fee $4.99) + conversion fee of 3% or 4% on top of the wholesale rate.