PayPal vs Wise: Fees and Rates Compared 2023
Not sure whether to use PayPal or Wise for your next international payment? This PayPal vs TransferWise review is here to help. We’ll cover:
A full side by side feature comparison
Which is faster?
Which is safer?
Currently, Wise does not support money transfers from INR. If you already have a Wise account, don’t worry, you can continue using it normally. Wise money transfers can still be sent to India from abroad. For more information, you can check out Wise Help Center.
Summary: PayPal lets you make purchases online, whereas TransferWise (now known as Wise) allows international money transfers. With that in mind, PayPal’s transfer costs aren’t always easy to figure out, and can include a fee of up to 6% added to the exchange rate. Wise has a more transparent fee structure, with fees often around 2 - 4% for major currencies. Both providers are licensed by the FCA.
PayPal Vs Wise: side by side
|Send payments to||Can’t send international payments, only pay for goods and services.||40+ countries|
|Debit card available||No||No|
|Pay later options direct with merchants||No||No|
|Fully licensed and regulated||Yes||Yes|
|Open a business account||No|
So, to summarise:
PayPal supports payments to more countries, but you can only pay for goods and services.
Both PayPal and Wise are fully regulated.
PayPal started as a payment platform for online shopping, and has related services such as credit for eligible account holders in some countries. You can also make international payments to merchants for goods and services.
Wise is a specialist in international payments to bank accounts, and offers safe, fast and low cost transfers which use the midmarket exchange rate.
If you’re looking to send money to someone’s bank account internationally, Wise can be probably a good option, as PayPal currently does not offer this service in India.
The important bits
|Rates||Exchange rate includes a markup||Mid-market exchange rate with no markup|
|Fees||3% of transfer amount||Low fees, varies by destination|
|Speed||Can be instant on merchant transactions||50% of payments are instant, 80% arrive in 24 hours|
|Service||Online and in app||Online and in app|
|Safety||Fully regulated and licensed||Fully regulated and licensed. More info here: Is Wise Safe?|
Rates: Wise uses the mid-market rate, whereas PayPal may charge currency conversion fees in the form of an exchange rate markup
Fees: Wise has variable fees which are based on the destination country, PayPal international payments from personal account have a 3% fee
Speed: PayPal online purchase payments arrive almost instantly. Wise payments can be instant.
Service: Both providers offer multilingual service in a range of languages, online, in-app
Safety: Wise is fully licensed and regulated
Pros and cons
PayPal vs Wise: The verdict
Whether PayPal or Wise win for you will depend on the specific services you need.
PayPal is a really popular and convenient way to shop online and send money for purchases. Making a domestic payment is often free - but when it comes to international payments, there are often hefty fees and an exchange rate markup. Transfers with PayPal are deposited into your recipient’s PayPal account - if they want to withdraw their payment they may need to wait several days for it to arrive in their bank account, or pay a fee for a faster withdrawal.
Wise is a specialist in transfers direct to bank accounts, and offers the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees.
If Wise supports payments to the country you’re sending to, and you want your transfer to be delivered to a bank account, they may be a good option.
About PayPal and Wise
PayPal was founded in 1998, and has 337 million customers. You can send payments for purchases all over the world.
PayPal business accounts are ideal for merchants selling online - there are an increasing number of ways to accept PayPal payments offline too.
Wise was launched as TransferWise back in 2011 as a low-cost international payment provider. These days, Wise has upwards of 10 million customers, and also offers personal and business accounts to send and receive money abroad.
With Wise you can send payments to 40+ countries from India.
How do they work?
If you already have a PayPal account, it's easy to pay for purchases. Setting up a PayPal account only requires a few personal details and can be done entirely online or in the PayPal app. Here’s how to pay for purchases internationally:
Log into your account and select Send & Request
Link a credit or debit card
Pay with PayPal wherever you see the PayPal button
Receive an email receipt of your purchase.
To use Wise you’ll need to create an account, and depending on the type of payment you want to make you might need to provide some ID for verification.
Once your account is up and running make payments online and in the Wise app:
Log into your account
Type in how much you want to transfer, or how much you need the recipient to get
Enter the recipient’s details - bank account number or email
Check over the details
Fund your payment using a card or bank transfer
Confirm and your money will be on the move
How does Wise work? Wise transfers are made through Wise’s network of local bank accounts, so they arrive faster and don’t incur intermediary fees. When you want to pay for your transfer in rupees you’ll send the money to Wise’s local Indian account. Then Wise will make a payment of the equivalent amount in your preferred currency, from their account in the destination country. No money actually moves across borders, so it’s faster and cheaper than traditional international payments.
PayPal Vs Wise Fees
PayPal international exchange fees are: 3% - 4% of the transaction amount
Currency conversion fee: If PayPal has to convert the currency there will also be a fee for this.
The currency conversion fee is a percentage fee added onto the exchange rate being used. You’ll be shown the exchange rate available when you arrange your payment - and you can also get an indicative rate through the PayPal online Help Centre. However, this markup in the exchange rate pushes up the overall cost of using PayPal for international transfers.
Wise doesn’t hide any fees in the exchange rates used, but instead has a couple of different transparent costs:
Fixed fee: This is a fee charged for certain transactions, regardless of the amount.
Variable fee: covering the cost of the currency exchange. This fee varies according to the amount transferred.
PayPal vs Wise: which is cheaper?
PayPal and Wise offer different products or services, and thus have different fee structures.
PayPal allows you to pay for purchases, but you can’t transfer money to individuals with PayPal, whereas Wise lets you send money abroad, but doesn’t have a purchase payment service.
To decide on a provider, you have to look at which provider offers services suited to your needs, as well as their fee structure.
Learn more here: Wise international transfer fees
Check this article to get a fee-free transfer with Wise: Wise promo code
PayPal Vs Wise: which is faster?
When you purchase with PayPal internationally, the payment is delivered to the recipient’s PayPal account almost instantly. If they want to move the money to a bank account this may take time or incur fees, depending on where in the world they’re based.
50% of Wise payments get to their destination instantly, and 80% arrive in 24 hours. However, the exact delivery time will depend on where you’re sending money to, and how you want to pay. You’ll see an estimated arrival time when you set up your payment.
Both PayPal and Wise are fully licensed and regulated, and use both smart technology and dedicated service teams to keep customer money safe.
PayPal is globally regulated and one of the largest payment companies in the world. In the UK PayPal is FCA regulated, like most financial service companies.
Wise is regulated by the FCA in the UK, FinCEN in the US, and other global regulatory bodies around the world.
Ease of use
Creating an account: Create your account online or in app with both PayPal and Wise
Making a purchase: Make a purchase with PayPal using a credit or debit card or your PayPal balance. Wise does not allow purchases.
Making a transfer: Wise typically allows bank transfers from linked accounts. PayPal does not offer a money transfer service.
Ways to send money: Send payments to your recipient’s bank account directly with Wise.
Languages: Both PayPal and Wise offer multi-lingual support services
Minimum & maximum amounts: Sending limits can vary by destination country, and based on your account type
PayPal supports payments to PayPal accounts held in 200 countries and regions. Wise lets you send payments to over 40 countries.
When it comes to making international payments, the services offered by PayPal and Wise are pretty different. Wise offers international transfers from India and to India, while PayPal only offers payment for purchases.
Wise is a specialist in international transfers that are delivered directly to the recipient’s bank account. PayPal purchase payments are deposited in the recipient’s PayPal account - if they want to withdraw the money to their bank they may need to wait a few days or pay a fee.
The other major differentiator is on cost and transparency. Wise international transfers use the mid-market exchange rate with no markup, and a low fee. PayPal payments may have higher fees, and a currency conversion cost - a markup - is added into the available exchange rate. This means that paying for purchases with PayPal may work out to be costly.
PayPal vs Wise FAQs
For instant payments, Wise is cheaper, as it offers the real exchange rate with no markup, and low transfer fees.
PayPal in India doesn’t offer international money transfer services from India, however Wise does. Wise payments can be instant, and 80% of transfers are delivered to the recipient's bank account in 24 hours.
You can pay for online transactions in almost any currency with PayPal, however PayPal doesn’t allow international money transfers. Wise supports transfers in more than 20 currencies.