If you are looking for alternatives to the bank for international money transfer, TransferWise and PayPal are cheaper ways to do so. This comparison will help you find out if TransferWise or PayPal is the better option.

TransferWise vs PayPal

What you'll find in this review

  • Safety
  • Exchange Rates
  • Fees
  • TransferWise and PayPal Sign Up And Transfer Process
  • Accepted Payment Types, Min & Max Amounts
  • Business Payments
  • Supported Currencies & Countries
  • Transfer Speed With TransferWise and PayPal
  • Customer Support


TransferWise Logo

TransferWise is a peer to peer money transfer service that is often recognised for its fast transfers and bank-beating exchange rates and fees. The company's headquarters is located in London and has offices in New York and Tallinn.

PayPal Logo

PayPal is one of the world's most popular payment systems used to purchase goods and pay for services. It is also a way to transfer money to people in other countries.


The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is the government body that ensures and regulates fair and transparent conduct of financial services. Every company offering financial services must be granted an Australian Financial Service (AFS) licence by ASIC to carry out business in Australia.


TransferWise PayPal

Regulated by ASIC

Registered with AUSTRAC

Regulated by ASIC

Australian Financial Service Licence 456295

AUSTRAC Registration Number 168331191

Australian Financial Service Licence 304 962


Winner: Tie. Both companies hold an AFSL and are regulated by ASIC. In order for any company to provide financial services in Australia, it must be registered with the Australian government body.


Exchange Rates

Like banks, money transfer providers usually make money in two main ways: Firstly, the margin from which they purchase currency at a wholesale rate and the cost of currency sold on to customers. Secondly, an additional transaction fee.

In TransferWise's case, the way they make money is only through fees. This is unique in that they sell currency based on the true mid-market rate (the rate you see on xe.com or google).

PayPal uses a retail exchange rate, which is a comparatively poor rate. Their rate offered is the rate you would get if you bought currency at the airport, which is one of the worst ways to buy currency. If you make payment with a credit or debit card, you could choose to use the currency conversion rate determined by your card provider instead.

Before making a decision, it is important to compare live exchange rates. Comparing PayPal's rates is more difficult as you can only see the converted amount afer you commit to buy.

Here are three ways to compare the rates offered by TransferWise and different providers:


  1. View live rates online at TransferWise
  2. Contact TransferWise through the Live Chat feature on its website
  3. Compare exchange rates online with our comparison engine


Winner: Transferwise. Their exchange rates are literally unbeatable as they offer the real mid-market rate.


Compare Australian Banks and Money Transfer Specialists





This is the fee structure to send money internationally with TransferWise and PayPal. It is just as important to compare fees as well as exchange rates as mentioned above, as TransferWise makes money on fees and not the exchange rates.


TransferWise PayPal

0.7% of transfer amounting up to AUD 10,000 (minimum fee AUD 2)

PayPal Balance

0.5% to 3.3% depending on the country

0.7% on initial AUD 10,000 plus 0.5% on anything over

Credit or debit card

3.9% – 7.4% plus a flat fee depending on the country


Winner: TransferWise. It's a no brainer, their fees are much lower than PayPal. Keep in mind that these companies base their fee structure on a percentage, which could end up costing you a lot more when sending larger amounts.


Related: How Much It Really Costs To Transfer Money Overseas

TransferWise and PayPal Sign Up And Transfer Process

To transfer money overseas with either of the providers, you must register an account. TransferWise lets you transfer money directly to a bank We review the steps for each provider below:


TransferWise PayPal
1. Sign up manually or with Google or Facebook account 1. Sign up with PayPal
2. Enter your personal details and verify your identity 2. Link your bank account and cards
3. Select amount to send 3. Choose to add funds to your account or pay with credit or debit card
4. Provide recipient's details (you can also send to an email address) 4. Enter your recipient's PayPal account details
5. Transfer funds to TransferWise 5. Confirm transaction
6. TransferWise receives funds and transfers to recipient 6. PayPal exchanges currency, deducts fees and transfers to recipient's PayPal account


Winner: Tie. Registering an account on TranferWise and PayPal is straightforward and easy. The only additional step on TransferWise is an identity verification that requires you to upload your proof of ID.


Accepted Payment Types, Min & Max Amounts


TransferWise PayPal

Payment Types Accepted

Check Mark Electronic Funds Transfer

Check Mark Direct Debit*

Check Mark Credit Card*

*Paying with any card carries a 0.6% fee

Check Mark Electronic Funds Transfer

Check Mark PayPal Balance or Credit

Check MarkDebit or Credit Card

Check Mark E-check

Minimum Transfer Amount

AUD 250

AUD 1000 (Over the phone)

AUD 0.03

Maximum Transfer Amount

AUD 1.8 million (via bank transfer)

AUD 3500 (card payment)

No Limit


Winner: Tie. TransferWise and PayPal covers most payment methods and transfer amounts, unless you need to transfer over AUD 1.8 million.


Business Payments

Money transfers for business are supported on both TransferWise and PayPal. However, both companies do not provide specific services like fee-free transfers, spot or forward exchange contracts and an assigned account manager for business which are available on OFX, TorFX or World First.


Winner: TransferWise. It is still cheaper to use their service as their fees are lower.


Supported Currencies and Countries

This is an extensive list of currencies available for transfer on TransferWise and World First. Note that TransferWise can send and receive the currencies listed below. There are certain currencies the company can only send. Find out more on their website.


TransferWise PayPal
TransferWise can send and receive:


AUD – Australian Dollar

BGN – Bulgarian Lev

BRL – Brazilian Real

CAD – Canadian Dollars

CHF – Swiss Franc

CZK – Czech Koruna

DKK – Danish Krone

EUR – Euro

GBP – Great Britain Pound


HUF – Hungarian Forint

JPY – Japanese Yen

NOK – Norwegian Krone

NZD – New Zealand Dollar

PLN – Polish Zloty

SEK – Swedish Krona

SGD – Singapore Dollar

RON – Romanian Leu

AUD – Australian Dollar

BRL – Brazilian Real

CAD – Canadian Dollars

CHF – Swiss Franc

CZK – Czech Koruna

DKK – Danish Krone

EUR – Euro

GBP – Great Britain Pound

HKD – Hong Kong Dollar

HUF – Hungarian Forint

ILS – Israeli Shekel

JPY – Japanese Yen

MYR – Malaysian Ringgit

MXN – Mexican Peso

NOK – Norwegian Krone

NZD – New Zealand Dollar

PHP – Philippine Peso

PLN – Polish Zloty

RUB – Russian Rouble

SEK – Swedish Krona

SGD – Singapore Dollar

THB – Thai Baht

TRY – Turkish Lira

TWD – New Taiwan Dollar

USD – United States Dollar

Winner: Depending on the currency and country you are sending funds to, we'll let you decide who's the winner of this segment.


Transfer Speed With TransferWise and PayPal

The transfer speed depends on the amount and type of currency, country of transfer and turnaround time of your bank to clear payment.


TransferWise PayPal

Between 1 – 3 working days

Between 3 – 5 working days


Winner: TransferWise. They are significantly more efficient with transfer speed than PayPal.


Customer Support

Should you have any queries, you can contact TransferWise over the phone at +61 28 0466 244 (within Australia).

Alternatively, you can use their live chat feature to get in touch with a consultant. Expect to receive a response within 24 hours.

To get in touch with PayPal Australia, call 1800 073 263.


Winner: Tie.


Final Verdict

TransferWise is the overall winner.

Both companies excel in different areas. Dending on your needs, you may want to choose one over the other.

Generally, we found TransferWise's exchange rate, fees and transfer speed better than PayPal. Their exchange rates are based on the mid-market rate and their fee structure is significantly cheaper.

Just remember to compare the exchange rates before you decide to transfer as rates change all the time.


Compare Australian Banks and Money Transfer Specialists

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Helping You Save Money on Currency

Buying travel money or transferring money overseas can be expensive and confusing. So how do you make the best choice and get the most out of your money?

An easy way is to use a comparison table for either international money transfers or currency exchange. These tables list and compare the banks with other large foreign exchange companies.

We’ve also put together tons of helpful videosguides and reviews that will help you make the right decision. You can work out a cheaper way of converting currency while still keeping your money safe.