Wise vs PayPal

Wise vs PayPal


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In the world of money transfers, Wise emerged as a formidable contender with its affordable fees and speedy transfers. But can it rival PayPal’s global presence and popularity?

This post explores the head-to-head comparison between Wise and PayPal, examining their key features, customer reviews, transfer times, costs, availability, and more.

Get ready for an in-depth comparison that will help you make an informed decision. It’s time to find out who comes out on top! 🥊


New user incentiveReferral discountPoints for eligible purchases exchanged for cashback
Fees and costs🟢
Transfer speed🟢
Transfer limits🟢
Ease of use🟢🟢
Customer reviews🟢
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Wise vs PayPal: Company Comparison


Wise, formerly TransferWise, is a fintech company founded in 2010. The service charges six times less than banks for transfers and offers service in over 80 countries, including Australia, Canada, the U.S.A, and the U.K.

Besides its cheap rates, Wise is known for its multi-currency accounts, which let you hold and manage over 50 currencies. You can convert these currencies at the mid-market rate at your convenience. 

New customer incentive: If you share Wise’s referral link with a friend, you both will get discounts on your friend’s first transfer.

See our review of Wise.


Founded in 1998, PayPal is one of the most accessible money transfer services that’s available in over 200 countries. You can use it to pay bills, make local and international payments, and shop online or in-store.

Its Buyer and Seller Protection program provides some reassurance when shopping online as it allows users to receive refunds on faulty or undelivered items. 

You can also use PayPal to split your purchases into 4 interest-free payments when spending over £99 (or the currency equivalent). 

New customer incentive: You are awarded points for eligible purchases. These points can be redeemed for cash back or saved for later use.

PayPal is more widely available and offers a protection program that is beneficial for those who make frequent online purchases. However, Wise is considerably cheaper for transferring funds. 

See our review of PayPal.

Fees and costs comparison


Wise charges zero fees for transfers between two Wise accounts in the same currency. However, it charges a fee between 0.5% – 1% of the transfer amount when sending money overseas. 


Personal payments made through bank transfers are free. If you pay using a credit card, you’ll be charged 2.90% of the total transfer amount and a fixed fee depending on the currencies involved.

Receiving payments in local currencies is free, whereas a fixed rate is applied if the received payments are in foreign currency. International transfers are charged 5% of the transfer amount and a fixed fee depending on the currencies involved. 

Transaction FeeInternational Payments: 5%+Fixed feePercentage-based fees
Exchange RateMarkup is includedMid-market rate with no markup
Credit Card FeeYesYes
Minimum Limit$1$1
Maximum Limit (24 hours)Up to $60,000 per transaction$1,000,000
Total Amount Upfront QuoteYesYes

Wise is cheaper when transferring money overseas and between different currencies. 

Exchange rate comparison


Wise uses the mid-market rate which is the competitive rate commonly used by banks. This service doesn’t add a markup to the exchange rate. You can also set an alert on the mobile app that lets you know when your desired set rate is available. 

Users are given an upfront quote before confirming transfers which provides a clear breakdown of all the costs and exchange rates involved.


PayPal charges a 3%-4% markup on the mid-market exchange rate, so you don’t have a clear idea of the total cost until you get the quote. The company charges the markup for its role in converting currencies to make the overseas transfer.

Unlike PayPal, Wise doesn’t add a markup to the exchange rate. It’s also more transparent about its exchange rates.

Safety Comparison


Wise is registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the U.S. as a money transmitter. The company is obligated to meet strict security standards under the Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K.

Its other regulatory bodies include the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), and more.

They also have an in-house team that conducts daily security reviews of sensitive data.


PayPal is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K. and the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (or CSSF) in Europe. It operates under anti-money laundering (“AML”) laws and regulations in the U.S. and other jurisdictions.

The company uses well-established Transport Layer Security (TLS) to prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to sensitive information.

Both companies are regulated by legitimate financial bodies and have in-house security measures in place to protect user data.

Transfer speed comparison


The standard transfer time for Wise is 24 hours with 45% of these payments being completed within minutes. 

Depending on the destination country, some transfers may need to pass additional checks which can cause transactions to take 1-2 business days. You can track the status of your payment through the app.


PayPal transfer times vary between one and five days. However, weekends and holidays can cause delays in transfer times. 

Wise is more reliable for quick transfer times with most transfers being completed within 24 hours. 

Ease of use comparison

Transfer Limits: Both Wise and PayPal have a minimum limit of $1. Wise has a maximum wire transfer limit of $1,000,000, while PayPal lets you transfer a maximum of $60,000 per transaction. 

Currency Options: Wise offers 50 currency options with its multi-currency account, while PayPal supports 25 currencies. 

Account Setup: You can set up Wise and PayPal accounts within a few minutes by signing up with your details and completing a verification process. 

Apps: Both money transfer services have apps that can be used worldwide. The apps can be downloaded from Apple Store and Google Play Store.

Customer Support: Wise offers chat, email, and phone support. It also has a help center in 16 languages, including English, Italian, French, Spanish, and more. PayPal offers customer support via phone, chat, and a help center. They also have community forums and resolution centers.

Customer review comparison 


Wise has 4.4/5 stars on Trustpilot, 4.8/5 stars on the Apple store, and 4.2/5 stars on the Google play store.

Users complained about the company’s poor customer support but were impressed with their multi-currency account and card. They expressed how the card and multi-currency account were convenient while traveling and spending in foreign currencies.


PayPal has 1.3/5 stars on Trustpilot, 4.8/5 stars on the Apple store, and 4.3/5 stars on the Google play store.

PayPal users are pleased with the service’s wide availability and easy-to-use app. However, many users experienced account holds and long delays without being able to access money in their balances. 

Overall, Wise is rated more highly than PayPal for its fast transfers, low fees, and card that can be used for easy spending overseas. 

Availability comparison

PayPal is available in over 200 countries and supports over 25 currencies. The company has integrated itself into businesses worldwide, making it a leading payment method for in-store and online shopping.

Wise offers services in over 80 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, China, France, and Europe. You can hold and manage 50+ currencies with a multi-currency account.

PayPal beats Wise in availability as it’s present in more countries and offers cash pickups.

Final verdict

PayPal is a widely recognized money transfer service, however, its poor customer reviews and high fees are significant downsides to consider. Whilst Wise doesn’t have as much global coverage, it offers low fees, competitive exchange rates, fast transfer times, and a card for spending overseas easily. 

Hopefully, the details found throughout this post have been useful in helping you to decide whether PayPal or Wise is the best money transfer service for you. 


Is there a better solution than Wise?

Remitly is a fantastic Wise alternative that offers cash pickups and a paid Express delivery feature. Even though Wise offers quick transfers, Remitly’s paid delivery gives users more reassurance that their transfers are being prioritized to arrive faster. 

Which is cheaper, PayPal or Wise?

Wise is cheaper because of its lower transfer fees and zero markups on the mid-market exchange rate. PayPal charges a higher percentage-based transfer fee, and its exchange rate includes a markup. 

How many currencies do PayPal and Wise support?

Wise’s multi-currency account enables you to manage 50+ currencies. PayPal supports transfers in 25 currencies. 


  1. https://www.paypal.com/us/cshelp/article/what-bank-accounts-and-debit-cards-are-eligible-for-instant-transfer-help397#:~:text=Minimum%20transfer%20amount%3A%241.00,transfer%20amount%20per%20day%3A%20%245%2C000.00
  2. https://www.paypal.com/ca/smarthelp/article/FAQ538
  3. https://wise.com/gb/compare/paypal-vs-wise
  4. https://www.paypal.com/ca/smarthelp/article/FAQ538
  5. https://wise.com/gb/travel-money/travel-money-card\
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