How to Avoid PayPal Fees Send Money for Free (Update!)

by Anil Polat · 0 comments

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Since PayPal went public in 2002, several services have emerged to give it a run for its money (no pun intended). While PayPal has long been trusted as arguably best or most secure way to send and receive money, more and more people are leaning toward options that allow them to avoid PayPal fees and send money for free. PayPal charges a 3% transaction fee when sending or receiving money for personal purposes internationally, and you can’t use PayPal to send payments to and from some countries, including India.

PayPal recommends using Xoom, a PayPal service, to send money internationally to the countries that PayPal does not operate in. That being said, Xoom is riddled with fees, and users complained of less-than-favorable exchange rates.


One of the best ways to transfer money when you’re traveling abroad  may be Wise (formerly known as TransferWise). Launched in 2011, Wise does what the previously mentioned services do not and allows international transfers for a fee that is lower compared to its competitors, as well as favorable exchange rates across currencies. This means you do not need a U.S. bank account, and any local bank account will do the job. With that, you will be sending the money in your local currency, and the recipient will receive the payment in their own currency. Transfers are usually not instant, and take a couple of days to get to the recipient, usually due to bank transfer delays and procedures.


OFX is another good option for international money transfers, with low fees and not-bad exchange rates. Like with Wise, bank-to-bank transfers conducted through OFX can be on the slower side, and unlike Wise OFX accepts a minimum transfer amount of $1000 USD.


Launched in 2009, Venmo is a mobile payment app (owned by PayPal) that has no hidden fees or extra charges. The catch with Venmo is that you can only link U.S. phone numbers and bank accounts to the app, meaning it doesn’t work internationally.


Unlike Venmo or PayPal, Zelle is backed by banks—including Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. Launched in 2017, Zelle is built into each of the banks’ mobile apps, making it easy to use and leaving it as secure as the banks are. That being said, money transfers are subject to amount limitations set by the banks, and Zelle accounts must be tied to a U.S. bank account. Zelle transfers are only available to U.S. residents, or U.S. bank accounts.


CashApp was released in 2013 and is available in the U.S. and U.K. and only requires a working bank account (in either of those countries) to work, and the service only works within the country in which you live.

There are several options for money transfers depending on where you are, what you want to do, and how much money you need to receive or send. If money transfers don’t seem like your thing, it wouldn’t hurt to look into the best travel banks so that you can avoid those pesky fees or make up some of the money you spend on random travel fees by getting the best credit card for travel perks.

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