TransferWise vs Paypal

  • Aug. 5th 2020
  • |
  • BankApply
TransferWise vs Paypal

Paypal is the old dog in the yard. They're the best known. Likely one of the most hated as well in the payments space. It comes with the scale, you can't please everyone. But it's also almost impossible to get any feedback from them if they decide to keep your funds for whatever reason.

Paypal is also rather expensive. It's a bit odd, considering the volume they have. They should be able to push the prices down and make their smaller competition suffer because of that.

TransferWise isn't a new kid on the block either. They've been on the market for almost a decade now, and they're one of the best known Fintechs in Europe, with a valuation over $5bn.

In this article, we're going to look into some pros and cons of both services.


When we talk about international payments and money transfers, nothing matters more than fees. Well, trust is always the most important when it comes to "money-services". But in this case, when we talk about known companies, it's all about the fees. TransferWise seems to win this one pretty conveniently. 

For example, with the exchange rate on the 7th of May, if you sent 1000 GBP to a person in the US, with TransferWise the person would have received $1227,82, while with Paypal the same amount sent would have resulted in $1202,52. Or, more than $25 paid more. 

That's a pretty significant amount of savings. However, Paypal has more features, as we'll find out in a second. 


TransferWise enables you to make international payments. With Paypal, you can make both domestic and international payments. Hence, depending on your needs, Paypal might be a more suitable option. 

Paypal also enables payments only via e-mail. It's pretty convenient, as you don't need to add bank details when making a payment. With TransferWise, you still need to do that. 

Both TransferWise and Paypal issue debit cards. But Paypal also has e-commerce payments, e-mail invoices and payment links. In my experience, this is where Paypal is still the go-to option for most merchants due to trust it has in the e-commerce and payments space. The integration of Paypal button for e-commerce merchants is probably the most important feature for Paypal's continuous success.

Which one should I use, Paypal or TransferWise?

While competitors in some respect, they're companies with different focus points. TransferWise focuses on transparency and saving money for you when doing international payments. And they do it well. 

Paypal focuses on e-commerce and the convenience of making payments. What is a bit worrying about Paypal is its user reviews and poor support. TransferWise customer support, on the other hand, is pretty good. 

Our recommendation?

Use Paypal for: 
  • E-commerce payments
  • Payments in the same currency
  • E-mail payments
Use TransferWise for: 
  • Foreign transfers & currency exchange
  • Multi-currency account


If you're looking to open your Fintech or bank account in Europe, register as a user of BankApply and our Matching Engine gives you the most suitable options based on your profile. Whether you're a high-risk merchant or a non-resident (living outside of the EU), we'll have a solution for you. 


Share article on: