PayPal's Fees in Canada: A Full Guide 2023
PayPal is one of, if not the most well-known payment providers available online.
Thanks to the convenience of PayPal’s services to pay and receive payments, many people use it when making purchases. This is increasingly true when it comes to payments abroad, transferring money overseas, or receiving payments from other countries.
However, PayPal's handling fees are often much higher than other providers. If you would like to reduce the cost of overseas transfers, there are other alternatives such as Wise or OFX, that can provide cheaper and more transparent fees.
In this article, we’ll explain all you need to know about PayPal fees in Canada, how they compare to other cheaper providers, as well as share some useful tips to help you to avoid some of the fees that PayPal charges Canadian users.
PayPal Fees: An overview for Canadian users
International money transfers through PayPal are confusing at best, especially when you end up having to work out all the different fees that you will encounter when doing so. Most likely when transferring money outside of Canada it will also involve different currencies as well as cross-border transactions which PayPal clearly states will incur fees.
The kind of fees for international transfer out of Canada can be split up into the following:
Currency conversion fees
Transfer to a PayPal or bank account
Transfer to a card
|Currency Conversion||4% minimum rate||4% minimum rate||4% minimum rate|
|Transfer to PayPal/bank account||No fee||2.99 CAD||4.99 CAD|
|Transfer to Card||2.90% + fixed fee||2.99 CAD + 2.90% + fixed fee||4.99 CAD + 2.90% + fixed fee|
*Fixed fees are based on the currency that is received, PayPal collects the fee in the currency in which the fee is listed¹²
While these are the most common fees that you would encounter, you should be sure when transferring which fees actually apply to your situation as they can vary widely based on how you are using PayPal’s services.
We recommend that you always check with any providers before making any international transfers to make sure that you have everything covered as some of the fees will not be obvious at first glance.
There are of course other providers that can offer more competitive fees depending on your needs such as Wise and OFX, we will provide a more detailed breakdown of fee comparisons below.
PayPal fees: A comparison
While PayPal is a great, easy, and quick way to send money in Canada, it unfortunately is not the best method to send payments internationally. The fees that your regular bank charges you for international transfers is most likely even higher though. So what can you do to avoid these excessive fees when sending money abroad?
Luckily, there are some providers out there that are able to offer you more competitive rates and fees than both PayPal and your regular bank.
Down below, we will show you a comparison of PayPal to other well-established providers that specialise in international transfers such as Wise and OFX. You will be surprised how much money you can save by using other providers than PayPal.
|Amount and Currency||Recipient gets with PayPal||Recipient gets with Wise||Recipient gets with OFX||Best option in this example|
|1000 CAD to USD||698.74 USD||726.23 USD||707.23 USD||Wise|
|5000 CAD to USD||3502.11 USD||3634.40 USD||3579.23 USD||Wise|
|1000 CAD to EUR||666.18 EUR||689.69 EUR||670.49 EUR||Wise|
|5000 CAD to EUR||3338.91 EUR||3451.26 EUR||3393.29 EUR||Wise|
*Fees and exchange rates correct at time of research - 10th December 2022
In this example, Wise came out cheaper when sending from CAD to both USD and EUR.
Which provider offers the cheapest rate for your international transfer depends not only on their fees. Another important factor is the exchange rate. While Wise always uses the official exchange rate, the mid-market rate, other providers like OFX charge their customers mark-ups.
Depending on the current exchange rates for your currency pair and the applicable mark-up, the cheapest provider may vary from day to day.
It’s important to note that alternative providers such as Wise also offer other competitive advantages such as the Wise multi-currency account and the Wise card.
If you travel abroad frequently or like to shop online in other countries, the multi-currency account might come in handy for you. With this international account you will be provided with numerous benefits such as
the ability to hold and transfer more than 50 different currencies
paying with your Wise card everywhere in the world – without fees
fast transactions, payments will arrive almost instantly into your account
low-cost currency transfers at fair mid-market rates
As you can see, there are many benefits to choosing a more favourable alternative to PayPal when sending money abroad or paying internationally.
PayPal currency conversion fee
A very common fee that you would encounter transferring money from Canada internationally is the currency conversion fee. When transferring or receiving any amount that requires currency conversion for either personal payments or commercial transactions, the PayPal fee will add a mark-up of 4%. For any other type of transaction such as a donation that requires currency conversion the fee is set at 3%.¹
The way in which PayPal calculates its currency exchange rate is based on wholesale exchange market rates from the day of the conversion or the previous business day. Due to this, it can be difficult for a user to know what the costs relating to the transfer could be, and also whether the charges are applied to their own bank account or to that of the beneficiary.
You can always check the PayPal exchange rate for today by doing the following steps while logged into your PayPal account:
Go to “Wallet”
Open up the menu on the right of any currency balance and click “Convert Currency”
Select the currency you wish to convert to such as USD and click “Next”
Enter the amount you would like to transfer and it will display the exchange rate for you
When you are sending money with either a credit or debit card, you can instead choose to use the exchange rate provided by the card issuer. However, this makes it significantly harder to know the exchange rate at the time of the transaction as most banks will only display the exchange rate once you receive your monthly statement.
PayPal transaction fees in Canada
When you are using PayPal to buy or sell goods or services, receive any payments through a QR code, or engage in any other type of commercial transaction, there are specific fees you have to be aware of.
For PayPal, even requesting money from other PayPal users is considered a commercial transaction. The costs differ depending on the type of transaction that you are making. PayPal often refers to this type of fee as a payment processing fee or a seller fee.
Here is a breakdown of the fees involved:
|PayPal commercial transcation²||Domestic fees||US transaction fees||Fees for all other countries|
|Commercial Transactions||2.90% + fixed fee (depending on the currency)||2.90% + 0.80% + fixed fee (depending on the currency)||2.90% + 1.00% + fixed fee (depending on the currency)|
|QR code Transactions above 10.00 CAD||1.90% + fixed fee (depending on the currency)||1.90% + 0.80% + fixed fee (depending on the currency)||1.90% + 1.00% + fixed fee (depending on the currency)|
|QR code Transactions below 10.00 CAD||2.40% + fixed fee (depending on the currency)||2.40% + 0.80% + fixed fee (depending on the currency)||2.40% + 1.00% + fixed fee (depending on the currency)|
For clarification, QR code transactions are online or in-store payments via a QR code that the seller provided. That way, customers have a touch-free payment option to pay a merchant by using the PayPal app to scan a QR code.
PayPal withdrawal fees in Canada
Whenever you use PayPal to withdraw money from your PayPal account, there is a flat handling fee that you will be charged. This fee is applied to any withdrawal to an eligible linked debit card and is equal to 1.75% of the amount being transferred.
Keep in mind though, that there is a minimum withdrawal fee in this case of 0.25 CAD. The good news is that PayPal also has a maximum withdrawal fee. That means that you will never have to pay more than 25.00 CAD for a PayPal withdrawal.
For example, if you were to withdraw 1000 CAD to an eligible linked debit card you would be charged a fee of 17.50 CAD.
There is also a limit to how much you will be able to withdraw from PayPal. For withdrawals there is a limit per transaction of 5000 CAD. Unfortunately, this limit of 5000 CAD also applies to a single day and even a single week.
So if you want to withdraw more than 5000 CAD from your PayPal account, you will have to divide the withdrawals into chunks over the month. Be aware though, that there is also a monthly withdrawal limit of 15000 CAD.
To give you a better overview of the PayPal withdrawal limits here is a handy table we created for you:¹
|Per transaction||5000.00 CAD|
|Per day||5000.00 CAD|
|Per week||5000.00 CAD|
|Per month||15000.00 CAD|
If the withdrawal is to a local bank account and no currency conversion is necessary, then there is no fee. However, the limits for withdrawals with PayPal still apply. Additionally, your local bank may charge a different handling fee of their own.
Long story short, if you want to withdraw money from PayPal you should be aware that there will be some hefty fees coming your way.
How to avoid PayPal fees?
Of course, nobody wants to throw money out the window. After all you have learned in this article, you might ask yourself: How do I avoid these hefty PayPal fees? Don’t worry, we are here to help.
Here are some tips that you can use to help lower any fees that you may encounter when using PayPal.
Try your best to make fewer transactions at a higher amountAs PayPal charges a per-transaction fee as well as a percentage fee, you should avoid making too many small transactions. If you have fewer transactions that means you will be charged fewer per-transaction fees.
Use alternative payment methods when receiving moneyIf you are receiving money, try to use alternative ways of payment such as cash, checks, or ACH transfers.
Consider alternative providers such as Wise or OFXFinally, you can also consider using alternative ways to process your payments, such as Wise or OFX. Using the table provided above should help you decide if these are better methods for you.
Conclusion: Is PayPal a good deal?
As the most well-known provider for online transactions, PayPal can sometimes appear to be the best option to use for international payments due to its ease of access.
However, compared with other payment processors, PayPal charges their customers a number of transaction fees for international transfers. This can apply to both receiving and sending money which might come as a surprise for most PayPal customers.
Additionally, expect to pay currency conversion fees and hidden mark-ups when using PayPal for payments in foreign currencies.
For this reason, you should first consider alternative providers to find out which one best suits you for your particular needs. Providers like Wise or OFX offer a wide range of services that are tailored specifically for people who frequently send money abroad or make payments in different currencies.
The Exiap comparison page will allow you to find the best deals to send money abroad depending on the currency being spent and the amount you need to exchange. This should help you make your decision on which provider best suits you and your individual needs.
FAQ - PayPal Fees
That depends on the amount that is being sent or received, and whether it is a business or individual transaction. For domestic transactions without currency conversion there are little to no fees. However, fees for international transfer with currency conversion can be quite expensive.
To avoid PayPal fees, you should make as few transactions as possible. If you are receiving money then you should look for alternative payment methods of receiving payment such as cash. The other way to save is to use a provider with lower fees such as Wise or OFX.
PayPal seller fees are divided into 4 categories, inside or outside the US as well as offline or online. The type of transaction can massively change the fees that you may incur, so this is something that is best looked into on a case-by-case basis.
Unfortunately, unless you are sending money directly to another Canadian PayPal user with no currency conversion involved, you will have to pay a fee of some kind. However, there are plenty of alternative providers out there that charge lower fees, such as Wise or OFX.