PayPal is one of the original, and still de-facto e-money provider that allows you to send and receive funds at the click of the button.
If you’re based in the UK and you transfer money to friends or family that are also in the UK, then you won’t pay any fees to transact. This is also the case if you decide to withdraw funds to a UK bank account, as the process is free.
However, sending and receiving funds to somebody located abroad can be costly, as the fees PayPal charges for such a privilege are somewhat expensive.
It is also important to remember that not all online vendors favor PayPal as their primary e-money payment provider. As businesses themselves get charged fees to accept payments via PayPal, alternatives such as Skrill and Google Wallet are becoming more and more popular.
As such, if you’re looking for the best PayPal alternatives, be sure to read our guide. We’ll explain how each e-money provider works, alongside their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Formally known as MoneyBookers, Skrill is by far the most popular alternative to PayPal. The UK company behind Skrill first launched its e-money service way back in 2001, making them one of the most established online payment processors in the industry.
The main overarching concept of Skrill is virtually identical to that of PayPal. Users create an account, link up a payment method such as a debit/credit card or bank account, deposit funds, and subsequently, send money.
Before you can start using your newly created Skrill account, you’ll first need to verify your identity. Much like in the case of PayPal, you might need to upload a copy of your government issued ID, and confirm a telephone number and email address.
In terms of fees, this can vary depending on where you are based. However, in the UK you will pay a 1% deposit fee when uploading funds to your Skrill account, and a fixed fee of EUR 5.50 (UK equivalent) if you decide to withdraw funds back to your UK bank account.
If you decide to withdraw money back to your VISA debit card, you’ll pay a remarkable 7.5% in fees. Skrill will also charge you a 1.45% transaction fee when sending funds to another user, although receiving money is free. All in, the fees charged by Skrill are significantly higher than that of PayPal.
Google Wallet is an alternative to PayPal that allows you to seamlessly send and receive funds via your mobile phone. One of the stand-out advantages of Google Pay is that the provider does not charge you to fund transactions with a debit or credit card, nor does it cost anything to deposit via a bank account.
This makes Google Wallet stand out from the likes of Skrill or PayPal, who are both known to charge excessive fees.
Users of Google Wallet can also have a physical pre-paid card sent to them. This allows you to use your Google Wallet balance to pay for goods and services in-store, or even withdraw cash from an ATM.
The only down-side to the Google Wallet app is that significantly fewer merchants accept it in comparison to PayPal, and even Skrill. However, as Google Wallet is much more favorable for online stores, at least in terms of fees, expect the provider’s market share to increase over time.
Finally, although Google Wallet is a direct competitor to the Apple Pay e-money service, iOS users can still download the app via the iTunes Store.
Originally based in Canada before relocating to the Isle of Man in 2004, Neteller is an e-money provider that performs a similar function to both PayPal and Skrill. The provider has excellent exposure in the online marketplace, meaning that you have plenty of choice if you’re looking to use your Neteller funds to buy products or services.
Neteller allows you to fund your account with several different payment methods. This covers popular payment channels such as Visa and Mastercard, as well as unconventional methods such as Bitcoin and GiroPay.
Most funding methods carry a deposit fee of 2.5%, which is quite expensive. If you want to withdraw your money out of Neteller, you’ll pay a $10 fee if opting for a bank transfer.
Although using your Neteller balance to buy goods online is free, money transfers cost 1.45% per transaction, plus a fixed fee of $0.50. If you need to transact in more than one currency, then you’ll need to pay an additional 3.99%.
This can make cross-border transactions very expensive, especially when you add on the standard transaction fee of 1.45%
If you’re looking to send and receive money overseas, or you’re looking to transact in more than one currency, then TransferWise is potentially the best option for you.
For example, while multi-currency transfers via PayPal can cost anywhere between 3-11.4%, TransferWise averages about 0.5% for most major currencies.
TransferWise is also notable if you want to send or receive money to a bank account. Although the payment provider acts as a third party intermediary between the two banks, the process is nothing short of excellent.
In most cases, transfers are received in less than an hour, with the receiver paying very little in terms of fees. This makes it ideal if you work as a freelancer and you need your international clients to pay you in the fastest and cheapest way possible.
If your main objective is purchase goods and services online without exposing your debit or credit card details, then Entropay is one the best PayPal alternatives out there. In the nutshell, the Maltese-based company allows you to create an unlimited number of virtual credit cards (VCCs). The name VCC can be somewhat misleading, as they are actually pre-paid debit cards as opposed to credit cards.
Nevertheless, once you register an account and verify your identity, you’ll be able to use your personal debit/credit card or bank account to deposit funds. The only issue with Entropay is that you’ll need to cover a rather hefty 4.95% deposit fee when you upload funds.
However, once you’ve loaded your account, you can create a new VCC and subsequently use it in the same way that you would a traditional bank card. The cards are backed by the Bank of Valletta, and issued by MasterCard.
Launched in 2005 and headquartered in New York, Payoneer is a payment services provider that allows users to send and receive money online. The platform currently services more than 4 million customers located in more 200 countries.
When it comes to fees, Payoneer charge 1% to upload funds to your account, which is a lot cheaper than many of the other PayPal alternatives on our list. The good news is that if you use Payoneer to transfer funds to a bank account, you pay nothing apart from the fees charged by the receiving bank.
Cross-currency transactions cost in the region of 2% above the mid-market rate, although this can be lowered if you hold a VIP account. If you obtain the Payoneer pre-paid debit card, then you’ll pay $3.15 per ATM withdrawal.
Payoneer is also a notable PayPal alternative due to its highly rated customer support. You have the option of contacting support via telephone, live chat or through a support ticket. However, response times are somewhat slow over the weekend, so you’re best off calling them if your query is of an urgent nature.
Venmo was launched in 2009 and is owned by PayPal. The online payment provider adds a personal touch to transactions, which makes is great if you want to send or receive money to friends and family. The great thing about using Venmo is that you won’t be charged to upload funds via a bank account.
However, if you want to transact using your credit card, you will pay a 3% fee. This is standard for most credit card deposits in the e-money space, as providers cover their backs in the case of a charge-back.
Although Venmo is great for its fast transactions and reasonable fees, it’s not really suitable for freelance payments or supplier invoices as the app is intended for transferring cash between family and friends.
Best PayPal Alternatives: The Verdict?
In summary, although PayPal is one of the most popular e-money providers in the industry, there are some highly notable alternatives to consider. The PayPal alternative that you go with will ultimately depend on what you are looking for from an e-money provider.
For example, if you’re looking to regularly send and receive funds on an international basis using multiple currencies, then your best bet is likely to be TransferWise. Alternatively, if you want an e-money provider that charges the lowest fees, then Google Wallet is probably the most suitable, not least because they do not charge anything to transact.
Whichever PayPal alternative you do decide to use, just make sure that you have a full understanding of the underlying fee structure. Certain fees, such as account inactivity charges, are often not clearly stated, so ensure you do lots of research before signing up.