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International transfer fees, PayPal/Xoom vs Transferwise

Starting October 19 TransferWise is offering a new, lower-cost option to transfer money. They call it the “send money from balance” option and it requires setting up a bank account internal to your TransferWise account. In other words, you’ll be storing money in TransferWise and not having money just pass through TransferWise. TransferWise lets you hold money, without fees, in 53 currencies. Until now, transferring money from another bank — or one of the many other possible funding sources for a TransferWise transaction was the only option.


TransferWise continues to be a great value and now you can save even more money—if you take the time to set up a bank account with them. You can transfer money from your current bank account or PayPal account and have it ready in your TransferWise account for when you need to transfer your money to any of the many international destinations they support. PayPal accepts TransferWise via “COMMUNITY FEDERAL SAVINGS BANK”.

Here is an example of the pricing difference for sending money from a TransferWise bank account versus sending money via ACH bank account. And the 2nd part of this side-by-side comparison screenshot shows the new lower fees.

In this example, $305 US is worth 501.51 Bulgarian lev if you opt for the new “send money from balance” option … that’s just a little bit more than the 498.96 that you get if you do an ACH transfer.

And as a comparison from the competition — this screenshot shows an international transfer in PayPal. In the app PayPal is using Xoom — they bought Xoom in 2015. Xoom used to market itself as an alternative to Western Union— enables sending money to people around the world.

In this example Xoom is adding $4.99 to the $300 transfer – so $304.99 is only going to yield 479 BGN.

If the recipient has a PayPal account then you could transfer directly within PayPal but the fee is very high: 5% transaction fee plus a fixed fee based on currency received

I don’t see Bulgaria listed in the table of fixed fees but fees seem to be about $2 US.

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