How to pay someone with Paypal: Step-by-step guide


If you use PayPal for online shopping already, you might be curious about how to use PayPal to send money to someone. This guide has you covered.

We’ll take a look at how to send money to someone using your PayPal account, as well as the costs and fees you need to know about. To help you decide if PayPal is the right service provider for your needs, we’ll also highlight an alternative as a comparison - TransferWise for low cost international payments all over the world.

How to pay someone with Paypal: Step-by-step guide

Sending money with PayPal is easy. However, it’s worth noting at this point that you may pay a fee for sending a PayPal transfer. 

Within the US the fee is waived if you pay for the transfer from your PayPal balance or linked bank account. If you use your card, you’ll be charged 2.9% of the transaction value, plus a fixed fee. The costs when sending money abroad are higher - read on for more about the price of sending money internationally with PayPal.

Here are the steps you need to take to make a payment through PayPal.

  1. Login and initiate the payment

If you’re using your computer, select Send & request - from the app you’ll need to find the Send button.

  1. Enter the recipient's details

Follow the on-screen prompts to enter the details of your recipient. You’ll need their name and either their email address or phone number. If your recipient has a PayPal account already, make sure you use the phone number or email which is linked to their account.

  1. Confirm the currency and the amount you want to send

Select the currency you want to send and enter the amount. At this stage you can also write a note to your recipient to help them identify the payment if you wish to.

  1. Select whether it's a business or personal transaction

If you’re using your computer, you’ll have to choose between Paying for an item or service - or Sending to a friend. From the app you have to click either Friends and family or Goods and Services.

  1. Review, confirm and and pay for the transfer

Choose how you want to pay for your transfer - the fees may vary depending on whether you use your linked bank account, PayPal balance or a card. Review all the details, and tap Send when you’re ready to confirm.

How to pay PayPal without an account?

It’s useful to know that you can often pay via PayPal when shopping online, even if you don’t have a PayPal account set up. Whether or not this option is available will depend on the way the merchant has arranged their online store

Here’s how to pay PayPal without an account:

  1. Click the button that indicates PayPal as a payment method

From within the ecommerce site, select PayPal as the way you’d like to pay for your cart.

  1. Choose the payment method, debit or credit card

Choose the option to pay with either a debit or credit card, depending on what suits you. You’ll be prompted to enter your card details, as well as your email and phone number. At this point you can also choose to create a PayPal account to make it easier to checkout in future.

  1. Confirm the payment

Tap to confirm the payment and you’re all done.

The costs of sending money internationally with PayPal

Sending money overseas with PayPal means you’ll pay fees, including a cost rolled up in the exchange rate applied for your transfer if you need to switch currencies.

Here’s what you need to know:

Payment typePayPal fee
International payment funded using your linked bank account or PayPal balance5% of the send amount (from USD0.99-USD4.99) + 3.75% currency conversion fee 
International payment funded using your credit or debit card, or PayPal Credit5% of the send amount (from USD0.99-USD4.99) + 2.9% of the transaction value + small fixed fee + 3.75% currency conversion fee 

TransferWise: the alternative that uses the mid-market rate 

Before you decide to send money overseas with PayPal, it pays to check out some other options. 

Take a look at TransferWise for simple, fast international payments which come with low fees and no exchange rate markups. The costs are simple and shown upfront, so you know exactly what your recipient will get before you confirm the payment. That can work out much cheaper than using a bank or a service like PayPal.

Transferwise payments are arranged online, making them a smart, simple way to get money quickly to friends, family and businesses around the world.

How to send money to a business through PayPal

If you need to make a business payment you can follow the steps above, but select Paying for an item or service - or Goods and Services - when you confirm the payment. Alternatively you may find you’re sent a PayPal invoice by the business, which confirms the amount you need to pay. In this case you can usually click within the invoice to pay using a card or via your PayPal account.

Making a payment through PayPal is simple and can offer good value for local transfers funded by your linked account or PayPal balance. However, if you’re paying for your transfer using a card, or sending money overseas, you might find there are cheaper ways to arrange your payment.

Check out TransferWise for a simple, low-cost way to send money all over the world, using the mid-market exchange rate.