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A Comparison of the Major eWallets for International Transfers

eWallets, otherwise known as digital wallets, are truly the forefront of the banking industry. They make it easy to transfer money, make online purchases, and even split bills. But what parameters does a service need for it to be defined as an eWallet, and what are the main differences between them when it comes to transferring money abroad?

For your convenience, the following is an overview of what you need to know about eWallets. If you wanted to know about peer to peer money transfer firms click here.

What is an eWallet?

To put it simply, an eWallet is a mobile app that allows you to manage money and make electronic commerce transactions. For a money transfer app to be considered an eWallet, we require it to have the following functions:

  • peer-to-peer transfers: enables people to transfer money to each other
  • withhold money in the account: just as you would a regular wallet
  • withdraw it to your credit card

Traditional transfer services  do not enable users to keep sums of money in the account. We do not consider those to be eWallets, which is why companies such as World First, or Currencies Direct, who have an excellent, highly functional online platform, are not among our listed eWallets. If you want to send money abroad or receive funds from abroad using a commercial foreign exchange company, click on the links to find our relevant guides.

Three major eWallets

On the other hand, CurrencyFair, PayPal, and Skrill, all fulfil the above criteria. They have peer-to-peer capabilities, will hold money for you, and allow you to make a withdrawal at any point in time.

 

Company Personal Transfer Fees Currency Exchange Fees (%) Withdrawal / Receiving Fees Total
PayPal 1% 3.5 £0.20 4.5% and £0.20
Skrill  0% – 1.9% (5.5% – paysafe card) 2.99-4.99 £2.07 2.99% (or more) and £2.07
Currencyfair €3 (if from UK) 0.35-0.5% 0.35% and €3

And this is how they compare to our top money transfer company (which is not an eWallet).

Company Personal Transfer Fees Currency Exchange Fees (%) Withdrawal / Receiving Fees Total
World First None – Min. €1,000 Volume Dependent Non Varies, Potentially Cheapest

 

As you can see in the table above, Skrill has the most hefty fees, which are far more expensive than PayPal and Currencyfair. PayPal itself is significantly more expensive than Currencyfair, with 4.5% fees as opposed to 0.35%.

Each of the services has its own sending limits:

PayPal: requires a minimum transfer of just US$0.02, or £0.01 The maximum you may send through PayPal is US$10,000 in one transfer. Since Paypal is funded by your debit or credit card, standard credit limits will apply.

Skrill: Visa funded transfers are limited to €5000 per single transaction.You can use your Skrill Card to pay for goods and services up to the value of €1,000.

CurrencyFair: €8 is the minimum transfer amount, and there are no other limitations. You can send large volumes of money through Currencyfair, and withdraw large amounts directly to your bank account.

Why are PayPal and Skrill popular despite their high fees?

There are multiple reasons for the popularity of PayPal and Skrill:
Reputation: It is unwise to underestimate a good reputation. PayPal and Skrill are household names, because they have been at the top of the industry for a long time. People trust them more than a name they know little about, and many are prepared to lose on some of their money for that reason.
Reach: PayPal and Skrill allow you to send money across the globe, from just about anywhere in the world. Other services do not accept clients from certain countries. Currencyfair does not accept clients from the USA. It must be stated, though, that both PayPal and Skrill have limited availability when it comes to currencies (less than 30 currencies).
Quick: PayPal and Skrill are easy to use – transferring funds is quick and simple. For certain customers, the convenience and ease make up for the fees.
Great Apps: Many transfer companies do not have their own mobile apps, and when they do they are often inferior. Currencyfair, however, has a great app. That being said, people are still more familiar with PayPal and Skrill apps that have been around for longer.
Unaware of alternatives: Many customers are unaware that there are cheaper alternatives, and stay with what they know. It’s easy to think that other services are simply doing the same thing.


 

PayPal Review

paypallogo

PayPal is one of the best-known and most popular money transfer services. Over the past decade and a half, it has made itself into one of the giants of the online money transfer industry.

Founding: PayPal was founded back in 1998, getting its IPO in 2002.

Backing: PayPal became a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay later that year, and remained so until it became an independent company in July 2015.

Amount PayPal moves annually: In 2014, PayPal moved US$228 billion. This was across more than 190 countries, in 26 different currencies.

Xoom takeover: PayPal is currently acquiring Xoom Corporation, which is another leading remittance provider. This will increase PayPal’s reach and boost revenue significantly.

Client perceptions: PayPal has a wide reputation, which necessarily comes with a lot of criticism. In the early 2000s, PayPal had a widespread problem of being used for fraud, which they largely managed to limit. However, the perception caused by the controversy remains fresh in the mind of many.

Client feedback is also often quite negative. On TrustPilot they have a score of 2 out of 10, with 1920 reviews. A lot of the complaints focus on bad customer service when things go wrong. There are also complaints about money being taken off with no indication of why.

DisadvantagesThe main disadvantage of using PayPal is the high fees, and the fact it is lacking client support highly negative. It is mostly convenient to use, but when things go wrong, customers face a lot of frustration and difficulty getting money returned.


 

Skrill Review

skrill-200x87_en

Another giant of the money transfer corporations, Skrill is up there with PayPal in terms of renown and usage.

Founding: Skrill is another company that has been around for a while. Skrill was founded in 2001 as Moneybookers, but was taken over and rebranded by Skrill Limited.

Backing: Skrill’s parent company is Paysafe Group.

Optimal Payments acquired Skrill in the 3rd quarter of 2015, which is the latest in a long line of acquisitions over its 14 year history.

Ukash takeover: Skrill have acquired Ukash, their biggest competitor in the UK. This is expected to increase the scale and reach of Skrill’s paysafecard, which will help them maintain their status as one of the leaders in the market.

Client perceptions: Just like PayPal, Skrill’s global reach has built up a large base of unhappy clients. On TrustPilot they have a rating of just 5 out of 10. The major complaints involve possible scams, accusations of fraud, and non-existent customer service.

Disadvantages: The major disadvantage with Skrill is the very high payment fees even compared to alternatives. Its fees are higher than PayPal’s. Skrill also has customer service problems, and a lack of client support.


CurrencyFair Review

currencyfair-250

For a comprehensive review of Currencyfair, visit our review page.


 

Bottom line

Who should use PayPal or Skrill?

PayPal and Skrill have their disadvantages, but they also have aspects that subsequently make them a necessary player for many people around the world. They are useful to people who need to transfer money very quickly or need to send domestic transfers. They are also necessary for people living in or sending to countries with limited reach. It has also become popular to use these services to evade the tax authorities.

PayPal vs. Skrill

There is no simple answer as to which one of these companies is better. PayPal’s fees are significantly lower than Skrill’s. But Skrill has much higher ratings online than PayPal, although these ratings are not at all high.

Currencyfair has the advantage

Currencyfair is far cheaper than either PayPal or Skrill for transfers involving currency exchanges. They also have far better customer service, based on client reviews, and far more comprehensive client support system, which makes clients feel safer. If anything goes wrong, they will work with you to resolve the issue.

PayPal and Skrill have their advantages, but Currencyfair is the eWallet provider with the lowest fees by far. Currencyfair major disadvantage is their limited reach, but they are the best choice in locations where they are accessible.

New Contender: Circle Pay App

You have surely heard of Circle Pay app. If you haven’t – please read our Circle Pay app review here. It might be the best eWallet in the coming years.

8 comments

  1. Eugene Yaung

    By browsing through the article, I got valuable knowledge of money transfer by wire. Thanks.

    Posted on January 2, 2016
    • compare

      You’re very welcomed Eugene. Be sure to browse our entire website!

      Posted on January 4, 2016
  2. Robert

    Hello admin i see your website is very informative.I want to request your suggestion on which am searching from past a month but not able to find a gateway for technical support of computers.Can you suggest me any good merchant acccount which i can use to preocess payment of our business we are registered company of india.receiving funds froms USA.Will be waiting for your great support thank you..

    Posted on January 26, 2016
    • compare

      Hi Robert,
      Thank you for your question.

      If you meant that you’re looking for a payment processing solution, then I’m afraid we’re not covering that aspect on the site as of now.
      If you meant that you can process payments into your USA and need transferred to your Indian bank account with minimal fees, I suggest you check Currencies Direct that have an office in Mumbai as well (so after you sign up, if what they offer can serve you, you can also go and meet them in their offices).

      Hope this helped.

      Posted on January 26, 2016
  3. Syed

    Hello Admin,

    I opened Skrill Account and for testing it is legit or scam…. I deposit some amount and try to send to another skrill account (I come to know that v need to send money by simply email address). However I’m unable to send and after many times getting only one reply “Unable to perform your transaction,,,,”.

    Secondly, when I try to withdraw the amount to my own account failed to do too.

    My main question is with you that can I try Skrill (based on my exp.) in terms of receiving and withdrawing amount?
    Is Skrill still legit or Scam in terms of trust for receiving and withdrawal amount?

    Regards,

    Posted on October 2, 2016
    • compare

      Hello. Thank you for your inquiry Syed. From our personal experience Skrill is valid. We have managed to receive money through this method, send it, and move the funds into our bank account. It was an excruciatingly expensive process, as it was a foreign currency payment, but it worked with no hassle. I would suggest you contact their support to understand why you cannot perform your transaction. It could be that they have flagged your account for suspicious activity. Depositing small amount and sending it to a different email account immediately who logged in from the same IP, or something along these lines, would immediately trigger their attention.

      Posted on October 3, 2016
  4. EldenDeavy

    Very informative article about PayPal. I just read that PayPal will shortly stop serving Turkey due to regulatory restrictions.

    Posted on January 24, 2017
    • Compare - MTC Admin

      Thank you for your valuable feedback. This is indeed a very important aspect of using Paypal – they do shut down accounts in certain regions from time.

      Posted on January 25, 2017

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