PayPal is one of the rare web-based platforms which has stood the test of time over a 25 year period.
After launching in 1998, it has continuously evolved to the point now where it is a well functioning app where users can instantly send funds to others all over the globe in a wide range of different currencies. It is estimated to be worth over 100 billion dollars.
So, how do you compete with that? The reality is you can’t, you have to simply to try and get ahead of the game which many apps have tried to do the past and continue to do today.
In this article, we are going to take a look at PayPal’s main competitors and see what they’re offering which makes them worth downloading.
Four PayPal alternatives to consider – The best ones out there
When people are searching for an app “like” PayPal, it often means that they’re having an issue with PayPal itself.
Most commonly, this is something to do with payment errors, fees or international transactions (or a combination of the three). It could also mean that you’re looking for a debit card to use. Our favourite alternatives are;
- Cash App – Best for Paying Friends
- Skrill – Sophisticated Payment Solution
- Apple Pay/Google Pay – Best for No Fees
- Wise – Best for International Transactions
Though no app is perfect, some may be more suitable for you than others when it comes to making online payments. And for personal finance and sending money to friends, Cash App is a solid choice.
Cash App – Friends and Family
Cash App is a solid alternative to PayPal that allows users to send/receive money across the United Kingdom and United States as its primary function.
In addition to this function, users can also use Cash App as a tool for investing in stock, shares and cryptocurrency, meaning you can potentially make money on the app as well.
To be able to use Cash App, you will need to download the app on to your mobile device and then register for an account. Their security protocols are strict, meaning that you will have to link a bank account and debit card to your Cash App account in order to be able to use Cash App.
The app will then automatically verify your details by running checks alongside your banking provider so make sure your Cash App account name matches your name registered with you bank, as a bare minimum.
To send money to others on Cash App, you will need to know their cash tag. This is basically just a fancy name for a Cash App username, which will start with a £ sign if you are sending to an account in the UK, or a $ sign if you are sending to an account in the USA.
You will also need to notify others of your cash tag if you are looking to receive money via the app.
This brings us to the main downside of Cash App – you are limited to only these two countries meaning if you are looking to make payments to people in China, for example, then Cash App is no good to you.
It remains to be the seen at this moment in time whether they will look to branch out to other countries in the future.
Skrill – Best in certain countries
Skrill is another app available in the United Kingdom that is very similar to PayPal. The one advantage that Skrill does hold over PayPal is when it comes to transaction costs.
While PayPal earns 4.5% for a merchant transaction fee, Skrill charges between 2.5% and 4%. This means that you are better off using Skrill if you are making a payment to a business.
Using Skrill is as simple as you would expect from any money transferring app. Once you’ve downloaded the app and signed up to an account, you will be greeted by the home screen which offers you five options:
- Pay online – this gives users the option to add money to their Skrill account which they can then use as balance to pay for goods online when the ‘pay by Skrill’ option is available.
- Buy/sell crypto – this gives users the ability to trade popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum on the app.
- Send to anyone on Skrill – this gives users the ability to send money directly to other people, whether they have Skrill or not, with the money landing in their account instantly.
- Transfer internationally – this allows users to send money across the world to bank accounts across the world. Doing this via Skrill instead of your bank account means that you cut out the usual transfer fees and get superb exchange rates.
- Get a Skrill card – this gives users the option to get a physical or virtual Skrill card, allowing you to spend your Skrill balance wherever you are.
As you can see, Skrill is a fantastic app that offers users a variety of different payment options. It is a great alternative to PayPal and well worth a download if any of the above features are of interest to you.
Apple Pay or Google Pay – Best for Zero Fees
When most people are looking for PayPal alternatives, they’re often looking for something that can process transactions. If you’re looking to make mobile payments, then using Apple Pay or Google Pay can actually be the smart move.
Of course, this depends on the phone you have and the operating system you’re using. You can quickly and easily set these up in your digital wallet, and easily add your credit or debit cards within the app.
Whilst these are good for making secure payments, they’re not an ideal choice for international transactions.
This is why if you’re going to use Apple Pay or Google Pay for payments in your own country, it’s often best to pair them up with an app like Transferwise when you want to make international payments.
Wise (formerly TransferWise) – Best for International Payments
Wise is the final app that we’d like to tell you about, and one that is particularly worth downloading if you are interested in sending money abroad. Wise is a great PayPal alternative for those that need to send money internationally.
The app is free to download on both iOS and Android devices and is very simple to use and navigate once you’ve registered for an account.
As mentioned, the best bit about Wise are its exchange rates. To see for yourself, you will need to select the ‘send’ button on the bottom of the app’s home page.
This will then bring up a screen which will let you select how much money you want to send in Great British Pound before you choose the country you are sending the money to.
Once you’ve done this, Wise will tell you the exact conversion price and allow you to compare their rate with other top providers such as Monzo, Remitly and PayPal.
On all international transfers, you will see that not only does Wise smash PayPal out the water when it comes to rates, but it regularly sits on top of the pile.
Once you’re happy with the rate you then need to select continue and key in all of the recipient’s bank details to get the transfer finalised.
Another cool feature on Wise is the fact that you can hold and receive over 50 different currencies within your account.
This is ideal for individuals who travel regularly whether it be for business or pleasure. All you need to gain access to this feature is to have a an active Wise account which you can register for within the app.
To conclude, there are plenty of apps out there which imitate PayPal. Given that PayPal is such a reputable brand though, it is hard to envisage a time where any of them overtake it in terms of popularity. However, PayPal only allows one personal account per person, so it may be sensible to look for an alternative.
In spite of that, we would recommend giving the three apps we’ve discussed in this article a go because they all hold certain advantages over PayPal in different ways.