Most of us have used PayPal at least once, be it for paying items online or receiving money from buyers. PayPal has 286 million active account users and 22 million being merchant accounts. Despite being dominant for 22 years, we noticed changes in Paypal’s business that would affect PayPal merchants’ bottomline.
In June 2019, PayPal increased their merchant fees to a flat 2.9% plus domestic fees in the US as reported by TechinAsia. To put this into perspective, the average credit card processing fee by Visa, Mastercard and Discover ranges between 1.5 % to 2% for swiped transactions and 2.3% to 2.5% for online transactions.
This article focuses on PayPal merchant accounts residing in APAC (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam). Here are the merchant account fees an APAC PayPal Merchant needs to be aware of:
- Domestic Payments: 3.9% standard fee + fixed fee per transaction
- International Payments: 4.4% standard fee + fixed fee per transaction
PayPal Standard Flat Fees
Merchants will need to pay a standard rate for receiving commercial payments (eg. a buyer uses PayPal to make payment from purchasing your goods or services). The standard fee depends on the outgoing country where merchant receives payment.
For example, a Singapore-based PayPal merchant is receiving local payments will be charged 3.90% of the total transaction plus S$0.50 fixed fee. A US based PayPal account will incur 3.7% fee plus US$0.30. If you were to receive US$500 in payments, you as a merchant would pay $18.80 in fees from one transaction.
(3.7% of $500) $18.50 + $0.30 = $18.80
The fixed fee depends on the currency the payment is received. The common fees you should expect when dealing with major currencies commonly exchanged:
|Currency received||Fixed Fee|
|Australian Dollar||$0.30 AUD|
|British Pound||£0.20 GBP|
|Canadian Dollar||$0.30 CAD|
|Hong Kong Dollar||$2.35 HKD|
|Japanese Yen||¥40.00 JPY|
|Malaysian Ringgit||2.00 MYR|
|Singapore Dollar||$0.50 SGD|
|US Dollar||$0.30 USD|
To help you reduce fee charges, sellers with payments not exceeding $12 are eligible for micro-payments. Your PayPal account needs a positive balance to apply for micro-payments.
- Domestic payments: 5% + Micropayment fixed fee (based on the currency)
- International payments: 6% + Micropayment fixed fee (based on the currency)
PayPal offers a discount on micropayment fixed fees. Similar to standard commercial payments, micropayment fixed fee is dependent on the currency the payment is received.
If you are making mass payments, PayPal charges 2% from the mass payment amount or a payout fee when you pay each recipient. Good news is there is a capped on payout fee per recipient. Bad news is it becomes costly for large payout amounts and if you plan to pay many recipients.
A few other fees to take note in various circumstances:
- Chargeback Fees apply when the credit card transaction is charge back and buyer’s payment becomes invalid. Generally, if you have Paypal Seller Protection, the fee is waived. Yet, there are some exceptions where Seller Protection does not cover, such as intangible items, cash, counterfeit goods. The fee is based on the currency you receive, with an average fee of S$15.
- Refund Fees is every merchant’s pain. PayPal refunds the payment but the fixed fee is chargeable. Not only is it costly and complex, if you are a seller, it means service recovery is necessary. The latest update on 7 January 2020 by tamebay testifies that PayPal will keep all fees from refunds in UK.
- Withdrawal Fee ranges, depending on what currency and how you choose to withdraw your funds (to your bank account, via a physical check or to your card). If you withdraw funds from your Paypal account to your card, use PayPal’s withdrawal fees calculator to check the cost. Unless you make a withdrawal to a US bank account (which is free for selected currencies), you will need to pay a withdrawal fee and not forgetting currencies conversion fee. This brings me to the next fee…
- Currency Conversion Fees ranges from 2.5- 4.0%. Whether you are receiving, withdrawing, sending or adding funds in your PayPal account, as long as different currencies are involved, currency conversion charges apply.
PayPal offers several concessions, notably for charities and hotel merchant accounts. If your organisation is charitable in nature and registered with your country’s recognised charity registry, you are entitled to 3.7% of transaction amount + fixed fee based on the currency. Just be ready to supply supporting documents such as the certificate of registration for PayPal’s compliance.
If you are in the tourism industry, PayPal provides a lower rate for hotel merchants at 2.8% instead of the standard 3.9-4.4% rate. You just need to meet three requirements & get it approved by PayPal:
- Have a PayPal account registered in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam or the Philippines
- Integrate your shopping cart with approved PayPal internet booking partners such as booking.com, Expedia and Traveloka
- Have a valid business Paypal account with no negative balance
Alternatives to help you avoid PayPal Fees
If your customers mainly use card-payments, get cheaper card charges from Stripe. Unlike PayPal, Stripe does not charge additional fees for international payments.
|For Domestic Payments||3.9% + fixed fee||3.4% + $0.50
*Additional 2% fee for currency conversion
|For International Payments||4.4% + fixed fee|
Rates retrieved in February 2020
If you have many international clients, get huge savings on currency conversions from WorldFirst.
|Currency Conversion charges||2.5-4.0%||0.5% and below|
Rates retrieved in February 2020
A merchant’s payout flowchart
Using the World Account, you can receive, convert and manage up to 10 currencies (USD, AUD, CAD, GBP, EUR, HKD, NZD, JPY1, CNH2, SGD). Once you receive your payments in Stripe or PayPal account, link your World Account receiving accounts to your PayPal and Stripe* to withdraw payouts in local currencies. You can save at least 1.5% in currency conversion fees; this does not seem a lot until you make large payouts at one go.
*only applicable to Stripe US Accounts
For example, you’re converting US$10,000 back to SGD:
USD/SGD Exchange Rate
|You will receive||US$10,000 x 1.3561
US$10,000 x 1.3839
Cost savings: S$13,839 – S$13,561 = S$278
Although PayPal is known worldwide, some of your customers might not use PayPal. What you may not know is PayPal may place account limitations for several reasons like insufficient supporting documents for a transaction; high chargebacks related to your account; even rapid changes in your sales volume. This means that your merchant account will be blocked from sending, receiving and withdrawing funds. Merchants with small cash flows will really feel the pinch here.
Having an alternate payment gateway and currency conversion platform will give you more flexibility. Your customers will have more payment options, you get to save on all those fees, and you can be ready for any backlogs when funds are delayed or frozen.
Source used: PayPal Fees in Exhibit A
1JPY receiving account only applicable for funds from Amazon Japan
2CNH refers to Chinese Yuan in the offshore markets (ie. outside of China, such as Singapore, UK, HK). CNH does not refer to CNY/RMB used within China itself.
WorldFirst is an innovative global payment platform, helping businesses and people prosper by making the movement of money around the world faster, easier, safer and cheaper. Since our inception in 2004, we have been setting a new standard for the foreign exchange market and have transferred more than $70bn to date. Our diverse team of 650-specialist individuals span across 8 global offices, helping over 250,000 customers worldwide receive outstanding product offerings alongside dedicated award-winning customer service.
Disclaimer:. You should act using your own information and judgement. Whilst information has been obtained from and is based upon multiple sources the author believes to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy and it may be incomplete or condensed. All opinions and estimates constitute the author’s own judgement as of the date of the briefing and are subject to change without notice. We have no commercial affiliation with any organisation or commercial interest regarding the venues mentioned in this article. The information is only provided as gathered and should be verified before, using your own judgement.