I have CAD$1,137 lying around in a PayPal account. I’m wondering how best to convert it to another currency, like pounds or euros. I could use PayPal’s inbuilt currency conversion tool, but PayPal would charge a flipping 2.9%. You won’t see that charge anywhere on the PayPal site though. You’ll only find it by doing a calculation yourself. For example, just now I tried to covnert the CAD$1,137 to EUR in PayPal. PayPal said I would receive €741, which sounds pretty good.
But then Google says a perfect exchange rate would give me €763.
Therefore PayPal are charging me (763-741)/763 = 2.9%. I don’t know how PayPal can justify that. All they’re doing is switching around a few 1s and 0s.
A few months ago I discovered Revolut, a new banking service. Revolut’s currency exchange rate amazed me. I was able to exchange £10 to €11.67. So the exchange rate was €1 = £0.8569, which was extremely close to a perfect exchange rate that day (€1 = £0.8538 GBP). So the fee was practically nothing. I can’t be arsed to work out the exact fee now but I think it’s something like 0.3%.
The only problem is that you can’t top up a Revolut account with Canadian dollars. In fact, according to their site, there’s only three currencies you can top up with: US dollars, euros and UK pounds. Spending money is different – you can spend money in 120 currencies. It’s only topping up that’s very limited.
It seems that Revolut has been working on CAD top ups for a while. In November 2015, they tweeted about it:
But there’s still no CAD top-ups yet. So it looks like I’ll still be using PayPal for my CAD conversions for now.