The US payments giant goes head-to-head with rivals that range from Western Union to TransferWise.
PayPal has launched an international money transfer service across Europe, as the US payments giant pushes into new markets.
The group has rolled out Xoom in the UK and 31 other European regions yesterday, allowing customers to send cash on their mobile phones to more than 130 other international markets.
The move will see PayPal fight for a presence in the lucrative $689bn global remittance market, according to the World Bank, which sees foreign nationals sending money back to their country of birth. It will battle established players such as Western Union in the US and UK fintech TransferWise, to handle payments for medical bills, school fees and a range of other needs.
PayPal said Xoom customers can send money abroad “in approximately five minutes or less” via the Xoom iOS, Android app or Xoom.com. The group’s 277 million PayPal consumer and merchant account holders around the world can use their account to access the new service.
In the UK, more than $26bn a year is sent abroad as remittances, with 45 per cent of these transfers going to Nigeria, India, Pakistan, China, Kenya and the Philippines.
PayPal, founded in 1998, said it has established partnerships with scores of banks to handle the transaction when it reaches its destination, such as Yes Bank in India, the National Bank of Pakistan and First Bank of Nigeria.
PayPal chief executive Dan Schulman said: “We have moved beyond the days when the only option for sending money abroad was to queue at a counter for hours. But even in 2019, it still takes too long to get money from the United Kingdom to a loved one in another country."
Schulman added: "We know how important these money transfers are in the lives of millions of people, and how crucial it is that money arrives swiftly and more securely so it can be used for things that matter. With Xoom, someone with a smartphone on a bus in London can send money that can be accessed within minutes in Mumbai to pay for a family member’s medical emergency or to keep the lights on for their family back home.”
Transfers can be tracked by text or email notifications. Customers can send up to £8,800 in a single transaction. The service also offers customer support staff in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Filipino and Arabic. This European roll-out follows earlier US and Canadian launches.
In May, PayPal said its Working Capital lending unit has now lent over $10bn to 225,000 small businesses in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, and Mexico since 2013, as the US firm expands into new financial service areas.