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With financial technology evolving every year and physical cash being gradually phased out, an increasing number of people and businesses are starting to accept contactless transactions. All that said, this phenomenon isn’t totally new. For example, PayPal has specialized in domestic and international mobile money payments since 1998.

Although PayPal is one of the most popular mobile payments services in the country, the associated costs, conditions, and payment options may not be exactly what you’re looking for. Keep reading to learn about some of the best PayPal alternatives in Canada.

Domestic PayPal Alternatives In Canada

Because there aren’t any international transfer fees or currency conversions involved, you may be able to save a few dollars by sending your mobile payments exclusively within Canada. While many people make domestic transactions using their debit or credit cards, digital wallets are also starting to gain popularity among Canadians.

Why Should You Try A Digital Wallet?

A digital wallet is a mobile application that allows you to store digital versions of your payment methods, like credit, debit, and membership cards on your smartphone or another device. To make a purchase or collect rewards from a participating merchant, you simply have to choose your payment method, scan the right barcode, and complete the transaction. 

Basically, a digital wallet functions the same way as a debit, credit, or points card, only you have the added convenience of it being stored on your phone using secure near-field communication (NFC) technology, also known as “tap payments”.

Here are some of the most used digital wallet applications among Canadians:

Apple Pay

If you own an Apple device, like an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, you should find the “Wallet” app somewhere on your home screen or in the App Store. When you open it, you’ll get a prompt asking you to identify yourself and secure the app by entering your passcode, scanning your fingerprint (Touch ID), or using facial recognition (Face ID).

You can then log into your mobile banking app and obtain individual authorizations from your financial institution to add any debit or credit cards you want on the device (membership cards can also be added from websites that support Apple Pay). 

Banks, credit unions and credit card providers that accept Apple Pay include:

  • TD Canada Trust
  • Brim Financial
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • MBNA (a division of TD)
  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
  • Canadian Tire

Google Pay

Google Pay (formerly known as Android Pay due to its compatibility with most Android devices) is a mobile wallet system created by Google. Similar to Apple Pay, the Google Pay app is secured using NFC technology and can be downloaded onto your mobile device, such as a Samsung Galaxy phone, and accessed through the Google Play Store.

To activate your account, download the app on your smart device and follow the steps, like adding your personal information and credit or debit card. Then you just have to lock your device by PIN, pattern, password, fingerprint, or retinal scan (not available on all devices). You may also need to enable NFC if your card doesn’t work at first.

Banks, credit unions and credit card providers that accept Google Pay include:

  • Alberta Treasury Branch (ATB)
  • Bank of Montreal (BMO
  • National Bank of Canada (NBC) 
  • Desjardins
  • UNI Financial Corporation 

Samsung Pay

Samsung is another of the world’s most popular smart technology providers and in 2016, they officially joined Apple and Google by producing their own digital wallet system called Samsung Pay. It’s available in the app store on any Samsung smart device or watch that is NFC or MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) compatible.

Once again, you’ll have to create a Samsung account and go through a two-factor security authentication process using a fingerprint or PIN to access Samsung Pay. You’re then free to add whatever payment methods you wish to your wallet, including credit, debit, membership and points cards. You can even upload your vaccine passport.

At the moment, Samsung Pay isn’t quite as widely recognized as Apple Pay or Google Pay but there are more than 1000 big-name financial services that accept it, such as:

  • Brim Financial
  • KOHO
  • American Express (AMEX) 
  • Tangerine
  • Scotiabank

Learn how to protect yourself from money transfer fraud.

Paypal Alternatives For International Money Transfers

If you’re planning to send money outside of Canada, there are a few other PayPal alternatives that can help you make international transfers, including but not limited to:

Skrill

Accepted in more than 30 countries, Skrill’s digital wallet system allows you to send and receive international money transfers for business or personal use, with rates as low as 1.45% on select transactions. Wallet-holders can also use Skrill to store most types of digital payment tools, cover their everyday bills and connect their bank accounts. 

Currently, Skrill is available on iOS and Android. Transaction fees can vary greatly based on the payment method and the currencies and countries involved.

OFX

OFX is another international money transfer service that’s better than Paypal in many respects. For instance, if you transfer a minimum of $250 and are willing to wait one or more business days (wait times may vary), OFX will waive any fees. You would then only have to pay the currency conversion rate, which varies according to the market.

On the other hand, Paypal charges 2 kinds of fees on most international transactions. The first is added when your money crosses Canadian borders and the second is applied to the currencies being converted (fees start at around $4.99 per transfer).

Wise

If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to send money overseas, Wise doesn’t charge hidden fees and claims to have the best conversion rates on the market. Based in the UK, they’re quicker and more popular for European transactions, but they’re great for Canadians who make multiple international transfers a month.

Wise is also gaining traction due to the variety of accounts and features they offer, such as payroll services, batch payments, Wise debit cards and application programming interface (API) payouts. You can even use Wise to accept freelance payments.

Paypal Alternatives For Businesses

Many Canadian businesses rely on Paypal too, so if you’re searching for a cheaper or more efficient cash transfer alternative for your enterprise, it may be worth checking out:

Payoneer

Payoneer has a relatively big network of over 4 million users, spanning more than 200 countries. Unlike other money transfer services, their digital wallet is geared largely toward business owners, freelancers, and other professionals. You can use it for almost any transaction, including payments, deposits, and ATM or bank withdrawals.

Additionally, many professionals enjoy Payoneer because they charge decent rates for anyone that accepts payments from clients who operate outside of Canada. No matter what kind of business you work with, Payoneer probably has some options for you. 

Here’s a short breakdown of Payoneer’s fees:

  • 3% on direct customer payments by credit card (all currencies included)
  • 1% on direct customer payments by eCheck 
  • Varied fees on payments made through outside networks and marketplaces 
  • Free when receiving accounts via Payoneer’s Global Payment Service
  • Free for payments from other Payoneer members

Amazon Pay 

Now one of the world’s largest e-commerce providers, Amazon doesn’t just focus on shoppers anymore. They’re also growing popular among merchants, charities and businesses that take in payments from regular Amazon customers. You just need a customer relationship management (CRM) system that’s compatible with their software. 

Amazon Pay is also a preferred service because it comes with complimentary fraud protection. Most businesses will be charged these prices on Amazon Pay transactions:

  • $20.00 for disputed charges 
  • 2.9% + $0.30 for domestic transactions (made within the U.S.)
  • 3.9% for international transactions (due to a border processing fee)

Tired Of Using Paypal To Transfer Money?

Even though Paypal is still one of the most widely used money transfer services in Canada, there are many cheaper and speedier alternatives popping up every day, all over the world. So, if you do enough research and know where to look, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a company that suits your lifestyle better than Paypal does.  

Bryan Daly avatar on Loans Canada
Bryan Daly

Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and travelling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer.

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