How to avoid Paypal currency conversion / foreign exchange fees on eBay for international purchases


By default, Paypal really wants to do the foreign exchange for you because they make a few percent off your purchase like most other banks and credit cards. Below I explain the steps required to avoid these fees.  In summary, it involves you signing up for a credit card with little to no forex fees, and following some steps to make sure that when you add a credit card to your Paypal account, you are being charged in the seller's currency, not your local currency converted by Paypal at a fee.

You should use a credit card with little to no forex fees such as the CHASE VISA card which charges no forex fees at all and gives you 1% cash back rewards.  This is like saving 3.5% on foreign purchases because most cards charge you at least 2.5% foreign currency exchange fees.  For example if you signed up for the CHASE card and added it to your Paypal account through, by default Paypal would charge you in Canadian dollars (CAD) all the time even if the eBay seller is selling in USD and charge you a few percent forex fee for the conversion.  You want to be charged in the seller's currency.

Once you have your credit card with low forex fees, to avoid the foreign exchange fees you must add the credit card to your Paypal indirectly using eBay, NOT Paypal!  This is because Paypal does not give you the option on their website to avoid their currency conversion, but eBay can override their trick.  Here are the steps to add a credit card on eBay that gets charged in the seller's currency:

1. First click on the Buy Now button on the item you want to buy on eBay.  Confirm that you will pay.

2. Next window, click Continue like in the image below:

3. Next window you login to your Paypal from eBay as shown below:

4. Next window, click "Change" your payment method.

5. Next window, be sure to select "Card" radio button.  But more importantly now click "Link another card" as shown below.
avoid Paypal foregn exchange currency conversion fees on eBay

6.  Now enter your card information and billing address as shown:
avoid Paypal foregn exchange currency conversion fees on eBay

7. To get the currency into that of the seller, in the next window click "Other Conversion Options" as shown:
avoid Paypal foregn exchange currency conversion fees on eBay

8. On the next window choose the radio button "Bill me in the currency listed on the seller's invoice"  as shown below.  Then click Submit and go through the typical checkout procedure you normally would.
avoid Paypal foregn exchange currency conversion fees on eBay

So now you have this credit card added to your Paypal account that should automatically pay using the seller's currency, you can see the card if you login to your Paypal account.

13 thoughts on “How to avoid Paypal currency conversion / foreign exchange fees on eBay for international purchases”

  1. That’s a good tip about using a low-/no-forex fee cards. The problem is that such cards tend to have relatively hefty yearly fees which can easily surpass whatever little difference PayPal’s forex markup might be.

    That tip is best suited to people who make very large and frequent transactions because then, the yearly fee will be overshadowed by the savings. If you only make a the occasional small purchase on eBay or something, then you are probably better off just letting your card company do it’s normal bank-customer forex rate (either way, it’s the same result since PayPal’s rate is usually higher than the bank’s).

  2. So once you’ve started BIN and gone through the procedure and picked the “bill me in the currency listed…” and now have your new card in the PP system, do you still have to open Conversion Options all over again with next new purchase or will the process occur automatically? In any case, at that stage the card will now be in one’s PP account. Does it have to be removed and then re-entered via ebay again on next purchase to re-set the advantage? You said NOT to change card thru PP but to do it via ebay but it does end up showing as a funding source in PP; so I’m not sure about this last thing. BTW, I just bought something using this method a few minutes ago. It’ll be interesting to see what forex rate I end up paying. :-)

  3. Curtis, thanks for this helpful post. I have a Chase visa card. I’ll let my card handle the currency exchange, and not the exorbitant eBay/PayPal.

  4. IT WORKED!!! Thank you very much for thins info. I live in Guatemala but my credit card is in US Dollars and it kept charging in Quetzales (Guatemalan currency) i couldnt find a way, even contacted CS but nothing… THANK YOU VERY MUCH

  5. Those PayPal pigs hied convertion properties in the deepest hole like this:

    My Account -> Profile -> My Money -> My preapproved payments -> Update -> See Available Funding Sources (or Set Available Funding Sources) -> Conversion Options (for card you’d like to change this option)-> Bill me in the currency listed on the seller’s invoice -> Submit

    These bastards screwed me with double convertion fee where my card was in USD and invoice in USD but thanks to PayMore my USD invoice was converted to national currency and then taken from USD card where it took another fee.

    I lost about 7%. Actually it wasn’t very much thanks to small incvoice but I’d rather throw those money away than feeling how I was raped by them. These pigs try to work on Casino scheme where “Casino never loose”.

    1. Thank you so much James, I was looking for hours and hours for this. I even contacted ebay support who didn’t know and they said they would get back to me in a few days! Madness. As the PayPal website has changed slightly, here’s the most up to date road map:

      Paypal Account Home –> Settings –> Payments –> Manage pre-approved payments –> Set Available Funding Sources –> Conversion Options –> Bill me in the currency listed on the seller’s invoice.

      1. Hugh,
        So, just to confirm, we must choose to pay using Paypal, yes? On the payment page in ebay, we can’t just choose to pay using Credit Card. We must choose the “Pay using Credit Card through PayPal”.

  6. Does this work for purchases at sites other than ebay once it is set up via ebay? If my card is already linked in Paypal, does it need to be removed before doing this?

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