What is better PayPal or Apple Pay?

PayPal and Apple Pay are two of the most popular digital wallet and peer-to-peer payment services available today. Both services allow users to make online purchases, send and receive money from others, and store payment information securely. However, there are some key differences between PayPal and Apple Pay that users should consider when deciding which service best meets their needs.

What is better PayPal or Apple Pay?

This comprehensive guide compares PayPal vs Apple Pay by examining their features, payment processes, fees, availability, security, and other factors. Read on to learn which digital wallet reigns supreme between these two payment giants.

Overview of PayPal

PayPal is a digital wallet, peer-to-peer payment system, and money transfer service founded in 1998. It enables users to securely complete financial transactions online by storing payment information and transferring funds electronically.

Here are some key things to know about PayPal:

  • Digital wallet – Stores payment info like bank accounts, debit/credit cards to make quick online purchases
  • Peer-to-peer payments – Send and receive money from other PayPal users
  • Purchase protection – Get refunds in case items are not as described or never delivered
  • Mobile app – Manage your account and make payments using the PayPal app
  • Fees – Charges fees for transactions, currency conversions, and other services
  • Worldwide availability – Available in over 200 markets and 25 currencies internationally

PayPal allows users to easily shop online, send money to family & friends, pay for services, and more all from one digital wallet. It provides fraud protection and does not share users’ financial information with merchants.

Overview of Apple Pay

Apple Pay is a mobile payment system created by Apple in 2014 that allows users to make online and contactless in-store payments using eligible devices.

Here are some key things to know about Apple Pay:

  • Contactless payments – Use compatible iPhone/Apple Watch to pay at contactless terminals
  • In-app payments – Make purchases within apps using Touch ID/Face ID for verification
  • Peer-to-peer – Send and receive money with other Apple Pay users via Messages app
  • Security – Uses device authentication, tokenization, encryption to protect payments
  • Fees – No fees for consumers. Fees charged to merchants/issuing banks.
  • Availability – Available in 70+ regions globally but limited based on hardware and banks

Apple Pay provides an easy, secure way to pay both in apps and at contactless retail terminals. It keeps payment details private and uses biometric authentication for verification.

PayPal vs Apple Pay Comparison

Now that we’ve covered the basics of PayPal and Apple Pay, let’s compare them across several categories to see how they stack up.

Devices and Platforms

  • PayPal: Available on all desktop, mobile, and tablet devices through web browser or mobile app. Compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, etc.
  • Apple Pay: Only available on Apple devices like iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad. Does not work on other platforms.

PayPal has the advantage here with universal platform availability. Apple Pay only works for Apple users with select hardware.

Payment Methods

  • PayPal: Links to bank accounts, debit/credit cards, PayPal balance. Supports credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers, and other payment methods.
  • Apple Pay: Uses credit/debit cards stored in Apple Wallet. Limited to cards issued by supported banks.

PayPal supports more payment sources. Apple Pay is restricted based on hardware, region, and participating banks.


  • PayPal: Available in over 200 countries/regions and supports 25 currencies. Very widely accessible.
  • Apple Pay: Currently available in 70+ regions but depends on device eligibility, banks, stores that accept contactless payments via Apple Pay. More limited.

PayPal again wins in terms of global availability and supported currencies. Apple Pay is growing but still lags behind.

Fees and Pricing

  • PayPal: Charges transaction fees plus currency conversion fees. Specific fees depend on account type, location, payment method.
  • Apple Pay: No fees for consumers. Merchants pay processing fees. Issuing banks may charge cash advance fees.

Apple Pay tends to have no direct fees while PayPal charges per transaction and conversion. But merchants build in Apple Pay fees indirectly.


  • PayPal: Uses encryption, multi-factor authentication, fraud analysis to protect accounts and payments. Provides purchase protection.
  • Apple Pay: Uses device authentication via Touch/Face ID. tokenized payments and encryption provide security.

Both services utilize encryption and tokenization for securing payments. PayPal offers more fraud analysis while Apple Pay relies on biometric authentication.

Additional Features

  • PayPal: Send/receive peer-to-peer payments. Make donations, shop with rewards, manage invoices.
  • Apple Pay: Can store passes like tickets and coupons in Apple Wallet. Higher spending limit than contactless cards.

PayPal provides more financial utility and features beyond payments like invoicing and rewards. Apple Pay focuses specifically on payments.

Ease of Use

  • PayPal: Requires creating account and entering payment info. Easy to send money or pay with stored info.
  • Apple Pay: Very easy setup by just adding cards to existing Apple Wallet. Seamless payment authentication via Face/Touch ID.

Apple Pay provides a smoother payment experience overall. PayPal has slightly more steps for account setup and payments.

Which is Better for Customers: PayPal or Apple Pay?

For most customers, Apple Pay delivers the easiest and most seamless payment experience for online, in-app, and contactless in-person transactions. It’s incredibly simple to set up and the biometric authentication makes paying secure and convenient.

However, PayPal serves more platforms, offers broader payment support and flexibility, and provides utility beyond just making payments. It also has wider international availability.

PayPal tends to be better for:

  • Cross-platform accessibility
  • International payments across more regions
  • Peer-to-peer transactions like sending money to others
  • Making purchases where Apple Pay is not accepted
  • Invoice management, rewards, and other financial utilities

Apple Pay tends to be better for:

  • Apple device owners who can utilize Apple Wallet
  • Payment security via Touch ID/Face ID
  • Seamless checkout experience at contactless terminals
  • Faster in-app and online purchases on iOS devices
  • Consumer protection on purchases
  • Higher spending limits on contactless payments

So while Apple Pay delivers the most streamlined payment flow, PayPal offers greater flexibility and utility. The right choice depends on your usage needs and platform.

Which is Better for Merchants: PayPal or Apple Pay?

For merchants, PayPal provides greater coverage across platforms while Apple Pay is limited to Apple devices and contactless POS systems.

PayPal advantages for merchants include:

  • Universal payments platform across all devices
  • Lower fees than credit card processing
  • Built-in fraud protection and purchase protection
  • Excellent vendor tools like invoicing and PayPal Business account

Apple Pay advantages:

  • Smooth and easy payments for Apple device owners
  • Potential to attract customers who prefer Apple Pay
  • Seamless integration for iOS apps and contactless POS systems
  • Consumer security via Face/Touch ID authentication

PayPal is likely the better choice for merchants selling across many platforms. Apple Pay can provide fast customer checkout for iOS apps and stores with contactless terminals.

Is PayPal or Apple Pay More Secure?

Both PayPal and Apple Pay utilize encryption and tokenization to protect transactions and payment information. No sensitive data passes between merchants, customers, and banks.

For account security, PayPal offers robust fraud protection services and purchase protection to safeguard your money. Apple Pay relies on biometric authentication via Face ID or Touch ID to verify payments. This makes it very difficult for anyone other than the owner to make Apple Pay purchases.

So while both services employ encryption for transaction security, Apple Pay has an edge for payment authorization security specifically for Apple devices. But PayPal offers tools to guard your account itself against fraudulent activity beyond just transactions.

PayPal vs Apple Pay: Key Takeaways

  • PayPal is universally available across all devices and browsers, while Apple Pay only works on Apple devices.
  • Both services allow you to store payment methods for quick online and in-store checkout.
  • PayPal supports more payment methods while Apple Pay relies on device-stored credit/debit cards.
  • PayPal charges transaction fees while Apple Pay has no consumer fees.
  • Both utilize encryption and tokenization to protect payment security and user data.
  • Apple Pay uses biometric authentication via Face/Touch ID for an extra layer of payment verification security.
  • PayPal offers more overall features and financial tools beyond payments like invoicing.

For most flexible access and utility, PayPal is hard to beat. But Apple device owners will benefit most from the seamless transactions of Apple Pay. Assess your usage needs and ecosystem to pick the right service.


PayPal and Apple Pay each have distinct advantages that make them useful digital wallets and payment platforms. PayPal’s universal availability, lower fees, and robust features like purchase protection provide value to customers and merchants alike. Apple Pay delivers unmatched convenience through deep iOS integration, biometric security, and sleek contactless transactions.

There is no undisputed winner between these two payment giants. The right service depends primarily on your platform ecosystem and specific needs. But both PayPal and Apple Pay allow you to leave old wallets and cards behind by securely paying online, in apps, and in stores with your smartphone and other devices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use PayPal on an iPhone?
A: Yes, you can use the PayPal mobile app and access PayPal via the mobile browser to make payments on an iPhone. However, you cannot use Apple Pay within PayPal’s app or services.

Q: Is Apple Pay completely free for customers?
A: Yes, Apple Pay has no fees for customers making purchases or payments. The merchants and issuing banks behind the cards may pay fees, but these are not passed to the customer directly.

Q: What happens if my PayPal or Apple Pay connected device is lost or stolen?
A: Both services allow you to remotely disable the ability to pay from that device through account settings. You should also contact providers to freeze cards stored on a lost device.

Q: Can I use Apple Pay in a web browser?
A: No. Apple Pay can only be used for payments made using an iOS or watchOS app, or at contactless terminals. Safari does not support Apple Pay for web transactions.

Q: Is Apple Pay or PayPal safer?
A: They both use encryption and tokenization to secure transactions, so safety is comparable. Apple Pay adds biometric authentication for purchases, while PayPal provides more fraud analysis and purchase protection.

Q: What credit/debit cards can I add to Apple Pay?
A: Apple Pay works with most major credit and debit card providers, but supported banks vary by country. Check with your card issuer to see if they support adding it to Apple Pay.

Q: Can I send money to others with Apple Pay?
A: Yes, you can use the Messages app to send peer-to-peer payments to other Apple Pay users. But it is limited to other iOS users rather than all recipients like PayPal.

Q: Does Apple Pay work with Windows devices?
A: No. Apple Pay is exclusive to Apple devices and software platforms. PayPal can be used on Windows PCs via the PayPal website or app.

Q: Is Apple Pay cheaper than using my physical credit card?
A: Apple Pay tends to have no direct fees, while physical cards often have higher interchange fees baked into prices by merchants. But pricing is ultimately similar.

Q: Can I tip with Apple Pay?
A: Yes. In apps and some stores that accept Apple Pay, you can set a tip amount and pay the total using Apple Pay. Contactless tips are currently limited to the US.

Q: Is PayPal Free?
A: PayPal offers free personal accounts but charges fees for transactions and other services. Businesses pay monthly fees and per-transaction fees based on account type and processing volume.

Q: Can I cancel a payment made through Apple Pay or PayPal?
A: Yes, you can cancel eligible purchases made with either service shortly after the transaction if it has not completed yet. Purchases can also be disputed or refunded later through the app or site.

Q: Can I use PayPal at an ATM?
A: In some cases yes. PayPal offers a debit card called PayPal Cash Plus which can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs. You add funds to it via your PayPal account.

Q: Is PayPal considered a bank account?
A: No. PayPal is a financial services company, but it does not offer traditional banking services and accounts like checking or savings accounts. PayPal accounts are primarily used for peer-to-peer payments.

Q: Can I use Apple Pay on iTunes?
A: Yes, Apple Pay can be used as a payment method for purchases made on iTunes including music, movies, apps, subscriptions, and more. Simply select Apple Pay during iTunes checkout.

Q: Is Apple Pay just for Apple products?
A: No. While Apple Pay is designed for iOS and Apple devices, it works for payments to any merchant or app that accepts Apple Pay online or via contactless terminal. It is not restricted to Apple.

Q: Is it safe to link a credit card with PayPal?
A: Yes. PayPal utilizes encryption and fraud protection tools to keep your card details and transactions secure. PayPal also does not share card numbers with merchants, adding an extra layer of protection.

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