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PayPal 'instantly' transfers money to your bank account

If you're willing to pay a small fee.
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Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

PayPal can be frustrating if you want to put funds in your bank account. It can take a day or more for transfers to go through, and that's a problem when rival services like Zelle can promise speedier access to your money without needing a separate app. To that end, PayPal is rolling out an instant transfer option in the US. So long as you're willing to accept a 25-cent transaction fee, your funds will hit your bank account within a few minutes, and no more than 30 minutes in the worst cases. If you withdraw money from PayPal before a shopping trip, it should be ready to use by the time you get to the store.

The service is initially available only to a handful of PayPal users as part of a beta, but it should eventually be available to all Americans with "eligible" MasterCard or Visa debit cards in the months ahead. And if you're not in a rush, regular bank transfers will remain free.

The addition could help if you've been drifting toward alternatives like Zelle. You may be more likely to use PayPal if you know that you can always get your cash in a hurry. At the same time, it's another way for PayPal to generate income. A 25-cent fee may not sound like much, but it could add up. The company racked up 1.7 billion transactions just in its latest quarter -- if even a fraction of those users pay to speed things up, that could amount to tens of millions of dollars in revenue. You may not like giving up a tiny amount of your money just to get your money, but it would definitely help PayPal's bottom line.

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