PayPal finally responds to my Zimbabwe sanctions allegations (well, sort of)

Because Pay Pal has continually requested that Techzim take down pictures containing its trademark, I’ve decided to put a picture of these two pot bellied pigs instead, no symbolism intended, enjoy.


Many Zimbabweans don’t buy the story that sanctions against Zimbabwe affect everyone, that is until they attempt to use PayPal with a Zimbabwean credit card. Only then do they suddenly become enraged and start spewing the kind of political rhetoric and conspiracy theories reserved for your favorite Sunday newspaper‘s opinion column. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, PayPal will NOT process your payment if you are using a debit card or credit card registered in Zimbabwe. The reason? Sanctions.


In the past, Paypal has been more upfront about this. Once, they made their entire website inaccessible from Zimbabwe, save for a notice citing sanctions as the reason for the blackout. Today it’s different, the PayPal website is now accessible from Zimbabwe, but just to look at, because you still can’t use a Zimbabwean credit card on PayPal.

Without the sanctions notice I guess PayPal can now play it off as some kind of technical issue right? Well yes, except for the fact that all you needed to do to fix this glitch was change your Zimbabwean address to another address from any other country and voilà your card would work.  PayPal has since upgraded the “glitch” making it impossible to use a card from Zimbabwe, period!  Having had enough of these sanctions, I decided to do what any responsible angry adult does, I took to Twitter.

10 hours later PayPal responded to my tweet. Apparently they have nothing but regret. Really?

Did they just copy and paste this response from a template somewhere? Well at least this is PayPal’s first public statement on the issue. But I wasn’t done yet. I decided to be direct this time.

Nothing. No response.  It seems ^TE from PayPal had nothing more to say to this sanctioned individual.

UPDATE: Paypal finally responded to my last tweet in the typical P.R. fashion of a big condescending corporation. “We don’t have an exact timeframe on the expansion of our services to new regions, but we’re working hard to get there” they then put a little 🙂 at the end. Are they mocking me?

While the Pay Pal response is immaterial at best, they deserve some credit  for responding to my queries, it should be worth something right? Maybe. To be fair, there are some unsanctioned countries like Nigeria that also have similar Pay Pal restrictions imposed on them. Could it really be a technical, legal or logistical issue and not sanctions after all. Who knows? Pay Pal could be doing everything they can to include more nations onto the platform without exposing their system to fraud or legal challenges.  Remember BBM?

That said, It’s really not comforting to know that our predicament is one which we share with countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and North Korea. To put things into perspective, even Somalia is Paypal ready. Oh well, Here is a sanctions busting alternative way to access Paypal from Zimbabwe.


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44 thoughts on “PayPal finally responds to my Zimbabwe sanctions allegations (well, sort of)

    1. You see the problem with Zimbabweans is that we are crying to give Paypal money when we should be saying its great they are not here so now i can launch my own online payment company.

      This is the problem with our people, musoro wakazara mvura!

  1. Whilst I understand your frustrations, I think you expect too much from a private profit making company. They are not in the business of solving all the worlds problems.

      1. Ah thanks so much you have given me a idea. I will just ask Burger King to stick to their business and open a shop in Hwange.

        1. Ahhh, I see what you did there. Unfortunatley I think you still missed my point. What I am saying is that PayPal is actively resisting doing business with Zimbabwean residents because of politics, sanctions in this case. By putting their business mandate aside to engage in a bit of “sanctioneering” it appears that they do think that they are in the business of solving the worlds problems by attempting to help enforce US sanctions.

          1. Why do you assume sanctions when it could be any number of other reasons? Like an illiquid banking sector? Like the fact that it takes them time to react to the fact that we no longer have a Zim dollar? Like the fact that they fear the Zim dollar might return? Like anything!

            1. Probably because they have admited it themselves in the past. Years ago I too received a message stating that the account I opened when living abroad was frozen for trying to operate from a blacklisted country i.e. Zimbabwe.

          2. please ask yourself why you are stressing a company from the united states to come to africa to charge you for making transactions? You are an idiot. this is why zimbos are broke because instead of inovating and creating your own you want to wait for mveti to come do it for you.

    1. I think the reason why PayPal does not enter the zim market might be the same reason why they dont enter Nigeria & the same reason they only entered the South African market in 2011 if not 2012 via FNB.

      Its one word guys – Fraud

      Read this article
      “Business Report indicated that South Africa and Nigeria had fewer cases reported in the second half of the year than in the first; however Zimbabwe had the biggest increase in the value of fraud committed in the second half of 2011, to the tune of $1.2bn.”

      Highest fraud in Africa (KPMG Africa Fraud Barometer 2011)
      1. South Africa
      2. Nigeria
      3. Zimbabwe

  2. CTRL + F, type in ‘sanctions’, 12 results from the article (excluded those in comments). My point? You are beginning to sound like the Herald.

    Trust me, if Zim was good business for them, they would be doing business here, sanctions or no sanctions.

  3. Guys, please, this article makes the assumption of sanctions, but there is no specific sanctions policy by Paypal. Many companies do not do business with Zimbabwe, first because they haven’t responded to the reality that the currency has changed and, second, because Zimbabwe is reputed to have an illiquid banking sector, which means accepting payments from Zimbabwean cards is risky.

    Enough of this sanctions rubbish already!

    1. Its unfortunate that the word sanctions has been made synonymous with the usual political rhetoric.’

      PayPal said this very clearly concerning Zimbabwean users.

      As someone who registered and used a PayPal account back in 2003 and for freelance activities then, I can tell you with absolute confidence that they attributed the suspension of service to sanctions. If you held or hold an account with the service, you would know if you queried them. Its not a case for argument but is a fact.

      It is unfortunate that your knee-jerk reaction is to associate any mention of sanctions to some sort of propaganda that you are assaulted with.

      PayPal has never hidden the fact that they suspended services of Zimbabwean account holders because they are in a “sanctioned country”

      PayPal is a private company and therefore reserves right to deny or grant access to their services as they so wish, giving whatever reason they believe is sufficient. It does not owe anyone anything

      PayPal is infamous for its heavy-handedness on any matters that may taint them as a US financial services provider. There are websites dedicated to everything wrong about them. There are class action lawsuits, unjustifiable account locking and withholding of funds … to add to their reputation. Sanctions are just one of the things they quote as a reason for locking an account in any country(NOT JUST IN ZIMBABWE) and apply them as a blanket reaction to remain favourable with their government.

      Their choice at the end of the day.

      It was never an unsubstantiated “allegation” as the author makes us believe.

      Not news!

      carry on

  4. I do not see anything indicating that they are not doing business in Zim due to sanctions. Taf, I think you are asking a leading question. Rather ask why they are not doing business in Zimbabwe. But anyway so far, they do not seem to think zim is a good place to conduct business till further notice. Hey, they are in it for the money so if it feels risky for them, then well, it is risky for them.

  5. it is not because of sanctions but because they do not want to get cheated, Zimbabwe owes lots of money, people are having a hard time trusting anything that comes out of zanuland. Just now mugabe tries to claim 51% of paypal

  6. l was refused an ssl certificate for a domain registered in Zim by a certain American company.l had to update domain info to get an ssl certificate

    1. Where you able to get the SSL certificate? When I faced that problem once I ended up asking ZISPA to write the certificate issuer a letter which confirms that I am the owner of the domain. It worked. What was the name of the American company?

      1. l actually had to update my domain info first and put my South African address then applied again

  7. Just to add, most African countries have monetary policy restrictions on sending money out of the country. A case in point in point is Malawi at the moment and Zim in 2007. Google wallet and many other online payment systems do not work as they will not be profitable inline of the government policy against externalisation of forex. The challenge might be that Pay Pal last did its SWOT for SADC years back and thus policies instituted then were never repealed in their company. One does not need to be a political or robotic scientist to know that the sanctions are targeted and there is a list which did not name ALL Zimbabweans. Pay Pal as a profit-oriented institution could have taken advantage of that, but then they don’t know everything and to expect them to do so is foolish.

    1. Saka with all you graduates from UZ and all the other institutions combined hapana kana one of you who decided to open a friggin online payment system…. ya ok. I will do it myself then.

  8. Paypal is meant for Ebay, or rather it was started for this purpose. Because Ebay odesnt operate in Zim because of high levels of fraud and failure to prove addresses; theres no need for Ebay to extend its Paypal facilities

      1. On October 3, 2002, PayPal became a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay.[5] Its corporate headquarters are in San Jose, California,[2] United States at eBay’s North First Street satellite office campus. The company also has significant operations in Omaha, Scottsdale, Charlotte and Austin in the United States; Chennai in India; Dublin in Ireland; Kleinmachnow in Germany; and Tel Aviv in Israel. From July 2007, PayPal has operated across the European Union as a Luxembourg-based bank

    1. why dont you start a forum and get zim IT guys together and build a new system? Zimbos always complain and not solution minded. smh

  9. its no longer sanctions related, its partly technical limitations (less ability to verify specific information, than say in the US or UK) and partly perceived risk

    note i use the word perceived – that is to say PayPal/eBay have decided that the risk for them is too high – this could be many factors including but not limited to: Indigenisation laws, tax laws, possible fraud risks (money laundering and otherwise) and perhaps low value (considering the large percentage of unbanked people at this stage)

  10. Manu Hi PayPal…please inform us..when are you coming to Zimbabwe?
    Like · Reply · 3 hours ago

    PayPal Hi
    Manu, Thanks for your interest in PayPal. We don’t have any new
    information on when our services may be available in Zimbabwe. We’ll let
    all of our customers know if this becomes available.
    Like · 6 minutes ago

  11. I think the reason why paypal does not enter the zim market might be the same reason why they dont enter nigeria. Its one word (Fraud).

    Zimbabwe like nigeria is a very literate African country, so as we sa during the burning days Fraud is very high in Zimbabwe.

    As soon as Zim got good internet connections the fraud cases have drastically increased to compete with nigeria & south africa.

    Read this article

    Business Report indicated that South
    Africa and Nigeria had fewer cases reported in the second half of the
    year than in the first; however Zimbabwe had the biggest increase in the
    value of fraud committed in the second half of 2011, to the tune of

    But ofcourse this does not explain why South Africa is has Paypal. But this might be it, coz South Africa got paypal sometime in 2012,

  12. to be fair why are people soo bummed about paypal how is it any different from western union and money gram. they also do not allow u to make payments outside of Harare. One must also realize that paypal has business partners who if they do not wish to have this system accessible in another country they are well within their rigths to do so. Lots of websites accept zim debit and credit cards so the need for paypal is zero anyhow.

    I once sent them an email and they sent a very polite reply responding to all my queries which was totally acceptable.

    As far as the site not having being accessible from zim that too is not correct as I used to use my brothers paypal account ALOT in the last couple of years including last year. So im not sure what was happening with ur attempts to access it

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