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PayPal now available in Zimbabwe. But not for merchants and peer to peer

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This, it turns out, is a payments week! It’s official, PayPal is coming to Zimbabwe starting tomorrow, 17 June 2014.

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The announcement was made today by Rupert Keeley, the executive in charge PayPal’s Europe Middle East and Africa region, in an interview he gave to Reuters.

PayPal will be opening up its services to Zimbabwe and some 9 other countries in Africa and Europe and South America. Notable of those is Nigeria which, even though it has Africa’s highest internet population at above 60 million. The other countries are Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Belarus, Paraguay, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco and Montenegro.

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On why it’s happening now Keeley said: “PayPal has been going through a period of reinvention, refreshing many of its services to make them easier to use on mobile (phones), allowing us to expand into fast-developing markets,”

Part of the realisation ofcourse is that these markets won’t wait for PayPal to come, but will instead go to more flexible competition. And in the case of Zimbabwe, startups have emerged to fill the need for payments online. Like Paynow and Pay4App. Paynow was introduced to the market several weeks ago, and we first reported on it last week.

Unfortunately, not the whole PayPal
It’s not the full PayPal that’s being opened up in these 10 countries. According to Reuters PayPal is only offering “send money” services which means the peopl in these markets will now be able to create accounts using their local addresses and after that pay for services.

The most useful services in terms of building an ecosystem, Peer to peer payments and local merchant accounts, will not be enabled yet. This will clearly not amuse financial authorities in these countries as it basically means PayPal is enabling money to be paid out, but none to be paid in, or at least to be paid within a country. Zimbabwe already has regulations restricting outbound payments, especially those going through remittance companies like Moneygram and Western Union. they have been more relaxed on payments via the web though with Mastercard and Visa payments happening generally unfettered.

It’s not the first time PayPal has relaxed restrictions on markets it deems bad. it used to be that even if you had an account from say America, just the act of accessing your PayPal from Zimbabwe would have you blocked from the service. It was virtually impossible to use PayPal from Zimbabwe unless you were hiding behind a proxy or VSAT connection. In 2012, PayPal relaxed that a bit to allow the use of the service from Zimbabwe. They however still wouldn’t let you sign up for an account from Zimbabwe, or use a Zimbabwean address, essentially only service the needs of expats and visitors.

The recent development is good. Not enough, but better than the madness that’s prevailed thus far. Merchants just need to find a work around the problem of not basing the merchant account in Zimbabwe!

PayPal is not likely to threaten local payment providers like Pay4App and Paynow. The local ones have access to and provide local mobile money payment options like EcoCash and Telecash. Without the full stack of payments, PayPal also comes with very little to be of any current use startups or retailers looking into eCommerce.

Thank you: Ad Mire Makusha


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69 thoughts on “PayPal now available in Zimbabwe. But not for merchants and peer to peer

  1. A half-hearted attempt at getting new markets. They have probably realised that people will innovate with or without them.

  2. Hey at least its progress and its a start!

    generally they do phased roll outs like this, they likely have to look through and go through the neccesary legal processes to allow the other things to happen but this is great news at least

  3. Sorry I didn’t quite get this,does this mean we wont be able receive money with our Zim pay-pal accounts?we can only pay out?

      1. My Fried tell the truth we cannot register our VISA cards even to day, did you actually try it

  4. Your article is bit difficult to comprehend, but the source of your information is very clear.
    The big question every reader is asking, “can we now make payments online using PayPal” Answer is yes now you can

  5. I wouldn’t be excited for Paypal. although they are a well known online payment company they have had issues with their money transferring services over the past few years including a few data leaks of peoples account and personal data information. I find them to be more vulnerable to attacks and hacks than any other money services firm which is sad because their online payment systems such as that on Ebay is fantastic. The best thing to do is ask your bank for a MasterCard debit card. I know kingdom bank used to give you one for 20$. With this card you can use at ATM’s in numerous countries and still shop online with your own money.

  6. Don’t complain I’m just ranting, why it took long to work in Zimbabwe anywhere not for squabbling, I concur that with Paypal it’s easy way to send and receive payments using your email address and that’s a great idea and also it is deeply integrated into a lot of services but their best alternative such as Amazon WebPay is like a free version of PayPal. It does the same thing (online payments with your email address) but doesn’t cost anything to send or receive money

      1. No, no no,Khal Drogo was not poisoned, that witch just turned him into a vegetable as revenge

      1. In thats case then I don’t need paypal. I can use my Card (Visa/Mastercard) to pay directly!!

  7. They should open the full service offered to the entire world, not a loop to rob the little we have.

  8. They should open the full service offered to the entire world, not a loop which economically is still unfair to the people of Zimbabwe.

  9. here we go again…strings attached as always,,,,am not surprised,,,a handicapped deal that benefits them not us,,,i can go as far as calling this “capital flight”. RBZ or who ever is in charge should stamp on things which cramp our economy like this,,,,give us the whole enchilada not beat part deals….

  10. I tried creating an account just now, Zimbabwe is still not there on the “Your country or region” drill down options. Is this another premature launch or they are just pulling our leg

  11. Put simply:
    There are three main account types in PayPal, a personal account, a premier account and the third is a business account. The first, a personal account, is mainly for users who shop online and prefer not to give out their credit/debit card information. This particular account is free to sign up. The second, the premier account, is for individuals who do some selling online and would need to have funds deposited into their account. The last account type is for business use. It allows the company to create a merchant account and accepts all types of payments. PayPal charges a low transaction fee across all types of accounts when money is deposited or a payment is made.

    1. So I guess as per the article above Zimbabweans will only be able to create personal accounts and shop online. The good thing is if one creates a merchant account from say South Africa or USA they can market their products to Zimbos!! Although I suspect there will be a lot of legal implications for the bigger more corporate firms – enough to just put them off the idea.

  12. Very good, but you still cant link it to your Zimswitch account. Witch means you have to have a VISA, Mastercard account already to get money into your Paypal accounts. Pointless since if you already have a VISA or Mastercard account you can already buy online. And as already said in the comments, Zimbabwe isn’t in the list.

    1. VISA and MasterCard are damn expensive! Paypal is free to sign up and transact as long as you get money into your Paypal account.

      1. Yes Paypal might be free but you still pay to transfer the funds from your VISA/Mastercard account into your Paypal account. Although i dont know the cost of that transfer compared to making a purchase direct from your VISA/Mastercard, it cant be too far from being the same.

  13. seriously you cant create an account in Zimbabwe with pay-pal because Zimbabwe is under sanctions & will probably stay like that for a long time.

    1. Zimbabwe is NOT under sanctions…. its only specific members of government and other closely linked people/companies – this isn’t the reason that paypal isn’t available yet – you forget about how theres that thing called the law which likely makes paypal’s entrance to the zim market less than simple…

  14. I am worried with the source of information on this blog, now it appears to be very misleading. This guy who ever he is is claming that we can use paypal. I tried logging onto the site to register my VISA account and still the site does not accept a zim adress later on my visa card. I am really worried if the guy who writes these articles would have done his own investigations in some of the aricles he writes. Informative as it has been in some cases i have found some of his articles rather misleading and incorrect. I challenge you guys to do background checks before you publish some of these articles

  15. Gents (& Ladies) bear in mind that its still the 17th, Paypal also operates on US time so its likely we have to wait for them to wake up and flick the switch 🙂 why not try again tomorrow when its more than likely to be working

    for all the complainers about paypal not doing enough – chances are the financial regulations are more complex than you realise which makes rolling out a service not a simple process – i suspect we will eventually see most of the range of paypal services locally but they likely have to do the necessary financial/legal processes first (this is purely speculation however)

  16. Half a loaf is better than nothing. Anyways, I am challenging all local e-payments start-ups to up their game and show Paypal that we too are a global force to reckon! Come on guys….where you at????

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