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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. Zimbabwe is there now. Going through the registration process now and will advise!

  2. For all those DOUBTING THOMASES, i just created a paypal account with my zim credentials. its working!!!

    1. Bro Thank u for showing this guy respect man.. I was getting tired of the complainers… ahhh for real THANK U TECH GUY….I never would have known about paypal if not for u..
      Thanx a million

  3. Whats all this noise about Paypal.

    I have been using my StanChart VISA Gold Card for years now to make payments online with no hassles. What is special about Paypal that VISA cant do?

    1. Same bro, some error message, “We were unable to verify this card. Please review and make sure that the information you entered is correct. Your card billing address needs to match your PayPal street address.”

  4. Ahhh they late, me I’m from Zimbabwe i opened a paypal account from Zimbabwe, i receive money and send it to my payoneer MasterCard then withdraw it from any ATM…..if you want to know how i did it….contact me

  5. How can i get the paypal code which was send buy paypal on 3 november or how can i access my online card statement

  6. I am actually using a USA PayPal from Auction Essistance since PayPal still has some restrictions where I am at.

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