It’s official, Zimbabwean Skrill accounts are no more. Most accounts were closed overnight and when their owners tried to log in they got an error message informing them that the relevant account had been closed. Skrill had said the accounts would be closed on the 20th of April.
A lot of Zimbabweans kept involved in online Forex Trade and gambling had hoped against all evidence to the contrary that Skrill would give them a reprieve. That was never going to happen despite accidental acts on Skrill’s parts such as allowing accounts to operate after the 20 April date and sending customers promotional messages. Thankfully it seems no one still had money in Skrill when the accounts were closed.
What is Skrill and why is it an important service?
So, people have been asking me about Skrill and why I keep writing about it. Well, Skrill is sort of like PayPal except it’s a lot better in my view in terms of what you can do with it. Like PayPal, you can use Skrill to receive payments from all over the world and even use it as a payment gateway on your website provided you have a Skrill Business account.
Those who receive funds can actually withdraw the funds to their bank account. Yes, when Skrill was still offering services to Zimbabweans you could actually add your Nostro USD account and have the funds deposited in there.
While PayPal is very picky about what you can do with funds in their wallet, Skrill was specifically set up to serve some of the services that PayPal would turn its nose at. Things like online gambling, betting and casinos as well as binary forex trading.
There is quite a small but vocal and passionate community of online foreign currency traders in Zimbabwe and some of them actually make a pretty decent living from these activities. Skrill was important to these people as they could use it to deposit and withdraw money into and from their trading or gambling wallets.
The closing down of Zimbabwean Skrill accounts is just the latest slap in the face for Zimbabweans who want to engage in international trade and payments. That space keeps shrinking both due to a crumbling economy and the unintended fallout from sanctions. Ironically it’s very trivial for people targeted by sanctions to circumvent.
Now that Skrill is gone what are your options? Now that really depends on what you were using Skrill for. If you were a Skrill dealer who made their money buying and selling Skrill, then you probably need to look at South Africa and see if you can open an account there you would need:
- A South African phone number
- An FNB non-resident account for when you want to withdraw Skrill funds
- A valid passport for verification
- You might also need a Visa/MasterCard and I would recommend BancABC if you want to add funds this way. I will not reveal why but just know if you do not have a South African card that can do international payments a BancABC prepaid Visa will serve you well
If you were using Skrill to make deposits into your trading or gambling account you can use a dealer instead. Chances are you already know a number of local dealers who do Deriv and Binary deposits for a fee of course.
You can also make use of Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies. We have already covered the topic of where you can get Bitcoin in Zimbabwe here.