So, a couple of days ago we learned that if you open a PayPal merchant wallet in Zim you can send and more importantly receive money via PayPal. This is massive news for e-commerce in Zimbabwe because it opens up the avenues for forex payments that don’t need elaborate integrations at the entry-level.
What was missing in all of this was an official confirmation from PayPal to rubber stamp this. And we now have that:
“Customers in Zimbabwe are now able to open business accounts. It is a permanent feature, but if anything changes we’ll make sure to inform anyone impacted”PayPal Support
The confirmation was courtesy of Twitter user @Hypeitnow who left a comment on one of our posts.
With all of that out of the way, there are two important questions that need to be answered:
- If you open an account and transact can you withdraw money out of your PayPal merchant wallet?
- What is the situation with the API for businesses that want a PayPal integration?
Linking a card is the best you can do right now..
The one thing that Zimbos have been all too familiar with when it comes to PayPal (besides being unable to receive money) is that you couldn’t withdraw money from a personal account.
Once the money was in your PayPal walley it couldn’t be used for anything else besides payments through the wallet. Or if you were lucky you could find someone who wanted a Paypal transfer in exchange for cash.
Well, unfortunately, it looks like nothing much has changed in this respect. You cannot withdraw your money once it’s in your PayPal merchant wallet unless you have a US Account. In all of our trials and tests there is only the option for linking a US-based account to your PayPal wallet.
However if you for some reason have a US account you are in luck because it should be a whole lot easier for you to get your money out of your merchant wallet. For regular Zimbos, all you can do at the moment is link a debit card which will most commonly be a prepaid USD card.
It doesn’t look like you can withdraw money into this card from your PayPal however because, in all the attempts we tried, it gives us a beneath the limit error. So… yeah…
If you are one of the lucky few with a US account and you are withdrawing out of your PayPal wallet. Here are few things that you might need to take note of.
- Your money might not reflect in your bank account because it takes 5-7 business days for it to clear (excluding weekends).
- Common errors that occur with withdrawals include entering the wrong account number or your bank being unable to accept electronic funds transfers. You should check with your bank to make sure that they can accept EFTs.
Is PayPal still viable even though there are no withdrawals for Zim merchant wallets?
Most definitely! This opens up a whole new avenue for you and your customers both existing and potential. The unfortunate part is the money you generate has to be used through PayPal or you can take the long route and Xoom the money to yourself and collect at a ZB Bank.
The Xoom remittance option isn’t going to be for everyone because of the charges. But the hope is that if more businesses start accepting payments via PayPal it will force PayPal to make it easier to withdraw money for Zimbabwean businesses.
The Zim government and RBZ willing of course
PayPal merchant wallets could also help with not overpaying or buying something you don’t want because the establishment doesn’t have change. I have been frustrated every time I see something in Zimbabwe priced at US$2.50 when no one in Zimbabwe has ever used a 50 US cent coin.
What about the API?
In our conversation with PayPal support the operator highlighted that the API is up and running for Zim merchant wallet. This means if you want to integrate your store, all you need to do is to have this get the PayPal API and you can find the instructions to do that are in the link here.