First off, if you knew about this and you didn’t share it with everyone then SHAME ON YOU! Because it looks like Zim PayPal accounts could receive funds all along contrary to the stated restriction.
When I say the stated restriction this is simply to the best of our knowledge because we heard word whispers of this but didn’t believe it. In our defence and that of everyone else, receiving PayPal payments or money in Zimbabwe was not possible.
You can still open a PayPal account in Zim and use it to make payments if it is linked to your USD card, most often it’s a prepaid card. However, it looks like there is a “loophole” for Zim accounts to receive funds via a PayPal wallet and it’s through opening a Merchant PayPal account.
How to open a PayPal Mercant account
- The landing page for the PayPal merchant account is the link here
- Once you are there select the option to open a Merchant/Business account.
- Enter the details for your business, the menu is much like opening a personal PayPal account.
- Once you are done you’ll need to confirm your phone number and your account via email.
- When that is complete you are good to go.
When we did this we used a local address and phone number
At this point, you’d be forgiven for being sceptical. But we tried this out and not only can you make payments but you can also receive payments.
To check if this was properly legit we requested a payment from an account and it went through. We then sent the amount requested and it cleared. To triple check we had another local PayPal account send an amount to see if this could work without the request payment prompt. And as you may have already guessed it cleared too.
To quadruple check, we looked over the status of receiving funds for a personal account and it looks like nothing has changed there.
So what does this mean?
Well, the answer to that is, yes you can receive funds in a PayPal merchant wallet in Zim. Whether this is something that PayPal forgot to close off, is currently testing, or rolled out and didn’t say anything about is up for debate.
As with issues of this nature we reached out to PayPal to get clarification about the receiving funds status of both Business/Merchant and Personal wallets. To this end we haven’t heard back yet, however, if this is a quiet response to the e-commerce boom then this is massive for Zimbabweans. Especially with Skrill withdrawing its services late last month.
Although, it should be said that there are some restrictions. You can’t fund your wallet through your bank card but you can link a card. However it looks like you can remit money into your linked card but it looks like there is a limit that the funds in the account we opened can’t breach.
On PayPal’s site, it says that the minimum is US$1.00 so this might be something that isn’t possible (yet). Meaning that to withdraw money from a Zim merchant PayPal account you’ll need to find someone who might want money transferred to their wallet in exchange for cash. Or you can use PayPal’s Xoom remittance service to send yourself the money but the charges are pretty high so this might not be for everyone.
All in all, this is pretty interesting and we will be eagerly awaiting a reply from PayPal to hear the official status of Zim merchant wallets concerning receiving funds.