Paypal in Africa: Kenya users can now receive money

The big P of e-commerce now offers more service to residents of Kenya. Paypal users in Kenya can now receive money via PayPal, and withdraw same to a US bank account if they have one. Though users in Kenya cannot yet withdraw to a local bank account, the ability to receive Paypal funds is a huge leap that would empower e-commerce merchants in the East African country.

Paypal users in Kenya can now receive funds
Paypal users in Kenya can now receive funds

Paypal’s entry into Africa has been been very slow and seemingly half-hearted. It took the launch of Google Checkout for Paypal to open-up to some more African countries, albeit limiting them to sending funds only. In the 4th quarter of 2006, PayPal added Botswana, Cape Verde, Namibia, Togo and Tunisia to its network, in addition to South Africa which had hitherto been the lone African country. In 2007, Paypal suddenly allowed sign-ups from virtually every African country: Algeria, Angola, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon Republic, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. (Though Paypal offered service to several other countries globally, I choose to list only the African countries). Notably, missing among the African countries are Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria.

In March 2010, PayPal suddenly announced its readiness to allow its users in South Africa to receive funds:

Today, we announced an agreement with First National Bank (FNB) that will allow merchants in South Africa to accept PayPal payments – opening their businesses to our global customer base of 81 million active accounts in 190 markets.

Everyone from travel companies booking safaris to merchants selling goods around the world can now accept PayPal and withdraw the money easily to their FNB bank accounts. Just as the world’s spotlight focuses on South Africa for the World Cup in June!

South Africans can also top up their PayPal accounts from their FNB bank accounts. PayPal funds can then be used to shop online with PayPal’s merchants around the globe.

Kenya is only the second country in Africa to be able to receive funds via PayPal. Though there has been no official announcement from PayPal about this development, it is expected that this new move would increase the volume of e-commerce in Kenya. Already, Kenya is globally recognized as a shining example of m-commerce, due to the proliferation of mobile money services in Kenya, with mPesa being the pioneer and dominant player. One expects that allowing users to withdraw their funds to a Kenyan bank would give even more meaning to the service.

About Paypal in Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria, time would tell.

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Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.


  1. Good news. One wonders why PayPal hasn’t made any announcement on this, and sometimes I worry it could be a bug, and one day I might log in and find my “request money” button gone, LOL. Central Bank should allow a local bank to process withdrawals if they want to reap tax revenues from ecommerce businessmen. As it stands now, CBK has no way of knowing whats going on in my account as I receive money via a US bank and withdraw the money in Kenya using a debit card. I hear in South African the Reserve Bank there gave too many conditions to PayPal such that online merchants there find the service useless (it’s only benefiting freelancers for receiving money in forex). I hope the Kenyan govt will take a more relaxed approach, more like; Let the industry thrive first, then move in to regulate when people are making some real money. You collect more taxes this way.

    • Hello Kim. I’m Reginah and I would like to start working with USA Apps but I don’t know how use paypal method of payment would you kindly guide me. I’m in Kenya

  2. That’s a good development, maybe one of these days they would also consider our country, and enable the other Africa counties too, so that they would just be receivers only, thanks for the update…

  3. Good to know that we have Kenya on the list now but sad that paypal is still using sentiment in the way they handle which country they open business to. Nigeria Internet users is the highest by population in Africa follow by Egypt. So who should they consider doing business with… time will tell.

  4. I’m glad that PayPal finally added Kenya in the ‘send, receive, withdraw’ category. I can gladly sell my services online. However, I find our local banks a stumbling block to innovation (And maybe many other African Banks too). This could be the reason PayPal is too slow to roll out its service in the continent. Every time I contact PayPal, they say the service is not available due to restrictions from your banks (referring to Kenyan banks).

    @Kimani, don’t be afraid, the service is not a bug, I just confirmed with the PayPal support team.

    • I am interested to know, what do you mean when you say Kenyan banks are restrictive? is it that they are asking for too much fees or they don’t have infrastructure?


      I have been trying to reach PayPal, but their customer support is non-existent. Maybe i should try calling.

  5. @Kimani, Our local banks do not have sufficient technologies to run online transactions in conjunction with third parties(i guess you have experienced this too). Also, certain policies in government (through CBK) may affect companies and services like paypal from rolling out their services fully (that’s why you require a US bank account to withdraw your paypal cash). I heard that there is sth between Equity Bank and PayPal coming up soon, cant wait for this!

    If you want to contact paypal and get response in real time, you ought to use twitter and follow them @askpaypal. Make sure it’s verified.

  6. Kindly Assist.

    I am a new person with PayPal and taking every step to understand the services it offers, especially sending and receiving money. I know that one must have a U.S Bank Account to receive such services. Can someone advice me on the bank in Kenya that offer such services, where I can open a U.S Bank Account so that I may be able to receive and send money through PayPal.
    Thank You.

    • There is no Kenyan bank offering such services. People are saying that Equity Bank might start accepting PayPal withdrawals early next year, but I guess we will have to wait and see. You could ask Citi bank Nairobi branch if they can assist you opening an account with their sister banks in the US, but I doubt they would do such kind of thing. Their personnel are some of the most egotistical people I’ve ever come across, but thats for another day, hehe. But Just try. At the moment, you will have to use trusted third party services like e-pesa to help you withdraw money. Its very difficult to open a US account if you are still in Kenya and have no plans to go to the US ever since the enactment of the Patriot Act. I know of a third way one can get a functioning US bank account without going there (actually a virtual account that functions like a bank account complete with a routing/ABA number and a Checking account no), but the process is too long for me to explain fully on this platform you should probably google it up.

      • I am really interested in knowing how to set up a virtual account. Could you help me work on it? e-mail me on hi[at] or kippontherun[at] . Thanks.

      • Thanx Kimani for being so informative, these citibank staff are so egoistic as u said! they jz turned me away! I really needed to open a US bank account n now am left with an option of creating a virtual bank account. I am really scared by the many scams on the net and would really appreciate any assistance in setting up a virtual account.


  8. Actually is there an alternative to paypal if someone wants to launch a web based business in Africa?

    How do you get paid?

    I tried moneybookers but not everyone knows it

    • It is really difficult, that’s a fact. What I think is African developers coming up with a solution (just like m-pesa mobile payment service working great in Kenya). I find Africa being unique in it’s own way thus requiring unique solutions (only Africans can understand Africa). We are trying to build a gateway with some Kenyan developers (but only intended for NGO’s in Kenya alone) and if this works out, then we will roll it out to the rest of Africa.

    • Most people just use 2CO (2checkout), and its very convenient if you want to accept credit card payments and PayPal in some cases. However, 2CO is not a PayPal alternative; its more of a credit card processor. Its Terms of Service has a long list of prohibited stuff where if your website is offering any of the prohibited stuff, you won’t be able to use it. For example, those offering financial advice online cannot use the service, and so does anyone selling human body parts, prescription drugs, gaming services, adult content and so on. Otherwise it’s a great service, albeit slightly expensive than PayPal.

  9. If the banks are so reluctant to cash paypal users why can’t paypal look for alternative ways. Lets say the mobile phone money transfer services. I would really love to transact a business online, be paid using paypal and receive cash on my mobile phone via m-pesa. M-pesa is operational in a number of countries and it can liars with pay pal for online transactions.

  10. I would like to know if it’s possible to transfer your money from paypal account to the moneybookers account and if moneybookers are available in Rwanda?

  11. Very insightful post indeed. I however challenge African developers to come up with a solution for online payments. Mpesa did great. We too can have our Paypal!

  12. I hope that kenya banks can work together with Paypal.
    One thing that one can do here in kenya is only to send money via paypal but not receive.
    Hope akina equity and the likes can do something.


  13. actually there is a similar service offered by Jambopay a kenyan company. It offers online payments through Visa cards,Mpesa,Zpesa they’re certified by the Central Bank of Kenya.I found them after an intensive research and followup on paypal services for my foreign clients.their poffices are in VeiwPark Towers 12th floor-Nairobi next to French cultural center, if you reside in Kenya

  14. I am just curious here, GUYS do you think it is possible to cash paypal in a US account that belongs to someone you know in the US and then have him send you the money through other means? is that possible? I seriously need to find a way to cash out a paypal account. [ If i create a paypal account using the details of someone in the US, i think i’ll b able to get my cash through that person] This might be illegal but something has to be done at the end of the day!

  15. Hey guys, i did some research on my idea above and i think it is possible only if both the bank and paypal accounts are operated by the same person in the US. (i.e using someone paypal acc.)This is because paypal will match your paypal account details with your bank details in order to cash out the payment. I read from another blog that you can now cash paypal from equity! I will be very very happy if it is true! n i need to rush there and confirm.

  16. God bless africa. Cant we create a kind of paypal by africa for Africa. How long will our destiny be in the hand of paypal.

  17. You are so right, but most of us don’t have a US account and couldn’t get one. The single biggest advance anybody in the world could make is to allow us to transfer PayPal funds to our Kenyan bank accounts, or (wow!) mpesa or similar. Scrap most of the charity, dump it offshore, we don’t need to be treated as deserving poor, all we need is to entrust a package to the posta and get some pesa out of our phones. Try googling “Kenya Coast Republic” with inverted commas. When the heck did Mombasa and Malindi declare independence?, who own PayPal, insist there is no such country as Kenya, only Kenya Coast Republic. I’ve been shouting for years at brick walls. Tell all those two million plus web pages that Kenya Coast Republic doesn’t exist, and that we want to do business. Now.

  18. Hi,
    I am not a techie. Is someone able to explain to me exactly how I can withdraw cash from moneybookers to my bank account. I am in Kenya. I will appreciate it. Thank you.

  19. i have heard that co-op bank have a relation and its possible to use pay pal with them if your account is linked to visa; so can someone ask on our behalf;

    it was unfortunate since i operate a savings account with them and have visa with barclays

    • Hi George I want to let you know that co-op don’t have any relationship with PayPal they even don’t know anything about paypal withdrawal to Kenya. However I personally use they system to withdrawal PayPal, and all they see is a refund to my account.

  20. please i am a kenyan nationalist funding the orphans to get education, i have a problem when i want to receive donation from abroad through paypal, please guys assist me!

  21. Hi guys..kuld someone pliz tell me if there is any bank in kenya which offers paypal services specifically in sending money..

  22. Hi Kengah, sending money through PAYPAL is very much possible. However you need to have a credit card account with any bank. All you need is just the details on your credit card.

  23. Hi guys, I have been struggling with digital funds that were deposited in my paypal account on 21st of last month (June) and now i cannot even withdraw the money. There is a company called Chuchi Hostings, and they sound and act like scammers, only they don’t let you know what it is exactly they are dealing with. I need to withdraw funds, any one help? I have a feeling i am currently being scammed by two companies whose names i won’t reveal for now. At least not until i see their efficiency.

  24. I wanted to withdraw money to my account and stumbled upon the same problem, I wish the central bank and paypal would work together to solve this issue. I doubt if there are US banks in Kenya apart from Citi bank which only deals with corporates.Previously I had an account with paypal but had indicated another country that allowed withdrawal to my card, however pay pal noticed the error and my account was closed due to security reasons. I opened my current account and am now stuck.

  25. I am glad that paypal is now in Kenya. Having sevral methods of sending and receiving money makes inernational transactions easier. I hope Paypal will transform this sector and make Kenya better. Thanks

  26. Hey Daniel, could you pliz expound more on how you can withdraw Paypal funds from a local bank account? Thanks in advance

  27. what about paypal cominng in Tanzania. I have been waiting for so long. how can i feed money in my paypal account from tanzania please help

  28. I have been using Paypal since 2004 and I can tell you that they are very very arrogant and their customer service stinks to the high heavens.

    But these fdays I have peace of mind because I have moved on and I use London-based Moneybookers. I just send the cash to my bank account here in nairobi and withdraw pap!!

    I am really glad that I never lose any more sleep on Paypal these days.

    Even the Tanzania guy can use it in Tanzania. It works anywhere and in any hell hole in the world.. Lol!!

  29. Thanks chris for sharing that info. I have never used moneybrokers and i don’t know of any. I will be grateful if you give us the details on process used by moneybrokers to deposit funds as well as cashing out funds. Thanks in advance

  30. I am a witness to the fact that PayPal now works in Kenya even though you can only receive payments but not withdraw. The only option available is to withdraw the cash to a US bank account which is surely not a viable option for the majority of people. I always spend the cash received via PayPal online to shop or pay for my online bills.

  31. Moneybookers are now known as Skrill. They are free to join and you will be able to send and receive money globally. I use them to receive international payment in to my Equity bank account.

  32. I am just in the middle of a very nasty experience with PALPAL in France – that makes me think they should cease their African business completely. As a result of this experience myself and my friends will be closing our PAYPAL accounts. Here is the story

    I sold an item to a person in France and was asked to ship it to Africa on her behalf.

    I did this with the help and advice of PAYPAL emails to me – the last one of which confirmed that the buyers money would be in my account on the 14th MAY. The money did not arrive and I sent an email to PAYPAL advising of the problem.

    The final mail from PAYPAL caused me to be suspicious as it requested me to send 500 Euro to an accound in Africa sort out the technical problem preventing the transfer of money to my account. At this point I contacted PAYPAL by phone who advised me they sent me no emails and that I had just been ripped off. Tough, no compensation – hey if you are stupid enough …. !!!

    Their comments went something like this.

    – You should have read the ‘process’ – not our fault
    – The emails were false – though, thats how it goes – not our fault if you are stupid
    – Asked why they could not take action now with the person in Africa – the response, ‘have you ever tried getting legal action in AFRICA !!!!
    – General sentiment from PAYPAL support desk – Hey stupid, hang up – next time read the instructions !!


    And so, I am sorry to relate that PAYPAL CARING AND SECURITY IS WORTHLESS. I will be closing my account.

  33. I cant believe some people here have been having problems since 2010 on paypal in Kenya while has been in existence since then. I have been using them since 2010 and they are very reliable.Unlike other companies that have come, you will never have your account blocked(the 180 days that could even end up being half a year. Or be worried that they will go under with your money..

    • you can be able to withdraw funds from your PayPal account in various ways and Epay Kenya is one of them. Since I realized that a lot of Kenyans who work online have issues with PayPal withdrawals I compiled an ebook on 4 Proven Ways to Withdraw Money from PayPal in Kenya. Follow this link to download the ebook free of charge

  34. Me too am a young entrepreneur in the internet trade and am so happy for the far we have come.My only problem is that PayPal should make it possible for us in Kenya to transfer our PayPal money direct to our bank accounts.That would really save young entrepreneurs like myself a lot of troubles.

  35. Yes, it’s time now paypal must include Ghana and others excluded, there are Good things happening in Ghana too.

    We deserve better.


  36. Hey while many people are waiting for the big banks to come and save then, small innovative firms like are helping Kenyans withdraw their paypal cash from paypal. so it is not and issue whether one can withdraw money from Paypal in kenya anymore. Its whether you can trust the local entrepreneurs to help you. And whether you can support them to grow. As for me their rates are better as bank $ are often such a rip off.

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