Do you use PayPal in Kenya? If you’re a freelancer, I bet you do.
It’s mostly not a matter of choice. You have to use it since there are many sites that only have PayPal as their withdrawal method, for example iWriter and Rev among others.
Don’t get me wrong I love PayPal and have been their ardent user from back in 2011. But I must admit that of late, PayPal sucks big-time in Kenya. In fact, wherever possible, I always use Payoneer instead of PayPal. I hope the guys over at 2221 North First Street San Jose, California 95131 where PayPal is located get to read this post because something needs to be done, NOW!
Below are my reasons why PayPal SUCKS and what to do about it.
1. Constant limitations
A PayPal limitation is where your account is sort of “suspended” and not allowed to do some stuff. For example you may be unable to send money, send refunds, make website payments etc.
This company seems to be malicious against Kenya and a few other countries because most countries don’t have it this way.
Before 2015, it would be hard for them to limit your account. In fact that would only happen if you clearly violate their terms of service.
Comes 2015 and there comes strange limitations. In Jan and Feb only, I got so many emails and Facebook inboxes by guys telling me their accounts had been limited. Funny thing they had done nothing contrary to the PayPal terms of service. They would simply receive money from Rev, iWriter, Elance (now Upwork) etc and withdraw to Equity (which is allowed by PayPal).
After PayPal limits an account, they ask for some stuff e.g. a photo ID, business registration certificate (for business accounts), invoices etc. Sadly, for many accounts nowadays, even after you have provided them with all that they require, they still permanently limit or close the account.
Note that if your account is permanently limited, you won’t be able to access your funds for 6 months. However, if you’re lucky, they may allow you to send refunds to your clients so that they use an alternative means to pay you.
Mr. PayPal, if you’re reading this, kindly after you’ve received the right documentation, restore someone’s account. I’m not advocating for those going against your terms, but for the real, law abiding users, restore immediately.
Update: PayPal listened. Nowadays limitations are not as common as they were. Thank you, PayPal!
2. Inability to transact for new or unused accounts
“We’re sorry, but you cannot send this payment right now”
This is the error you receive when trying to transact with a new account. Even if it’s your real, verified account with your own details, it will still bring this error for a while. For more information on the steps to create your account, you may want to read our trusted facts about PayPal in Kenya.
Upon calling Mr. PayPal to ask why the error, you may be given reasons like “your network has issues, try again” or “you are unable to transact for security reasons, keep trying” or anything else Mr. PayPal wants to tell you.
It’s funny that they allow you to receive cash that you won’t be able to withdraw.
Worse still, in some cases you won’t be able to receive the cash at all. When someone sends cash, s/he gets the above error.
The saddest fact about it is this, there is no indication as to when the transaction will go through. Imagine you receive your hard earned $1,000 to your legitimate PayPal account but are unable to withdraw it for a week or more due to the above errors!
3. Inability to add the Payoneer Global Payment Service
Now, one of the biggest benefits of Payoneer in Kenya was the fact that you could withdraw money from PayPal to your Payoneer account. This would be done through the addition of their US virtual account which they now call the Global Payment Service.
After adding the service to PayPal, you would be clicking “withdraw” on PayPal, proceeding to send to your “bank account” and the cash would be available for withdrawal on your Payoneer account after two days.
However, this was stopped by PayPal in mid-2014. From then till now, it is not possible to add this payment service. It only works for those accounts that had added the service to PayPal earlier. However no new additions are possible.
Therefore, the only PayPal approved ways to withdraw your money from PayPal right now are: Doing it through Equity Bank, which takes 3 days and using the PayPal to MPESA service.
However, these methods are more expensive than what the Global Payment Service used to give, unless you withdraw from PayPal to a Kenyan USD Equity bank account.
What you can do about it
Below are my quick pointers on what you can do about it.
- Use alternatives e.g. M-PESA Global , Wise (formerly TransferWise) and Payoneer where possible.
- Use old PayPal accounts to receive your cash if you transact high volumes per month (e.g. if your brother has an old PayPal account you can receive your payments through his account if he agrees to it)
- If you choose to create your account, build the volumes slowly.
- Very important: stick to the same IP and gadget for your account. For example you can dedicate your laptop to be the only place where you withdraw from, using your Safaricom modem or wifi. Another example is if you choose to use your phone, try to always be using the same phone for PayPal transactions, especially when sending money or withdrawing money.
- If you travel outside Kenya, you will not be able to use your PayPal account in the new country so have someone manage it for you or open a new one. Logging in from another country may lead to an instant limitation.
- Pray – Yes, pray that Mr. PayPal makes things easier for us in future
PayPal is still a “necessary evil” for Kenyans. Despite of the fact that they have strange issues here, most sites still only allow PayPal.
Due to the above reasons, I still say that nowadays PayPal sucks in Kenya.
The constant limitations, transaction delays, and delayed withdrawals can make you sick to the stomach.
I am usually very optimistic that things will get better for this industry. However, I am always against discrimination.
If this trend continues, I hope the other providers, like Wise (formerly TransferWise), and Payoneer, will overtake PayPal so that they are left to discriminate themselves.
The good news is that PayPal is also feeling the heat and slowly improving their services. In my opinion, they still have work to do.
Let’s talk on the comments, shall we!
Hi Walter, when PayPal asks for your residential adress, which one do they mean?
That means where you live. Something like J4, Makongeni, Jogoo Road, Nairobi.
I have been trying to link my bank card for a while now with PayPal without success. I wonder where the problem is?
Make sure the card:
– has at least Sh. 500
– is enabled for online transactions (call your bank)
Then try again. If it fails, contact PayPal support.
Same here, more than one year ago my account was permanently limited and even after 180 days I’ve tried all I can to withdraw my dollars from PayPal, someone kindly give me an idea how to do it
Sorry about that, Francis. Contact PayPal support and request them to allow you to withdraw to Equity, M-PESA, or to send to a friend. Some say this helps!
How do you contact them though? I’ve tried everything. Phone number doesn’t go through; chat has no agents; help center question has no response. Any tips would be much appreciated!
They do respond. They don’t have live chat. And they stopped taking calls due to the pandemic. You can message them via their support center. You can also reach them on Twitter or Facebook inbox. Some people say Twitter works faster.
Ooh okay, thank you so much let me give it a trial.
So I’m faced with the same issue. I had my account limited and then suddenly, I got an email that my account is closed for security reasons. I have used my account for about 10 years and the whole security issue reason doesn’t make any sense. It does feel like we are getting discriminated, but what’s worse is that it’s not like we are using the service for free. I wish there was an organization where we could voice our concerns collectively about PayPal like the way they have in the US and UK.
So sorry about that. Yes, some of the things happening there are terrible!
Like many of us, strive to focus on alternatives.
All the best going forward!
I tend to disagree that PayPal has reduced the limitations. You get limitations for almost anything such as receiving money, updating your details, even setting your payment references. The good thing is that they allow you to withdraw but only after 6 months.
Thanks for your feedback, Chris. Trust me it’s better than it was at some point!
It is plain simple PayPal is run by people who hate blacks and more so Africans. They discriminate against us… but time will tell…
Paypal will fall.
Not sure about the hate for Africans or blacks. Or even about its failure.
But for sure, if they continue with some practices, they may go down. If they change for the better, they may go up even further.
I hope they make the right choices.
well you guys were talking about paypal way back in 2015 about it limiting peoples account but am commenting in 2019 and the same trend is still there, infact the introduction of paypal to m-pesa service has increased the limitation of peoples accounts, this thing really frustrates someone.
Yes, sadly it is still happening.
To say PayPal sucks, is even an understatement, Walter. In Zambia we still can’t receive through it!
So sad Lilly.
I agree with that Mr. Walter. Paypal should stop limiting accounts or freeze them for 90 days just because you’ve received huge cash. If they are doubting the source of the funds, why don’t they call them? Besides, they need to understand and appreciate that Kenyans are hardworking freelancers who get huge sums of cash online. Period!
Sure. You and Walter said it all.
I’m a South Sudanese freelancer, my account is permanently limited.
I tried by all means to contact PayPal, all in vain.
Well, I think we need to write our own codes, create our own PayPal or KenyaPal.
Sorry for that John.
I hear you Elijah. Can really be inconveniencing sometimes to get all these funny limitations. That issue really needs to be sorted out. Good thing lots of competitors are coming up and even cryptocurrencies are now being accepted fast. If they don’t do something, someone else will overtake them.
Would it be advise to get a USA PayPal account from here: http://www.auctionessistance.com/shop instead of opening a kenya PayPal account?
I got limited by PayPal and they didn’t bother to help me restore my account. Now my account is permanently limited and need to accept payments.
I hired Auction Essistance to open me an account and it is working good. My only issue is trying to get money out of a USA account. Do you have any suggestions?
The only way you can get money from a US account is through Payoneer’s Virtual US account IMO
Sometimes PayPal allows you to withdraw to Equity, M-PESA, or even send to a friend. You may have to really reach out to them severally for that to happen, though. Thanks Lacey!
hallo i hope you are good as i am . i also have a challenge with paypal because they limited my account . how can i open american paypal account please .help me please
Don’t open an American PayPal. That’s against their terms. Their platform, their rules. Make sure you follow their rules to the letter. Contact them for help on lifting the limitation.
Hi. If you have an American PayPal, use Zoom. It is a subsidiary to PayPal and withdraws cash directly to mpesa from PayPal
Sorry for the challenge faced, Nataku. Sorry no idea how you can get cash from a US account. I advocate for people to just use local accounts and if that doesn’t work, they ask their clients to use other payment processors such as Skrill or Payoneer.
Great article. But personally, i think that most of the people who complain about their accounts getting limitations are only giving half the story. In most cases, these are people who use Paypal to Mpesa service. If the service provider, is caught, this affects even the people who use their services. Otherwise, if you use the right channels to withdraw, you will never face those limitations. But overall, i agree Paypal sucks. Unfortunately, skrill is only popular in the U.K. and Paypal remains a favorite for many in other parts of the world.
There are some open minded clients who accept Skrill. Also sites like Upwork, Freelancer and others accept Skrill. Once you get awesome DCs where you both mutually benefit each other, you can always negotiate a good way of receiving cash. Some even agree to send you directly via MPESA through Xoom, WorldRemit, Western Union, etc.
I’m thankful of your post Walter.
I’m soon traveling and i plan on being away for a while. How can I best be able to receive my payments through paypal. Does it mean that I have to open a new bank account as well.
Hi Masha. You’re most welcome. If you’re travelling within Kenya then there shouldn’t be an issue. If outside Kenya, PayPal recommends you close the Kenyan one and open a new one in the other country. However, it’s best to contact PayPal and communicate your plans. They’ll help you out.
Is it recommended to use a USA verified PayPal account? Is it safe to buy one from sellers such as Auction Essistance?
Hi Nuzzo. Don’t buy. Any verified account should work. Just create your own account. It’s free.
Hi Walter Akolo , i like your post and points,It will be help full for me in future.
hallo sir . now what will i do and my paypal account is limitited?
Sorry about that. Contact them for assistance on lifting the limitation. You’ll need to submit all they ask for.
Hi Walter or Comrades,
I am in a serious problem. I have a business account that I started using in 2013. I have been receiving money upto thousands of dollars in a month. Suddenly this month, I have dropped drastically and the only person who transacted via my platform had to call me first and asked me of my country.
I dont know where I went wrong because I have not changed anything much. Four months ago, I started to log in to my paypal using anonymous x (ie using a US IP) this is because, I restricted my website only to be accessible in some states but not others.
I have been withdrawing my money from different computers wherever I am including cyber cafes in town etc.
At times, I have been sending the dollars for conversion through another person.
Can somebody advise me based on this or something related to this.
Hi Bob. You’ve not clearly stated what exactly the problem is.
My sales have dropped seriously.
Hi Bob. You can keep marketing heavily. I don’t see how the drop is related to PayPal.
Since I am based in a country where PayPal isn’t supported. Do you think buying a USA PayPal account from Auction Essistance would be a good idea?
Hi Nuzzo. I don’t personally advise on buying and selling of PayPal accounts. However, you can do more research and see the viability of that. Note all the risks and be very cautious. All the best.
I have not yet began withdrawing from PayPal, but I’d rather ask from advice from you first when that time comes. In the meantime, I have some cash sitting there and I’m able to make simple payments online without any issues, which is good.
Hi Dancun. No worries. I believe withdrawing should be fine too. When you start getting huge amounts is when problems may start.
I read a comment done by a former employee of Paypal on paypalsucks.com that Paypal security system raises flags whenever a transaction is done in Africa or in Asian, for Africa its Nigeria, though I think this is before they entered Nigeria
Paypal has for the last one week withheld $120 on my account, I jumped quickly to Skrill and at times western union and Ecobank rapid transfer. I think the different IP addresses and the cookies could be the problem.
I would advise anyone who wants to jump into PayPal to receive payments to do so with care. You’ll be frustrated for no apparent reason
That’s true Ken. They frustrate one for absolutely no reason.
I bumped into this while I was researching on the topic, and thought it would help;
“Under the following circumstances, Paypal has certain triggers in place as a safeguard against fraud. Here are some reasons why some of these safeguards might be triggered:
– You’ve received an abnormally large amount of money in your account that is way above your average.
– Someone has filed a complaint to Paypal about your business.
– A series of chargebacks have been placed against your account.
– Your website has questionable content.
– You are in violation of Paypal’s use policy. For example if you sell drugs or anything illegal, you may get banned.
– Your account information is not up to date or your account is not fully verified.
– Someone has logged into your Paypal account from a strange location.
– Your credit score is low or something with your background history makes you a higher risk customer.
– They have detected fraudulent activity on your account.”
“…If you are expecting to receive a large sum of money, then you should call Paypal ahead of time so they expect to see the extra funds.”
Thanks for the great info Samuel.
For this I need clarification on what a large sum of money is? As in how large is large?
I’ve not seen PayPal giving a specific figure on this, Miriam. From friends, it can be random. E.g if you usually receive $40 per day then all of a sudden it goes to $500 per day, you may get a temporary limitation. For some people, it’s higher figures like $2,000+. I believe they have their own way of calculating that they’ve not disclosed to the public.
for sure I have been divastated by paypal to the extent that I don’t wan’t to use it any more. Your experience is just like mine in a great extent
So sorry to hear that Jackson. Feels real bad.
On a sincere not, I think this is a poorly researched article. You are solely laying the blame to PayPal. For instance, who is to blame between PayPal and Payoneer when it comes to adding Bank of America provided by payoneer to PayPal? Or better, why didn’t Payoneer change from first century bank to bank of America but still some of us using the first century we still get our withdrawals? How about fraud measures between Payoneer and PayPal?
And lastly, PayPal will limit any account which has been verified using a card that is already in use
Thanks for your feedback and opinion.
This is not a researched article, it’s real experience shared.
Payoneer clarified to me that PayPal was the reason that the accounts can’t be added to PayPal accounts. First Century or BOA doesn’t matter, in 2013 and before, you would just add the Payoneer bank and it would work. I have PayPal accounts with each of the above banks.
Like I have said here many times, fraud needs to be curbed, and shouldn’t be defended. The concern is legitimate people having their PayPal accounts limited for seemingly no good reason. Google “PayPal limitation” you’ll understand what I mean.
Your last point is not true. You CANNOT add the same card to two accounts. It won’t limit, it will give an error message stating that the card has been used elsewhere so you use another card.
Let me know if you have any more questions.
The best way to avoid a limitation is to ensure that paypal does not track you. Have your settings to always clear cookies when you close your browser, always close your browser and start a new session when logging in anew, use a dial up modem, use flashblock so they do not install their flash cookies on your machine. I have used several fictitious accounts for a long time without any issues. I f you allow them to track you then when they limit you, you will be in trouble. And lastly build your transaction volume slowly.
Thanks Edgar for your additions.
Thanks Walter for that info, hope they get the point, they have limited my account with over $900 in it and i was just left helpless.
Could you assist in getting an old account Walter?
You’re most welcome.
I’m so sorry about the limitation.
Sorry I can’t assist in getting old accounts. However, if you have friends/family who use PayPal, you can request to receive your payments via their old accounts.
Otherwise you can open a new one and apply the above precautions.
Great post as always! And like you, I wonder why they’d receive cash if they are not going to allow for a withdraw.
Yikes! I feel sick just imagining how it’d feel waiting 6 months to use my PayPal account again. God forbid.
I remember some time back when I, infuriated by PayPal, asked iWriter why they wouldn’t show some love for Skrill or Payoneer. The reply from Amanda was so darn concise, I could not ask twice: “We only accept PayPal and don’t have plans in place for other money transfer services.”
If it wasn’t for that comment by Samuel, that the limitations aren’t a Kenyan-only affair, I’d probably think all this had to do with that line by CNN about Kenya being a blah blah of blah blah…Grrr!