Paypal in South Africa

Performancing launched an advertising network for bloggers today. I was pretty interested to find out how they would implement this system, but more so how they would pay us bloggers.

So after reading a couple of reviews on the new Performancing Partners, (most notably, I logged in to my account, hit the partners program, and the ugliest word stared me in the face…


I love Paypal and the simplicity of paying and receiving money online, as well as the endless opportunities it offers on the web. The big but in this is Paypal is not accepted in South Africa, thanks to SARS. We can setup a Paypal account to use it to pay others or transfer money into other Paypal accounts, but we cannot have anyone pay us.

The reason SARS won’t allow Paypal, is the fact that they want their share of the pie, for when you get paid. If you are using Paypal, they cannot track money coming into our country, and therefore cannot get paid.

This is just another reason to add to our online problems (along with Telkom’s ridiculous bandwidth pricing etc).

Think about this scenario. I’ve decided that I want to sell funky designed T-shirts online. Something along the lines of I design a simple website with pictures of my T-shirts. I have a hosting account setup, which is lank cheap – R20pm (or even find free hosting at worst), and that’s afforable right?

Step 2. Now I need to be able for people to buy my T-shirts online! I’m an American, so I pop into my Paypal account, create a shopping cart, pop that into my small website and now it’s gone all e-commerce! Cool I say! Paypal takes 2.5% to 3.5% of every transaction, as well as 30c. The big factor in this is, if I don’t sell 1 T-shirt, I won’t have to pay a cent. No risks = no loss.

Now imagine this scenario in South Africa. There is no free online credit card processing shop that I can use. So I have to fork over at least R100pm for this functionality. What started as a small hobby, now means if I don’t sell, I’m losing money every month! That American guy is smiling because although he isn’t selling, at least his hobby isn’t costing him anything, and if his site all of a sudden takes off in 6 months time, he hasn’t wasted more than R600 on credit card processing.

The moral of this story is that not being able to stick a simple Paypal button on our websites, means dozens of budding entrepreneurs in SA are being put off the whole e-commerce thing, and will try to apply their trade elsewhere. Some will pay the bucks to start online businesses, but others just don’t have the capital to start, but they do have somre really awesome ideas.

I love this country, and everything it has to offer, but sometimes I really feel we are moving backwards, rather than forwards when it comes to the internet and e-commerce. Just for interests sake, the co-founder of Paypal, Elon Musk is South African. Imagine Paypal was a South African company. How much would SARS be making off them? A globally accepted form of payment processing is raking in billions of dollars annually, of which SA is seeing zero. It really is a shame.

Update: Check out the list of countrie’s Paypal supports. SA is in the Send Money to Anyone in the Growing PayPal Network group.

38 thoughts on “Paypal in South Africa”

  1. hey dude, like, I have a Paypal account! it works 100%. I used it to pay for my hosting and stuff!

    To be honest I have not really checked it out too in depth, but still, it seems to be working well!

    but like, any money you don’t receive don’t go directly to your card hey, i think you have to transfer it over, which means that sars should be able to get their cut still?

    iono, lol, will check it out more in depth….

  2. Hey Adrian, it’s not that you can’t use Paypal, it’s the fact you cannot receive money.

    Login and click on the Request Money button…

    Your Account May Only Be Used to Send Money :-(

  3. There is a way to send AND receive money in SA, that works almost like Paypal. It’s Setcom (

    No monthly bills, only commission on your sales as any credit card company would ask.

    It works well for us, we use it on a number of websites e.g., and others.

    Actually, they have wonderful possibilities, like using you cell phone to receive money.

    You can accept 4/5 foreign currencies – not Zim dollars – sorry! :)

    Free shooping mall … etc. etc.

    I’m not working for them – but would like to make them grow as it’s
    a South African company, and I think we must really support them and our only decent option.

  4. Gerhardt, very interesting information regarding sending and receiving money.

    Im from UK but hubby is South African, both living at present in UK, however, there maybe the possibility of returning to South Africa, either to live or split between the two countries..

    Now i operate a web designing and hosting business in UK, amoungst other projects, which means i can be quite flexible as long as i have an good enough internet connection, which isn’t brilliant at mo in SA…getting to the point, i want to be able to have a SA branch of my business, which means I would take in Rands, but i don’t have SA bank account as yet, and if it’s like UK for foreigners it my take a while too, hubby of course does.

    So, this Setcom site (commission charges are lot more than paypal by the way…shsssh) I would be able to receive and send rands within South Africa, but i could only withdrawl to a South African bank account, not to a UK bank account…is this right?

    Can you purchase outside the country, say US with your rands? i.e. im earning Rands, i want to pay for the hosting space supplier in US, can this be done?

    So many questions :) just wanting to get an idea of what i would be letting myself in for…cheers!

    By the way nice site Jason

  5. Hi Loren, from South Africa, you can send money and buy things overseas using Paypal, so you question regarding paying for hosting overseas via SA can be done with Paypal.

    The Setcom thing would be used for accepting money in South Africa from overseas – using their built-in shopping cart etc. I’m almost sure you can do the same thing, but accept money into a UK bank account, just have a look at the site.

    Being in the UK and having a UK bank account gives you the advantage of using Paypal “properly”. So maybe look at it from that angle…

  6. Yeah dude, I hope they can get this sorted sometime soon. I’ve been wanting to sell stuff on EBAY, but I can’t, withdraw the cash. I can only take the cash then use it to buy more items. SIGH!!!

  7. Hi, i use paypal. i am so dissapointed alos. we can use paypal to send money but we cant recieve payments from other people. Why is South Africa so delayed? Its the SARS that are being greedy for money. Because if we can recieve money from other people using paypal, then they cant track to see we have recieved money. Can someone come up with a solution to recieve payment. I think i am busy working on that. i got a way where we can open a US BANK account if you are in south africa and then we are able to transfer the paypal funds to the US bank account we opened. Then all we do is take the debit card we got from the US bank account and we withdraw with our local ATM. I am busy working on that. email me if you need to know more:

  8. Why is it that we live in a 3rd world country , our economy isn’t strong and then the powers that be, the very people that are supposed to look out for us , try and screw us over!!!!!!
    This country is just designed to make an easy buck ! There is no love for your fellow South African here! Just ask Telkom, SARS and the swell guys at any S.A. bank

  9. Hey Jason, I just read this paypal article and I am intrigued.How is it that we can use paypal to buy things overseas etc in South Africa because as far as I can tell from the discussion, there is no way to get our money into our paypal accounts from south africa. Sort of nipped inn the bud. The reason I ask is I have a paypal account and it has been sitting dormant for about two years…

  10. To be fair, the site does say …

    Send money online from 190 countries and regions.

    PayPal is free for buyers. (Does not say FREE from sellers or people wanting to receive cash.)

    Shop without sharing financial information.

    100% protection against unauthorized payments sent from your account.

    Just an observation

  11. Anyway.. I’m an American and have a Paypal account and take payments from South African Paypal account holders.

    the only reason I can do it is because I have a US bank account and they have my details. Yes, Paypal is great in the sense of its simplicity and ease of integration but there are many down sides to Paypal as well.. Just do a Google: ‘Paypal Sucks’ you will literally find thousands of horror stories.

    Here’s something to note about Paypal.. If you accept payments from a South African paypal member there is NO seller protection.

    The reason why there is no seller protection is the same reason why they don’t allow South African Paypal sellers. Simply put there is too much fraud here and Paypal thinks the system here is too inefficient to deal with fraud complaints or investigations.
    dealing wit the banks an lone can be a nightmare.

    The reason I still use Paypal is because of it simplicity and the fact that there are so many Paypal account holders out there. They have a trusted name and help drive my sales. Whatever risks and cost are involved are considered to be an overhead and I just accept that.

    I also accept Moneybookers. Moneybookers is OK. They will set up an account for you with no problems and fro the most part dont care what country your from. Moneybookers also has theer fair share of issues. for example: There customer service is the absolute worst!

    Yes, Moneybookers customer service is worse than FNB’s !!!!

    Send them a letter with a simple query and they’ll give you an answer thats off topic and has noting to do with your question.
    generally they take days to answer an email as well if bother to reply at all.

    But then again.. they don’t care. they know were in South Africa and there aren’t many choices for us, so they have us by the balls!
    They can have the worst customer service in the world and still have customers as there aren’t many choices for us here :(

    I just sent my 4th email to Moneybookers for the same thing and haven’t got an answer yet.

    If you want customer service and wish to speak to a live person, they have a “premium” (0870) UK national number for you to call.

    You call there premium rate number and ‘hold on’ for a customer service rep. I find that strange. Another thing that is strange about them is they advertise premium rate numbers for sale on there website. Premium rate numbers are ok for psychic hot lines and phone sex lines but not for a payment processor!
    (If anyone here wants a premium rate UK Phone or fax to email number just leave me a message here.. I will give you one for free! and have it ring to your existing South African phone or cell phone). yes.. I’m upset with Moneybookers, can’t you tell?

    There is a solution for many South Africans that may help. Many South Africans have dual citizenship. Google Checkout is available for both US and UK Citizens. Google is also offering FREE services until Jan 2008! Another thing thats great about Google is they are very well known and don’t have a good reputation (so far).

    I haven’t read all the fine print yet but they claim to have seller fraud protection as well.


    Pros and Cons of Each of the Above:

    Pros: Buyers by the masses have Paypal accounts.
    Easy set up and integration.

    Cons: No seller protection when buyer is a SA account holder, rates are a little high.

    Pros: Easy account Setup, just about anyone can use them, South African friendly (business documents required if taking credit cards), EXCELLENT SELLER PROTECTION. Charge backs don’t exist!

    Cons: The abolsute worse customer service and support you could ever imagine.

    Google Checkout:
    Pros: No Setup or monthly free. Free until jan 2008. rates are lower then Paypals.

    I don’t know of any yet.


    Hope someone finds this info helpful~


  12. I’ve been loosing a lot of business lately because we can’t recieve money with paypal. I’m using 2CO, but people just don’t trust them as much as they do paypal!!! There must be a solution for our problem, otherwise some internet wizard should start thinking – maybe setup a paypal account and let us all recieve money on that acc. and then pay us monthly our share minus a commision!!!

    I’ve closed my UK bank acc about 2 years ago, and now I can kick myself for doing that, could have make some serious cash!!!

  13. Hi there,

    Has anyone tried the American bank account from Saeed Moosa? I’d be interested in seeing if it works, and also if there’ll be tax problems.

    Also, do you have to pay tax on money you receive through moneybookers i.e. if you transfer money received from your moneybookers account to your SA bank account? I am a South African living abroad for a while.

    Any advice is much appreciated!

  14. Hi to all frustrated South African that cannot receive money with PayPal,here is a solution a international gateway company have 2 weeks ago enable PayPal for people that are in country’s that are excluded from PayPal to receive funds.South Africans are welcome to receive and accept credit cards and PayPal from their website.
    No red tape offer the solution and you can start receiving money from 60 million Pay Pal members and any major credit card in 5 minutes .

  15. Hello Jason. I am just trying to understand things. I have an Irish Bank Account and reside in South Africa. If I started earning extra money online by doing “Data Entry Jobs” and am paid in $s to a Paypal Account, which I have yet to create, can I send the $ payments to my Irish Bank Account. To amount would have to be converted into Euros of course. Is one able to do this ? You may reply to my email address or on this forum.
    Kind regards,

  16. Hi all
    I’m still trying to find a way around this paypal issue too. No offense to Richie and others, this is supposed to be a discussion on paypal sa money receipt. There are a lot of other alternatives to PP such moneybookers, alertpay, xoom,ikobo, egold and about a hundred others. Paypal however, beats them by the sheer number of users. If I had a rand for every time I lost a paypal customer… I think Saeed’s idea of a bank account in the US is the ideal solution, if it works. The link he provided is not working though. To Johann- I just read today that you can put a paypal button to receive payment on your 2COmerchant site. This means that 2CO can receive PP money on your behalf, everyone can go check it out at To Hayley- yes you have to declare all your income to SARS, if they can possibly investigate your bank statements you can be charged for not disclosing your income. To Nic- I had a look at your site and I’m not sure how your solution is supposed to work, you need to be more specific when it comes to money. To Lynette and others with an offshore bank account, you need to realise that paypal checks the ip address that you log on with. And if they that you log into your account with a SA ip too often, they may suspend your account.

  17. Hi There

    I was about to mention the 2CheckOut option but Michael beat me to it. I have 2CO on my site now and my sales increaded dramatically due to the Pay Pal option on the 2CO site. It was very easy to join 2CO and they have a great help/support system and are very prompt in replying to emails.

    I was terribly frustrated about no being able to use Pay Pal and this has been an answer to a huge predicament. That is my 2cents worth :-)

  18. After reading the above, I went through 2CO and after signing up @ $49, I was absolutely shocked to find that they charge $20 per wire transfer of funds, regardless of the amount. Therefore, if I am only earning $100 a week, being paid by an American employer, they take $20 of it. Its just not worth it, and now I’m tied in for the $49 and god knows what else…HELPPPPPPPPPPPP

  19. Hi There

    I would like to know what is the best way to receive money in south africa as paypal is obviously not an option. I want to purchase a data entry programme but am a bit worried because of the whole paypal thing. Please advise.

  20. Good day, please assist, I need to open a Paypal account which I have tried and there is no option to transfer SA Rands into Paypal to pay over to someone in US Dollars. The person I need to pay ONLY accepts monies through Paypal and no other. Please guide me through opening a Paypal account from SA where I can transfer from my SA account into Paypal to pay in US Dollars.

  21. Hi, i am a south africa looking to do data entry online. Has anyone ever done data entry and how have you received you money if not through paypal.

  22. Hi all, please help me understand something about Paypal
    You can use it to make purchases overseas right. Now if someone overseas sends you US$ to your PayPal account, does this money accumalate in your PayPal account or does it not, because you are South African, because if it does accumalate into your PayPal account then you have to find a way to get it to your South African bank account. Also PayPal offers a credit card (MasterCard) has anyone in SA have one of these, I know that this card is accepted everywhere where MaterCard is accepted. Reply to

  23. I have a PayPal account and use it regularly to make eBay purchases. I do not deposit cash into the account but make my purchases using my Visa card.

    One of my purchases, the seller quoted me too much for shipping, and when she realized her mistake, she tried to credit me back $3USD (about R24). PayPal refused to accept the credit! She ended up sending me some extra product to make up for the overcharge.

    When I lived in the States and was preparing to move here, I sold nearly the entire contents of my house (except furniture) over eBay, so I am an experienced eBay seller as well. PayPal sucks as a way to receive money, they have one fee after another and on small sales, you can actually end up with a loss (as opposed to profit) after you have paid all the eBay listing fees and then all the PayPal fees (and PayPal is owned by eBay). I am almost ashamed to admit that these greedy hounds reside in the same town I used to live in!

    Terri: a MasterCard is a MasterCard. My Visa card is from NedBank and it works on the site just fine. Also, their policies are not directed at South Africans, per se. I am an American and I am hog-tied just as badly as you are.

    Does anyone have any idea if PayPal plans to enfranchise us? Or are we permanently blacklisted and all our angst is no more than beating a dead horse?

  24. Hello everybody i see people have a serious proble with this paypal thing. The best right now is for one to open a US bank account and verify it with paypal.e.g E*Trade etc

  25. Hi, I have checked out Setcom & it worked 100% great on my website – I received a payment from Canada for a test gift and it was easy enought to get the money into my SA bank account! I am now upgrading my website so that all my customers can pay online! What a pleasure!

  26. Hi there everbody, I am totally new to the ebay service but one thing is pretty clear to me and that is you can’t get paid from the US as a seller in SA.

    I need help because i have ideas for products to sell but I want to stay legit and have a huge customer base that ebay offers, i have registered with ebay and paypal but now my problem is linking and choosing an account to paypal.

    the foreign US account sounds like the solution to me as mentioned by saeed but i am open to different legit opinions, If anyone would like to send me some advice, please feel free to at

    I would really appreciate it !!!!!!

  27. Hi im mojalefa from South Africa,i really want to join the Data Entry Job but im using a student account(debit account) which ive been trying to make payments to the USA. Ive got a paypal account but i cant link my South African account to the account. If anyone has a way i can do that please let me know its really urgent.Send me an e-mail to this address

  28. Hi Jason
    Kindly advise on how to open a Paypal account where i can be able to buy things on ebay. Right at the moment i wont be much worried about being paid into that account as there will be very less chances of doing so. I only need it for purchasing.

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  30. Thanks for clarifying the scenario. I am mightily disappointed as I was hoping to use this option in my work. Oh, DEAR South Africa – when will we get it right! Joy

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