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Serious issues with PayPal in South Africa
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Sep 6, 2007

G'day everyone

I wonder how many people are being caught out by PayPal every day. I signed up recently so that I can receive money. On the signup form it said that since I'm a South African, I can't withdraw money, but I can receive money. So I signed up... I mean, I can always use the money to buy stuff online, right?

But today a client told me that he can't pay me, and I did some digging. Then I found this:

Your Account May Only Be Used to Send Money.
As a PayPal Send Only account holder, you are not permitted to receive funds from other PayPal account holders.

On none of the signup screens did I see that I was signing up for a send-only account. I mean, what good is a send-only account to me? PayPal knows I don't have a US bank account, and I can only upload funds using a US bank account, unless I "upgrade" to receive funds via credit card.

So I can't upload funds and I can't receive funds. Now I know why PayPal says South Africans can't withdraw funds -- there will never be any funds to withdraw!

It is free to sign up, but the free account is useless. You can log in and log out -- but that is the limit of what you can do with your account... unless you pay money, which kinda makes a mockery of the "free signup", don't you think?

So PayPal is really just a scam. What do you think?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-09-07 06:25]


Amy Duncan (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:24
Portuguese to English
+ ...
My experience has been different... Sep 6, 2007

Not to say that I don't agree with you. PayPal should make it clear exactly what you're entitled to (or not) when you sign up.

I live in Brazil and the problems you had with PayPal are the same here. Fortunately for me, I have a bank account in New York, so it has worked wonderfully for me. I also use it to buy stuff online.

Until PayPal is able to accommodate bank accounts from all over the world, it will continue to be limited.



Marlene Curtis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
PayPal account Sep 6, 2007

Hi, Samuel

I am so sorry you are having such a bad experience with PayPal. I signed up for an account recently and have used it twice, to receive payments and deposit such payments into my US bank account and, so far, have had no problems.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us, I am sure that it will be a wake up call for many people out there who are considering opening a PayPal account who, like yourself, do not hold a US bank account.


Sophie Blachet (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
English to French
No problem with French bank Sep 6, 2007

I have a paypal account for a while now both in France and the US and I never encountered any problems.

The thing is that to transfer funds to a US bank account it is free but to a French bank account with have some fees (approx 1%) which is less than a bank or wire transfer anyway.

I have read that paypal are opening little by little to some countries.

Good luck anyway !

Maybe easier with Moneybooker



Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:24
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not at all Sep 6, 2007

It works fine with the "Mexican" (indeed, Spanish) banks.


Vittorina Klingbeil (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
Italian to English
+ ...
Yes, PayPal is useless to South Africa Sep 6, 2007

I signed up with PayPal some time too, and found out the same thing you did, the very first time that I was to receive funds. But Moneybookers works, no problem ...


[Edited at 2007-09-06 20:28]


Elisabete Cunha  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:24
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My experience has been great so far Sep 6, 2007

Hi, Samuel

I didn't know that Paypal didn't work for South African people. It's really strange.

My experience with it has been great so far and most of my clients use this kind of payment.

At the beginning I was a Personal Account holder, but then when the money received reached a certain limit, I upgraded to a Business Account.

I can send and receive money to Paypal account holders and buy stuff online like you say.

Well, you can always try Moneybookers. I signed up with it recently, but until now none of my clients ever used it.


Kathy Ramgahan
Local time: 07:24
English to Amharic
+ ...
PayPal is Okay Sep 6, 2007

I use PayPal since 2003... I had some issues with it in the past, was cheated a couple of time and it cost me a lot of money, but all in all, PayPal is a reliable payment gateway for doing online business. I can't say that there is any other payment systems available that is bigger than PayPal. Thus, we gotta use it regardless what it is.


Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
English to Norwegian
+ ...
No problems Sep 6, 2007

with paypal. Some fees are a bit stiff, but especially for US outsourcers, it seems to be cheaper than other forms of payment. A fee is charged when I receive money into the paypal account, but transferring them to my own bank account is free. All in all, I think this is very convenient.
Buying stuff online with it works very well.


The Misha
Local time: 07:24
Russian to English
+ ...
Vote with your feet! Sep 6, 2007

If Paypal feels like discriminating against you guys in South Africa, just vote with your feet and sign up for sth that works in your situation. End of story. That's how it works in a business-client relationship.


Wolf Kux  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:24
Member (2006)
German to Portuguese
+ ...
Viewing rands from another angle Sep 6, 2007

Dear Samuel Murray,

this issue about paypal problems on .za may be viewed by other angle:

a) this matter is usually done if a country has a lack of foreign currency - maybe the real problem in .za . We had this issue years ago in Brazil during high inflation times, when we could not receive small amounts of foreign money.

b) no Central Bank in the world could never, never - I repeat - never stop currency changing. Simply, because, in reality this never happens as alleged.

When someone send you, let's say, US dollars to your bank account in South Africa, the american bank does only put a credit on the international US account of your South African bank, and this SA bank converts this amount to rand and pays someone else.

At the same time another guy is sending rands to US, this SA bank (same or other) does the inverse way. At the end of the day, only a small amount of the difference are credited or debited between those banks (US vs SA) accounts.

c) So, if SA central bank does not work as you want they have to work, I suggest to do the following:

find out someone who does monthly retail imports (e.g. a bookstore, food importer, car parts, drugstore, etc.) and agree with him following:

1) Sometimes I need to convert my US to rands, I'll say this amount to you;
2) you give me corresponding invoices totaling this amount who may be paid by paypal;
3) I'll pay it for you in US using my paypal account, and
4) you "re-buy" this paid invoice from me, paying me with rands.

Of course, this only works if both parties trust each other. Your biggest loss may be one paid amount you did not received it in rands, if you pay only one invoice at time. If your counterpart may find this business nice, he would like to receive a tax ( 1 - 2 %).

If you have confidence with him, you go to his office, get the invoice, pay it by his Internet connection using paypal, with him near you, you get the rand money and go home.

For your Central Bank auditors you could tell them nice stories about such deals, for example: "shame you guys of SA CB, you do not do the work you have to do, and so may loose control over translation exports".

No one get jailed only because he paid invoices for a friend.

And, if thousands of SA invoices get paid by this process, you may hope that SA Central bank would be open this door for all.

Enjoy !


Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Never had problems with PayPal Sep 6, 2007

I use it since 2002 and never had problems.

For me it is the best method for transactions with clients overseas and it is realiable.




Casey Carmical
United States
Local time: 07:24
Japanese to English
I would have to agree Sep 7, 2007

Anyone who is supportive of PayPal, I challenge you to send a request for support. I can almost guarantee you will not get a response. I have sent three e-mails to them in the past, and not one was ever answered. I've given up on them. A company that sells a "service" and does not support it is indeed a scam.


Local time: 07:24
Spanish to English
PlayPal (they're obviously not serious) scamming Peru, too Sep 7, 2007

PlayPal also scam those in Peru. Regardless of the source used for backing the account (I've tried various credit/debot/virtual cards and accounts). Playpal accepts everything as OK, but then when a transaction is attempted, gives a notice that the "account number is not recongized".
However, they ALWAYS manage to find that same (whichever one is attempted) one valid for assessing their charges, which always go through smoothly.


Mulyadi Subali  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:24
English to Indonesian
+ ...
not worth it Sep 7, 2007

paypal is also useless for me, as i'm living in indonesia. i contacted the support and was responded. no real solution though. better use moneybooker.

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