Receiving Online Payments In Kenya

Update: PayMPESA Helps Withdraw Your PayPal Funds to MPESA

Update: PayPal now works in Kenya! You can also now withdraw from PayPal through Babawatoto or LibertyReserve.

Anyone who does e-commerce from Kenya or wishes to receive payments online from Kenya knows the pain and hassle of it all. In other countries, the process is pretty straightforward but this is not so here in Kenya. For example, Paypal is the most popular online processing service but it is no good in Kenya. Kenyans using paypal can only send money and not receive it. Is there a way to go round this?

This is a question that was placed before me by Titus in my previous article about accepting payments online. As I sought to answer him, I felt that the answer would be useful to everyone interested in making money in Kenya and hence this post. When deciding on how you want to receive money, the first consideration is deciding who you intend selling to. If you want to sell to people in foreign lands you will face different challenges to that of selling online but to Kenyans within Kenya.

Receiving Money Online From Kenyans In Kenya
Generally, if you want to sell within Kenya, your choices are limited since many Kenyans do not have credit cards and those who do are still reluctant to buy from a website.

That leaves ‘off-line’ payments. These can be cheque, postal order, bank transfer, MPESA, ZAP, etc. Of course the problem with this is a matter of trust. MPESA (and possibly ZAP) is the closest that Kenya comes to an ‘online’ payment system. However, it is still not truly an automated system since the payment has to be processed manually. Here’s how to use MPESA to accept online payments.

Additionally, you can use some of the methods that follow to receive payments via credit card.

Receiving Money Internationally
The problem here is just that Paypal doesn’t work in Kenya. So we need a replacement that is just as good, or better. So I went out looking for third party payment processors who: can work in Kenya; have a solid reputation; seem professional. This is what I came up with:

AlertPay – A friend recommended AlertPay to me and I checked them out (very smooth website) and even signed up for an account with them. They seem to work well and I’d recommend you to try them out. Guess what? You can also make money online with AlertPay.

Other services which should work in Kenya: Moneybookers, Ikobo, 2CO.

If you still really want to use Paypal,it can work if you can get yourself a bank account in a country in which Paypal offers money withdrawal services. Alternatively, you can deposit your Paypal funds in GetAfreelancer (or similar sites) and request them to pay you by bank transfer, for example.

What payment processing method do you use?

Additional Resources


  1. Kenyans bwana? Changamkeni kwa net!

  2. Has anyone successfully bought anything from using paypal? I need some guidance from someone who has done it before, please!!

  3. Hi,

    If anyone is interested in trading paypal for money bookers contact me.. i have an account in the U.S and i can withdraw from both.. i charge a small fee of 15% though.. mail at

  4. what an opportunist mike. where r u based?

  5. Hi, someone help me, is it hard to clear international checks in Kenya? say from US how is the process?

  6. Solution: You can transfer Paypal cash to Alertpay for 9% – through Absolutechange then withdraw to your credit card in Alertpay, cost: $5

  7. bonchisdecha says:

    the BEST solution to the paypal problem (i think) is the babawatoto. they offer a service wherebey kenyans in the diapsora can purchase shopping vouchers using debit/ credit cards and you guessed what? paypal. they also started a tuma pesa service whereby you can send money to a reciepeint in kenya using paypal and it is credited to his/her M-pesa account. i dont think if anybody with a paypal withdrawing problem can fail to take advantage of this!!

  8. @bonchisdecha how much through babawatoto?

  9. yeronly says:

    Interesting comments, I am compelled to make a review; A summary Perhaps.
    1. Paypal – there’s a comprehensive review about this in this (likechapaa) website. The best we have come to withdrawing in kenya without minimal hustles, from reviews of products offered, is babawatoto (sending money to ones mobile) whose advantages are those of mobile money transfer, and disadvantages include a bit expensive and quite low limit (upper limit is ksh. 20,000 for which the charge, at current exchange rate of ksh. 82/dollar is around ksh. 2,300 ).
    2. Moneybookers – Allows wire transfers to local banks; could get challenges being paid by US clients from this. some (entities) will deduct as much as 5% if this is the mode of payment. With your P. O box number, they send a confirmation code to P. O box (received one within a month’s time), once confirmed, your transfer limit is increased.
    3. Alertpay – allows wire transfers; main undoing, as is for moneybookers, is that most clients in the US will prefer Paypal.
    4. Payoneer – this is a mastercard that is issued via partner websites (e.g. Elance,, etc; one must be a member at one of such partner sites to apply). one applies via a street address (e.g. ngong road, Mbsa road, kikuyu; then one provides ones p.o box – via email – for shipping purposes). Waiting time varies, but received their card within a month. Withdraws in any mastercard supported ATMs (recently since barclays never charges for ATM withdraws, it is the best bet). Card activation $ 12. Standard loading i.e. depositing money to card (2 days) they charge $ 2; some other premium loading – immediate loading i.e within 2hrs they charge $5. monthly maintenance $ 3 Paypal does not allow withdrawing to this card unless you create a virtual US account at payoneer which attracts additional charges.
    4. Wire transfer – used only one bank for this and it charged ksh. 600 and exchanged at lower-than-market rates. The best option here: create a dollar (foreign currency) account, withdraw money once in, exchange in a forex bureau (their rates are a bit high than banks’), deposit your ksh back if you please.

  10. where can one exchange euro coins for kenya money in Nairobi? I have many euro coins i want to get rid of.

  11. Hi, who has ever received money through Mpesa using babawatoto while in kenya.

  12. Please suggest for me genuine websites that I can work online with.


  1. […] Following our recent article on how to withdraw cash from PayPal via Liberty Reserve, we found another much easier way. This is thanks to bonchisdecha. […]

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