How to use Paypal in Kenya – Part 1

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

I’ve always been sceptical about online trading. I’m slightly spooked by the idea of giving my bank account and details to some random guy behind some computer somewhere. I blame it on The Net, a  movie from the early 90s. It starred Sandra Bullock [LOVE her] and it was awesome, but very, very scary. Of course it was based on those old DOS computers with the green text and the black screens, but it’s still pretty scary.

Plus, of course, I don’t own a credit card.

But as I build my business, I find that I do more work online. Most of my clients prefer Paypal, because it’s safe and reliable, even though they charge a small commission on transactions. I got myself a Paypal account some years ago using my mother’s credit card [thanks mum!] and I’ve been using it to buy stuff related to my business.

Recently, I got a client who insisted I open a Paypal account in my own name, because it was easier for him to pay me that way. And no, I didn’t tell him to ask my mother. I opened the account, but I couldn’t receive money through it, because the service isn’t offered in Kenya. lets me buy, not sell.

I tried to attach my debit card onto the account, and as part of the verification process, the Paypal people charged $2 to my bank. It’s a safety measure to prove that it’s my card. The transaction would appear on my card statement with a secret four-digit code. I would take the code and enter it into my Paypal account to prove the card was mine. The $2 would then be refunded.

Oddly, when my statement came, what I got was a six-digit code, and when I tried to enter it into my Paypal, the card was blocked. I first tried to type in all six figures, but of course, it only took the first four, and pulled an ‘access denied’. I then tried the last four digits with the same result, and by the time I tried a random combination, I could almost hear the buzzers ringing and the metal gate clanging shut. After that incident, any time I try to use the card to pay for anything, even if it’s on a totally separate site, Paypal politely refuses.

Kelvin suggested I try Moneybookers, and it looked promising. I went through the same process, opened an account, attached my debit card, allowed them to charge my account for verification purposes. This time, the process was slightly different. Moneybookers was to charge my account with between $1 and $3. I would check my card statement, find out the exact amount, and fill in that information to prove myself. Unfortunately, Moneybookers can’t refund.

The trouble is … the amount on my statement was in Kenya Shillings. And with the exchange rate moving constantly, I couldn’t verify the amount to specific cents. Le sigh.

An associate told me about a system KCB has with Paypal, so I checked it out. Apparently, KCB has a debit card specifically for use online! How cool is that?

What happens is you open a prepaid card account with KCB. You don’t have to be a member – I personally bank with Barclays and NBK, and I was worried about joining a third bank. So I was relieved to hear I didn’t need a regular KCB account.

The card account takes Ksh 1000 to open, and all you need is a copy of your ID and a passport photo. The guys have a digital camera on the ready, just in case.

As far as I know, the account has no minimum balance and no service levies. You can receive money online once you attach the KCB card to your Paypal account, and you can withdraw the funds from any ATM at a charge of Ksh 20. You can top up the card at any KCB branch; you simply deposit the money at the counter using the 16 digit number on your card. It’s kind of like M-Pesa, with shorter banking hours.

Of course, you still need to have a Paypal account in the first place. You can get one at, which redirects you to It’s a pretty straightforward process, and I’ll be writing more on how succecsful the KCB card actually is. Specifically, I’m curious to see about verification.

I opened my card account a few days ago and haven’t received or used it yet, but it seems like a good deal. I don’t know if you can use it with agents other than Paypal, but you probably won’t need to; Paypal is already the Safaricom of the online world. Hopefully, its service is better.

The second step in working online [where Step 1 is deciding to work online] is probably getting a KCB-Paypal debit card. How else will you get paid?

Crystal Ading’ is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through

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  1. Crystal, is this the KCB General Purpose debit card? I’ve had it for two years now but my experience is quite different. I’m charged KSh. 100 per month and it can take upto 8 hours between the time I deposit the funds and when they are available for use (and this is an improvement from 24 hours!). Right now I’m using a debit visa card from Co-op bank’s HabaHaba account which has no fees and which money is available instantly. The opening balance is 400 bob. I don’t know about if it can be used with though, I’d have to check it out.

  2. For the KCB card.The charge is Ksh 100 for every month that you use it. Has worked beautifully for me

    • Well, they had previously told me there’s no charge, but after your comment and the previous one, I called again to confirm. Yes, there’s a 100 bob monthly charge. I get my card next week, so then I can tell the time lapse between deposit and availability of funds…

      • why would someone pay 100 per month to use a debit card when u can get it for free. I have a Cooperative Bank ATM card that i used for internet transactions. You only need to alert the bank by filling out a form and its good to go

        Plus they dont charge you a monthly fee to use it..and another thing, i use it for paypal transactions too

    • Mbugua, please give me the contact at KCB if this has worked for you. I asked them at KENCOM and they said I can not withdraw from Paypal using their card.

    • is it a recurrent monthly fee or when it is only used?

  3. Very interesting. I have used pp for many years and from my experience, I would rather see the development of a home-grown system like Safaricom opening up an API for web developers and online merchants. That to me would be a better route to take.

  4. I too got into the online business but cannot receive payments because that servive is not available under paypal for Kenya. I would be glad to know if the KCB Debit card works.ardios

    • I got my card finally, but I can’t withdraw [or receive] from Paypal. I’m working on an update post explaining how it all went down…

  5. I actually have a paypal account with my Co-operative visa Debit card (YEA account), and the verification process was too straight forward. They deducted me 1.89 $, then told me to wait for 3 business days for the 4 digits on my statement.After the 4 days, I then went to my bank and got the 4-digits, then typed them onto my PPL account, and was verified! then they refunded back my 1.89$.
    I now pay for it online(web host, online tutorials, e.t.c..)
    BUT what a’m conc. sure is that U cannot receive payments to kenya with paypal.

    So Crystal, can u elaborate how one can receive paypal payments to kenya using KCB debit card? I would be happy if that is possible, even if it means opening a new account with KCB.

    • Actually, I’ve confirmed that we can’t withdraw, and I even emailed Paypal themselves. :-( I’ll do a post on that in a little while.

      • Must be disappointing! I think it is about local banks not accepting paypal withdrawals. Initially they never wanted to offer moneygram and western union money transfer services but see now, they all want to offer them…..why can’t some offer paypal services instead? someone explain to Equity guys, and they may buy the idea.

      • Hi crystal I hope this is not too late to help you. You can withdraw PayPal to Kenya but only if you use little secrets that some people who are no more commenting on this forum. This is because they found a solution and therefore they are satisfied. Get my contacts at You will be happy too.

    • rufinus that was of great help to me,i read your comment en decided to enquire from the co op and av jst applied for a visa debit card,they only asked for 200,id.i need my paypal ac to be verifiedi hope everything will work out well.thanks for that information.

      • Thanks for your comment,. and hope u’ll be successful in signing up with Paypal.
        But, FYI , paypal recently had issues with the Co-p , debit cards, countrywide; and that wrecked my online transactions, and cost me a lot. Tho’ they said they resolved matters, I cannot make a paypal transaction using the card,. I just switched to National Bank of Kenya. , which works perfectly.
        My advise to u is, after receiving the card from Co-p, go to, and register it, if it refuses to accept the card, (as it has been doing to many) jus reconsider going to NBK. But i wish u good luck.
        u can contact me here for more info :

  6. Richard M. says:

    Any bank in Kenya can borrow a leaf from First National Bank of South Africa who recently partnered with paypal and now have the paypal system embedded in their online banking environment.

    How about reloadable virtual credit cards. Is there anybody who has tried this method?

    • Hi Richard. You’re right, we can’t withdraw from Paypal here. I’m working on a post about that, it’ll be up soon. About reloadable credit cards, your guess is as good as mine …

      • Richard M. says:

        Let us also not forget the local online mobile ecommerce systems being developed by our local developers that are utilising mpesa , zap, yucash etc. If your strategy is to market your goods and services across Kenya, then these are the types of systems to implement. The idea here is to eliminate the need for people to use credit/debit cards as the only tool for online purchasing.

        Kenya Data Network have their own mobipay system, Intrepid Data Systems have their Ipay system, there is also sleekpay etc. I think this is the area that Kenyan entrepreneurs should first of all utilise as it is an unexploited goldmine especially for those marketers that want to do “real direct marketing” on the web.

        As for the need to able to withdraw or even be able to sell goods and services worldwide using paypal, i suspect it is going to take some time until some bank locally partners with paypal. In the meantime just be happy that you can use a visa or mastercard branded ATM card (debit card) or the normal credit card to register for a personal paypal account and buy worldwide. Yes, just buy(spend your money worldwide) but cannot sell and receive money(nothing comes back our way). This is where the problem is for most upcoming third world countries.

        It’s also important to note that the online payment processor 2checkout will accept paypal payments on your behalf if you have a registered merchant account with them. A customer hits the 2CO button and then has the option to pay either with paypal or just enter their card details the payment form provided. I’ve bought an ebook this way. Registering for a 2checkout merchant account is a breeze but one should consult a ecommerce expert first even if you’ve gone through their web copy. I am glad that the Ipay demostration on how to make a mobile payment online also shows 2CO as a payment option meaning there is nothing that would currently prevent a Kenyan from accepting both mobile and card payments online.

  7. callmeyu-yu says:

    Dear Crystal.

    Hello. I’m interested in your post.
    I’m going to Kenya. I’m not Kenyan.
    But I have Paypal account.
    Can I make the card at KCB bank without banking account?

    After making the card, before I try to withdraw from my Paypal account, should I have to charge my balance with credit card? (I’m not American, Kenyan)

    Could you tell me detaily?
    Kind regards.

    • Hi there.

      Yes, you can get a KCB card account without having a regular banking account.

      For your other question, I emailed Paypal support, and they said you can withdraw Paypal funds in Kenya only if your account wasn’t registered in Kenya, so I guess that’s a yes too.

      Paypal Kenya accounts don’t have the option to add funds from your bank into your Paypal account. It debits directly from your card to the payee. So yes, you would have to load the card before you can use it.

      Welcome to Kenya btw :-)

  8. Hi Crystal.
    Excellent post by the way. I wanted to ask about getting the KCB card. I’ve just visited their site and it seems you have to meet a few requirements some which i might have a problem with like having a Certified copy of Certificate Of Registration for business owners and a Letter of recommendation from any KCB account holder. Are they strict about these two or can they allow exceptions?

  9. Isaac Kwemoi says:

    Well, then local banks got to partner with PP to see how we can be able to withdraw funds from Kenya. I got my bank account verfied after a secret code was sent to my acc. I was then notified that I was able to receive funds and also withdraw.

    Crystal, does that mean that if a friend opens a PP account for me in the US, it means I can be able to get these funds and if possible then how does one go about it.

  10. well that was a good talk.i have listened to all the parties talk and comment in this post with great interest and enthusiasm.however what is not coming out clear is that can one really receive money using pay pal in Kenya? how about money bookers. can somebody comment authoritatively.

    • We’ve done whole series on this. Short answer, yes, Moneybookers can receive and withdraw in Kenya, but it takes 5 days to wire the money to your bank. Yes, Paypal can now receive in Kenya, but you can’t withdraw except in the US.

  11. Who will address this issue even if its in parliament we cannot only be paying others online yet we cannot be paid. It is very dissapointing no wonder third world countrys economy never grow.

  12. I have used moneybookers to receive money for about 3 years now. Initially, i received my (online) payments using Ikobo, but the sender is no longer supported by my payer. There is also the option of using Payonner debit card. Ikobo and Payoneer offer virtual online debit cards which one can use to withdrwaw from any visa enabled ATM in Kenya – i mean ANY. I have keen interest with paypal, as soon any of you gets a headway with withdrawing funds in Kenya, i would be glad to know that.

    • You can actually withdraw money from PayPal using your Payoneer card. Just go to, go to “contact us” and request a “US Payment Service”. The commission is only 1 percent and you withdraw the cash straight from your PayPal account. Remember you MUST have a working Payoneer MasterCard to request for this service. These cards can be gotten from most of the top freelancing websites such as and

      Happy Freelancing!

  13. LikeChapaa Edit: Reader beware, the site below has not been verified to work. This message will be removed when it is.

    PayPal account is possible in Kenya.
    With all the issues around PayPal account in Kenya and Africa in general, I’m sure many people are not able to benefit fully from many opportunities online because PayPal is the main online and safest money processor up to date. Many people tying to get it but all in vain, however this has come to an end because you can now get a PayPal account with receive, send and be able to withdraw to bank in Kenya without hassles at website With its base in Nairobi Kenya, the greatest evidence for PayPal account possibility in Kenya is that they accept PayPal payments themselves. You will get a complete guide of how to get your account, thanks so much for taking time to read this article all the best.

    • Patrick, does it work like moneybookers since your explanation is a bit gray. Is it possible for me to receive money while in Kenya through PayPal??

    • u mean one can receive funds in kenya using paypal???
      what i only know is that u can use paypal to BUY something from the net, but NOT to receive.

      please make me understand.

    • Hey Patrick. Thanks for reading and commenting here. I like that you’re developing a local solution to this local problem. Kudos!

      This is something that a lot of Kenyans are looking forward to. Therefore, I have to make sure that my readers know what they are getting into. So here are some things I would like you to look at before we endorse you as a solution that works:

      • Why not get your own site on your own domain instead of using This will show that you are serious enough to pay for a domain name and web hosting instead of using free services. It will also increase your marketability.
      • Please give us a way to contact you other than just an email address. You are dealing with money, it is always better to make sure we can contact you in more than just one way.
      • Please make how your solution actually works more clear. What actually happens? What do I need to do?
      • Do you give any guarantees?
      • Before offering a service such as yours, you need to have approval from PayPal, do you have this? Can you avail an indication of this?
      • This is a non-issue, but it would not hurt to fix the grammar and spellings on your site.

      Please do not take this the wrong way. We all just have to be careful.

      Looking forward to seeing your response and, possibly, doing a feature article on you.

  14. Patrick, how long does it take from the time money is wired from (say US) to your bank here?

  15. Jaffar Mohamed says:

    @Kelvin, your advise to Patrick is spot on and relevant. The website looks like the many scam websites we have around. If you deal with money its common sense that you:
    1. Have a website that reflects your authenticity.
    2. Have more in terms of contacts, location (brick and mortar) etc.
    3. Deal with legalities e.g terms and conditions, privacy policy etc.
    3. Tell the world something about your company/firm. Look at as an example.
    4. Give enough info about your solution.
    @Patrick, money business has nothing to do with faith. In fact every scam has “faith” as a keyword.

    ..and just to add this seems to be the trend with most guys in IT, we think we can make a quick buck by using the shortest short cut.

  16. Hi, I have researched and communicated with Paypal and this is what I have found so far.

    Paypal is currently looking for a bank that has anti money laundering policies that agree to those of the US. They are in talks with Stanbic and Barclays (Not so sure). When SA was added earlier this year, they were in a situation similar to ours but within a short time, FNB bank was added to allow withdrawals. So, I believe its a matter of time before we get a bank with an agreement with Paypal where we can make withdrawals.

  17. John paul says:

    Maybe this might be an idea that can help. i know paypal offers their on debit cards master card or visa your choice really. to get it your account must be verified and upgraded i dont know what upgraded is but apparently mine is. and one more problem it seems they dont ship to outside africa cause the address part did not offer other countries besides usa. but i can somehow get them to ship the card to you in africa you can receive payments that way plus the card is free just an idea.

  18. hey i would like to know how moneybookers works and with which banks.Kindly advise

    • Moneybookers works a lot like PayPal – just sign up and, hey presto, you have your account ready. The good thing with Moneybookers is that you can withdraw to a Kenyan bank account quite easily (I recommend KCB).

  19. Ok guys, let me try to figure out what Patrick of could be upto: First he could be a conman who has learned a thing or two about conning people online by using fancy colored sentences that touch on solving people’s problems like “not being able to receive money in Kenya via paypal” . Secondly, it could be tru that he can actually enable someone to receive money in kenya via paypal. Meaning probably he has a paypal account, he withdraws to a bank in another country from where he wires the money to his bank in Kenya or even to a virtual card, from where he can then post the money in your account and let you have it(Somehow!). If the first is correct, we have known him and that is why he has not responded-so avoid him please(Such people are dangerous). If the second is correct, then we know his problem. He is the kind of people who believe that you can actually get rich so quickly by doing simple things like helping people receive money by a small fee which then accumulates to become big money for him-no wonder he accuses us of having little faith!!. In such a case, we can advice him to pause, take a breath and learn that success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

  20. Hi guys, I defend myself now. What i meant was I can help whoever may need PayPal account that can withdraw to Kenyan bank directly and I didn’t mean that you must order it online if you don’t trust the website for whatever reason. You have an option of calling the number on the website. The good thing about contacting on the phone is that we arrange on how to meet and I show you how to do it, as I do it for you.
    About Jon’s comment i don’t charge you any commission for receiving your money, what i charge is a small fee for my time and you pay once the job is done to your satisfaction, this is because you own your PayPal account and withdrawing to your local bank is directly.
    My advice is, If you don’t want to associate with my services you have an option of getting a US checking account (a US bank account for non US citizens) which also comes at a cost of up to 150 dollars. You will use that account to withdraw PayPal money to and then wire to Kenya. you need to consider the wire charges if you are withdrawing small amounts.
    Finally I want to thank and congratulate all the clients who have patronized our services so far.

    and to you all Have a superb Mashunjaa Day.

  21. I am running children’s project in Mombasa Kenya.
    I want to use paypal.
    What should I do to succed to use paypal?
    Please,help me!

  22. I have been working online for a while now and have missed on many opportunities because of Paypal withdrawal issue. I have others ways of receiving many but not all my clients can pay through those services. I will be so relieved to have to use paypal. I can choose to wait for the banks to work it out other than go Patrick’s way.
    Anyone who gets the paypal answer first, please shout out as you can see we are so many out there looking for the same.

  23. hi Crystal, so how do i recieve my payments?? i men, this is very dissappointing, to know that i can’t get my dues i’ve worked so hard for, or is there a way i can withdraw? if u know the true answer please help. thanks.

  24. This opens the doors for more people in Africa to use e-commerce easily

  25. I have some money my pp account but then not eble withdraw it patric you an contact me at +254723049047

  26. How can i withdraw money from pay pal if am in Kenya?

  27. money bookers and epay kenya is the way to go.transfer ur cash from money bookers to epay-kenya and withdraw via Mpesa

  28. Njambi Mbugua says:

    It would be interesting to get the money withdrawn from Kenya as opposed to having the monies withdrawn abroad. If the KCB options works – it would be fantastic

  29. please has anyone confirmed if this site if for real?, i have worked for them, withdrawn some money through paypal but i dont see any payments on my paypal account.
    please help

  30. I wish I had seen this blog before. I registered for a KCB card but they didnt tell me that i couldn’t withdraw funds. After working online I sent money to my paypal account only to learn from them that I cant withdraw my funds :-(. Paypal gave me an option of sending back or refunding my amount back to the source it came from and that’s what I did. I now come to learn it might take 30 days to get the refund. This sucks!

  31. This is very useful information, it is very informative and I must check KCB to know the status soon.

  32. patrick murioki says:

    thanks for all those who have contributed by their advice and experiencies in dealing with on line money and subsequent withdrawing to the banks,to me i was on the lookout who offers paypal services in kenya?kenya banks should pertiner with paypal to ensure kenyas can pay on line and get paid online.and make withdraws in our country.todays the technology has gone far there is mobile money transiffer.that means service at the touch of ua mobile keypad for i want to use paypal service if its available localy.i will feel safe and secure.pliz we need that service seriously thanks

  33. these discussions are quite insightful-i did open a paypal account and went ahead to request co-op bank to open up my visa card for internet banking last week.Upon visiting the bank this week to get the 4 digit code, most of the guys in coop didnt know what code i was talking about.The final guy i went to went through some PIN CODE slips he had and informed me that mine was not ready

    Im really confused-coz the paypal guys said that i would get this code from my bank statement

    Not sure what to do here

  34. hi guys.
    Can somebody tell me how I can use moneybookers to receive cash through my bank account. I have jst realized paypal cant work here in kenya. pliz help

    • EDWIN RUTTO says:


      • Edwin,this is great news am reading from you, especially the fact that you have already tested Money Bookers. I work for an online academic writing company where iam charged around $15 per payment and worse still the minimum payout is $50 for wire transfer while ive seen with Money Bookers its $10. I cant wait to move to MB. I requested that they send me the verification code via snail mail and all im hoping for now is that i can rely on our post office because the last time i checked, i almost missed college admission because i never got my admission letter which apparently couldn’t be traced since it wasn’t registered.

  35. Can anyone tell me whether the KCB debit card works in relation to withdrawing money from paypal account. I have been sending money to my friend in the USA who then wires the same to me.
    It will be very helpful if can withdraw via KCB debit card. Any advice guys??

  36. it is possible to withdraw money from paypal using the kcb card. it’s called a general purpose card. i applied for it ..check it out or inquire with the bank. apparently it’s the only bank with the service lol.

    • No, you cannot use this card to withdraw

    • Edwin Rutto says:

      Lemme ask one thing……………..The Kenyan pay pal has a link to enable you withdraw the cash but without a destination.It does not point to a bank or to a credit card.How on earth can you then route the money to your credit card???Something is not adding up here.I have Kenyan and south African paypal but the Kenyan one cannot allow you to do a withdrawal via any means.Violet please don’t cause confusion.

  37. EDWIN RUTTO says:



    • What about depositing your money into then withdrawing it via moneybookers. Worked for me :) oh, and anyone interested in a textbroker acc?

      • Morton, what are the charges for doing that?

        • They take 10% of the money. Better than nothing. Or, you can order a payoneer master card for free. They have an option where paypal users can withdraw their funds to their debit cards. Visit for more details. They only charge 1% of the total funds you wanna withdraw from paypal.

      • Emmanuel says:

        i really need a textbrokers account. How can i reach you.

  38. Is PayPal connected to Equity bank?

  39. Hey guys I recently started working online and all the sites i have worked with pay thru paypal has anyone found out a way of withdrawing in Kenya?Please assist me get a list of legitimate sites to work for online. Will be looking forward to positive responses. Thanks:-)

  40. It is now possible to withdraw money from PayPal. Provided you can get the account to be verified…!!
    You can use a merchant account then wire the money to your account. it is indirect yes, but you are in control as it moves..!!

  41. found an interesting article about PayPal in Kenya at should check it out.

  42. Guys,
    Paypal doesn’t allow for withdrawals to Kenya, yet. I’m from the US & back to good ol’ Kenya. I have a Paypal account with a Paypal debit MasterCard BusinessCard. I want to upload funds from my US bank account to Paypal, then transfer to the MasterCard. If it’s then possible to withdraw funds through any ATM in Kenya, then I think that would be the way to go. However, this will only work for Kenyans who are in the US system i.e have a Social Security Number, Driver’s License and a US physical address. Be patient as I research on ways to withdraw from this service.

  43. Joseph,

    That will work but make sure you pay your taxes. There is a certain withdrawal and transaction threshold that when you hit, your PayPal account will be reported to IRS to check if you’ve been paying your US taxes. If not, you’ll be in trouble.

    I was recently advised by a friend that it is easier to use banks from other countries other than the US. To avoid the hustle though, there are easier ways to withdraw in Kenya that you can see in my blog post below.

  44. I have a problem with receiving the cash despite doing all that. Banks in Kenya do not serve as they should. Too afraid of competency!

  45. I seems some freelancing sites have an option of withdrawing funds by wire transfer direct to a local account in the local currency at current exchange rates. I have not used it myself but came across it when looking through the payments sections of some of these websites. Check

    Has anyone here used this option, and if so is it any good?

  46. I have a solution to all those who would like to withdraw from their paypal account. Please email at

  47. hey. so finally after this discussion, which is the sure bank to use for paypal transactions

  48. i got a visa debit card with equity bank and i recieved money from the UK. i tried linking up my account with paypal so that i can withdraw the money but all iis nothing rather than money bieng deducted from my back acount. whats the way forard?


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by bankelele and Crystal Ading', Oliver Wanyama. Oliver Wanyama said: RT @bankelele: You can use paypal in Kenya if you bank with KCB? […]

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