My PayPal Horror Story & Why I love Bitcoin!

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By Pesa_africa

If you have ever worked online — offering your skills as a service or products (tangible/intangible) to a global clientele, you must have made use of online payment intermediaries – PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, Moneybookers

”E-payments are digital payments for goods and services that are made over the Internet””

Some of us have experienced inconveniences and frustrations using these financial intermediaries. Here is one of us venting on a forum on their bad experience with PayPal

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I recently had a nasty experience with an online payment gone awry. If you are like me, working and getting paid online in Kenya/East Africa, then read on!

On frequent occasions, I engage clients for consultancy gigs from around the world — most recently Israel and Germany. I am happy to offer my expertise to anyone who will hire me for a fee. Trouble is, when receiving money I sometimes rely on a third party to handle payment between the two of us. On some occasions, PayPal has been the settlement method of choice. I can link it to my Equity Bank A/C and withdraw cash in 7 days.

On particular transactions however, unscrupulous clients have revoked payment and reversed my hard earned money. The culminating negative balance can be seen on this snap of my PayPal A/C.

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If you’re wondering how this happened, here’s a quick breakdown

What happened to me is what is legally known as a chargeback and a payment reversal. The buyer of my services can request their credit card company to revoke payment and claim they never authorised a transaction. As per consumer protection laws in European countries & the US, a reversal payment stands and the onus is on the receiver (me) to prove the transaction happened.

It gets worse, according to PayPal’s incredibly lengthy terms of conditions, which you can read here, there is NO SELLER PROTECTION for East Africans! This doesn’t bode well for any of us Kenyans getting paid for services because we are not protected!

To resolve the dispute, they require proof of delivery, a shipping address, existence of a business, invoices, scanned documents [insert long list here]. My experience resolving this involved numerous phone calls to PayPal offices abroad, kept on hold by call centres in India and a hefty Safaricom phone bill – overall the experience left a bad taste in my mouth.

I have now lost the case. I got this email from PayPal

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Bitcoin, the better option for online payments

This horrible online payment experience has affirmed my resolve in Bitcoin as the best online payment option for Kenyans and East Africans. I’ll explain.

Bitcoin works on the internet like cash in the real world. Once I pay you with physical cash, I can’t take it back and is immediately available to spend – instant clearing and settlement. Bitcoin works online in the exact same way (even better) than cash. Once I send you Bitcoins, they are yours and only you own them. There is no payment intermediary that can step in and say ‘’Hey you, we are taking back your hard earned money.” It is like cash, you have it and is immediately available to spend.

This is why Bitcoin is such a big deal right now – if you haven’t heard about it, here is some news. . .

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Bitcoin radically changes the way online payments work and enhances how we accept money for goods & service online, cross border payments and remittances. BitPesa Ltd. A Kenyan start up offers a service to get paid from Bitcoins into Mpesa in 15 minutes.

How I get paid in bitcoin

Getting paid via bitcoins is easy, quick and fun. After arriving at an agreement on payment, I send my clients this image [QR code here] a temporary unique QR code linked to how much I want in KES. On this day it was 13,746 KES / £100. The client sent this number of bitcoins to my QR code address. Once the Bitcoins are received it takes 15 minutes before my phone beeps with an MPESA alert. Easy as pie! There is no payment reversal or chargeback. You can now hand in work summaries in the confidence that your pay is secure!

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I am strictly asking for Bitcoin payments now. As a payments consultant, I am a strongly advocate Bitcoin and new forms of digital currency. Need to find out more? Drop me a line at mkimani [at] pesafrica [dot] com.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at
Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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