Sometime last year PayPal came to Kenya through partnership with Equity Bank. For the regular users of PayPal, this was a great news. The reason being for a long time it was possible to receive the money (dollars) or buy something through PayPal but no direct way to get physical money from PayPal. So at the end most people used to do what could be considered as barter trade. If you have money on PayPal for example and you need physical cash in Kenya shilling, then only option is to look for someone with Kenya shillings and at the same time needs PayPal dollars.
The partnership with Equity allowed people to get the money directly through Equity Bank. Still there was a little bit of a problem. Although Equity allowed people to get their money directly, one can only get it after 8 working days. The reason for the long delay is that the partnership was not directly between PayPal and Equity bank but through First Bank in South Africa. Eight days is not good enough but a good start. But now there are greater news, with PayPal recently launching it services directly in Kenya. The length and the process of getting the money through Equity Bank is expected to improve in the coming days. And that is not all, PayPal is now making it possible for Kenyans to participate in the biggest shopping weekend in US, the Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For today, let’s talk about Black Friday, and leave Cyber Monday for another day
Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year in the USA, for this year, it will take place on November 28th. Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping period, when most major American retailers offer promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season.
Here are just some of the websites you can purchase on and pay safely with PayPal: eBay, New Look , Adidas, American Eagle, Expedia, Nike, ToysRus, Barnes & Noble, ebags, Pick Your Shoe, Shoeline, Guess, Sunglass Hut, Levi’s, Timberland, Forever 21, Asos, Sammy Dress. Look for the Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday discounts on those websites and many more. But first you need to go to sign-up for PayPal: www.paypal.com/signup
So why PayPal? I know this question will be asked, following one of the articles which appeared on this site with some of frustrating experience. I felt that was not handled well but personally I have had a different experience over the years. I have used PayPal for over six years, to buy many things online ranging from Books, Domain names, hosting space, Phones. The thing is, I have never had any problem with any of the transactions made through PayPal.
That a side, I feel the coming in of PayPal Kenya will definitely help the growth of ecommerce in Kenya. Safaricom has done well with mobile payment in Kenya but their reluctant to provide API which would enable developers to take the m-commerce to the next level is kind of a road block. At the same time one would be tempted to ask, if Safaricom is not doing it where are the others like Artel Money , Orange Money. Well, the less I say about those other mobile operators the better, may be Equity with Equitel will offer relatively better alternative solutions to some of these problems.
For the Kenyan consumers, who have not used PayPal before, here some of the points to take into account:
It is simple
Once you have an account with PayPal, the shopping process is simple and does not need any technical expertise. It is just a matter remembering you email and password used to create the account. The other things like credit card details and shipping information are already stored in the account.
Security is always a concern when doing any online transaction. PayPal does not share the user’s financial details with the seller. This gives users more control and provides an extra layer of security. It is important to note that PayPal also protect the user’s eligible purchases with PayPal Buyer Protection. If an eligible item doesn’t show up, or turns out to be different than described, they try to sort out things with the seller.
A part from the issue with Safaricom MPESA API mentioned above, delivery is the biggest challenge facing the ecommerce in Kenya. For the local ecommerce transactions, I always think that something like collection points would help with the delivery issue. The chaotic nature of Nairobi and other towns does not make it easy for the things to be delivered at the doorsteps of the buyers. It should be a slightly different case for PayPal and the international purchase. Below is the instructions given by PayPal on how to go about the delivery for those who like to take advantage of the holidays shopping
If the desired merchant does not ship to Kenya, there are many delivery services that will provide you with a personal local mailing address that can be used when purchasing from websites abroad. For instance, if you are purchasing from a US merchant that doesn’t ship to Kenya, you can use a service such as My US, www.myus.com (or many similar companies offering the same type of service). Your packages will be delivered to the company’s warehouse in the US and then shipped from there to your address in Kenya. From the UK to Kenya you can use www.Kenya-shipping.com.