PayPal Coming To South Africa?
According to some very widespread, but still officially unofficial rumors, the global online e-commerce payment solution known as PayPal will finally be available in South Africa.
The rumour first broke on Twitter over the weekend, and was quickly given substance by various online news reports which declined to reveal their sources. Although official admission of the validity of the rumour has not yet occurred, the anonymous sources are allegedly highly placed, and the consensus appears to be that PayPal will soon be providing e commerce solutions to South Africa.
E-Commerce Solution A Long Time Coming
Despite the huge convenience that PayPal offers to users, it has so far been prohibited from operating in South Africa, apparently due to concerns by the Reserve Bank that its use may flout foreign currency regulations.
This has led to a variety of problems dealing with online transactions between customers or suppliers outside the country, and there’s much hope among those who conduct ecommerce in South Africa that this simple form of online payment will finally be accepted in this country.
Although PayPal might not mean much to those online buyers who have a credit card, it can make a big difference both to the buyers who don’t, and most importantly, to the sellers who are trying to do business online.
As things stand, the only way that a business can accept credit card payments online is to have a merchant account. And banks are notoriously difficult over who they give these coveted accounts to. Without one, the only way to accept credit card payments online is through a third party, who take their cut on top of the usual credit card fees. This makes it impractical for South Africans to sell small-ticket items online, if they’d like to maintain any kind of profit margin.
A PayPal account though, effectively acts as an online bank account, into which money can be deposited, and withdrawn, without any hassles at all, and for only a nominal fee. This will make it much more cost effective for the small businessman to venture into the world of e-commerce, as a PayPal payment can receive payment from anywhere online, and transfer the money in it to a regular account as per your requirements.
PayPal In South Africa
The stories largely concern a proposed deal between South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB) and the Ebay owned PayPal, who were rumoured to be planning on rolling out a PayPal account as early as April this year.
Without official confirmation, these rumours remain just that. And even if they’re substantiated, it’s still possible that one party may withdraw. However, they’ve raised the hope among many people in South Africa that online transactions through PayPal payments will soon get a lot easier. With a probably related increase in the number of viable online enterprises as well.
So, although it’s early days yet, and much still needs to be confirmed, lets hope that these tempting rumours bear fruit, and that South Africans can soon look forward to online transactions that are as easy as using your debit card.
In the latest breaking news, FNB has released a statement in response to these rumours, admitting that they are “in discussion” with PayPal. However, they have declined to comment further.
Update – 12 March
It’s just been announced that FNB & PayPal will be holding a conference to announce the outcome of their discussions on the 25th of March 2010. Check back here soon to find out what’s going to happen.
Update – 25 March
Well, the news is here. You can read all about it here: South Africa Gets PayPal