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3 mandatory rules for South African PayPal users

3 mandatory rules for South African PayPal users

If you have a PayPal account you need to be aware that according to the South African Exchange Control you have to follow these 3 rules:

  1. Any funds you have received into your PayPal accounts can not be sent to other PayPal users.
  2. No funds can be used to pay for purchases anymore.
  3. You MUST withdraw your funds out of the account within 30 days of receiving these funds to a South African bank account.

update 24 May 2017 – this article was written in 2013, here is a link to the terms and conditions that outline the Terms and Conditions from FNB.

PayPal has a relationship with FNB to aid in this process so you can withdraw the money in South Africa. Even if you are not an FNB customer you can still make use of the FNB PayPal service which is known as “bank managed top up and withdraw’. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) regulations require and authorized dealer to facilitate all cross-border transactions and the related Balance of Payment (BOP) reporting. FNB uses the information provided when creating an FNB Online banking profile and when linking your PayPal account to report all Top Up and Withdraw transactions to the SARB.

In terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), all accountable institutions (such as banks) have specific duties to help prevent money laundering. One such duties is to perform a “Know-Your-Customer” (KYC) check on all customers. FNB will, therefore, request certain documentation when creating an FNB Online banking profile for non-FNB banked customers.

How to withdraw your PayPal money in South Africa ?

Head over to the website and follow these steps:

  • click on option 2 (on the graphic)
  • select “for me” or “Business”
  • select “I do not bank with FNB”
  • click “submit”

PayPal in South Africa

Once you have clicked onto “submit” you would need to complete the application form which will allow you to create an online banking profile with FNB. You will be required to send certain documentations through which is listed on the website. FNB will send you an email as soon as everything is in order and you will then be able to add your Non-FNB account details.

Please Note the following:

FNB charges 1.5% of the ZAR amount per Top Up and Withdraw transaction.
FNB will quote a ZAR / USD exchange rate for each Top Up or Withdraw transaction.
Certain PayPal transactions attract fees. Visit for more information.

For more information with regards to the FNB PayPal Top Up and Withdraw Service you can contact FNB directly on 0861 729 725 or [email protected].

Note: Please be aware of these famous PayPal scams so you don’t get caught!

Liron Segev - TheTechieGuy

Liron Segev - TheTechieGuy

Liron Segev is an award-winning tech blogger, YouTube strategist, and Podcaster. He helps brands tell their stories in an engaging way that non-techies can relate to. He also drinks way too much coffee! @Liron_Segev on Twitter

63 thoughts on “3 mandatory rules for South African PayPal users

  1. This really sucks, I have bee using PayPal since 2007 for overseas purchases now I can’t. This seems more like FNB’s way of making money off people.

  2. Purely shows how stuffed up SA is. The government concerned about money laundering is a joke, the fact this government has made corruption and money laundering, for that is all Nkandla is, shows the backwardness of everythign.

  3. These are South African rules. Question is are they Paypal rules or is Paypal simply relying on good faith where their system would still allow me to use my funds if I want to? Who will know if I keep my money for more than 30 days?

  4. Can someone advise me please, if a person overseas wants to pay me into my paypal acc, what information do ingive them? i cant find a account number anywhere on my profile?

    Or do they utilize my email address (username) to as my account reference pay into?


  5. Hi Folks, Looks like I am seriously contravening the Cross Border Currency Controls of South Africa (and “loving it”…) My wife is a South African National, I am an Australian working in Mining Industry in Aus. On occasion I need to send funds over to her. Stuff FNB… My funds take all of 20 seconds to transfer from my PayPal Account to hers. Then on first and only occasion I have used this joke of a service, it took 11 days to actually arrive in her FNB Account. Pretty unacceptable wouldn’t you say!?

    I have solved the problem with minimal fees. I obtained a set of two Cash Passport Prepaid Currency Cards (Formerly Travelex). I have sent one to her. I take the second card to a Travel Money OZ Office (when their computer system is not down… another story), deposit the amount, send her a text message and she goes down to the local ATM in SA and withdraws the funds immediately! Bloody beauty, Bobs your Uncle, Grace is your Auntie and there you have it… So how can we make a shitload of money commercialising this idea?

  6. PayPal have a Prepaid Debit Mastercard in USA. Wouldn’t it be nice to get your hands on one of these… In theory you could setup a USA Paypal account, transfer funds straight into it from anywhere and disperse funds to anywhere? Using Proxy server of course. And withdraw funds at any ATM…

    I’m sure they were going to issue a debit Visacard in Australia, that probably was knocked on the head by Govn’t. There was a page on the AU Website that had not been deleted that showed this and when you clicked on the link it took you to USA Website. very strange as it was Visa, not Mastercard.

  7. You need to update this info since it’s not current any more. I pay for lots of things with PayPal and have never had a problem. I have received income into paypal and paid with it again for stuff from China and the USA. So even if the SARB think they are world masters (which they’re not), they are not in control of PayPal…

  8. @Sky Captain: The SARB rules are still in effect so the info is still current. Paypal however doesn’t check to see if you comply with it and never has. It’s silly to think they would for such an outdated concept in a small part of the world and the article never claimed so.

  9. My son sent me CAD from Toronto that never got here! I’m supposed to open a FNB acc. before the money gets to me! That’s bull….! I don’t bank with FNB! I only carry a FNB credit card since they were Barclays Bank many moons ago. Otherwise my acc is elsewhere.
    Meanwhile they accepted a charge from PayPal of USD 1.95 into my credit card!
    How comes you cannot receive foreign money direct to your credit card but you can be charged?
    That stinks!

  10. But that is from Australia to South Africa thats not a problem its transferring money the other way that is an issue!

  11. I have an ABSA Bank Account and so what should I do to create a PayPal Account which will link with my ABSA Bank Account?

  12. I was selling an item on Olx and some guy called Gomez said he is interested in buying my item and said he will pay me through paypal and he hasn’t sent any money on my PayPal account and I am receiving threats that I must pay 8200ZA or i will face legal actions
    Please advice me

  13. @Brian Tasker>> Are you saying that currently my Aunt New York can purchase 2 pay-pal prepaid Debit MasterCard in the US, send me one, she takes the other one. She setup a USA pay-pal account, transfer funds straight into it and I can take the card to any ATM here in Johannesburg, SA and withdraw with ease?

  14. Did you get help as I am trying to do the same for my brother , I want to send money from the UK quickly and he is with Standard so what do we do ?

  15. It’s crazy. You can pay millions of things online with your Paypal money. But you have to draw it to your bank account so SARS can tax you on it. What if you made R1000 on the one hand and then needed to spend R1000 on the other. Do you draw the R1000 you made and then redeposit it!!! It’s Bull*&^%* but that’s how South African tax law works. So steer clear of Paypal if you can. There are other online payment services available.

  16. No this is our archaic exchange controls and not SARS. You’re supposed to pay tax on any foreign money received whether it’s withdrawn or not. This restriction is applicable to all money transfer services and not just Paypal. Paypal is the safest most widely accepted form of payment which is why I don’t use anything else when buying from non trusted sites. It’s the only service which makes it easy for us to withdraw once it’s set up.

    Paypal allows withdrawing of funds or you can pay with funds already in your account and avoid withdrawal and exchange fees.

  17. What is the current status as at February 2017? I want to import goods from Europe, pay via PayPal (cheaper according to the exporter), go through the normal customs channels once the goods arrive in SA and then re-sell the goods locally. Everything is fully above board, invoices are authentic and VAT etc. will be paid. However, doing the transaction through a local bank costs a small fortune in fees, hence the PayPal option.

  18. It’s a scam, don’t worry about it, they also like to use Western Union. Whatever you do, don’t pay them a cent, there will be no legal action, they’re just trying to intimidate you.

  19. the thieving govt & banks have no control over paypal as someone above mentioned, they are not a clever as they think. money grabbers, thieves, liars & bullcrappers. they think their laws & rules apply to other countries. news for them. I am going to do what Brian said but also, I can pay what I want with my money in my paypal account. Don’t link it to ANY bank in SA. Thats how they get traced.

  20. Hi I sold an item to someone from Nigeria and he paid me via PayPal. I went to my post office and got the packaged shipped and I sent PayPal the tracking number. It’s gone 2 days now and I’m still awaiting for my funds in my account. And I bank with standard bank. Please explain to me what happend

  21. Sorry Shobana i had to laugh! When you said you sold something to a nigerian, thats it my friend! Its not standard bank, its the nigerian buyer!!! Your money and package is probably gone! They are the best con artists in the world!

  22. Hi just an update i have been using my PayPal account in SA at FNB over a year now and i pay things in SA and overseas with it, i also get money monthly from Europe paid to my account, and it works perfect my money also stays in my PayPal nothing strange has happened. So i am not sure how
    accurate that rules still is.

  23. Good morning, at the beginning of your article you stated: “3. You MUST withdraw your funds out of the account within 30 days of receiving these funds to a South African bank account.”

    Could you please give me the link to this as I cannot find any reference on this directive.

    Thank you

  24. Yea, I’d also like some clarity on the point rasied by Kris. 30 days..,smh, and then what happens if i don’t?

  25. I’ve asked a tax lawyer about this and am awaiting his answer. When I raised the question he said that he has not heard of that regulation but will check for me. I’ll post here when I know more.

  26. I updated the article with the link to the Terms and Condition: – see section
    In terms of the aforementioned Exchange Control requirements, specifically the legal requirements of Exchange Control Regulation 6, all users availing of the
    Service are inter alia, obligated to ensure that funds held in a PayPal wallet/account are repatriated to South Africa through the Withdraw function within 30
    days from date of Top-Up or from the date that the funds were received from another PayPal user, whichever is applicable.
    12.1.1. In other words, funds may not be retained in a PayPal wallet/account for longer than 30 days.

  27. You are a fool,how do you confirm it to be true,every black man who commit fraud is a Nigerian,all South Africa are saint,how about a South Africa who pretend to be a car buyer,he entered Ned bank did fake wire transfer,he took the car and the money never reflect and yet the bank are denying it,useless black South Africa

  28. Hi, what is meant by “No funds can be used to pay for purchases anymore.”? Does this mean we dont be able to use our FNB acc anymore??

  29. hi i think its the FNB rule under section 21.1 not paypal terms of service.
    i also believe it only applies to paypal acounts that are linked with an FNB online banking profile.
    If your account is not linked then you can spend and send your paypal balance

  30. i wanted to know before possibly getting my hard earned money into my South African paypal account and then not being able to use it online.
    i created a paypal account a few years back to start a blog and now my blog is up and running making a good amount of money everyday so i want to know if i am paid from an advertising company in USA will i be able to spend my paypal balance online?
    >I have a capitec card linked to my paypal account
    >I have not added an FNB Online Banking profile to my Account because of their stupid rules that i cannot spend or send my paypal balance.
    >i heard if i haven’t linked an FNB online banking profile to my paypal account i can buy and send my paypal balance is this true?
    it’s a shame how hard people work online and then struggle with such things.
    Thanks in Advance

  31. I’ve been following this post for about 4 years now and I have still had no issue with Paypal. To be clear, SARS are the ones who are making these stupid rules. To date, Paypal has not enforced them and I don’t see why they would. It would be a waste of time for PayPal to monitor your purchases under a different set of rules as the for rest of the world. SARS is being ridiculous and PayPal knows that.

    Of course you can use your PayPal funds to purchase things. What if you put your own money into PayPal. Of course you could spend it. And the same goes for earned money.

    And if PayPal was to even try to enforce these stupid rules, we would just use Payoneer or some other payment service. This is why I can’t see PayPal enforcing SARS’s stupid rules. The only thing PayPal might do is close all South African accounts due to the absurd rules of the SA government. BUt this would be equally insane.

    In summary. Keep Using your PayPal for purchases. Don’t “store” money in Paypal anyway. If you have to get it out of Paypal (and don’t want to send it into a South African bank account) you are under no obligation to. Especially if your service providers are paid with PayPal. Does SARS think that you would earn money with PayPal, then draw it out, then put it back in, just to pay your service providers. Ridiculous.

  32. Hallo! I would like to know if it is possible to send money from a private PayPal account in South Africa to a private PayPal account in Europe (Germany). All the previous questions were about sending money to SA, but I’d like to know if it works easily to send money to Europe from SA

  33. I am absolutely flabbergasted that Pay Pal and South African financial regulations don’t allow you to send YOUR money to where you want to. Its actually not ethical. So listen, do what you want with South Africa but leave MY MONEY FOR ME TO PROCESS NOT YOU! Pay Pal didn’t tell me about this. According to Pay Pal my account was not secure so I submitted a copy of my passport. That was a week ago and now my account is inaccessible until they verify it. Im still waiting and not able to contact them because the number they provide can’t be used from outside the country. NEVER USE PAY PAL AGAIN!

  34. My 2 cents:

    In my limited experience. PayPal takes 3.4% + $0.30 USD for domestic payment. For international transactions, a 0.5% cross-border fee is added (That us here on the arse end of the world) so it will be 3.9% + $0.30 USD.
    (remember PayPal is not Available in Rands)
    Then we add a bit more salt.
    Your only linked option, FNB mafia, are happily required to tell you or make you withdraw your funds out PayPal within 30 days, all of it. This fee is a 1.5%. this is converted into Rands at an exchange loss of about 2%.

    Cumulatively that’s about 7.44% of you initial income.

    Then if you top-up your paypal it’s another ( 1.5% + 2%).

    All fine, if you getting 50$
    But imagine getting $8000.

    You can link multiple non FNB cards(inc.Capitec Global One) to PayPal to do online purchases, or even POS PayPal points. BUT NOT WITHDRAW. These fees I still have to work out, If you know please do share!

    Hope that helps.

  35. Oh god seems to be embarrassing but I would like to know guys. How easily can I link my fnb online banking with PayPal?????

  36. So, I’m trading stocks overseas and the easiest way to get the money in my account is via PayPal. My next best option is get an offshore account. Link to PayPal and do not let SARS steal any more of our hard earned money. They take everything and waste it. Bunch of thieves.

  37. Hi Guys,

    I have recently linked my FNB and paypal account. In order for me to withdrawl I need to state the BOP. The withdrawl will be a small monthly income of around R1000 for online work I do. Does anyone have an idea of which BOP I choose for this. I obviously want to make sure everything is done the correct way. Any advice appreciated…

  38. Don’t fret. Continue as you always have been. They have no say over paypal whatsoever. paypal is not sa based. your money is yours. if it’s dollars you earned, in my opinion, its dollars you can spend. no need to spend it in a country you didn’t earn it from. stuff them. this is all a money grabbing gimmick due to the countrys financial issues of them being corrupt. I’d like to see them take paypal to court for not disclosing clients confidential information LOL. they are a joke.

  39. Alegro how did it go with it. Can u plz add me on watsapp i m also planning to purchase staff overseas but i have no clue how. My bank charges me R500 more to the actual bill. 0627540717

  40. Just adding my 2c to this discussion. A good alternative to PayPal is Payoneer (although you can’t transfer funds between the two). Payoneer works the same way, except that it delivers a Mastercard to your SA home address that you can use in any store or at any ATM. The funds are available almost immediately.

  41. Is Paypal a good idea for organisations where any transactions are authorized by two or more people.

  42. That Nigerian was a scam, paypal don’t use the tracking no, i just read it all about scam and paypal, you have to withdraw your money and then send the package

  43. I would like to order some clothes in china to sell in South Africa. problem is when i want to pay them i need to use paypal of which i don’t know how to use it as it is my first time. can somoene please help me

  44. Hi go to FNB they will direct you, I did read it the other night but it is technical

  45. PayPal is so strict with African accounts. I don’t know if its our countries to fix this policy with paypal or what?

    In Nigeria for example, you can only send funds but you can’t receive. Damn!

  46. Hi
    I have a capitec account (debit card) I would like to link this account with paypal.
    1. Is this possible?
    I’ve been to FNB and was told I need a credit card.
    2.If it is possible can I withdraw my paypal funds from my capitec account?

    Please help as I really need to know how to access the money I make online.

  47. Hi Fatima you don’t have to have a FNB account you can just with draw your money through them, the SA goverment want to tax you so that is why they make it so difficult

  48. A familf member wants to send memmoney in usd how do i convert in sa when I want to withdraw the funds? Please help

  49. Hi, I am doing surveys for extra money. I can only cash out via PayPal. I have a savings account with FNB, but was told, that I need a check account in order to register and use my PayPal money. Is this true? What is the point of opening a check account ? The monthly fees are high, that the money that make with surveys, will be deducted by the bank automatically , to pay for the R150 current monthly fees.

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