Founded in 1998 by Max Levchin, Peter Thiel, Luke Nosek, and Ken Howery, Paypal is the most popular online payment system in the world and it is globally accepted. Despite PayPal having been in business for over 20 years, it still has many restrictions in different countries around the world, especially in Asia and Africa. In this tutorial, I will take you through everything you need to know about Using PayPal in Uganda: Sending, Receiving, Withdrawing and Limitations. I have also written and published other guides on how to:
- Withdraw PayPal money in Kenya
- Withdraw PayPal money in Rwanda
- Withdrawing money from PayPal in South Sudan
- Withdraw money from PayPal in Burundi
Note: I will keep updating this article from time to time to ensure that readers get current the most correct info on how to receive and withdraw money from PayPal in Uganda.
BIG UPDATE (September, 2021):
Great News! You can now create a Virtual PayPal account that allows you to receive PayPal funds in Uganda and withdraw it direct to your Mobile Money account in just minutes. Read the Update Here.
What is PayPal?
PayPal is an online payment service that enables businesses and individuals to send and receive money electronically. PayPal allows users to create an account on its website which is connected to a user’s debit/credit card.
Once the account has been confirmed and connected with the bank card, a user can begin sending or receiving payments to and from other PayPal users.
PayPal uses encryption technology which makes it secure and safer for its customers to transfer funds without disclosing their personal financial details e.g credit card or bank account details.
With PayPal, you can;
- Send / receive payments on e-commerce stores such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba etc
- Buy or sell goods and services
- Transfer money from one PayPal account to another
- Transfer money from bank to PayPal account and vice-versa
- Exchange cash with someone
- Make or receive donations
- Send money to your friends, family and relatives
How Does PayPal Work?
In layman’s language, PayPal is like an online bank. You connect your traditional bank account to your PayPal account using your credit, debit or visa card.
Once you link PayPal to your bank account, you can send money or make payments to other PayPal users directly from your PayPal account. The money is deducted automatically from your bank account.
When you receive money from other PayPal users, that money becomes PayPal Money. You can choose to cash out that PayPal money through the Bank account to which your PayPal account is connected. There’s a fee levied on every successful transaction as we shall see later in this article.
PayPal connects to your bank account using an Automated Clearing House (ACH) interface that is operated by Federal Reserve. When you initiate a transaction, PayPal assumes the role of originating Depository Institution in the ACH transaction. PayPal then sends an electronic request for funds through the ACH system to the user’s bank. The user’s linked bank account will then respond with the confirmation.
Benefits of Using Paypal
PayPal is the fastest way to buy or pay for services online. It is the most preferred method of payment on many e-commerce websites and apps around the world. Using paypal comes with the following benefits.
- Even small volume sellers can quickly accept payments from buyers
- It is fast and instant. PayPal transactions are completed in just minutes.
- It is affordable considering its low transaction fees
- It is safe and secure
- Offers great account security
- Almost every website that accepts payments online uses paypal.
- Keeps all your transaction history from the day you started transacting.
How to create a PayPal account in Uganda
Creating a PayPal account in Uganda is free, quick and does not require you to enter any bank account information. However to start using PayPal, you will need to add and verify your bank card. To signup for a PayPal account in Uganda, follow the steps below:
1. Visit PayPal on your computer or mobile
2. Choose account type
On the next page you will have option to choose between Personal and Business account. If you are not an online seller, I recommend you to create a personal account. If you ever need a business account, you can always upgrade from your PayPal dashboard. Choose “Signup for a personal account” and you will be presented with a signup form.
3. Enter your personal information
Choose your country as Uganda, fill in your first and last name, enter your email address and your desired new password and hit ‘Next’.
4. Enter your credit/debit card information (optional).
On the next screen you will be required to enter your bank card information. This step is optional as you can always skip it and enter the information later.
5. Confirm your email address and activate your account
After completing the signup process, you will be required to confirm your email address before you can access your newly created account. Head over to your mail box and you will find a confirmation mail right there. Tap on the activation link to confirm your account.
Please note that Ugandan PayPal accounts have limitations. For example you can only use a Ugandan PayPal account to send payments online, pay for goods and services but cannot use it to receive money from any PayPal user. However there are some tricks one can use to beat these limitations and still be able to receive PayPal money in Uganda. These tricks will be later discussed in this same article.
How to add credit / debit card to your PayPal account
PayPal allows you link up to 8 credit cards on your account. To link your card with your PayPal account, follow the following procedures:
- Log in to your PayPal account at
- Go Wallet on the menu
- Click Link a credit card
- Enter required information such as Credit card number, card type, card expiration date, card security code and billing information.
- Finally click Link Card and save!
The cards supported by PayPal include MasterCard, American Express, Visa and Discover Debit/Credit Cards.
That is it! You have now linked your card to your PayPal account. You will be charged a fee of $1 to verify your card is valid. This fee is later refunded to your bank account in a few days depending on your card issuer.
How to verify a PayPal account in Uganda
In order to verify a Ugandan PayPal account, you need to do the following:
- In your browser, go to https://www.paypal.com/ug/home and log into your account.
- Click on the summary tab on the upper right side of the window.
- Scroll down to the “More about your account” section and click “See how much you can send with PayPal”
- Click on the Get verified link located near the top of the window.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to complete your verification process.
To become a verified PayPal user in Uganda you must;
- Provide and link a bank account along with routing number and account number
- Provide and link a debit/credit card along with card expiration date, card security code, billing address and then verify code contained in the description of a test transaction initiated by PayPal in about 1 or 2 days.
Please note that verified accounts pay less fees and have fewer restrictions e.g limits on the amount of money you can send, receive or withdraw.
How to pay for goods and services using PayPal
While checking out on any website or app that has PayPal listed as a payment method, simply choose PayPal and you will be prompted to log into your PayPal account.
PayPal will ask you to confirm the payment, and once the confirmation is done, the money will be sent to the seller of the product or service.
Once the payment is completed, PayPal will send you an invoice via email.
Alternatively, a seller can send you payment request, once a request is received, PayPal will prompt you to make a payment.
PayPal Charges / Transaction fees
Using PayPal is free if you are:
- Buying anything from an app, website or online store.
- Sending money to family or friends
You are only charged for using PayPal if you are:
- A seller selling goods or services online
- Making an instant transfer
- Transferring money abroad
- Using a debit card to transfer money to another person
Below is a table showing PayPal transaction fees[table “” not found /]
How to send money using PayPal in Uganda
From the perspective of a sender, PayPal is a free service. In fact, if you send money directly from a savings account using PayPal, there are no fees involved. PayPal will not charge you for this service but in most cases your credit card issuer will.
Below are the steps to send money via PayPal using just someone’s PayPal email address.
- Login to your PayPal account and click on the Send Payments tab
- Type in the PayPal email address of the person you are sending money to.
- Enter the amount of money you are sending.
- Choose the currency in which you want to send the money. Currency conversion fees may occur depending on your card issuer.
- Click Continue and review payment. Ensure all the information is correct.
- Then finally click Send Now.
After you have sent money, a record of your transaction will appear at the history section in your account. You can also search your transaction history from the past.
How to receive and withdraw PayPal money in Uganda
PayPal is officially available in Uganda; however Ugandan PayPal users can only use the service to pay for goods and services but cannot receive money or withdraw.
For starters, you need to understand myths that have been sold to Ugandans about withdrawing PayPal cash in Uganda. Many Ugandans have been made to believe that there’s no Ugandan bank that can help you access your PayPal money while others believe there are ways through which one can access PayPal cash directly using mobile money (partnership between PayPal and MTN Uganda) or by using UBA bank card.
The real truth is these Ugandan bank cards can only be linked to your PayPal account during verification process, and can also be used to buy things online but do not support direct PayPal withdraws.
According to the current PayPal policies, it is not possible to receive PayPal money in Uganda. Currently you can only use a Ugandan PayPal account to send money outside Uganda and pay for goods and services.
If you are thinking of receiving PayPal money in Uganda, then you must own a PayPal account that supports receiving funds. And the only to get such an account is by either creating it through someone who lives in a supported country or creating one for yourself using a VPN.
However there’s some hope. By the end of 2018, Equity Bank Uganda indicated it would roll out a service that supports receiving / withdrawing PayPal funds in Uganda at affordable rates. Till then, the wait continues.
But for now let’s look at the tricks and tweaks one can use to receive and withdraw PayPal funds in Uganda.
Method 1: Receive and withdraw PayPal funds in Uganda through a friend
The easiest way to withdraw PayPal cash in Uganda by sending the money the a friend who has a verified account that supports withdraws.
The friend can then send it back to you through any supported payment system in Uganda as Moneygram, Western Union, Wave or WorldRemit.
Most Ugandan individuals and companies that offer PayPal money withdraw services simply have verified PayPal accounts created in countries that support receiving PayPal funds and withdraws. Such companies in Uganda include;
Method 2: Receive and withdraw PayPal funds in Uganda through Equity Bank Kenya
The only East African country where receiving and withdrawing PayPal money is supported is Kenya, and even in Kenya it is only possible with Equity Bank Kenyan branch.
So what most Ugandans do is get someone they trust in Kenya, create for them a Kenyan PayPal account and a bank account with Equity Bank Kenya. They then link their PayPal account with their bank using the Equity Visa/debit card.
Once you have the Kenyan PayPal account, you can easily cash out money from your PayPal direct to your Equity Bank account. You can then transfer the money from Equity Bank Kenya to your Ugandan Equity bank account using internet banking. The money will arrive in your account in 2-5 business days.
Be Cautious! Never make a mistake of linking a Ugandan issued card to a Kenyan PayPal account. Doing so will get your account immediately banned by PayPal.
Method 3: Receive and withdraw PayPal funds In Uganda Using Payoneer
Payoneer is a New York based financial services company that allows users to send and receive digital payments. A user can send or receive funds directly in their bank account, on their Payoneer master card or Payoneer e-wallet. The Payooner card is free and can be shipped to your address for free.
This method only works for people who have Payoneer accounts that were created before 2014. PayPal discontinued the service due to too many PayPal fake accounts that had been created and linked with Payoneer. In fact, PayPal to Payoneer is the only method Ugandans can use to withdraw PayPal money directly to their bank bank accounts.
But even after the service was discontinued, you can still use it by employing extra tweaks. To get started, you will need to Open a US PayPal account and provide a real address of a US citizen. You can do so through a friend living in the US or via VPN. If you signup from a Ugandan IP address, it will not be possible to link your Payoneer Master card with your PayPal account.
Once you have created your US PayPal account, create a Payoneer account as well, and ensure that the information on both accounts is the same. Deposit at least $3 on your Payoneer account. PayPal will require your account to have at least $3 in order to verify it.
Now link your Payoneer account to PayPal via the Payoneer dashboard. Also add your local Ugandan bank information. If by any chance your account is successfully linked, you will be receiving PayPal payments directly to your Payoneer account. You can now cash out the money to your local bank. It can take up to 10 business days for the money to reflect into your local bank account.
If you have the Payoneer MasterCard, you can also cash out the money through any MasterCard supported ATM machine in Uganda.
Method 4: Receive and withdraw PayPal funds in Uganda using Gateway Technologies Limited
These guys have been offering PayPal online services in Uganda for ages. I have never used their service but I have seen them mentioned almost everywhere on the web.
And when you search for how to withdraw PayPal money in Uganda, their website is one of those that come up first in the Google search results.
When you have PayPal funds, you simply send it to their account and they cash it out for you either through bank or Mobile or money. They charge a 10% fee of the total amount withdrawn. In other words you sell PayPal money to them and they pay you cash in return.
Gateway Technologies also charge currency conversion fee which normally doesn’t go beyond $3.
Other services offered by Gateway Technologies include;
- Send and withdraw Bitcoin in Uganda
- Withdraw funds from Google Wallet in Uganda
- Buy and sell BitPay in Uganda
- Withdraw skrill funds in Uganda
- Payment gateway integration on e-commerce websites
Method 5: Receive and withdraw PayPal funds in Uganda using Payzug Limited.
You can also receive and withdraw PayPal funds in Uganda directly to your MTN mobile money account using Payzug, a third party merchant that is in partnership with Yo Payments Uganda to offer the service.
These guys simply have a PayPal account that supports withdraws; they probably created the account from a supported country.
So if you need to receive PayPal money from anyone abroad, the person will have to send the money to you through their online system, and they will manually send it to your MTN mobile money account.
The bad side of these guys is they charge hefty 30% on the amount transacted. This means if you withdraw $1000, they will chop off $300 is their cut. 30% is just too much to lose.
This company also doesn’t seem to be serious as I have read negative reviews about them having very poor customer care services and above all by the time of writing this article, their website wasn’t accessible on the web.
They also only accept withdraws that are $300 and above, and according to their new policy, if you send an amount below $300, you won’t be able to withdraw it and it cannot be refunded.
It is stupid how they failed to program their system to validate the amount to withdraw before someone can transfer their hard earned PayPal cash to their account.
Method 6: Receive and withdraw PayPal funds in Uganda using ePay Swift.
This service started in Kenya but recently launched in Uganda as well. The ePay Swift service allows users to withdraw PayPal funds directly to their Mobile Money accounts.
Currently it supports cashing out through MTN Mobile Money and Airtel Money.
ePay Swift takes a 7.5%+1.5 commission on every PayPal amount you transact through their system.
ePay also offers;
- Skrill withdraw service
- Payoneer withdraw service
- Buy and sell bitcoin in Uganda
Method 7: Receive and withdraw PayPal funds in Uganda through M-Pesa.
If you are a Ugandan having a verified Kenyan PayPal account, this is good news for you. Kenya’s M-Pesa partnered with DT One to offer PayPal services in Kenya.
If you are a registered M-Pesa user, this service will enable you to directly cash out your PayPal money via M-Pesa. No third party and commission cuts are involved. Funds are transferred to your M-Pesa account within 2hours.
The downside of this side of this method is you can only use it if you have a verified Kenyan PayPal account and you must be registered user on M-Pesa.
With the above different PayPal money withdraw methods, it is up to you to decide how to withdraw PayPal cash in Uganda.
PayPal Limitations and restrictions in Uganda
- You can send money to non-Ugandan accounts but cannot receive
- Since you can’t receive, technically you can’t withdraw.
- You can’t accept e-commerce payments e.g on an online store.
- You can operate one account. It is against PayPal policies to operate more than one account. If you are found to be having multiple accounts, all your accounts will banned and you will lose all the funds on them.
- You cannot appeal to have a banned account restored. So please ensure that you follow their policies.
- You must be at least 18 years to use PayPal in Uganda.
Why is PayPal limited in Uganda?
Millions of people around the world use PayPal to make online transactions and Uganda is not an exception, but the saddest part is we have to live by the unfair limitations that PayPal levied upon us.
Unlike most European countries and a handful of African countries whose accounts are not limited at all, ours come with a harsh limitation where we can only send payments but cannot receive funds.
Ever since the service was rolled in the country, Ugandans have always wondered why they can’t enjoy full PayPal functions like our counterparts in USA, Canada, UK, German and many other European countries.
About a year ago, a frustrated Ugandan petitioned PayPal to have their services fully enabled in Uganda and other African countries but this hasn’t helped changed anything.
Last week I posted on the PayPal community forum asking when they would roll out full features to Ugandan users and below was their response I got from one of the community users [not official PayPal representative]:
PayPal is constantly working to expand and improve our services for our customers. We hope to be expanding our availability to include more countries; however, due to the complexities of global expansion, we cannot give a timetable for this.
It is not a personal decision. International and domestic laws regarding money transfers, currency exchanges and cross border trade are complex and are just some of the considerations taken into account when PayPal offers service to other countries.
Unsatisfied with Amanda’s response, I tried to dig deeper into the issue and this time I directly sent an email to PayPal. After two days, this is the response I got:
“Because of Uganda’s strict financial rules and regulations, they are not allowing Uganda accounts receive any funds.
Uganda only agreed to use PayPal for online shopping and making purchases or payments.
We didn’t mean to offend you in any way, this is not a form of any hate and we are not discriminating you. Rather what is happening right now is because of your country’s strict financial regulations that we need to comply with.
Rest assured, PayPal is already making a move so that your country can consider using PayPal for you to receive money. On the bright side, we’re constantly working towards expanding our service to include this feature since it would be beneficial for both of us to offer this to you. We are doing our best to make this feature available in the near future.”
Now based on the above response, this means it is Uganda that restricted receiving PayPal funds in Uganda but not fraud and banking system as many people have always claimed.
I’m not an economist but I believe Uganda’s move to restrict receiving PayPal funds in Uganda not only cripples the economy but also online sellers lose a lot of money due to hefty fees charged by other money transfer organisations like banks.
There’s no point in government placing these restrictions when the best economies in the same world use PayPal without any restrictions. Maybe their point was to stop tax evasion but there’s a lot more benefits that come with using PayPal.
In fact what Uganda is doing seems to be done by almost every African government. Currently, there’s no African country where direct PayPal withdraws are supported. As far as I know, PayPal withdraws are only supported two African countries. And it is not direct but done through some sort of third parties. The countries include South Africa with First Bank and Kenya with Equity Bank.
PayPal has a lot of potential in Uganda as many Ugandan banks now issue international MasterCards and local Visa/Debit cards are also used at ATM machines, internet and POS terminals.
PayPal alternatives in Uganda
It is true that PayPal is the most widely used online payment system in Uganda but that doesn’t mean it has no flaws, its major flaw being strict restrictions and limitations. Below I have evaluated 6 reliable alternatives to PayPal in Uganda.
Recap: Important notes about PayPal in Uganda
- There are only two types of PayPal accounts ie Personal and Business
- A single individual can only own one personal account and one business account each having different email addresses and associated with different credit cards
- It is free to open a paypal account for all account types
- You can use PayPal to pay for goods and services but cannot use it receive money or accept payments.
- If you want to receive money via PayPal in Uganda, you have to use one of the tweaks discussed above.
- If you have a supported personal paypal account, receiving money is free.
- If you have a supported business paypal account, receiving payments comes with a fee.
- You can also receive funds from a debit or credit card
- With personal accounts you can only accept up to a maximum of five credit/debit cards payments while business accounts have no such a limit.
- Receiving funds from a credit/debit card to your personal PayPal account attracts higher fee than business account.
- You can do mass payments on paypal
- Paypal fees vary per country
- Paypal account outside USA are charged higher
- Business account holders can accept payment through credit cards without asking the payee or sender to first register with PayPal.
- You can send payments on PayPal in 26 different currencies
- You can get PayPal support online by asking them a question @AskPayPal, contact via email or call them via their phone facility
- For you safety: Never click on any PayPal link sent via your email. Hackers use this trick your login details. Only directly type the paypal url (PayPal) in the browser.
- While opening a paypal account, use gmail. Gmail has intelligent filters that would warn you about potential phishing emails by hackers.
- Make sure you read and follow paypal’s policies else you could be permanently banned from using the service. For example you aren’t allowed to login from a country which is not on paypal’s permitted countries list.
- If you are a merchant and want to test out how the PayPal button would behave in real-time. Check out PayPal Sandbox.
BIG UPDATE (September, 2020):
Great News! You can now create a Virtual PayPal account that allows you receive PayPal funds in Uganda and withdraw it direct to your Mobile Money in just minutes. Read the Update Here.
I hope this article has been able to answer all questions Ugandans ask about PayPal, for example:
- Is PayPal available in Uganda?
- Is PayPal safe and secure?
- How can I open a PayPal account in Uganda?
- How to transfer money from PayPal to Mobile Money?
- Is there a PayPal service in Uganda?
- How to withdraw PayPal money in Uganda?
- How to withdraw PayPal money to bank?
- PayPal withdraw to Mobile Money in Uganda
- How to receive PayPal money via Mobile money?
- Can I use PayPal in Uganda?
- How to receive online payments in Uganda
- How to receive and withdraw online payments in Uganda
- Using PayPal in Uganda
I hope this post about using PayPal in Uganda has been helpful to you and you now know how to send, receive or with PayPal money in Uganda despite the currents restrictions and limitations place on Uganda.
No one is sure when the restrictions will be lifted, but I’m certain this won’t remain like this forever. A time is coming when Uganda will open its doors for PayPal to allow Ugandans make transactions online without any unfair restrictions such as the current ones.
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