Withdrawing money from PayPal to South Africa is the bread and butter of many an online entrepreneur and online shopaholic. We are deep in the age of connectivity and if you have even a passing interest in making money online you are bound to cross paths with PayPal. Whether it’s for shopping or for accepting and making payments, PayPal allows you to transact globally without putting sensitive information like credit card details at risk.
Another service similar to PayPal that allows you to draw your funds from abroad is Payoneer. It is equally good to PayPal and is not tied to a specific bank so if you are looking for an alternative to PayPal, you can create a Payoneer account to pay make payments to people abroad and for services like Amazon or Upwork that use Payoneer to pay out.
PayPal in South Africa
While PayPal had been around for two decades, in South Africa we have only been able to use it to receive money in local accounts since 2010 thanks to FNB. Even so, it is still not widely used and if you get stuck in setting it up, information on how to set it up is sparse or out of date.
There is an official FNB Guide on how to get set up but it does not some of the critical steps in enough detail and can be confusing, especially if you aren’t technically inclined, so I wrote this guide to help with some of the points that I found confusing.
The guide is written in the same layout as the official guide, covering each of the steps in better greater to help with the parts that are. Otherwise, you can just watch the video below and follow step by step.
Step 1: Verified PayPal Account.
To create a PayPal account you need an email that your account will be based on along with a credit card or debit card. In order to link you PayPal account to FNB and draw money from it the PayPal Account has to be verified and for that you will need the debit or credit card. PayPal accepts several types of cards which are listed on the website. For South African cards you generally need a card that has a Visa or MasterCard logo on it.
When you have followed the steps for verification, PayPal will conduct a small transaction (under $2) on your card in order to authenticate your banking details. The transaction will subsequently be reversed and you will get your money back. This takes up to 24 hours to do so you can wait until the next day to resume. When the process completes you will get an email from PayPal confirming that your account has been verified.
Step 2: Create a FNB online profile
This step is required for general online transacting and is fairly simple. You will need to go to sign up on the FNB website (link). And create an online profile with your email address. You need to have KYC (Know Your Customer) documents on hand such as ID and Proof of Residence that you will email or fax to FNB. If you use the FNB app, you will also need your phone on hand to complete the 2-Factor Authentication (when your phone asks you to okay transactions done on another device).
You don’t need to be a FNB to customer to open a profile so if you bank with a different bank you can still go ahead and create a profile and link to the PayPal profile to an accepted card from any one of the other South African banks. The FNB online platform will allow you to link a non-FNB card and withdraw money from your PayPal account to Nedbank, Absa, Standard Bank and Capitec accounts.
How To Register For PayPal as Non FNB Customer
- Go to www.fnb.co.za
- Click “”Register” at the top to the left of the username field
- Choose “Register for PayPal for non FNB Customers”
From there, just fill in the rest of your information and you will be able to create an FNB profile as a non FNB customer.
Step 3: Linking of PayPal to FNB Account
Now that you have everything else you need in the setup process you can link your account. This is where things can get confusing as some of the options on the FNB website can be difficult to find so I have added pictures showing the particular steps where I get stuck.
Logon to your FNB Profile
Select Forex. This part is one of the confusing parts because the official FNB guide appears to be out of date after a change in the interface. The guide says that you must select bank accounts and there are no options regarding PayPal services under accounts.
Select Menu option and then select Link to Paypal.
This is the step where I got stuck because I could not find the menu option which is placed in an unintuitive place for a step by step process. It is located in the orange tab to the left of the screen and opens up to a list of draw down options. When you click the orange tab the list of options should appear where you will find the “Link to PayPal” option.
The linking consists of a three step process with
- Fill in the information that pertains to the details of your FNB and PayPal Account
- Fill or confirmation of your personal details of you are an existing FNB Customer.
- Authorizing the linking of the account from PayPal. This step will link out of FNB to your PayPal account and need you to sign in to do the authorization.
Follow the instructions and fill in all the necessary information to link your account. As soon as it is linked you will receive email confirmation.
Sometimes this option does not show and if it does not it might be because you have not granted FNB access to your PayPal balance.
To give FNB the access you can choose the option which will link out of FNB and require you to sign to your PayPal account and allow access to your balance.
Step 4: Transact with your PayPal
Congratulations! You have now linked your PayPal to FNB and can now top up your PayPal account in order to pay shop at global marketplaces such as Amazon or to pay people, as well as receive payments from abroad and withdraw the money from PayPal to your South African bank account.
Things to keep in mind
- Drawing money from PayPal to FNB takes 3 to 6 business days to process. From my experience the average is closer to the full 6 days so if you draw money from your PayPal account it is safest to expect to get it in your account the following week.
- Money in your PayPal account must be withdrawn within 30 days being deposited into the PayPal account.
- FNB prescribes that you cannot use money paid to you into your PayPal account to conduct transactions other than withdrawals. This means that you cannot use money paid into your PayPal account to shop with or pay other people, you can only withdraw it. If you want to pay somebody through PayPal or to pay for online shopping using PayPal you have to top up your PayPal account with money that is already in your bank account.
- Remember to consider the tax liability and ensure compliance with regard to all the money you receive through PayPal. FNB is obligated to report all transactions from PayPal to South Africa to SARS so if you are above the tax threshold you should ensure compliance. Freelancers and business people should already but it is something that is easy to forget when new to global transacting.