Blue Flower

If you are old enough in the internet, you perhaps know that Paypal to Mpesa has taken different shapes in Kenya. In this article, I will explain different phases that this much needed services has taken in Kenya. I will cover the following areas:

1. What is Paypal?

2. What is Paypal in Kenya?

3. What is Paypal to Mpesa?

4. History of Paypal in Kenya?

5. The phases that Paypal to Mpesa has taken to date in Kenya?

What is Paypal?

Paypal is an online payment gateway that will allow people to receive and send money online via the internet. It is an Ebay company service found in and serving the whole world. Paypal is available in many countries including Kenya. It was originally founded by Ellon Musk - A south African who is now the CEO of SPaceX.

What is Paypal in Kenya?

Paypal in Kenya refers to the presence of Paypal services in Kenya. There is currently no Paypal office in Kenya. However, Kenyans access Paypal services on the website.

What is Paypal to Mpesa?

Paypal to Mpesa is a service which helps people exchange money from the Paypal website to their Mpesa wallets. All you need is an Mpesa registered mobile number/sim card and a company or someone can send your Paypal dollars or Euros to this Mpesa number. Simple as that.

History of Paypal in Kenya and the phases Paypal to Mpesa has taken to date?

Back in the year 2005, only the word Paypal existed in Kenya among a few techy savvy young men and women in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu. During that year, you dared mention Paypal as a means of sending and receiving money to a bank teller and he would simply run to the manager and ask him what Paypal was. He would them come back to you and request you to Write the spelling after which he would return to the bank manager, who would have no idea.

It happened to me even in the year 2006 and 2007 when I went to Equity Bank branch in Nairobi and talked to a manager who had no idea. This continued up to 2008.

During these years, Kenyans were using Paypal to send and receive. In 2005, they would only send from their cards but would not actually accumulate a balance in their Paypal accounts.

It was not until the year 2007 when Kenyans were allowed to receive and accumulate a balance in their Bank accounts. However, there was no withdrawal method at all.

In 2010, Paypal allowed Kenyans to withdraw money to their US bank accounts. Therefore, if you had a relative in US or you held a US bank account, you would withdraw the funds to that US bank and access it anywhere master card was accepted.

During the same year, a number of creative and innovative Kenyans came up with solutions to help fellow Kenyans exchange the Paypal dollars to Mpesa. You were required to send them your Paypal funds and provide your Mpesa number after which they would Mpesa you. This took a while and the fees were heavy.

It was still during the same year where a US -based company innovatively took over the war to help Kenyans and other countries get US bank account. This company is Payoneer. They helped Kenyans and the rest of the world get a US bank account accessible via their website ( and the funds were withdrawable via a mastercard they mailed to their account holders across the world.

However, Paypal, - the big brother, was not happy because Payoneer was actually a competitor and started declining new US bank account additions if the bank accounts were registered at Payoneer. I would call this business rivalry. That was it. It became hard to add any new Payoneer provided US bank account and also old accounts were getting limited based on whether they have a Payoneer US bank account or not.

During this time, Kenyans still continued accessing the expensive services from Paypal to Mpesa unlicensed "agents".

It was not until the year 2014 when Equity Bank officially partnered with Paypal offering a Paypal withdrawal service to Equity. This was also a Paypal to Mpesa indirect solution because most equity transactions would be done to Mpesa. At first, Equity was carrying out the Paypal withdrawal service via a South African Bank and later to Equity. This took over 7 business days to complete a transaction and the fees were 10%.

This, therefore, was a reduction in the use of Paypal to Mpesa agents in Kenya but still the waiting time saw some people withdraw some Paypal money to Mpesa via the agents for emergency purposes.

During all this time, the official Mpesa was calculating the best moves to solve this puzzle.

I guess during these years, Paypal realized that some people were using their Paypal accounts for Financial transactions reasons against their wish which saw most Paypal to Mpesa "agents" accounts limited for no good reasons between the years 2014 and 2016.

In the year 2018, Mpesa releases the official way to transfer funds from Paypal to Mpesa directly via a partnership with TransferTo. That was it that Kenyans were waiting. Within 2 hours today, most Kenyans can withdraw their USD from Paypal to Mpesa directly via this service found on

This solved all problems in this puzzle. However, there are instances whereby it becomes very hard to link Paypal and Mpesa and thus there are some agents who actually get Paypal to Mpesa as well as Mpesa to Paypal clients.