Getting your PayPal on – here’s how to link a PayPal account to an SA bank account

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So here’s a fun bit of information – using PayPal in South Africa is a little more complicated than you might think. In order to conform to South African exchange control regulations, you’re not actually permitted to use PayPal funds sent to you to pay other PayPal users or make purchases. In fact, you’ve got to withdraw your PayPal funds to a South African bank account within 30 days of receipt. And there’s only one way and one bank you can use to accomplish this little task.

The bank in question is FNB, because of course it is, but you don’t actually have to bank with them in order to withdraw funds from a PayPal account. You do need to sign up for an FNB Withdraw Service account, which’ll let you link a PayPal account to a South African bank account. It could be an FNB account (and you can bet that First National Bank will badger you about switching just as soon as they have all your lovely, lovely info) but it could also be any other SA bank – you’ll just be using FNB’s platform to get the job done.

Banking on it working

According to PayPal and FNB, there are a few steps needed to getting a functional (and regulator-compliant) PayPal account working in South Africa. First up [Step One] you need to head over to PayPal to create and verify your account (if you haven’t already). From there, you need to pop over to the FNB website [Step Two] to register for the FNB Withdraw Service. Part of this involves making an FNB Online Banking profile (which is free). Complete this and then [Step Three] you’ve got to send FNB your FICA documents. Next [Step Four] is to wait till FNB gives you the all clear on your documentation. Of course, if you’re already banking with FNB then you don’t need to do any of this. Because you’ve already done it.

The final step [Step Five, or Step One if you’re an FNB customer] is to log in to your FNB Online Banking account, select PayPal Services and then choose Link PayPal Account. From there, you can link your PayPal to your bank account (yes, even if you bank with Standard, NedBank or ABSA, for some mad reason).

There are a couple of terms and conditions to go with it, and your transactions to your SA bank account might take up to six days to go through so keep that in mind. You will also be charged to transfer funds from PayPal into SA (as if having PayPal take a bite of every transaction wasn’t enough). The charge varies based on transaction so just bear it in mind. If you run into issues, you can contact FNB’s PayPal call centre on 087 572 9725, or email them on paypalenquiries@fnb.co.za.

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6 Comments

  1. Thank you for this succinct instruction list, Brett! So good of you to condense this complicated process down onto one easy-to-read-and-follow page. There is just one snag in getting the first step done for Nedbank users though, and that is that PayPal ask for a 9-digit routing number in order to register one’s account but Nedbank only uses a SWIFT code that is 8 letters long and I have been told by them that they do not use any other kind of digital recognition code for international transactions and so you’re pretty much dead-ended from the get-go. I cant speak for any of the other banks’ processes yet.

    • Hi Bronwyn

      Did you ever resolve this issue as I’m with FNB and have the exact same problem.
      As you’ve mentioned, South Africa use Swift code and not routing numbers

  2. I’m with ABSA, also a much shorter code. I simply added enough zero’s at the start of the number to take it up to 9 characters. It looks like it’s worked.

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