PayPal to M-PESA: Withdrawal, Challenges & Best New PayPal Alternative

November 12th, 2021 by Felix Cheruiyot


Did you know there's a service that allows you to withdraw money directly from PayPal to M-Pesa? Learn about it all, as well as a Kenyan alternative to PayPal.

You can easily transfer funds from your PayPal account to your M-PESA wallet, thanks to PayPal's partnership with M-PESA.

Many freelancers now use the service to withdraw funds from their PayPal wallets.

But as a worrying trend, many Kenyan freelancers and businesses have not enjoyed a cordial relationship with PayPal, especially when it involves withdrawing money from their PayPal balance to their bank account. Innocent users have been on the receiving end of account limitations and irreversible bans.

Freelancers with limited accounts lack access to key payment features, such as card payments. They try everything to regain their account, as their livelihood depends on it.

Things are about to change. If you have any issues with PayPal or need an alternative, IntaSend is the new game in town.

But first, let's get started with everything you need to know about PayPal to M-PESA and its challenges.

PayPal and M-Pesa Support - How It Works

On 8th April 2018, the PayPal Mobile Money Service with M-PESA was officially launched. It's now operated by Thunes (formerly TransferTo), a B2B mobile payment service.

Freelancers welcomed the integration with open arms as it solved many problems with MPESA withdrawals. Previously, you required an Equity Bank account to use their PayPal withdrawal service.

Or, you could use services provided by PayPal to M-PESA agents. Finding a credible service was an uphill task. The fees were quite steep. Account limits and bans on the agent accounts could pose a risk to your account.

You can now head over to, link your Safaricom line, and make transfers - in mere minutes.

It's only possible to withdraw from USD to KSH, or top-up from KSH to USD. The service charges conversion fees of 3% for withdrawals and 4% for top-ups. Charging a conversion fee means that the fee is applied to the exchange rate. For instance, if the current conversion rate is 1 USD to 110 KES, the service gives an exchange rate of 106.7 KES to transact.

M-PESA daily limits apply when using the service. Currently, you can only withdraw or deposit up to 150,000 KES per transaction with a cap of 300,000 KES per day.

How to Make a Withdrawal on PayPal to M-Pesa

Before you withdraw from PayPal to M-PESA, you need to register your account with the service.

PayPal to M-PESA image3

Users have reported various errors as they try to link accounts.

You may get an alert that the M-PESA account has been registered to the service. If so, try switching browsers or contact the support team.

Both account names must match. If they don't, you also get an error. Now, changing the PayPal account name is hard enough. Some users choose to delete their accounts and start afresh with a new account. Though, this may expose them to an account ban if PayPal detects suspicious activity. Others try to change their names on the M-PESA line.

Now, to initiate a new withdrawal, follow these steps:

PayPal to M-PESA image1

PayPal to M-PESA image2

You'll get an estimated turnaround time on the confirmation page. Withdrawals are processed in 2 hours to 3 calendar days. At times, smaller transfers get fulfilled in less than 5 minutes, with larger transactions taking longer. You can only withdraw funds from your PayPal balance. Withdrawal to your debit card or credit card may not be possible with this particular method. Just think of it as a bank transfer, only that now, it's from from one digital wallet to another.

Challenges of PayPal to Mobile Money in Kenya

The PayPal to M-PESA service has no doubt benefited many freelancers and merchants. It's not entirely an efficient payment option for local users. Huge challenges continue plaguing the PayPal mobile money service, especially when it comes to withdrawal of funds, which can take days even when you're withdrawing to a debit card.

1. PayPal Account Limits

If you have an unverified account, PayPal may limit it after you reach the annual receiving limit. You then receive a request to confirm your identity, business details, and proof of address.

Some documents Paypal may request include:

Many Kenyan freelancers struggle with the requests. For instance, offering utility bills to prove your physical address may be challenging. That's because you may pay for electricity units using the KPLC PayBill number and pay the water bill as part of the rent.

Some bank account statements may not actually show proof of address. They may have a P.O. Box listed instead.

Once the allotted time to submit documents expires, PayPal may decline to continue offering its services. They may hold the funds for 180 days and require funds to be withdrawn through a US bank account after the hold expires.

2. Unsuccessful Withdrawals

On local freelancer forums, it's hard to miss complaints of unsuccessful withdrawals. Users cite that this happens to them even with unlimited accounts. Some with the PayPal app complain about unsuccessful withdrawal, which further proves that withdrawing PayPal funds is one of the most difficult things as far as PayPal is concerned, whether on the app or the PayPal website.

Some have recommended various ways to deal with unsuccessful withdrawals. You can try clearing the browser cookies or waiting for 72 hours before trying again. It's also important to contact the support team. Even worse is the option to withdraw to debit card. Reflection takes forever, and that's why most folks look for better PayPal alternatives.

3. Temporary Payment Holds

New account holders find that their first payments have been put on hold. PayPal will state that the transaction represents higher than usual risk. The hold is to allow the seller to fulfill the order or items to ship.

One way to overcome payment holds is to request the sender to confirm the payment. Seasoned accounts may also experience holds when dealing with new clients.

4. High PayPal Fees

PayPal business account holders in Kenya have to contend with high fees on international payments. PayPal charges up to 4.4% for payments + a fixed fee that varies with the currency. You still part with withdrawal fees for PayPal mobile money transfer to MPESA. It's no surprise that most African freelancers have turned to other option, including Cash App, although the latter also has its limitations.

5. Non-local support

You can count on the fact that PayPal's main target market is not Kenya. The needs of local businesses and freelancers often take a back seat. For instance, most residents don't pay with credit cards. M-PESA is the leading choice for payments in the country. Rather than card processing, a business may focus on having a PayBill number or an M-PESA STK push service. There are no dedicated PayPal support teams for Kenya, either.

Introducing "IntaSend" - A Reliable Option for Kenyan Freelancers and Online Businesses

If you're frustrated about PayPal or need a better alternative focused on your needs, we're happy to introduce IntaSend. It is a company that does more than just money transfer service.

IntaSend facilitates online payments from international clients and supports mobile money payments. Like PayPal, you can process card payments from Visa and MasterCard. It comes with its own payment gateway you can use for checkout.

If you're a freelancer, you can request payments by sending clients a payment link. We support direct ACH Payments from US Bank accounts and cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin).

How to accept payments using IntaSend

Don't worry about the proof of address or sending your registration certificate! Getting started with IntaSend and accepting your first payment takes a few steps.

Step 1: Create an IntaSend account

Begin the signup process here by providing basic information. You can open an account as a registered or unregistered business .

Step 2: Verify your identity

We require the national I.D. and the business description to verify unregistered businesses or freelancers.

Registered businesses may submit official documents and have a short interview with our team.

IntaSend makes the Know Your Customer (KYC) process more favorable than foreign payment processors.

Step 3: Send your first pay request

Create and share your payment link complete with a checkout page to receive your first payment. Customers can pay with a card or M-PESA. If they can't make a payment with their card, your US customers can send ACH payments.

Step 4: Withdrawal funds to MPESA

Withdrawing funds to a bank account or M-PESA is a breeze. For M-PESA settlements, start by saving your payment account.

Go to Balances > Settlements > Add account. You get a new form to add details about the M-PESA account, such as the Account Name and Phone Number.

After saving the M-PESA details, initiate a new withdrawal by going to Settlements and clicking "New Request."

IntaSend segregates individual currencies such as USD, EUR, or GBP. From the list of available balances, choose the relevant debit account.

Next, select the receiving account and enter the amount to transfer.

After submitting the new request, you'll see the Settlement Request summary. It specifies the withdrawal amount, receiving account, exchange rate, and amount after conversion.

You can approve or cancel the exchange and click "Complete and Send" to finish the process.

You can learn how the process works in the complete Settlements to M-PESA tutorial .

Benefits of using IntaSend benefits over PayPal to MPESA

Over 10,000 clients from the US now use IntaSend to pay freelancers in Kenya. We have enjoyed a 99.99% transaction completion rate for our account holders. You'll be using a proven and trusted payment system with the following benefits:

Final Thoughts

In the time of online banking, it's no surprise that payment providers have taken over. PayPal Kenya offers an easy method to get paid, but it's not the only way nor the best solution. IntaSend allows you to build your business safely and securely. We're focused on your growth and ready to take you to the next level. Clients get personalized help and 24/7 support.

As a parting shot, some clients may prefer to continue using PayPal for payments. It's fine, but you don't have to put all your eggs in one basket.

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