Many Kenyans who work online are expressing their frustration with popular US online payments company PayPal.
Taking to social media, PayPal users complain that their funds are being held for up to 180 days without being informed what rules they violated.
Others said their accounts have been locked, temporarily or permanently, for “suspicious activity”, adding that attempts to resolve these issues through the company’s customer service channels are often an exercise in futility. This has left many Kenyans, especially online writers and freelancers frustrated and distressed.
Digital services like PayPal, WorldRemit and Western Union are preferred by freelancers due to the speed of processing payments in comparison to wire bank transfers.
A 2014 survey from oDesk (now Upwork) ranked Kenya 10th in the world for providing online workers, no.1 in Africa ahead of larger, more populous nations like Nigeria.
Online freelancing has allowed thousands of young Kenyans to make an honest living. Some have even managed to mint a fortune and expand their operations, setting up fully-fledged businesses and hiring more freelancers so as to take on as much work as possible.
Numerous Kenyan freelancers have in recent days opened up on social media about their struggles with the service. In many cases, they were informed by PayPal that their funds had been temporarily held (for up to 180 days) despite the freelancers not being aware of any rules they had violated.
Some are even calling for Kenyans to delete PayPal claiming its limiting of African accounts receiving payments from around the world is a show of prejudice.
Mohamed Ibrahim wrote: “PayPal withheld payments from my customers in the Middle East. It was so frustrating I had to halt my online teaching services.”
Sky Muasya said: “PayPal is withholding my 400 USD for 9 months now.”
SK Stanley noted: “PayPal is a nightmare!! I could be madly rich now but PayPal locked my account permanently. I can’t transact anymore.”
Lokol Man II quipped: “PayPal has fu*ked me up. A client sent $700 three times when she was supposed to send 700. She disputed and had the extra 1400 sent back. But now, every two weeks PayPal’s been deducting 700 from my account claiming they are refunding her. It’s now taken a total of 1400!”
Njenga said: “I completed my 180 days limitation on Jan, I decided to pursue my money, to my surprise, they decided to limit me for another 180 days. I hate PayPal.”
Makima Makima wrote: “My 1000 dollars is stuck at PayPal. They are thugs with their limited account nonsense. Even if you provide everything they want it’s in vain. Crooks.”