Why did PayPal wait to enter Nigeria?

PayPal is a service that allows anyone to pay in any way they prefer, including through credit cards, bank accounts, PayPal Smart Connect or account balances, without sharing financial information with the merchants you are buying from.

A few days ago, PayPal opened its doors to Nigerians after a long period of not serving the West African country. I remember there was a time I saw a petition that some people carried out asking PayPal to come to Nigeria.

PayPal comes to Nigeria

While PayPal has been in operation in some other countries in Africa -like South Africa and Kenya -Nigeria was never on the list for a long time. That is history now.

PayPal has one foot in the Nigerian market now. You’ll understand why I am saying one foot in a while.

Why did Paypal wait?

Malvina Goldfeld

I caught up with the Head of Business Development, Africa, Malvina Goldfeld and she elaborated on the reasons why PayPal had to wait to enter Nigeria.

iAfrikan: Why did Paypal wait for this long to make its service available in Nigeria?

Malvina Goldfeld: As I’m sure you can appreciate, entering any new market requires investment as well as careful planning and preparation. We take our responsibility to manage people’s money very seriously; as such, it is important that all services offered are in keeping with the excellent services that we have long been offering in over 200 markets around the world.

Nigeria’s present e-commerce environment is promising, and the timing seemed right to offer select services to the Nigerian consumer.

We seek to monitor and assess how PayPal is received in Nigeria in order to improve our service, build demand among local consumers and introduce our global network of merchants to the new market opportunities.

But are we ever going to see peer to peer transaction enabled for the Nigerian customers?

Nigeria is a very interesting market and over time we may expand our presence. As such for now the focus at PayPal is on providing the best service for our Nigerian customers from the select services presently on offer for the country.

Are businesses going to be allowed to integrate PayPal in Nigeria?

At the moment, Nigerian PayPal accounts (including businesses & merchants) cannot receive funds into them. For now, we are adding Nigeria to the more than 200 markets where people can open a PayPal account and shop and pay on millions of overseas websites. Based on how Nigerians respond we will consider how to expand our presence.

What about the partnership with First Bank of Nigeria and is it going to be the only banking partner?

The special partnership with First Bank of Nigeria is unique to FBN, and is one that reflects similar partnerships we have created in Kenyan and South African markets.

How about if I travel outside Nigeria, may be to Germany, Dubai, London, or to the US, would I be able to use my PayPal account online and offline?

You can use your PayPal account both within and outside of Nigerian borders.

All markets are supported by our global platform and customer service. Some markets, however, have different product offerings that are customized to the needs of consumers and merchants in that specific market.

Features are rolled out gradually based on the business case for each market.

PayPal accounts in Nigeria, at the moment, can only be used to make online payments.

Looking Ahead

It is clear that this is a test for the Nigerian market. I have made two different transactions on eBay using PayPal and it went through. Another person mentioned to me that he has spent N70,000 on a Chinese ecommerce store using his PayPal account and he has received the items he purchased.

I have received similar testimonies from other PayPal customers who are using PayPal in Nigeria for the first time.

Now that PayPal is here, I foresee a trend where small and independent businesses are going to be using it. What has to happen before that is possible is for peer to peer sending and receiving money to be enabled in the Nigerian market.

On Twitter, BlackBerry Messenger, Instagram, 2go Messenger and a host of other social media channels and messaging platforms, individuals have already started merchandising and selling their wears like shoes, makeup, socks and the like. They can start selling digital products when peer to peer is enabled and this will increase the number of people having PayPal accounts in Nigeria.

Emeka Okoye mentioned that PayPal coming into Nigeria is going to make it easier for Video on Demand Services to be able to monitise in NIgeria. He has more to say on this and I have reached out to him. I’ll update this piece once he responds.

Another group of people that I foresee will embrace PayPal once merchant integration and peer to peer is enabled are the bloggers. They’ll be able to easily set up a tip jar and create ebooks and digital products.

Not that there wasn’t a way of doing all this before, but many Nigerians are paranoid about putting their card details in every other blogs. PayPal will shield them from that as PayPal does not share your account & card details with the site you are buying from.

Let’s see how long before PayPal is all feet in.
One question in my mind is:

Are Nigerians going to embrace PayPal faster than they embraced Mobile Money?

Cover Image Credit: Padmanabh Nimkar

Comments