Filipinos Excited Over Expanded Paypal Access


News about Paypal Philippines now making it possible for Filipinos to receive money the Paypal way did not go unnoticed. Most Filipino blogs are elated and excited, while a number ask whether e-commerce sites will start requiring Paypal accounts and consequently begin charging fees from Filipinos.

The J Spot, who led a campaign last year to demand full Paypal services for Filipinos, has long explained the benefits:

Having PayPal in the country would greatly benefit the following people:

  • Web developers,
  • Designers,
  • Photographers,
  • Writers,
  • Pro-bloggers,

and virtually anyone else who can render services remotely while corresponding via the Internet. Their correspondents can pay simply by clicking a few buttons, and that’s it.

Filipino internet pioneer digitalfilipino was clearly happy:

With Paypal being fully activated, it truly empowers the Filipino Internet user and avail of all the opportunities available online and signing up in programs that pays through Paypal.

but adds rather quickly that:

Law enforcement authorities, the Department of Trade and Industry, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and the banking networks have to be ready with this development as this will also result to possible fraudulent transactions, especially in local auction sites.

Another blog, The Mike Abundo Effect, cannot hide its excitement over the possibilities:

Oh my God. This is the gamechanger. Philippine PayPal users can now receive money.

Let that sink in for a second. Rural Filipinos can now sell their towns’ products directly to the world over eBay. Talented Filipina babes can become the next Happy Slip by posting their videos on Revver. The Philippines — indeed, individual Filipinos — can finally earn money in the global Long Tail of ecommerce.

My mind is now racing with the possibilities for my fellow Filipinos. For years, the government has talked big about globally empowering Filipinos through ecommerce. Guess what: the power is here.

As a service to Filipino bloggers, Remeline’s House of Reviews posted a how-to in opening a Paypal account.

But there is always the fine print and the small details, which Blog Addicts featured, most notably the requirement that Paypal withdrawals may only be done through a bank account in the United States or via credit/debit card.

On which, Pinoy Tech Blog reminds us that:

Despite the fact that you can now send and receive funds via Paypal, there is no practical way to getting those funds locally, unless of course you have a US-based bank or a US-based credit or debit card…

Even if us Filipinos can receive payments via Paypal, the only way to can easily dispose of those funds is by using it to purchase services or goods online as well. This makes the recent limited support practically useless to 99.9% of Filipino Paypal users in the country.

Ingenious as any Filipino, comes to the rescue with a work-around:

PayPal being finally here is perfect. Except for one thing. You can only withdraw the amount to a US bank. I'm not clear yet whether you should open an account with a bank in the US or having an account to a local US based bank is enough. I do have one workaround at the moment that could work. It's allowed to withdraw funds to a debit card. Unionbank issues VISA debit cards locally called EON or eWallet. Take your pick. I have EON and it works like a charm for online purchases. I'm definitely going to try withdraw money to it in the next few days when I'll be charging my offshore clients for services rendered.

This problem is also not lost on who makes several suggestions on how to withdraw all the moolah from your Paypal account, given the limitations.

Among the cards listed above, UnionBank’s Visa Eon is the most feasible money transfer facility because you can actually withdraw cash from your EON card. You can apply for an EON Cyberaccount online and your card will be ready in 5 days. But of course transferring money from PayPal to your EON account would still entail some charges. That I will have to find out how much as soon as I get my EON Card.

Another option which I tried verifying for my PayPal Account is to enter an international debit card. I used my Ikobo debit card (which falls under Visa debit card) hoping that PayPal accepts it. But I keep on getting an error message which I already clarified with the Ikobo customer care. Update: PayPal accepted my Ikobo debit card subject to further verification within 3 days.

The big promises of almost-full Paypal services for the Philippines should compel local banks to initiate talks with Paypal in order to make it possible to make withdrawals from local banks and remove other restrictions that so far hamper the growth of Philippine-based e-commerce. The work is cut out for both the banks who will love more money going through their system, and for us Filipinos who will have a perfect mode of receiving and sending payments for growing online transactions.

UPDATE (4 Oct. 2007): Jozzua confirms that Paypal cash withdrawals may be made through the locally-issued EON Visa Electron card from the Unionbank of the Philippines. No need for credit cards or US bank accounts to get your money.


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