More specifically, can you use PayPal as a payment gateway on your South African-based WooCommerce website?

The short answer is…yes! However, there are a few “but…”‘s attached.

“Yes but…” #1
This is a big one…if you use PayPal, you have to set your store currency in dollars…(or any other currency PayPal accepts which, at the moment, does not include ZAR). This means that you will have to input all your product prices in the currency that you have set, not in ZAR, and your store prices will reflect in this currency on the front end, not Rands. You could put in a currency converter that will allow someone to see what your prices are in different currencies on the front end, but you will still have to set your store currency to one that is supported by PayPal.

“Yes but…” #2
You can only functionally use a PayPal account through FNB. You can cash out your PayPal account into any other bank you choose, but you will have to sign up with FNB Online Banking, and process your PayPal funds through them. Take a look at FNB’s site for what you need to qualify for this service and how to sign up. Also remember that according to South African Reserve Bank regulations you have to withdraw any funds paid into your PayPal account within 30 days of receiving it.

So…does PayPal work in South Africa? Yes, but with these hoops a South African citizen has to jump through in order to use PayPal, we’re not sure that the pros necessarily outweigh the cons of offering PayPal on your online shop; unless you are specifically targeting and selling your merchandise to international customers. If you want an easier option for your shop, take a look at this article where we briefly discuss our favourite alternative for South African E-commerce stores…Payfast.