The transition from only shopping for goods and services in brick and mortar shops to dabbling with alternatives like online stores has not been smooth for Kenyan consumers. In the beginning, internet access was a problem. Fortunately, this was resolved in 2009 when undersea cables landed in Kenya. The next hurdle became the availability of online payment options. Most Kenyan banks didn’t have debit and credit cards that could allow customers to transact online. Kenyans who wanted to buy anything online were forced to liaise with friends and relatives who were overseas to buy the products they needed on their behalf and then send it to them. This was a very lengthy and tedious process that only those registering domains or paying for hosting bothered with. This problem was finally solved when Kenyan banks started allowing their customers to transact via debit and credit cards supported by the two biggest international payment gateways i.e. Visa and MasterCard. The next problem that cropped up was the issue of security. Most Kenyans were scared of submitting their debit and credit card details to online shopping sites because there were rampant cases of bank account information being stolen through phishing and data breaches.
To ease Kenyan customers’ foray into online shopping, enter PayPal. Founded in 1998, PayPal is the largest online payments platform in the world and is available in 203 countries, including Kenya. In the online shopping world, PayPal acts as the secure payment buffer between shoppers and online stores.
So how does this buffer work and how does it help shoppers?
Make shopping simpler
PayPal makes shopping simpler and faster. When you set up your PayPal account, you are then required to link your credit card or debit card with your account. After you have confirmed your debit or credit card you are good to go.
Because one’s debit or credit card details are already saved in their account so all you have to do is input your email and password and the payment process is done. A lot of time is saved because customers do not need to type in their debit or credit card details every time they shop online.
Regardless of where one is shopping from, PayPal can convert the currency of your payment total to a currency that you understand. For instance if you were buying from a UK website that is charging you in pounds and you are used to using US dollars then you can convert it to that and then pay.
Access to the PayPal website is encrypted and chances of your debit or card information being stolen by cyber criminals are very slim. It also helps that PayPal doesn’t allow browsers to save your password so in case your laptop is stolen so no one can access your PayPal account. It is important to note that since PayPal was founded it has never had a data breach which goes to show that all the debit and credit card information stored therein is safe.
For those having difficulty with deliveries after purchasing physical goods online, PayPal has partnered with USaddress.com to make deliveries on purchases done in the USA easier. If a US store that a Kenyan customer is shopping from does not ship to Kenya, USaddress.com provides a personal US home address that can be used by the customer. After making a purchase, packages will be delivered to the USaddress.com logistics centre. Customers are notified of the arrival of their packages, select their preferred method of shipping and pay online. The delivery is then dispatched to their doorstep anywhere in Kenya. For the Christmas holidays, PayPal is offering up to $10 off (using coupon PPAFBF) for deliveries paid using PayPal from the US made through USaddress.com. The coupon code is applicable for use 10 times.
Online shopping can be simple and hassle free, especially when using tried and trusted online payment platforms like PayPal. So go ahead and buy something online for yourself. Do share your experience in the comments.