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PayPal is the leading online payment service. It has close ties with South Africa since one of its early investors was South African-born tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. PayPal was one of the first online payment services and remained one of the world’s most popular digital payment options.

PayPal’s big break came when it became the official payment service for eBay, the online auction site. For many years, eBay owned PayPal. PayPal now offers more services than just online shopping – you can send money to friends and family, pay bills online, and there is a PayPal credit card. Despite all this, PayPal has a slightly contentious relationship with online casinos.

It seems like online casinos and PayPal should be a match made in heaven, so what’s the problem? We’ll look into if it’s possible to use PayPal at online casinos in South Africa. We’ll additionally answer your questions about PayPal’s reliability as a secure option for online gambling with real money in South Africa. Our guide will also provide instructions for how to set up an account to use PayPal at online casinos in South Africa.

Before we go any further, here’s a sneak peek at our list of the best PayPal online casinos for players in South Africa:

Top Paypal Casinos Online South Africa

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Everything You Need to Know About Paypal

PayPal is the original online payment service. The company has been through a number of name changes and survived ownership changes, mergers and going public. Founded in 1998 by Peter Thiel, Max Levchin and Luke Nosek under the name Confinity, it was part of a large digital security business. Once they saw the potential of a digital payment service, they shifted their focus.

In 2000, Confinity merged with X.com – this was when Elon Musk entered the picture. Musk was the founder of the online bank X.com and brought his knowledge of the financial world to the project. At this point, the company name changed to PayPal.

By 2002, the company had its IPO, and e-auction giant eBay bought it for $1.5 billion. PayPal became the promoted payment method on the site, ensuring it would become known worldwide. For over a decade, this partnership helped both companies flourish.

As of Q4 2021, it had over 426 million users, with 5.34 billion payments made in the quarter. PayPal has the lion’s share of the online payment market, at 50.32% as of September 2021. It now accepts 26 different currencies - but, unfortunately, does not currently support ZAR.

How to Use Paypal – The Basics

PayPal is fairly simple to use. It works like an online wallet, used alongside traditional bank accounts as a digital cheque account. Once you have deposited money into your PayPal account, you can use it to make payments online.

You can make deposits to a PayPal account or link it directly to an existing bank account. Once you have linked a debit card to the PayPal account, you can pay with that card or with your PayPal balance.

Using a debit card through PayPal adds an extra layer of security. The transaction will show as a PayPal transaction, hiding your card number and information from the merchant or e-commerce platform. This is one of the major perks of using a payment app like PayPal.

Paypal and Online Casinos

The relationship between PayPal and the online gambling industry is tightly controlled and monitored. Before the US government crackdown on online casinos, PayPal was a popular choice for casino deposits and withdrawals. A series of laws passed to quash online gambling in the US during the early 2000s caused PayPal to pull back and re-examine how it did business.

In recent years, PayPal has created a strict verification process for online casinos. Only verified and approved online casinos may accept payments. In addition, the casino must operate in a country where online casinos are completely legal and fully regulated.

As individual states in the US pass legislation legalising online gambling, PayPal has begun to process transactions from licensed vendors operating in those states. Casinos in the UK and several mainland European countries can also get on the approved PayPal list.

In South Africa, we haven’t quite reached that point yet. Online casinos are still not fully regulated. Without a licensing system, there is no way for South African online casinos to gain approval. Without those legal protections, PayPal can’t allow South Africans to use their services, even when playing at offshore casinos.

PayPal is still available for South African residents – just not for online casino or online slots transactions. It remains one of the best options for sending money to friends and family and shopping online.

How to Get a Paypal Account in South Africa

It’s easy to create a PayPal account through the official website. You can use either a desktop or a mobile device - there is also a PayPal app for those who prefer. It is a simple process overall. Keep in mind that PayPal has strict rules about complying with all local tax and money laundering laws.

A fully verified account allows you to use all of PayPal’s services and features. This is what you’ll need:

  • An email address to which you have access.
  • Your phone number.
  • South African bank account with internet banking enabled.
  • A copy of your bank statement.
  • An active credit or debit card.
  • Proof of identity, such as a passport or national ID card.
  • Your income tax number is easily found on a SARS document.

There are two main types of PayPal accounts: Individual and Business. The differences are fairly obvious. An Individual account is for personal use – things like online shopping, sending money to friends, etc. A Business account is for running a business online.

Once you have proven your identity, follow the on-screen prompts to activate the account and make it fully functional:

  • Link your bank account and your PayPal account.
  • Add your identification documents.
  • Link your credit or debit card to your PayPal account.

Even though PayPal partners officially with First National Bank (FNB), you can still use it if you have an account with any other South African bank. You will need to use FNB’s page to link your bank account to PayPal.

Using Paypal for Casino Deposits

This advice only applies to online casinos in fully legislated and regulated markets. This, sadly, does not currently include South Africa. If you happen to be on holiday or working in one of these markets, this information on making casino deposits could come in handy. Here are the steps to using PayPal for online casino deposits:

  • Deposit enough money into your PayPal account to cover your casino expenses.
  • Log in to your preferred online casino and navigate the ‘Deposit’ page.
  • Select PayPal as the deposit method.
  • Enter the amount you want to deposit, ensuring it is over the casino’s minimum.
  • Provide your PayPal details to authorize the transaction.

PayPal transactions of this kind are instant. You should be able to start playing faster than almost any other deposit method!

Using Paypal for Casino Withdrawals

One of the nice things about PayPal is how standardised it is – this means that the process for making a withdrawal is almost identical to the process of making a deposit. Any major differences will be on the casino’s side. These are the primary steps:

  • Log in to your casino account.
  • Check your account balance to make sure it has enough to cover your withdrawal.
  • Navigate to the ‘Withdrawal’ page on the site.
  • Select PayPal as the payment method.
  • Enter how much you want to withdraw and submit the request.

The main difference between the processing of deposits and withdrawals is the time it takes. While deposits are usually instant, withdrawals can take up to several days to complete. This depends on the types of security checks that the online casino does.

There is one more step if you want the money you have withdrawn to reach your bank account. After processing the withdrawal, you will need to transfer your funds from your PayPal account to your bank account. This may take one to three days, though you can often pay a fee to speed up the process.

Paypal Online Casino Pros and Cons

PayPal might be the leading e-wallet in general, but it's a little more complicated when it comes to making deposits or withdrawals at online casinos in South Africa. In our opinion, here are the main pros and cons of using PayPal at an online casino:

  • Check IconPayment site with the best security.
  • Check IconUser friendly.
  • Check IconNo fees when making purchases or when sending money between individuals.
  • Check IconAvailable internationally.
  • Close IconOnly available in a limited number of online gambling markets.
  • Close IconNot available at the majority of online casinos.
  • Close IconNot available to players at South African online casinos.
  • Close IconDoes not accept ZAR.

Our Verdict: Why Use Paypal at SA Online Casinos

PayPal is a great choice for almost all online payments. Unfortunately, due to the legal status of online gambling in South Africa, PayPal is not an option at online casinos.

Thankfully, several alternative payment apps provide the same services with similar levels of security. The options we recommend are Skrill, Neteller and ecoPayz, as well as EasyEFT.

Paypal Online Casino FAQ

Is Paypal available in South Africa?

Yes, PayPal is available to users in South Africa. Their partnership with First National Bank (FNB) has made this possible. All you need to create an account is a valid South African account (from any bank, not just FNB), an income tax number and a personal ID that you can use as proof of identity.

Can I use Paypal for online casino deposits & withdrawals in South Africa? 

No, you cannot use PayPal for online casino payments. Since it is a US-based company, it has to adhere to the strict rules that the US has set regarding online gambling. You can only use PayPal at online casinos in fully regulated markets to avoid potential legal issues. Since South African online casinos currently operate in a legal grey area, PayPal can’t allow the use of its services.

Is Paypal a safe and trusted payment method?

Yes, PayPal is known worldwide for having some of the strongest user protections of any payment method. PayPal also has an established track record of protecting its users by following all local regulations everywhere that they operate. This adds an extra layer of security.

How fast are Paypal transactions at online casinos?

While we all love things to happen as quickly as possible, doing things right takes time. The security procedures that PayPal has in place mean that even if there is approval for a transaction on both ends, it can still take some time to clear. Online casinos usually take at least 24 to 72 hours to process transactions. You will usually receive the funds you’ve withdrawn after one to four days.

Do I have to pay extra fees/charges with Paypal transactions?

PayPal’s fee structure depends on what type of account you have – Individual or Business – and what kind of service you’re using. For basic transactions using a personal account, there are no fees. There is, however, typically a fee for converting currency. Since PayPal doesn’t yet accept ZAR, you will have to pay the 3%-5% conversion fee if you receive funds.

How good is Paypal compared to other online casino payments?

Like direct competitors Skrill, Neteller, and Ecopayz, Paypal is simply an e-wallet. They are all very similar, though PayPal definitely benefits from a better reputation and cutting-edge digital security. These other wallets usually have lower fees to deter users from PayPal and more responsive online support.

When should I use Paypal at online casinos?

PayPal is one of the easiest and safest deposit methods at online casinos - but it’s not available everywhere. It operates only in territories where online casinos are fully legalised and regulated, not in grey markets like South Africa.

When should I not use Paypal at online casinos?

PayPal has higher transaction fees than most other e-wallets due to the scale and brand recognition of the company. If you want to decrease additional costs, you’d better use a different e-wallet.


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Melissa Kruger Author at PlayCasino
Melissa Kruger

E-Payments and Casino Payout Specialist

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Melissa Kruger is your go-to gal if you're trying to navigate the complex landscape of online casino payments and withdrawals. She's tried and tested all possible payment methods at South ...continue reading

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