Kenyan Freelancers, Online Writers Frozen Out Of PayPal Accounts

Some users reported their funds being held by the service, thus being unable to make transactions. Others revealed that they lost their accounts without warning.

Kenyan Freelancers, Online Writers Frozen Out Of PayPal Accounts

Scores of Kenyan writers and online freelancers were forced to scramble for alternative solutions on Friday, February 26 after PayPal, an American company that facilitates online payments reportedly locked them out of the platform.

Some users reported their funds being held by the service, thus being unable to make transactions. Others revealed that they lost their accounts without warning.

The American payment platform is very popular amongst online writers and freelancers as they earn money from completing their tasks on the internet.

"Avoid PayPal at all cost even if it's "the only means" to accept payment." warned one user.

"It’s mostly an identity issue. On PayPal, as soon as I receive $3000 per day, my transaction is flagged," noted another.

The freelancers also complained that they frantically tried to reach out to the company for follow-up but received no response.

Others shared screenshots of their blocked accounts on Twitter, some showing that their accounts were temporarily suspended while others completely blocked from transacting with the company.

A majority of Kenyans who use PayPal offer services such as academic writing, website development, research, virtual assistant jobs, and transcription among others. They have offered an alternative employment method for thousands of youth across the country.

The service is linked to one bank in the whole country, Equity Bank. Safaricom also supports transactions across Mpesa and PayPal to make it easier for users to deposit and withdraw cash.

According to Ajira, a digital program under the Ministry of ICT, a majority of online work is done by people in developing countries in Asia and Africa. Research showed that by 2017, 40,000 Kenyans were registered on Upwork, a leading freelance platform.

Normally, freelancers sign up on the platforms where a number of people post assignments. The users compete for these assignments and the one who gets it is paid through PayPal upon completion.

Not only can freelance writing bring recognition to an author as an alternative to writing for media houses, but one can also earn an honest income from it.

Currently, platforms such as Bitcoin, Skrill, Neteller, Barter, Perfect Money, SendWave ChipperCash, Payoneer, and WorldRemit offer alternative payment methods to PayPal.

Assignments are posted on many online platforms for freelancers to complete for clients. Once done, the payments are made by the clients to the freelancers through digital money platforms such as PayPal and Western Union.