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iHub By Joseph / October 31, 2013

How to use Paypal with MPESA (Follow up to the Lunch with Paypal)


Guest Post By: Roger Gichuhi

Last week we had representatives from PayPal at the iHub discussing PayPal in emerging markets and understanding user needs.

The biggest challenge has been withdrawing funds from PayPal, before this was only possible via a US bank account, but now it’s possible via Equity Bank at a 1.5% fee. The service has been up and running for a few months now, but it was officially announced last week. To get started and link your Equity Bank account to PayPal go here.

One of the questions raised during the lunch at iHub, was integration of Mobile Money with PayPal. This will definitely be a big boost for the unbanked African market space. Malvina Goldfield, Head of PayPal’s Business Development for Africa expressed PayPal’s desire to do this, but the mobile money providers have to meet global standards requirements and collect more user info, which they currently don’t do. Perhaps this is something that might change in the future.


However there’s a way you can link MPESA with Paypal via an over the counter VISA debit card. This has been made possible by Nation partnership with Diamond Trust Bank to introduce NationHela.

  1. Get a NationHela card – The NationHela debit card can be purchased at leading supermarkets across the country or at Diamond Trust Bank outlets and NationHela agents.
  2. Activate the card: When you buy the NationHela card, you need to activate the card first before you start using it. Activating the card means using your mobile phone to dial the USSD code *348# You will be prompted to send an SMS with the last 8 digits of your card pack ID which is found on your PIN mailer and the last 8 digits of your Card number. Please note that all card pack ID numbers are unique and that you cannot use someone else’s number. You will then receive an SMS confirming that your card has been activated. Write your name and sign on the back of your card immediately
  3. Load money from Mpesa to card: Log into the Pay Bill menu on the M-PESA account and enter the NationHela PayBill number 516602. Enter the NationHela mobile number (Your mobile number) and amount you’d like to top up.
  4. Link card to PayPal: Use this guide
  5. Shop around


Author : Joseph

A USIU trained journalist & an aspiring animator Joseph thrives behind the camera. He is a still photography and videography aficionado. Joe is currently the director/editor behind African Tech Bits, an iHub production that features start ups in the tech scene. This Canonite can mostly be seen at the iHub in the company of his Canon 550D.

  • chrisphptonic at 19:17:10PM Thursday, October 31, 2013

    we need more info about this!!!

  • Wilson at 10:15:29AM Monday, November 4, 2013

    Its a welcome relief, yet linking the national Hela Card to Pay pal, will make you be able to activate or verified your pay pal Account.
    Its does not allow one to transfer the cash in your pay pal account to the card!

  • sam at 20:45:32PM Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    i think ii juat s hit myself. ati paypal from shagz with tthe celly ror

  • william at 13:49:29PM Friday, November 8, 2013

    this is finally almost getting there

  • Fredrick at 23:51:53PM Wednesday, February 26, 2014

    You still can’t transfer cash from PayPal to a card. It requires a bank account in the US. The only way I’m currently aware of is through Equity Bank. Though the catch is you have to be an Equity Bank account holder.

  • peter at 12:40:09PM Saturday, March 8, 2014

    withdraw this service from equity bank,they are not yet there in terms of it’s operation or better still train their staff.

  • Bainito at 16:07:31PM Friday, April 4, 2014

    Why is it still difficult to withdraw money to your debit/credit card from paypal?

  • Catherine at 03:14:13AM Tuesday, June 24, 2014

    Can one fund PayPal account through natioinal hela card?


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