PayPal in Armenia: a dream or coming soon?

Have you every tried to open a PayPal account to receive money in an Armenian back account? If yes, then you would have seen the message -  “The country you are located now does not support the full system”.

WHY? We know it irritates everyone who is trying to sell goods and services over the Internet. Your customers in other countries wants to make payments in PayPal, but you can not receive money through PayPal.

PayPal in Armenia and FOR Armenia…

This was the phrase spread all over the Internet, on social media, facebook, linkedin, on forums, discussions, etc.. It seemed for some time something was going to change, but we are sorry to report there is still no good news till now: the world giant for e-payments is not fully operational in Armenia.

PayPal is the most popular online payment processor in the world.193 countries and regions and over 230 million accounts worldwide use Paypal to send and receive money in 24 currencies. Paypal is renowned for being most comfortable online platform for money transfer all over the world. Paypal is fast, cheap and convenient. Over time, PayPal has significantly improved its security which has attracted an even larger number of users that were looking to make transactions online.

So lets come back to our main topic: why is Paypal important for Armenia?

According to PayPal, the main restriction hold Armenia without PayPal is that e-commerce banking infrastructure is not well developed in Armenia. Although having fully functional PayPal in Armenia would benefit all parties involved, this dream is not a reality because of laws and financial regulations. According to Armenian Economy Minister’s advisor Vahe Danielyan, PayPal must be available in Armenia only after E-commerce infrastructure is created and the obstacles are eliminated. Both the  Central Bank of Armenia and Ministry of Economy are designing strategies to bring the full system to our country. In the meantime, Armenia is losing precious time and money for not having a real working e-commerce infrastructure.

The first complainers regarding the absense of PayPal in Armenia are freelancers and small local webdesign shops. Armenian designers and developers providing services mostly for foreign clients suffer from the lack of alternatives to setup a merchant account and receive payment for services rendered. Larger eCommerce companies can setup an account to accept credit cards, but this is expensive and not practical for smaller freelancers. The whole IT industry in Armenia loses when our specialists can’t sell products and services abroad. Most customers, especially those who prefer freelancers, like paying with PayPal because they feel comfortable and safe using it.

The question now is what can we do about it? If pressuring through online media isn’t helping, let’s start looking at some alternatives. In our 2014 e-Commerce edition, we bring you an interesting idea: An eCommerce Sogo Shosha - a Solution to Armenia’s small businesses. It’s a must-read. If Armenia is serious about becoming a tech-enabled country it must consider e-Commerce seriously.