Posted by : Amitha Amarasinghe Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The news came few months back that PayPal expanded their services to Sri Lanka. I was among one of the very first Sri Lankans to apply for an account, just to learn a bit more about how Paypal really works.

Unfortunately, the sign up process was little too confusing to me and as a result my account was held restricted by PayPal. I lost my interest to resolve all their requirements, cuz I didn't have any urgent transactions to do with PayPal. Last week, I had some time to re-visit my PayPal account and, resolve the problems they have listed. Entering the 4-digit credit card code, and uploading a billing proof.

Today, I was informed that they have released my account for business! So far, we only can use PayPal to send money. They haven't still enabled the receive money option to Sri Lanka. What we can do is, transferring a balance to the PayPal account through your credit card, and then use PayPal when buying something online. That "something" can be an item you won on an eBay auction.

What benefits this gives to you, when in any case you can straight away use your credit card on the site where you are purchasing?

I asked this same question from me. Thing is, here you have to "trust" only one website, for your credit card security when you purchase something online. If you trust PayPal, that they will not mess up with your credit card security, then you can live in peace after making a purchase online. Because, your credit card details is only known to PayPal, and you can buy stuff on any number of sites you wish, but still none of those sites will request you to enter your credit card details.

Still, I haven't used my PayPal account to buy something online. I will do so soon, when I need to order a book or a DVD next time.

Overall, I see this as a good sign that Sri Lanka is gathering the basic infrastructure it needed to have, to form a steady "online economy". I am skeptical about how the Central Bank of Sri Lanka's reaction going to be on this. They look at "paying on the internet" in a very pessimistic angle, thanks to the pyramid scammers who spoiled the ecommerce industry in Sri Lanka, at the outset. Even as at now, CBSL has an upper limit restriction of Rs.100,000/- for paying by credit card, on the internet.

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