An Open Letter to John Donahoe, CEO of eBay.

January 11, 2009
John Donahoe
President and CEO
eBay Inc.
2145 Hamilton Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125

Subject: PayPal for Pakistan

Dear Mr. Donahoe,

I understand you are someone who is immensely busy and have thousands of other important issues to deal with, but I thought I’d try my luck with you. I’ve been writing to PayPal / eBay since 2002 regarding issuance of PayPal accounts for Pakistan, in 2005 I started including eBay in my correspondences to include eBay accounts for Pakistan.

I have never received a reply back. Twice in the past, I received a reply back (filed via customer services) that my ‘complaint’ has been lodged and PayPal will look into it. Other than that, have not gotten a satisfactory reply.

The issue – simple. Why is eBay / PayPal not being offered for Pakistan?

I just finished reading an article on your hand-on approach in TIME Magazine (Issue 12 January 2009 – Asian Edition, Page 35, written by Kristina Dell), it simply compelled me to get on the computer and write another letter to eBay / PayPal. The article gave me hope (again!)

Pakistan – purely from your business perspective may not be that big of an economy, but it surely has an economy that is larger and more active than Bhutan, Chad, Honduras, Somalia, Maldives, Rwanda, Uganda, Yemen —combined!

If these countries can have the privilege of obtaining a PayPal account, why not Pakistan?

As Pakistanis cannot legally have a PayPal account, 1000s of users here circumvent the system and obtain PayPal IDs from their friends and relatives abroad to use and conduct commerce. This should be of no surprise to you.

The same can be said about eBay.

Like I cited, we may not be that big on your radar, perhaps we’re not even equated to a blip, but a country of 170 Million, to be blatantly ignored (you may agree or disagree on my choice of words, if the above mentioned countries can have PayPal, I’d like to know what piece of legislation, law, banking infrastructure, etc. prevents eBay/PayPal from including Pakistan under your countries-in-which-you-work umbrella).

Pakistan’s predominant trading Partner happens to be the US. Within respect to both imports and exports (discounting oil).

The first time I experienced eBay and PayPal in the summer of 2001 whilst briefly working in the US – I was mesmerized to say the least. Till date, I wish we had the privilege of conducting business on a website so many take for granted.

This is not meant to be a protest letter by any means. In fact it is one of a very humble request. A request whose time has come, and was long overdue. I have in the past cited my willingness to help, providing information or getting eBay / PayPal connected to Banks, regulators, whomsoever you would like to meet. I am, in no way proposing or advocating a ‘role’ for myself – my intention is just to help.

Is it too much to think that perhaps this one letter will get the ball rolling. Or if the ball is already rolling, yield the desired result. Will this letter be tacked on your things-to-do board and actually get done with? Is this the right time to plead the case for my country?

I’ll end my letter with a quote from Dale Carnegie (sorry, couldn’t find a befitting Irish quote) “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

I just want to be able to have an eBay and a PayPal account from Pakistan. In the event you want to reach me, the easiest way is via email, my personal email address is and official email address is

Net Access Communication Systems (Private) Limited
Karachi, Pakistan.

CC: Mr. Scott Thompson, President, PayPal.

This page was last updated on January 12, 2009.

44 thoughts on “An Open Letter to John Donahoe, CEO of eBay.”

  1. The problem is in a place where people think 5 times before using their credit card online – how can you expect them to give full authority to their bank accounts to a third party. Quite frankly, the level of trust among the masses in Pakistan hasnt reached that level yet. Also, where is the accountability procedure in case of a fraudulent activity?Additionally, more then 65% of our bank (branches) aren’t even Online nation-wide let alone Internationally. We make use of internal switches like 1Link and MNET and half of the bank aren’t even a signee of International switches like Maestro, Cirrus or VISA electron. The state of “credit cards” is so that you have to send a FAX to authorize an internet transaction 24-48 hours before in some banks — how can you imagine a split-second transaction that too via Direct Debit in such a scenario!

    Consumers are way too insignificant in this case as compared to the assurances PayPal (and alike) requires from Government + banks to ensure that they will eventually (and promptly) get the money from consumers’ bank accounts.

    PayPal requires proof of ID, proof of address, proof of telephone, proof of business (non-profit or otherwise) and proof of bank account all of which can easily be forged in Pakistan. What is the use of a PayPal service where most of the account doesnt even get approved by PayPal authority?

    Maybe we do have the required laws – but somehow we might have failed in projecting it to the world as effectively as Yemen, Uganda or Rwanda has done.

  2. @Asim: The situation is not as bleak as you put it. To start out with, PayPal will be a ‘receive’ only scenario, i.e. we will be able to receive money in. With respect to direct debit from the account, both the underlying ATM switches are able to do that. PayPal also places very strict limits as to what a daily outflow transactional amount can be. No matter what the balance in my bank account is – it first has to be transferred to PayPal (which can for international accounts take a couple of days), and only then the daily balance limit comes into play.I understand what you are saying, but lets give it a chance. Surely we are not that bad as Yemen, Uganda, Rwanda or even Somalia. We have an excellent banking system and an infrastructure that is getting there. It things like fax authorization that has kept fraud to a low level. I’m not if faxing is required, but I do a LOT of internet based transactions on my credits cards, yes – occasionally there are problems, but I learn to live and deal with these nuisances that the banks pave in my way, but then I also remember, such nuisances also protect the banks and in return me.

    The whole essence of PayPal is that it is based on a trust associated with an email address. You think PayPal has not seen its fair share of fraud? I bet they have. I’m sure it is something other than our banking setup that is keeping them at bay!

  3. Oh! Heh. My point is not whether its possible or not. Obviously fraud is a factor in such services and everybody account that. Technology is definitely there. But tell me, if I launch a website just like PayPal and does everything that PayPal does and even integrates with PayPal users — would you authorize me to access your bank details with complete authority?Maybe you might. But most of us wont. Why, because we know we are not protected should 10,000 rupees be taken off our bank account. Where do we run to? Banks? Court? My service?

    The daily withdrawal and sending limits on PayPal can easily be lifted if you provide them with credentials they require (which like I said, everybody can in Pakistan). Its good and a great protection for normal consumers but for folks who think ‘very bad’ might just get away with stuff ….. :D

  4. PayPal has a dropdownn list with countries like Niue (where IS that?) and excludes Pakistan … something it would have to do on purpose for all standard dropdown lists everywhere contain it by default. Many of us pay online for services and goods from the USA … Amazon is one example. I use 7 other major sources regularly and others off and on. Kagi offers a similar facility for some purchases and I have used it very often. Surely PayPal has no extraordinary security issues that others don’t. I think they are just being shitty!

  5. This is not about fraudlent transactions. Paypal and Ebay have fraud detection systems in place that have an ability to non-repudiate, transact with confidentiality. However I believe this is to do with lack of human trust.FK well done and keep trying, this is important for Pakistan and its enterprising youth and communities to drive. Revenue opportunities and foreing investments are desperately needed and we should do all that we can to ensure timely enablement for a digital economy.

    Perhaps we should think around a trust infrastructure with some of the foreign banks that is already there. HSBC, ABN AMRO (RBS), CITIGROUP can all be approached to allow this.

    Has anyone contacted any of the ministries to drive this?

  6. @KK: PASHA’s President Jehan Ara is now also taking up the case and will be writing to PayPal & Ebay. Hopefully, PSEB (Pakistan Software Export Board) and others will follow suit. I will keep you all posted on this.Regretfully, Citigroup is scaling down on operations in Pakistan, significantly. I think we need not worry how PayPal and more importantly Ebay will be setup in Pakistan, they already have it figured out. If they can implement in countries we consider much more backwards than us, then I am sure they can work in Pakistan. For some reason, I fear it is a policy issue – especially with respect to money laundering, etc. than a business-case or technology issue. I hope I am wrong.

  7. PayPal didn’t give us opportunity to explore so thats why I don’t have much knowledge about it. My question is how its different from AlertPay, AlertPay seems cool , I have it’s account although its under process, they are verifying my attachments. It has all same options as paypal ? Or any difference?

  8. @Kashif: Most of these systems are in some way or the other copies/analogous to each other. The issue simply remains, the de facto online payment methodology is Paypal. We can argue as much as we want, but the sheer number of transactions happening with Paypal, and the number of merchants accepting Paypal far outnumbers everyone else (perhaps even combined).

  9. @FK, I am not sure my verfication will be successfuly processed or not because AlertPay wants me to submit Photo proof which i given them by scanned passport, but about Address Neither my Electricity bill shows my name , i dont have cc so no statment, Finally their 4th option is for Bankstatment which shows Your address, but I am surprised to see my bank statmend doesn’t show my address, LOL! Anyways my ticket is in process hoping for their Positive reply !

  10. For everyone’s information who think Paypal’s fraud detection is very super cool or they are not coming to Pakistan because of Frauds.. Frauds do Happen on paypal I have been cheated for like $200, but its not quite big, PayPal reversed all the money back to the credit card… and the client for which I worked for just disappeared… the person was from US and he used some US card to do the fraud or whatever.. so frauds do happen in US too… They may be less in number… and I agree with FK.. I can bet more frauds in Somalia… then Pakistan… So…

  11. m0ix – no wonder why Pakistani have bad repo, If PayPal doesn’t want Pakistani to use it why you using it . :) When money is involved always use legal ways. AlertPay can be used as PayPal alternative and its up to us how much we can make it popular, its already on most of the site with PayPal for online transaction. Its secure and FREE to start.Faisal Bro check this out, giving you url , they also have refferel system:

  12. The point is that we should raise a voice from every palyform if any such injustice is seen. We should not turn dumb, we can speak freely.If such companies are turning a deaf ear it means they are dicriminating against a muslim country as explained by Faisal Bhai such sort of discrimination be stopped forthwith and paypal be provided in Pakistan.

    Trust me Paypal guys you are loosing a huge market and under estimating Pakistan.

  13. I totally agree with FK and really impressed that you pointed out something very important which I have thought so many times and never thought pening down my thoughts well done and keep trying!!! I’m with you and fully support ur cause .Kudos to you FK

  14. well written Mr. Faisal, but i think this wouldnt work unless we improve our banking system. Do you really think that our banking system is at international level ?I can give you my example, I opened up new account at UBL and that embarressed me alot and wasted lot of my time.Another issue i used their debit visa card, they deducted the ammount from my account but still the third party havent received any thing. I filled the dispute form and submitted to them, the process time was 3 months lol and after 3 months when i contacted them they said we dont have your dispute form or any thing like that so tell me Faisal do you think John Donahoe is gone mad ? and dont think i am just a normal spammer of my story is fake i have all evidence, i can show you proof.

    Regards Saahir

  15. Dear FriendsI never wrote anything to Paypal for the same subject because I have habbit to look at myself first before saying anything to others.

    We are living in a country that have complex Government issues like Custom, Taxes and moreover border with Terrorist countries declared by them and it is accepted by all of us that we also dont have any check at border line for migrants from going here and there, A thousand Rs is enough for a terrorist to enter from Afghan border to Pakistan. Well this is just a small example.

    Rest lets talk about government.Government wants huge taxes to fill up their pockets and make Castles in Switzerland and London. This have link to freelancers work because Paypal dont takes any taxes from such people but Pakistan Government have big issues with it. If you have a friend that have foreign paypal account then ask himself if he is paying taxes to his governemnt for freelance or not.

    As far as Ebay is concerned, MAN FORGET IT…..even asking about is useless…. becauselets assume Ebay is working here, you buyed something and wants it to be delivered to Pakistan but you did not received it because your good custom stopped it and now will ask you 150% tax for it even if its 2nd hand thing. Now forget your money that you have paid to Ebay as well as your goods that you buyed.

    Guys.., we live in a country where a $5000 (Rs. 400,000) car is sold for Rs. 15,000,000/ that is 150% taxes……

    My point is that its not Paypal…. , its our Government that have alot of conflicts with Paypal regulations.

    Paypal is also a company and wants to earn more by giving access to Pakistan but when they review our country’s rules/regulations then they rejects pakistan.

    I have just discussed a couple of reasons here but there are a thousand more. All we can do is request paypal but by practical thinking its not possible unless first we have changed our whole government and banking system.

    First we meet the requirements and then apply for registration not apply first and later meet the requirements.

    If you want Pakistan to get register with Paypal then first Pakistan has to meet their requirements and we cant do anything about it…

  16. Dear SJD:We live in a country where people don’t pay taxes, hence the taxes are applied on things you need/have to buy. Why we don’t pay taxes or have resistance to it – it a completely separate topic. One that is not being debated here.

    However, coming to Paypal, its not about Ebay per se, its PayPal, the reason of writing to Ebay is because Ebay owns Paypal.

    Believe me as far as banking, etc. is concerned, we are very well regulated (you would know this if you have any association with the financial sector). Our KYC, AML, etc. are all top-notch, sure we have a few inconsistencies, but I can confidently say our banking system is better than the countries I had mentioned in my letter.

    The main argumentative point right now remains, is the “what/why” is stopping Paypal from coming here. It is very easy to be negative about everything, however, I have taken the positive and patient approach. You never know.

    We certainly do NOT have to change the whole government and banking system. How do you know our government has conflicts with Paypal? Have you been told about it?

    Please do not speculate something with which you have not had first hand experience with (vis-a-vis Paypal and Pakistan). If you do, then please share it.

    If you know the requirements of Paypal that Pakistan has to meet, please list those as I have been after this case for over 7 1/2 years and have not managed to get those requirements.

  17. The reason they don’t allow accounts from Pakistan, as I see it, is, simply put, racism! And it’s not the first or the only American company that does it. There are several others, one of them being Dell. This I found out when I recently purchased a new Dell laptop and wanted to get it registered in my name on their website. They don’t even have Pakistan on their country list! And as most people probably know, their customer/technical support is routed to – you guessed it – india. Go figure!

  18. Hey..!u done the rite buzz, but according to the Pakistan rules, it can’t survive, coz as per my information its a jew company.. so may be in future it works…

    Also people can make account of Paypal with anyother address of any country for the money transfer… or can use any other service like AlertPay wait for the best.. :)

  19. Now u can Use eBay from Pakistan easy thought Moneybooker simple visit Money Booker website and open here your free account marge your Ebay account with Moneyboker they will send u one latter by Post for verify your address with one code …. u have to put these code in verification box then your eBay will marge with moneyboker and u can easy deposit your Money Booker account and enjoy eBay sell purchasing :) ….. PayPal not only the way to fund ebay account ….. PayPal ask for 4billion yearly Security advanced deposit as all other banks Policy everyone PayPal is Big Internet Bank …… but everyone know our Hukmeran Only know how to keep in save in their pocket they cant invest for grownup :P

  20. @ Kashif

    Alertpay/Moneybookers is all crap, you couldn’t survive this up, plus i have all this setup for long ago now, 2co is better alternative, plus there is no need to bark on ebay it works better with moneybookers.

  21. I think a lot of people mentioning the banking infrastructure are missing the point. FK wants to receive money which is a simple deposit into a bank. If Pakistani banks can’t cope with a simple electronic fund transfer then how on earth are businesses functioning? If Paypal wanted to have a presence they could simply restrict withdrawals to cheque only to start with. The reason isn’t the banking system- It’s something else.@Those mentioning other services- The key term is “Userbase”, if you ask someone to jump through hoops and setup accounts just so they can pay you money they will take their business elsewhere – To someone who does have a Paypal account. I have done it many times myself.

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