PayPal phases out donations to foreign non-profits and charities from Singapore accounts starting tomorrow, the 21st of March, and will complete this by the end of the month.
This decision is a result of PayPal failing to get a remittance license in the country from the Monetary Authority of Singapore. PayPal was able to offer remittance services over the years, till the governing body issued an instruction recently that required PayPal to stop this function in lieu of a license.
Besides donations, buying goods from non-profits overseas is also not allowed, because they aren’t registered as commercial entities. The only way for a Singapore account holder to donate to a foreign charity through PayPal is if the latter has a Singapore arm set up in the country and registers itself with the payments provider.
Phasing out donations is the second step of the company’s reaction to the regulatory instruction, which saw it halt personal payments made from Singapore accounts, explained PayPal’s Vice President of Asia-Pacific merchant services, Lawrence Chan.
He said the proportion of donations being made overseas was “very very small” from account holders here, and added that PayPal has not tried to grow this portion of its business over the years, choosing to focus on commercial transactions (which bring it actual revenue, obviously).
PayPal’s policies differ from country-to-country, depending on regulators. In India, payments to non-profits in the country isn’t allowed either. Japanese users can donate to charities, but personal payments were halted in 2010. Users in Taiwan and Brazil also can’t do personal payments.