If you love to shop online, work for an international company, or have business partners overseas, you’ve probably encountered PayPal multiple times. Likewise, if you have recurring bills or pay for subscriptions, you might have even used this payment gateway.
PayPal is a payment system that uses cash-substitutes like electronic fund transfer, credit cards, or debit cards for you to be able to send or receive money. It partners with online marketplaces and merchants to make cash transactions convenient, especially across borders.
It’s not surprising that Alibaba, a renowned eCommerce giant, partnered with PayPal to implement it as a payment system for its sister company AliExpress back in April 2010. Now serving over 200 countries and regions, PayPal is justifiably efficient.
The said partnership, however, was abolished after a year of implementation on August 3, 2011. One of several reasons is that PayPal wanted to charge a 7% processing fee for transactions that involve consumers’ personal PayPal account. This fee was on top of the 5% to 8% commission fee that sellers have to pay to AliExpress per transaction. Undeniably, it hurt the merchants’ profitability.
Additionally, there were PayPal chargeback concerns from European and North American sellers. Chargeback is a charge refunded to a card used in payment after a successful dispute by the customer. The rapid growth of the North American and the European market opened more opportunities for claims and disputes. It might put PayPal at greater future risk and adds to the cost of cross-border transactions. Thus, this might be one reason why PayPal asked for a higher processing charge.
So, the question is, can you use PayPal on AliExpress in 2021?
The answer is yes, BUT there are several conditions.
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Can I Use PayPal on AliExpress?
Currently, buyers from the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, and Italy can use PayPal on AliExpress. Buyers from unsupported countries cannot use it. PayPal will not also allow you to change your country registered in your account unless you have to move abroad. If you move, though, it is a rule that you must close your account and open a new one with your new address.
However, only a limited number of suppliers still offer PayPal as an option. Most of these suppliers, still, are from the UK and US. Buyers can only use PayPal on AliExpress if the suppliers offer it as one of the payment methods.
Yet, PayPal is a reputable payment processing technology, so it’s no wonder that others would prefer to use it. For customers, suppliers, and those starting their dropshipping business on AliExpress, there’s a solution for this dilemma.
There are three ways for customers to know whether the seller is offering PayPal as a payment option:
1. Look for PayPal in the Payment section on the store on AliExpress.
To do this, click on the product on the AliExpress listing. You’ll see the product details beside the product image. Click on either Add to Cart or Buy Now options which will open to either the shopping cart or the order confirmation page.
Below the Shipping Information section on the Order Confirmation Page, you’ll see the Payment Methods section. Below it, click on the highlighted Select payment method text. Then you’ll see the available payment methods on that store. On the flip side, on the Shopping Cart Page, look for the item you added to your cart.
Click the red Buy from this seller button located at the bottom right of the added product. It will open to your order details. Follow the process you did for the Order Confirmation Page, and you’ll see the payment options available.
2. Set the Ship To button found on the AliExpress homepage to UK/US.
Go to the AliExpress website. You’ll see navigation buttons on top of the homepage. Click the Ship To button which shows a flag and name of a location. Set the location to the UK, US, or you can try other locations supported by PayPal, which are enumerated above. Then click on Save. It will filter the products able to be shipped to the location you saved. This way, there’s a greater probability of PayPal showing as a payment method.
3. Contact the supplier directly to confirm if PayPal is an accepted payment option.
This step might take time, but if you don’t have a credit card and you are after more convenience, this might well be worth it. What happens here is that the transfer of payment happens outside AliExpress. Once the seller and the buyer agreed to use PayPal as the medium for payment, the seller will send an invoice to the buyer. The buyer or customer will confirm the necessary information through the invoice. Then, the buyer makes the transfer of payment from their personal PayPal account directly to the supplier’s PayPal account. After this, the seller will fulfill the customer’s order. The customer will just wait for the delivery of the item.
This third process is as easy as buying at the Facebook market. However, the AliExpress Buyer Protection policy may not apply for orders where payment is made outside the platform.
Some people recommend using a third party to make the PayPal payments on AliExpress. They call them PayPal agents. However, more often than not, these are frauds who use spoofing to scam innocent buyers or sellers. It is far riskier, so if you can, stick to the three steps explained above.
How Do I Handle Returns or Disputes When Using PayPal?
While, for the most part, digital advancement makes life easier, it also allows fraudsters to become more creative with their schemes. A buyer can claim that an item did not arrive despite having received it to get a refund. With this, the buyer can keep the product and the refunded amount at the same time.
A supplier may also intentionally ship products that are different in quality or features from the ones featured at their store. They may also claim that they haven’t received payment from the buyer for the product they ordered. Your account may also get hacked as soon as you send your information. There are a lot more, sometimes unimaginable, ways fraudsters can scam you.
But worry not.
PayPal incorporates a Buyer Protection policy that protects users when they shop in online marketplaces like AliExpress. But there are certain conditions for a PayPal user to be qualified for its Buyer Protection Policy:
You have to use your PayPal account in completing transactions with merchants from AliExpress or any other marketplace or website.
You need to open a dispute at the PayPal Resolution Center. It is under the kebab menu button or More button in your PayPal account. You have to report the problem within the timeframe shown in the transaction details. Raising a dispute notifies the supplier of issues regarding the product or delivery. If negotiation between the seller and buyer fails, you can escalate the dispute to a claim.
You may raise the dispute to a claim within 20 days from opening the dispute. AliExpress sellers can also file a PayPal dispute against a buyer. Claims will be subject to PayPal’s investigation within 10-14 days. In most cases, it can take up to 30 days. Furthermore, buyers have 180 days to notify PayPal of items that did not arrive or did not match the store’s description.
There are cases when the buyer asks for a chargeback or bank reversal and not a claim. In this case, the buyer needs to contact their card issuer or bank. PayPal may take up to 30 days disputing the chargeback, while the buyer’s card issuer may take up to 75 days to arrive at a decision and resolve the chargeback.
Whether you are a seller or buyer, you must have a good standing to be secured through the Buyer Protection. PayPal investigates and verifies the accounts. Usually, you’ll receive an email of your standing after verification.
Furthermore, other fraudulent activities can be reported by buyers or sellers to PayPal through its Resolution Center. Unauthorized activities, transactions, or fake emails are just some examples of activities that you can dispute. However, you can do all these through a desktop because the PayPal app does not have a Resolution Center yet.
Conversely, PayPal has a separate Seller Protection Program. It protects sellers from false claims and disputes. It also allows sellers to challenge claims. Sellers may refer to the User Agreement to know whether they are eligible or not.
When it comes to returning the items to the seller, the buyer has two options: reach an agreement with the seller or contact AliExpress. You will notice that PayPal is not part of the option here. It’s because PayPal rules dictate that you must ship the items back to the seller in the same condition when it arrives. In order to qualify for the PayPal refund for the returned items, you must ship them back to the seller within 10 days. You must handle the shipping charges, but you may also activate PayPal’s Return Shipping on Us. Signing up for this may either give you a free shipping label or a shipping fee refund.
Here are two ways on how to handle the return of items:
1. Contact the Seller.
As a customer who wants a refund or wants the delivered item replaced, you must negotiate with the seller. Agree on the return details, such as when and where to ship the item. You must also make clear who handles the shipping cost or the return. Usually, though, it is the buyer who pays for the return cost.
How to Contact the Seller:
- Log in to your AliExpress account.
- Move the cursor to your Account, located at the top right corner of the website. Then, from the dropdown list, select My Orders.
- Look for the order in question. Then, click on the Contact now icon to message the seller. At times, you have to hover the cursor on the seller’s name to see it. You can also directly go to the seller’s page to message the seller.
- Type your message on the message box and upload a photo using the Upload photo option to give proofs.
- If you arrive at a deadlock with the seller, that’s the time you can escalate your return concern to AliExpress.
2. Return items via Free Return Service of AliExpress.
AliExpress offers a Free Return Service wherein customers get an extra 15 days on top of the on-time delivery date to decide whether they’ll keep the item or return it. As of the moment, this service supports only 16 countries, including the USA, UK, Australia, and Canada. Each country has a specific return process under the Free Return Service.
However, all of it involves opening a dispute in returning goods. You will also get a Free Return tracking number. Then, you have to print the Free Return label.
Lastly, you have to send the package to the designated return point within 15 days. AliExpress will refund the cost of the item. But if the package is empty or the items inside it are incomplete, you’ll not be refunded or refunded in half.
What Other Payment Methods Does AliExpress Accept?
Paying with PayPal might be convenient for some because it directly links to your bank account. But some might look for other methods that are easier for them and available in their locations. The good thing is, there are alternative payment options when you shop at AliExpress.
Alipay is an online and mobile payment system developed by Alibaba and Ant Group. Its founder is the e-Commerce investor and business magnate Jack Ma. Launched in 2003, it now offers its e-Wallet service to more than 110 countries.
How it works:
- Download the Alipay e-Wallet App.
- Set up your account by inputting valid information. Save your debit or credit card information.
- Verify your information.
- Set Alipay as your payment method. Pay your online purchases using the app.
You can also pay with Alipay on your desktop. You will only need to scan a QR code from the Seller’s store. When you click the Scan button on the Alipay mobile app, it will scan the QR code on the AliExpress website. Clicking the Pay button in the app transfers the payment to the AliExpress seller. It’s effortless and time-saving.
DEBIT OR CREDIT CARDS
Debit or credit card is one of the most convenient methods of payment when shopping online. Buying products with cards in AliExpress is easy. You only need to input your card details once and save the information. Your card then becomes linked to AliExpress. You’ll be able to save time by not having to type your details again.
AliExpress accepts MasterCard credit cards, Maestro, American Express debit cards, and Visa credit and debit cards. It also accepts other payment options like select prepaid and virtual cards.
Like Alipay, banks and credit card issuers use escrow payment methods. They withhold the payment for the supplier until the item reaches the buyer. It’s a process meant to safeguard transactions and limit fraud.
No debit or credit card? No worries! bank transfer or wire transfer assures that you can still shop on AliExpress. However, you can only use this payment method for purchases above $20. You can also only pay one at a time for all the products you ordered when you use this method. Additionally, because it is an international transfer, banks usually charge an international transfer fee. Moreover, this option does not support all countries. You’ll be able to see all the payment options available in your country by clicking More Options once you check out.
Also, be aware of sending payments via your bank. You should transfer to AliExpress and not directly to the seller to protect your data privacy.
Paying through Western Union (WU) also requires an order of above $20 and no more than $50,000. Western Union requires going to a participating WU agent location and sending the payment there. You are required to bring an ID for verification. Then, you need to fill out their Blue form. After you settle the payment, WU will give you a Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN). You can use it to track your transaction. Western Union does not cover any fraud protection policy, though. They will not help you process a refund once you get scammed. It makes it risky to use this as a payment option.
OTHER PAYMENT METHODS
Other payment methods supported by AliExpress are:
To be honest, AliExpress supports numerous payment methods. Yet, the payment options and variety largely depend on each country.
How Does AliExpress Buyer Protection Work?
The AliExpress Buyer Protection Policy is a standard set of guarantees meant to protect the buyers from fraudulent transactions. Under this policy, buyers are given a 15-day money-back guarantee for mainly three conditions:
- The items did not arrive within the given timeframe of delivery shown at the store.
- The delivered items are different from the ordered items.
- The delivered items are broken, damaged, and have poor quality.
AliExpress’ Buyer Protection refunds the cost of the items they ordered to customers. It also guarantees that sellers can replace poor-quality items or damaged items.
On the other hand, the customer has 15 days to apply for a refund after confirming receiving an order. Customers will see a countdown clock on the My Orders page. It will display the remaining days that the customer can apply for a refund. The customer may also request for a Purchase Protection Extension Request, which the seller may accept or reject.
There is a dedicated page for the Buyer Protection Policy on the AliExpress website. There’s also a Help Center page for other issues that the seller or buyer may encounter. Customers may submit a report or submit a dispute if they experience any violation of AliExpress rules. PayPal Buyer Protection is different from AliExpress Buyer Protection Policy. If a customer and seller transact through PayPal, the customer will be covered by PayPal’s buyer protection but not by AliExpress’.
How Long Are AliExpress Shipping Times?
AliExpress shipping times depend on the shipping option you chose when you order the product. It also depends on the destination country and its local logistics provider. Of course, it will also be affected if you opt to use payment methods done outside AliExpress.
Take PayPal for example. Even though the seller already received the buyer’s order, the payment is on hold. The seller usually processes the payment immediately and then ships the order. But taking time to wait for customers to send the payment through PayPal may affect the delivery of the customer’s item.
AliExpress now has a long list of logistics partners which extend its services to many different countries in the world. How long a product will reach the customer is a question best answered by local logistics partners. But here are the general shipping methods you can use when buying at AliExpress:
AliExpress Standard Shipping
- Shipping times: delivery of items takes up to 15-20 days; 60 days at most for some countries
- Package limit: accept items priced at $5 and above
- Shipping Cost: $2-$3
- Partner Carriers: DHL, Correos, Direct Link, SPSR, etc.
- Tracking Website: 17TRACK
AliExpress Premium Shipping (ePacket Delivery)
- Shipping times: delivery of items takes up to 7-14 days; 10-20 days at most
- Package limit: package must be 24in in length and 36in in height and must not exceed 2kgs (3kgs for Israel)
- Shipping Cost: starts at $5 but there are always ePacket Free Shipping promos
- Partner Carriers: USPS, Canada Post, Royal Mail, Japan Post, Post Office, etc.
- Tracking Website: 17TRACK, AfterShip, EMS
AliExpress Saver Shipping
- Shipping times: delivery of items takes up to 15-20 days; 35-45 days at most
- Package limit: for goods that are priced at $5 and less; weight limit is up to 2kgs
- Shipping Cost: cheapest among the three options
- Partner Carriers: Cainiao Logistic
- Tracking Website: Trackingmore
What AliExpress Alternatives Accept PayPal?
PayPal is a popular payment system partner for most eCommerce websites and online marketplaces. Below is a list of websites that would make it easy to pay via PayPal:
- Deal Extreme (DX)
- Digital Product Delivery
AliExpress and PayPal Conclusion
Although PayPal is not a directly accepted payment option for most AliExpress products and suppliers, it has a pretty solid Buyer and Seller Protection Policy. Added to this, it has a strong fraud-protection security system and policies. You may not find it convenient to use in AliExpress but it is a partner to some competitive eCommerce websites like eBay.
Yet, its downsides lie mainly in its cost as well as in the convenience of the user.
However, whether you use PayPal for your dropshipping business on AliExpress, you must not rush with your orders. Understanding the rules of the systems and tools you use, as well as your rights as a buyer, will save you from people with evil intent. Most importantly, taking the time to correspond with the seller or supplier will give you an idea of their store’s integrity.