Don't use PayPal in Myanmar

Don’t Use Your PayPal Account in Myanmar

Here is a word of warning to those contemplating a trip to Myanmar. Do not log in to your PayPal account.

We did and this is what happened. Our account was blocked and we received this email:

“To keep our customers secure we regularly screen activity in the PayPal system. During a recent screening, we identified activity that may be in violation of United States regulations administered by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

We’re committed to meeting OFAC’s regulations. One regulation is to ensure that our customers are compliant with applicable laws and regulations, including those set forth by OFAC, in their use of PayPal.

To ensure that your account activity and transactions comply with current regulations, please provide the following information:

• Documents to confirm that you reside at the address registered on your PayPal account

• A copy of a valid government-issued photo ID showing your date of birth, such as your driver’s license or passport. Please make the copy as large and as light as possible.

Please go to our Resolution Center to provide this information. To find the Resolution Center, log in to your account and click “Resolution Center” near the top of the page. Click “Resolve” under the Action column and follow the instructions.

Please provide the following information via email to

• An explanation as to why the attempted access from Myanmar was made and by whom

• Confirm that your account is not held for the benefit of a person or organization in Myanmar

We’ll close your account if we notice any further violations.

We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and apologize for any inconvenience.

Yours sincerely,

While it was quite amusing to break US sanctions and place ourselves temporarily on a par with gun runners and white slavers, for the month we were in Burma we were unable to use our account to receive payments or even to fix the problem. While solving the issue was relatively easy by providing proof of our identity and address we had the catch 22 of having to log in to PayPal to do so and so could not use our account until we left Burma.

More serious would have been had we been unable to provide proof of our address. I don’t know about you but we do not pack utility bills when we travel – though I will keep a photo of one from now on. Luckily one of our bank accounts (thankfully the one linked to PayPal) is at the address of Deirdre’s sister. A rummage through Deirdre’s post and an email and we were fine but had all our bills been in our home address in Turkey we would have had to wait until returning there before we could use our account again.

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8 comments to Don’t Use Your PayPal Account in Myanmar

  • Natalie at Go For Fun  says:

    Yeah.. what a story! Happy that it ended well! You never know… thanks for sharing! /Natalie

    • The Working Traveller  says:

      Thanks Natalie, it was all fine in the end.

  • Nan Wai Ei Phyu  says:

    So,which account can I use to withdraw money from online.Because I’m trying online earning from Myanmar now.I wanna open cash account.So I have already tried ‘Paypal’ and ‘Payza’ account.But I can’t.Because there isn’t ‘Myanmar’ in countries that they express.Can you tell me what account should I open please.Thank You!

    • Shane  says:

      We don’t use any other online payment services so I’m afraid I don’t know – I can only relate the experience we had with PayPal. Hopefully, as the military relinquishes its hold on power, the sanctions will be lifted in the near future.

  • Myanmar: Why on Earth Would We Want to go There?  says:

    […] Don’t log in to PayPal (we didn’t use our online banking either, just in […]

  • Wintering in Southeast Asia Trip Lowlights  says:

    […] same category with gun runners and white slavers this could have been a lot more serious. Simply by logging in to our PayPal account in Myanmar we were flagged for potentially violating United States regulations administered by the Department […]

  • ima Nezumi  says:

    Paypay is not available for on,alternately what about using VISA/Master card via ‘EASI’ from CB Bank(Myanmar).i’ve being using of many site for payment with this debit card(VISA ‘Easi’ card) and completely done.but it can’t use ‘Amazon,Paypal,Play store(Google) and iTunes(App store) for exception. ‘Just sharing for that kind of sort and hope for way of advantages and ignore me if it is not kind of Topic’. Thanks

    • Shane  says:

      We did see an Easi Bank in Yangon (though this was the only ATM I recall seeing in Myanmar) but after the PayPal incident we didn’t want to risk our bank cards with it. We didn’t need to anyway. We had bought enough US$ with us for the month, keeping these pristine within the pages of a book. As you seem to be suggesting using a VISA card from Easi bank in Myanmar I would guess our circumstances and needs differ.

      Burma is changing quickly so perhaps the US has relaxed its restrictions on the country since we were there over a year ago. I would recommend checking first though before using PayPal, online banking or ATMs.
      Shane recently posted…Ersatz Expat: Why I Live in… MiriMy Profile

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