If you have been shopping on AliExpress for a long time, you will know about its complicated relationship with PayPal: years ago AliExpress allowed all payments to be made with this platform, then this option disappeared, soon after it reappeared but only with some sellers…
What is the current situation of PayPal and AliExpress? Let's take a look.
When can I pay with PayPal?
Until a few years ago, only a few sellers on AliExpress accepted PayPal. Back then, it was easy to spot because it was indicated with a badge on the product page, but that is long gone.
As of today, whether or not you can pay with PayPal does not depend on the seller anymore, but depends on the country from which you place the order.
What countries accept PayPal?
This is the list of the main countries in which PayPal is accepted:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- Spain (except AliExpress Plaza)
And here are the ones that DO NOT accept it:
- Czech Republic
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
If your country is not on either of the two lists, let us know in the comments and we will add it.
How to pay with PayPal
If your country is accepted, paying with PayPal is very simple: when you have your purchase in the shopping cart (click here) and click on “Place Order”, a window will open where you can choose a payment method (PayPal, Bank Card, Apple Pay…).
When you choose this secure payment method, AliExpress will redirect you to the PayPal website: now enter your email, password, confirm the payment and that's it, you will soon receive your purchase.
Will AliExpress charge me a commission?
In the past, AliExpress charged an extra fee for using PayPal. Although it also offered discounts for using this payment method, many times the commissions exceeded the bonuses and in the end, it was not profitable to use it.
Today, this extra fee has disappeared and it no longer costs us extra money to use PayPal, which is another reason to use it as a payment method.
But keep in mind that although AliExpress and PayPal do not charge us a commission, since it's paid by the sellers, our bank may charge us some kind of commission for currency exchange.
Depending on the country you reside, consider that this is something that can happen to you, so if you have any doubts, we recommend you to contact your bank.
Pros of using PayPal
When paying with Paypal you have two great advantages:
- If you don't win the dispute, you can claim again.
- You get a refund for the return costs.
Now we explain both of these in more detail.
Disputes if I paid with Paypal
If you pay with Paypal, you are more protected because you have two opportunities to claim the refund: first opening a dispute from AliExpress and, if you are not convinced by the resolution, claiming again from your Paypal account.
(Remember to start with the AliExpress dispute).
Let's see how to open a dispute through PayPal:
- First log in to your Paypal account and on the main page click on “View all my activity”.
- Find the payment you want to claim and click on it.
- When the statement of your purchase opens, click on “Report a problem”.
Now you just have to fill out the dispute describing the problems you have had and wait for PayPal to review your entry and accept it.
Between 6 and 10 days after they accept your claim, the refund will be sent to the bank account you have linked to PayPal.
Request a free refund
As we told you in the article about returns in AliExpress, some products have free returns and others don't. If the product you want to return has free returns, there is no need to use PayPal.
If the product you want to return does, there is no need to use PayPal: just print the label, take it to the post office and you will not be charged anything.
However, if it does not have a free return, you can take advantage of PayPal to get a refund of the return shipping costs.
The process is quite simple: first you open a dispute and request the return, then you make the shipment and finally you claim PayPal to refund you the shipping cost. But now we explain it step by step:
Steps to follow
Make sure you have activated the PayPal returns service by clicking here (it is totally free).
As before, from the PayPal page, search for the purchase you want to return and click on “Get Refund of return costs”.
PayPal will ask you to upload a number of documents about your return (if you are missing any, you have 14 days to complete them).
Can I use free returns whenever I want?
No, you can only use this service up to 12 times a year (which seems sufficient and very reasonable to avoid the abuse of this feature).
If you return several items of the same order at different times (a maximum of three), they will be counted as different returns.
If my AliExpress order is already marked as “Free Return”, can I also request it through PayPal?
If the AliExpress seller already offers you a free return, you will no longer be able to request it through PayPal.
You won't need it either, since items marked with “Free Return” always accept the return (whatever the reason).
Maximum amount covered by PayPal to refund you for the return of an order
The refund consists of a maximum of €30.
Normally this is enough, but it depends on the size and weight of the package, so you can ask for a budget from several courier companies and choose the one that suits you best.
To reduce costs, we recommend that if the package weighs less than 2 kg, ask them to send it as a registered letter instead of a certified package.
Alipay: the alternative
First you have to know that any of the payment methods offered by AliExpress are totally secure, although you may find one more secure than the other.
Now let's compare PayPal with another of the most popular payment methods of the Asian giant: Alipay.
PayPal vs Alipay
AliExpress created Alipay to offer a secure payment method controlled by themselves and it has already become the main payment method for Asian commerce (they call it the “Chinese PayPal”).
Both payment methods seek to offer protection to the buyer and, to tell the truth, although Alipay is less known, AliExpress is trying to get more people to use it as their preferred alternative.
The advantages provided by Alipay are very similar to Paypal's:
- Instant refunds.
- Secure payments with 24-hour monitoring of all your transactions to avoid fraud.
- Get bonuses when paying on AliExpress (this is the only thing that differentiates it from Paypal).
As we have already said, AliExpress wants more people to use Alipay as a main payment method, and intends to achieve it with very interesting bonuses. For example, by giving you €2 for setting up your account and €1 for adding a bank card or for paying with Alipay three times a month.
You can set up your Alipay account by clicking here.
Also, remember that we have a post dedicated exclusively to Alipay here.
Opinions: Is it worth paying with PayPal?
As you know, AliExpress's relationship with PayPal is not as stable as we would like it to be. They continuously vary their conditions of use and although right now using it is an excellent option, this can change at any time.
What is clear to us is that all these ups and downs are due to a clear strategy on the part of AliExpress: to gradually leave PayPal in the background in order to promote Alipay.
We recommend that you always use the payment method that suits you best, as both are completely safe. If by paying with Alipay you can benefit from discounts on your purchases, do not hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity.