What is Payment Review and how do I integrate it?

The Payment Review feature identifies high-risk transactions and notifies merchants of the review so they can hold shipments until PayPal has evaluated the transaction risk. PayPal currently notifies merchants of the review through email and transaction status within their PayPal account. For transactions on eBay, eBay API and payment status within My eBay also provides notification of Payment Review.

PayPal has ways to determine which payments are placed under review. These enhancements let you learn the status of transactions under review through Instant Payment Notification (IPN) or with Payment Data Transfer (PDT).

Changes to IPN
Merchants will receive the following IPNs when PayPal places a payment under review before completing the transaction:
  • The payment_status IPN variable will be set to Pending.
  • The pending_reason IPN variable will be set to PaymentReview.

When the transaction review has been resolved, you’ll receive the following IPNs:
  • If the transaction succeeded and the payment was accepted, the IPN’s payment_status variable will be set to Completed.
  • If the transaction failed and the payment was rejected, the IPN’s payment_status variable will be set to Reversed.

In addition, a new protection_eligibility IPN variable notifies merchants of the kind of protection applicable for the transaction. For instance, ExpandedSellerProtection means that Expanded Seller Protection protects the seller, and SellerProtection means that the PayPal Seller Protection Policy protects the seller.
Changes to PDT
The following PDT variables reflect the status of a transaction placed under review:
  • The payment_status will be set to Pending.
  • The pending_reason will be set to PaymentReview.

As with the IPN operations, you can also find out about seller protection through the new protection_eligibility variable.

For more information on IPN and PDT, download the PayPal Order Management Integration Guide.
Testing Payment Review
The PayPal Sandbox enables you to test Payment Review. Here's how:
  1. Log in to your PayPal Developer Portal account.
  2. Click Test Accounts.
  3. Find the account email address that you'll use for testing. You should see a Payment Review column showing "Disabled." Click Disabled.
  4. The Payment Review should now display "Enabled" for this test account.
  5. Make a payment to the account for which you enabled Payment Review. Place this payment under review so that you can test handling the Payment Review scenario.

Here's how to accept or deny a payment that's under review:
  1. Log in to your PayPal Developer Portal account.
  2. Log in to the Sandbox test account that's enabled for Payment Review. This is the account that received the payment you're about to accept or deny.
  3. Find the transaction that you want to accept of deny - you should see that the status of the transaction is Under Review. Click the Details link for that transaction.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the transaction details page. You'll see a section for Payment Review where you can click Accept or Deny. Accept means that the payment will be accepted and funds will be added to the account balance. Deny means that the payment will be reversed.
For more information on using the PayPal Sandbox, see the Sandbox User Guide.

Note: You can't partially refund a payment that is under review. Only full refunds are allowed when the payment is in this status. Once the payment clears review (and would be deposited into the receiver account balance), then you can process partial refunds.

For help resolving this issue or others, visit PayPal's Contact Customer Service page.