Holding received funds in a pending balance

Funds Availability


Why isn’t the money I’ve received immediately available for me to use?

Sometimes funds that you’ve received are not immediately available for withdrawal. This is a common industry practice that we implement to help ensure the safe use of the PayPal service by buyers and sellers alike. The funds will be shown in your pending balance, rather than in your available balance. Funds shown in your pending balance will be moved to your available balance within 21 days. Your pending balance helps ensure there is money in your account in case problems arise with any of your transactions. The money still belongs to you. It’s just temporarily not available to use, until your buyer has received the item they ordered in the condition promised.

In this article, we will explain the different reasons why funds are temporarily unavailable, and how you can prevent delays in funds being available in the future.

Why are funds placed into my pending balance rather than into my available balance?

There are three main reasons funds may be unavailable:

  1. You’re a new seller with PayPal.
    It takes time for new sellers to build up enough history to demonstrate a pattern of positive buyer-seller transactions. The good news is that by building up a history of positive selling activity, your funds may become available immediately.
  2. Customers indicate issues about your selling performance.
    Performance is based on the speed of delivery of goods or services. The percentage of refunds, disputes, and chargebacks compared to sales on your PayPal account are key indicators of seller performance. Having performance issues increases the likelihood of received funds being temporarily unavailable. Working with your customers to prevent disputes and chargebacks will help avoid the delay in availability of funds.
  3. There’s a higher than average risk associated with your sales activity.
    If there is an indication that a high level of risk is present, your money could be temporarily unavailable. You may be selling what we consider high-risk items. High-risk items include tickets, gift cards, consumer electronics, computers, and travel packages. Further examples of higher risk sales activity would be a recent spike in sales, a change in average selling price, or a change in business model or type of item being sold.

When will I have access to my money?

If there aren’t any problems with the order, such as a customer filing a dispute, the funds will move to your available balance within 21 days of receipt.

How can I prevent delays in funds availability?

There are three things you can do to help prevent delays in funds availability in the future:

  1. Build a history of good performance as a seller.
    The number one thing you can do to prevent delays in funds availability is build a history of consistent performance. Here are some ways to help you do this:
    • Use clear photos of the product and detailed, accurate descriptions of items, so buyers know exactly what they’re getting. This will help cut down on buyer disappointments and disputes.
    • Be clear about shipping and handling times, costs, and methods; process orders promptly to avoid delays.
    • Be sure to pack items carefully with appropriate, quality packing material, so customers receive the items in good condition.
    • Track packages you’ve shipped. Use a shipping method that provides tracking information, such as Royal Mail, Parcel Force or FedEx.
    • Clearly define your return policy up front.
  2. Communicate and work with your customers.
    When customers contact you, do your best to be responsive and helpful. Working with customers early on can prevent a minor issue from ballooning into a much larger problem, and following the guidelines listed previously will help to reduce the number of buyer disputes, claims, and chargebacks that you receive. If you are involved in a buyer dispute, start working to resolve it right away. Frequent, honest, and open communication with the seller via the Resolution Center will help clear up any misunderstanding.

    Also, setting up a customer service message in the Resolution Center may help to prevent disputes. For example, if shipments will be delayed because of bad weather, letting the buyer know may answer their question and make a dispute unnecessary.
  3. Always review all communications from PayPal.
    We’ll always send you an email if anything regarding the availability of your funds changes. We also inform you about each transaction that’s placed into your pending balance and ask you to take action if required.

Selling on eBay

If you sell on eBay, take a look at these eBay-specific tips for improving your Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs).



Occasionally, we may delay the availability of funds from payments you receive. It’s a common industry practice that we implement to help ensure the safe use of PayPal services by buyers and sellers alike. Money may not be immediately accessible because you’re a new seller, your customers indicated issues about your seller performance, or another indication of high risk is present. You can help to prevent funds from being temporarily unavailable by improving your selling performance and communicating with customers.

Key Facts

  • Temporarily holding payments when they are received is a common industry practice implemented to help ensure the safe use of the PayPal service by buyers and sellers alike.
  • The money still belongs to you. It’s just temporarily unavailable for use.
  • Review the payment email you received for details about when your money will become available and information on how you can get access to the money more quickly in the future.
  • Funds may be unavailable if you are a new seller, if you have received a lot of disputes from buyers in the past or if you sell goods or services in certain categories which are considered high risk (such as tickets or consumer electronics).
  • If there aren’t any problems with the order you fulfilled, you’ll be able to use the money within 21 days of receipt.
  • We will continually reassess your account to determine if your funds may be made available immediately.