Small BusinessOperationsFunding

Why are your funds unavailable or on hold? And what can you do about it?

PayPal Editorial Staff

PayPal Editorial Staff

August 10, 2022

Female employee in autobody shop standing underneath a car, working on a laptop

Most businesses will experience a time when their funds become unavailable, also known as a payment hold.

In this article, you’ll learn more what a payment hold is, why it happens, and how to resolve it.

Why are my funds inaccessible or on hold?

PayPal may place a hold or restrict your account activity if we need a little more information from you about a transaction, your business or your account activity. Some of the reasons why we might need this information include:

  1. You’re a first-time seller. When you’re a new PayPal seller, it takes time to build up enough history to demonstrate a pattern of positive buyer-seller transactions. The good news is you can usually move out of this status by confirming your identity and building up a history of positive selling activity.
  2. You haven’t sold in a while. When your selling activity has been dormant for a long time, it’ll also take time to rebuild a history of positive buyer-seller transactions.
  3. Multiple customers filed for a refund, dispute, or chargeback. If multiple customers file for a refund, dispute or chargeback, it can delay the availability of your funds. The best way to resolve this is to work directly with your customers to prevent, or solve, disputes and chargebacks. Sometimes it’s possible your customer filed for a refund, dispute, or chargeback because someone illegally used their PayPal account to buy something. We ask that you hold off on shipping any items when this happens.
  4. Your selling pattern appears unusual or changed. An unusual sales activity includes: a recent spike in sales or a change in your average selling price, business platform or type of item being sold.
  5. You’re selling higher risk items. Higher risk items can include tickets, gift cards, consumer electronics, computers and travel packages. You can also read our User Agreement for more information on other holds and reserves we may place on your account.
How long will PayPal hold your funds for?

Your funds are usually held for up to of 21 days. However, there are several things you can do to expedite this timeline.

You can also read our User Agreement for more information on other holds and reserves we may place on your account.

What you can do to access your money sooner

Assuming there are no issues with the order, you may be able to expedite the release of temporarily unavailable funds sooner than the scheduled 21 days by taking any of these actions from your PayPal account:

PayPal Supported Carriers in the United States as of June 18, 2020:
  • DHL eCommerce US
  • DHL Express (Piece ID)
  • Echo
  • Ensenda
  • Expeditors
  • FedEx
  • Globegistics Inc.
  • MailAmericas
  • Newgistics
  • OnTrac
  • RL Carriers
  • RRD International Logistics U.S.A
  • UPS
  • USPS
How can you prevent the delay of available funds?

There are four things you can do to help prevent a delay of available funds in the future:

  1. Review the email we send and the alert in your account overview
  2. If a buyer pays you and the payment isn’t immediately available, we’ll notify you via an email titled “An important message about your PayPal balance” or via an alert in your Account Overview page. This email or alert will be the best source of information about why your payment isn’t available and what you may be able to do to prevent the delay of available funds in the future.

  3. Prevent refunds, disputes, and chargebacks by:
    • Setting yourself up for success by posting actual photos and detailed, accurate descriptions of items so buyers know exactly what they’re getting.
    • Being clear about shipping and handling time, costs, and methods; process orders promptly to avoid delays.
    • Packing items carefully with appropriate, quality packing material, so customers receive the items in good condition.
    • Uploading tracking information of our supported carriers or printing a USPS/UPS shipping label through PayPal.
    • Clearly defining your return policy upfront to avoid problems later.
  4. 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. If you are involved in a buyer dispute, start working to resolve it right away. Frequent, honest, and open communication with the buyer via the Resolution Center can help clear up any misunderstanding.
  5. Set up a customer service message
    • 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 a hurricane in your region, letting the buyer know may answer their question and make a dispute unnecessary.
Selling on eBay

If you sell on eBay, take a look at these eBay-specific tips for managing your seller performance rating.

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