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

Jul 10 2020 | PayPal editorial staff

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:

 
ActionTime to releaseWhat you need to do
Print a USPS or UPS shipping label1 day after deliveryPrint a USPS or UPS shipping label from your PayPal account. This will automatically update your tracking information and delivery confirmation.
Add tracking information1 day after delivery with supported carriers. See chart below for supported carriers.Upload a supported carriers’ tracking number. PayPal will release the payment within three days of the carrier confirming delivery.


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.

 
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.

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Frequently asked questions.

If your payment is on hold or not available right away, we’ll notify you via email.

If your hold was placed by eBay, you'll need to contact eBay for more information.

Why is my payment pending?

Your payment may be pending because:
  • The payment you received may be considered unusual for your selling pattern
  • Your account was inactive for a while
  • We found an unusual change in selling price of this transaction
  • You’re selling an item that can potentially cause dissatisfaction with customers
  • We noticed you only recently started selling outside of eBay, so your history with us as an off-eBay seller is quite short.
Why does PayPal do this?

Delaying funds availability is a common industry practice we implement to help ensure the safe and secure use of PayPal by both buyers and sellers. We do this to ensure there is enough money in your PayPal account to resolve any issues that may arise with your account such as chargebacks or disputes. 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.

When will I have access to my funds?

If there aren't any issues with your transaction, such as a customer filing a dispute, the payment will become available within 21 days.

How can I get access to my funds faster?

If you are experiencing delayed funds availability, here are some shipping tips that may help make your payment available sooner:
  • If you provide tracking information (UPS, USPS, or FedEx) and we can confirm delivery, your payment should be available one day after we can confirm the delivery date.
    • Pending payments are generally released one day after we can confirm delivery, but sometimes the delivery information takes a bit longer to update. Please note that pending payments can’t be released before you meet these requirements. 
    • Buyers can also confirm that they have received the item, which will release the payment immediately. This option is only available if buyers paid for the item with their PayPal account. 
  • If you fulfill the order, but don’t provide any shipping information, your payment should be available after 21 days, as long as your buyer doesn’t report any issues with the transaction.
To help ensure a successful transaction, we always encourage sellers to adhere to the following best practices:
  • List successfully by including clear photos with detailed, accurate descriptions of items
  • Be clear about shipping and handling time, costs and methods
  • Ship promptly
  • Upload tracking
  • Define your return policy upfront
  • Communicate with your buyers and respond to inquiries quickly and in a professional manner
  • Review all communications from PayPal
If your payment is on hold or not available right away, we’ll notify you via email or an alert on your Summary page.

If your hold was placed by eBay, you'll need to contact eBay for more information.

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Why is my payment pending?

Your payment may be pending because:
  • The payment you received may be considered unusual for your selling pattern
  • Your account was inactive for a while
  • We found an unusual change in selling price of this transaction
  • You’re selling an item that can potentially cause dissatisfaction with customers
  • We noticed you only recently started selling outside of eBay, so your history with us as an off-eBay seller is quite short.
Why does PayPal do this?

Delaying funds availability is a common industry practice we implement to help ensure the safe and secure use of PayPal by both buyers and sellers. We do this to ensure there is enough money in your PayPal account to resolve any issues that may arise with your account such as chargebacks or disputes. 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.

When will I have access to my funds?

If there aren't any issues with your transaction, such as a customer filing a dispute, the payment will become available within 21 days.

How can I get access to my funds faster?

If you are experiencing delayed funds availability, here are some shipping tips that may help make your payment available sooner:
If you provide tracking information using a supported carrier (ex, UPS, USPS, or FedEx) and we can confirm delivery, your payment should be available three days after we can confirm the delivery date.
  • Pending payments are generally released one day after we can confirm delivery, but sometimes the delivery information takes a bit longer to update. Please note that pending payments can’t be released before you meet these requirements. 
  • Buyers can also confirm that they have received the item, which will release the payment immediately. This option is only available if buyers paid for the item with their PayPal account. 
  • If you fulfill the order, but don’t provide any shipping information, your payment should be available after 21 days, as long as your buyer doesn’t report any issues.

To help ensure a successful transaction, we always encourage sellers to adhere to the following best practices:
  • List successfully by including clear photos with detailed, accurate descriptions of items
  • Be clear about shipping and handling time, costs and methods
  • Ship promptly
  • Upload tracking
  • Define your return policy upfront
  • Communicate with your buyers and respond to inquiries quickly and in a professional manner
  • Review all communications from PayPal
If your customer’s Pay in 4 purchase is unsuccessful, PayPal will automatically void the pending authorization within 24 hours of the pre-authorization hold.  Funds will not be taken from your customer’s credit or debit card if the Pay in 4 transaction was not completed.
If you use PayPal as a processor, PayPal's Fraud Protection Services (FPS) may cause a transaction to show as pending. (PayPal verifies transactions before capturing them.) When FPS is enabled and you run a transaction as a Sale, PayPal initially treats the transaction as an Authorization. The FPS filters deployed on your account won't process the transaction until the card-issuing bank has cleared it.

Once the Authorization passes FPS filtering, the Authorization stays in Pending status on PayPal.com until PayPal captures the transaction in the next batch process, which runs every two hours. Once captured, your transaction will show as Completed on PayPal.com.If you use PayPal APIs, don't use Fraud Protection Services, because they can prevent capture of funds for PayPal transactions.

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