Send multiple payments with Payouts: the PayPal mass pay option.

Apr 10 2018 | PayPal editorial staff

Processing individual payments can be time consuming and leaves room for errors.
So when you need to streamline your selling process and manage mass payments – perhaps to send rebates, commissions, rewards or incentives–to a group of users, there are tools that make it easy. 
The PayPal mass pay option, Payouts, is one such solution. The account holder can easily send money to multiple people at the same time, and the recipients will receive the funds in their PayPal account. You can send up to 15,000 payments at once with the API or 10,000 with batch upload and a single click, saving you a lot of time.
PayPal Payouts benefits.
  • Reduced friction for your customers: You can pay your customers with just email or phone number. They can access their funds quickly so they can spend or withdraw them.
  • Simplify international payments: Send disbursements globally in 24 currencies to recipients in 156 countries.
  • Cost effective: The sender pays a fee when sending; it’s free for recipients to receive their funds.
  • Simple integration: The Payouts API uses industry-standard RESTful services and is straightforward to integrate.
  • Reduce your risk: PayPal risk and compliance controls help protect you from fraud.
Payouts is best used to send small- to medium-sized payments to a large number of people at once. It works best with certain industries and situations, including:
  • Retail or e-commerce: A marketplace may need to make hundreds of seller payouts.
  • Financial services: A bank needs to disburse payments on behalf of their clients.
  • The gig economy: Businesses may need to pay hundreds of contingent workers, sometimes in multiple currencies.
  • Service providers: Insurance companies paying bonuses for referrals.
  • Media: Newspapers incentivizing mobile readership.
  • Reseller: A retailer may need to pay a food manufacturer for the end product.
  • Non-profits: A well-known non-profit has to pay relief aid to service providers during a natural disaster.
How to start sending mass payments.
Setting up Payouts is a developer-friendly process. The Payouts API uses industry-standard RESTful services. Or a sender can simply upload a spreadsheet with receiver info and payment amounts (if they vary).
A PayPal Business account is required and payouts need to be enabled. To get Payouts, you must have a merchant account and sign up for the service by calling 1-888-221-1161.

You’ll also want to ensure your account has money to cover all transactions, including fees. Your PayPal balance must be used and a bank transfer can fund the account, but debit and credit cards cannot be used to fund mass payments.

Step 1 

Make sure that the email address associated with your Business account has been verified. Then, upload a file that includes the customers’ email addresses or phone numbers and how much you want to pay (be sure to include the three-letter currency code). Payouts payments can be sent in 24 major currencies.​

Step 2

Review your payout details before completing your transaction.

Step 3

Click “Send Payout.” Now your customers can collect their money (once they open a PayPal account). 
Important things to note.
  • Individual payments cannot exceed USD $20,000.
  • There are fees associated with mass payments1:
    • For domestic payments made through our website, the fee is only 2% per payment and capped at $1 USD.
    • For payouts made through our API, it’s just $0.25 USD per U.S. transaction.
    • For international payments, the fee is 2% of the payment amount to each recipient, up to a certain amount. Learn more about international fees.
    • No fee is charged to the recipient.
How to troubleshoot a mass payment transaction.
If your transaction fails to begin processing, check the following:
  • Do you have sufficient funds in your account?
  • Have you verified that all information in your mass payment file is correct? For example: valid email address, all payments paired with an email address and proper file format.
  • Are you trying to process too many payments at one time?
  • Do any of your payments exceed the maximum limit?
  • Have you confirmed the email address associated with your PayPal Business account?
  • Are you using incorrect user reference IDs?
    • ID codes may not include spaces or exceed 30 characters.
  • Have you included a custom note that does not meet the requirements?
    • Custom notes must not exceed 4,000 characters.
  • Is this going to be utilized in non-US countries as well? One question that we often get from Europe is about formatting the account since they use commas as decimal separators.
    • The normal CSV file should look like this:,1000.55,id,note.
    • If a comma is used as a decimal separator, then it needs to look like this:,"1000,55",EUR,id,note.

How to check a mass payment status.
The status of any mass payments can be found in your transaction history, including whether they’re processing, denied, processed or completed. 
You can also access additional information by reviewing our FAQs at the bottom of this page.

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.

1Fees are subject to change. Learn more about fees.

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Frequently asked questions.

The sender of a Mass Payment is charged a fee for each individual payment.

Please visit our Fees page for information on International Mass Payments fees.

  • Your PayPal account balance must be sufficient to cover the fees as well as the total amount of the Mass Payment.
  • The fee is assessed at the time of the Mass Payment.
  • No fee is charged to the recipient.
A sender can't cancel an Unclaimed Mass Payment. After 30 days, PayPal cancels the unclaimed payment automatically and issues a refund.

PayPal Seller Protection covers you in the event of claims, chargebacks, or reversals that are a result of unauthorized purchases or items your buyer didn’t receive. For all transactions made on or after April 13th, 2020, Seller Protection will be extended to intangible items such as travel, ticketing, services and digital goods. With PayPal Seller Protection, you may be covered for the full amount of all eligible transactions.
This page applies for accounts based in the United States

Below are some of the main requirements you need to meet to benefit from Seller Protection:

The transaction must be marked as eligible or partially eligible for Seller Protection on your Account Transaction Details page.
  • Your account must be in good standing.
  • You must respond to our requests for documentation and other information within the required timeframe.
For physical goods:
  • You must ship the item to the address on the Transaction Details page.
  • You must provide proof of shipment, proof of delivery, or signed delivery confirmation where applicable.
For intangible or digital goods:
  • You must provide compelling evidence that the intangible item or digital good was delivered or provided as described, or that the service was completed as described. Compelling evidence can include any evidence available to prove that your buyer received the goods or services or benefited from the transaction.
  • You must comply with any terms and conditions that apply to the purchase
  • You must comply with all technical integration requirements that were specifically notified to you by PayPal.
  • You must have paid standard transaction fees on the transaction. 
Seller Protection will not apply to:
  • Claims or Chargebacks for reason of ‘Significantly Not as Described’
  • Items that you deliver in person, including at a retail point of sale
  • Items equivalent to cash, including but not limited to gift cards
  • Donations
  • Financial products or investments of any kind
  • A payment sent using PayPal’s friends and family functionality
  • A payment made using PayPal Payouts, Mass Pay, PayPal Direct Payments, Virtual Terminal Payments, PayPal Business Payments or PayPal Here
  • For shipped items, any item that is not shipped to the recipient's shipping address on the Transaction Details Page. We recommend that you do not use a shipping service arranged by the buyer, so that you will be able to provide valid proof of shipping and delivery.

There are no limits or caps associated with Seller Protection. However, PayPal reserves the right to withdraw or to suspend your eligibility for Seller Protection when abusing the privileges offered. In the event of withdrawing Seller Protection, PayPal will communicate the same before taking any action.
For full eligibility requirements, see the full Seller Protection Policy terms in the PayPal User Agreement
Depending on when you view the User Agreement it may still indicate that intangible items, services and digital goods are ineligible, which will no longer be correct. All other exclusions remain in effect.

Your transaction history shows your Payout status with one of these messages:

  • Processing: Your Payout is in the works.
  • Denied: The Payout request wasn’t approved and no funds were sent. This might have happened if you didn’t have enough funds in your account.
  • Processed: Your payments have been sent.
  • Completed: All your payments have either been claimed or, after 30 days, your unclaimed payments have been returned to you.

For more details, see our Payouts information page.

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