All about declines


Click the links below for detailed information on declines.

My payment was declined. Why can't I make or send a payment?
Why was my payment declined. Troubleshooting tips
Why was my payment declined, refunded or unclaimed?
Why was my debit or credit card declined?
My payment was declined, but the money has not been returned to me. Why?
T


My payment was declined. Why can’t I make or send a payment?

If your payment was declined or you received an error message when trying to send a payment, it could be because:

  • You may need to confirm the email address associated with your PayPal account.
  • There may be an issue with the funding source you’ve selected (insufficient balance or declined transaction). Contact your bank or card issuer for more information.
  • You have a limitation placed in your PayPal account.
  • The seller’s/recipient’s PayPal account is limited.
  • You may need to go through a security check, so we can confirm your identity.
If the payment with your bank account was declined, or you’re still having problems with your card, try:
  • Changing your payment method at checkout. If you only have one payment method linked to your PayPal account, you’ll need to add another payment method before you can do this. You can add a debit or credit card or add your bank account. Both options are quick and easy and will give you more flexibility at checkout.
  • Confirming your recipient’s email address or phone number is entered correctly. Make sure the recipient has finished registering for their PayPal account by confirming their information. A payment will fail if they haven’t completed this process.
Back to top


Why was my payment declined? Troubleshooting tips

There could be several different reasons you're seeing a decline error message, or your payment won't go through.

If your debit or credit card was declined, check to see if:
  • Your card is expired or out of date—if the card you have on file doesn’t have your current billing address or is expired it will be declined. You can update your cards expiration and/or your billing address quickly and easily in your PayPal account.
  • You need to confirm your card—your card may need to go through a confirmation process. Please note if there’s no “confirm credit card” link on your card details page within your PayPal Wallet, you don’t need to complete this step.
  • Your card company or bank has more information—if the above steps don’t solve the issue, you can call your credit card company to identify the problem. To protect your privacy, your debit or credit card company or card issuer doesn't tell PayPal why your card was declined. If you can still use your card, please try your transaction again.
Back to top

Why was my payment declined, refunded, or unclaimed?
To find out why your payment hasn’t been claimed yet or was denied or refunded, contact the person to whom you sent your payment.

Denied: If your payment was denied, it means that the recipient chose not to accept it. You may be able to find out why on the Activity page. A payment can also show "denied" when a card payment is attempted but is declined by the card issuer.

Refunded: If your payment was refunded, it means that the recipient accepted the payment but then sent your money back to you. If you have made a payment in error you can contact the seller and request a refund.

Unclaimed/Pending: If your payment is pending, it means that the recipient hasn’t accepted it yet. There are a few reasons why your payment might be pending.

A payment might be pending because:
  • The recipient hasn’t signed up for a PayPal account yet.
  • You sent money to an email address or phone number that the recipient hasn’t added to their PayPal account. As soon as they add this information to their account, they will receive your payment.
  • The recipient is still deciding whether they want to accept your payment.
  • The recipient hasn't confirmed their bank account.
If your payment is unclaimed/pending for 30 days or your payment was denied or refunded, you’ll get your money back.
If you paid with your debit or credit card, the money will go back to your card. (It can take up to 30 days for the refund to appear on your card statement.) If you paid with your bank account, the money will be returned to your bank account. If you have a PayPal Cash account or PayPal Cash Plus account and paid with your balance, the money will be returned to the balance.

Back to top


Why was my debit or credit card declined?

There are a few reasons why your card payment didn’t go through.

PayPal's process for accepting debit and credit card payments is rigorous. This helps prevent people from paying for things with stolen or unauthorized cards. The screening process is complex and, on rare occasions, it will impact valid cards.

If you know your card is valid but your payment still doesn’t go through, we suggest that you try another card or try your transaction again later.

Another option is to pay with your bank account. Paying with your bank account is a quick and easy way to keep track of spending and avoid using your card.

If you do online banking, it usually just takes a few minutes to link your bank account to your PayPal account. To start, go to Wallet, click Link a card or bank and follow the instructions on the screen.

Once you’ve linked your bank, you can securely use it to pay for things. Merchants get paid, but they never see your bank account details. They won’t even know what funding source you use.

Back to top


My payment was declined, but the money has not been returned to me. Why?

It can take up to 30 days from the date you made the payment for the money to be returned to you. If you paid with a credit or debit card, the money will go back to your card. If you paid with your bank account (eCheck or Instant Transfer) or PayPal balance, the money will go back to your PayPal balance.

If you used a redemption code or gift certificate, the code or certificate will be returned to your PayPal account. You can use the code or certificate for another purchase.
Refunds are in the same currency and at the same conversion rate as the original payment.

Back to top