Business Resource Center

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PayPal pending or holding funds: funds availability.

What is Funds Availability?

Funds Availability is when we delay the availability of funds for a specified amount of time – usually 21 days or less. This is a common industry practice that we implement to help ensure a safe environment for both buyers and sellers. This helps make sure there is money in your account to resolve any problems with your orders, if they arise. The money still belongs to you. It’s just unavailable for withdrawal temporarily until we are sure your buyer received the item they ordered in the condition promised.

In this article, we will explain the different reasons why funds are temporarily unavailable, how you can access funds sooner, and how you can work to prevent delays in funds availability in the future. Let’s start with the reasons funds might be delayed.

Why could your funds be temporarily unavailable?

Your funds may be unavailable when we associate a high level of risk with your account. There are three main reasons causing us to believe this:

  1. You’re new to selling and accepting PayPal as your payment method.

    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 you can usually move out of delayed funds availability by confirming your identity and building up a history of positive selling activity.

  2. Your customers indicate issues about your selling performance.

    Performance is based on your percentage of refunds, disputes and chargebacks compared to your sales on your PayPal account. Having performance issues increases the likelihood of received funds being temporarily unavailable. Working with your customers to prevent disputes and chargebacks will help you avoid the delay in availability of funds.

  3. The payment you received may be considered unusual for your selling pattern.

    You may be selling higher risk items such as tickets, gift cards, consumer electronics, computers, and travel packages. An unusual sales activity would also show a recent spike in sales, a change in average selling price, or a change in business model or type of item being sold.

Apart from these three main reasons, it is also possible for your payment to be put in your pending balance temporarily while we resolve an issue with your account or if we’ve identified a problem with a buyer’s payment that requires a review. We usually finish this review within 24 hours. During the review period, we’ll ask you not to ship the item.

In addition, if you’re involved in a PayPal dispute or claim, or if the buyer has filed a chargeback or reversal with their bank, your payment may be temporarily unavailable until the issue is resolved.

When will you have access to your money?

If there aren’t any problems with the order you fulfilled, such as your customer filing a dispute, you’ll be able to withdraw the money within 21 days of receipt. You may access your funds sooner if you fulfill the order as quickly as possible and provide information about the transaction. Let’s cover that next.

How to access your money faster.

You can work to expedite the release of temporarily unavailable funds by simply processing your sales quickly and then providing the fulfillment details. Here are three ways you can get your money faster:

  • If the order requires shipping, send it to the buyer’s shipping address and be sure to mark the item as shipped. When we know that the buyer has received it and is happy with the item, we’ll release the payment within seven days. OR
  • Ship directly using USPS, UPS, or FedEx, or pay for shipping and print labels on PayPal. You can upload shipping information to PayPal and we will automatically verify the delivery. Once we know that the item was delivered, we’ll release the payment within three days. OR
  • If your product or service does not need to be shipped, mark the order as processed. We’ll calculate the expected delivery date and release the payment within seven days of that date.

How can you prevent the delay of available funds?

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

  • Review the email we send and the alert in your account overview.

    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.

  • Improve your performance by following the steps listed below.

    • Set yourself up for success by posting actual photos 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 time, 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 to cut down on the amount of time money is temporarily unavailable. Use a shipping method that provides tracking information, such as USPS, UPS, or FedEx and upload this information, so buyers know when to expect a package and so PayPal can confirm delivery.
    • Clearly define your return policy up front to avoid problems later.
  • 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 will help clear up any misunderstanding.

  • 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 improving your Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs).

Will my available funds be delayed in the future?

PayPal re-evaluates your account every 35 days. If you follow the guidelines outlined in this article and your account remains in good standing, your available funds may not be delayed and you’ll have happier customers.