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When PayPal Puts Your Money on Hold: What to Do and How to Avoid It

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So PayPal put your money on hold and you’re here searching for answers.

PayPal has made secure payment easier for both buyers and sellers. Its security measures, however, can result in PayPal keeping your money on hold. Despite a sale going through successfully, you may not have access to your funds.

Fortunately, you’re not alone in this struggle.Payment on hold on PayPal” is an issue that can happen even to sellers with a spotless delivery record and customer feedback. It can also happen to people with eBay memberships that date back years or with a clean selling record. The good news is a hold doesn’t automatically mean eBay will suspend your account or that you will never get your money back.

But it is frustrating when you can’t access your funds. Why is your money on hold on PayPal? Did you do anything wrong?

Your PayPal Money is On Hold: The Basics

When your money is on hold on PayPal, don’t panic. It can happen even to best sellers with a perfect delivery record and feedback. Even sellers with a long-term eBay membership can experience the “PayPal Money on Hold” debacle. However, a hold doesn’t mean that you’re on some kind of blacklist.

The good thing is holds are not indefinite. They do not last for more than 21 days and in some cases, the holds are lifted within a week. PayPal can lift the holds along the way as you update the status of the product or service. For example, when the buyer leaves you feedback or when the tracking number reports delivery, you can receive your funds instantly.

When PayPal puts your money on hold, you need not worry about your seller’s reputation. The case is not related to your buyer; it is only known between you and PayPal.

Why is My PayPal Money Still on Hold?

There are many reasons behind your PayPal money received being set to pending status. Consider one of the following:

  1. You’re a new seller. PayPal wants its new sellers to build their buyer-seller history and credibility. Once you’ve established a credible transaction record, your status may change.
  2. You haven’t sold anything in a long time. If you haven’t used your PayPal account in a while, the platform will consider you as a first-time seller again. Like the first reason, you have to rebuild your credibility, so PayPal won’t put your money on hold.
  3. You have a suspicious selling pattern. PayPal flags down accounts that have unusual activity, which includes a distinct change in the items they sell or a higher-than-normal selling pattern.
  4. You’re spending differently. If you use PayPal to make payments, whether with a PayPal debit card or online, the hold on your money may not be related to your selling activity. It could be something about your payments. Red flags include spending larger-than-usual purchases or spending in a different country. Your money is put on hold by PayPal to protect you from potentially fraudulent activities.

If you’re using PayPal to receive payment on eBay, your money may also be on hold for the following reasons:

  1. You have a spotty selling history. If you’ve recently had troubles as a seller (and you’ve brought these issues to eBay’s attention), PayPal will put your money on hold until it confirms that you have successfully completed your transactions.
  2. You’re selling a risky item. Many eBay sellers know that some categories are subject to poor seller behavior and fraud. Examples of these products are gift certificates and tickets, hot consumer phones and electronics and other items where counterfeits and fakes are common.
  3. You’re facing customer complaints or refund demands. If you have been flagged by many customers for a variety of issues, PayPal will put your funds on hold. According to PayPal, you can easily remedy this by directly working with buyers to resolve their issues quickly. On the other hand, you can avoid complaints by being upfront about the condition of the item, shipping costs and return policies.

How Long Will My PayPal Money Be on Hold?

PayPal money put on hold

So how long does PayPal put your money on hold?

Fortunately, on-hold payments aren’t indefinite on the site. PayPal will hold your money for not more than 21 days. In some cases, the holding period is shorter (e.g. 7 days). The holds can be lifted once the status of the item changes or is updated.

For example, you can get your money when you provide a tracking number, mark the item as “shipped” or when the buyer gives you feedback.

How Can I Get My Pending Money Faster on PayPal?

So how do you get your PayPal money out of hold?

Many sellers’ first reaction to PayPal putting their money on hold is to contact PayPal ASAP. Most of the time, however, this doesn’t work since PayPal doesn’t often budge to these types of complaints — even if you explain your circumstances well.

But there are some things you can do to clear PayPal payment holds.

Consider the following steps:

  • Notify PayPal of upcoming large sale amounts. PayPal often holds accounts that suddenly receive a large sum of money. They will also put your money on hold if an “odd” big-ticket item is sold. To ensure your funds won’t be put on hold, get in touch with PayPal and let them know that you may encounter large sales due to new marketing promotion. Inform them if you listed a big-ticket item, too. If you are upfront with PayPal, they may not put your money on hold.
  • Keep your PayPal account in good standing. Payment holds are common for new online sellers who don’t use their PayPal account or for sellers who have a bad reputation with customers and PayPal’s partner sites. Avoid holds by making sure your PayPal balance is always positive. Also, address customer issues as soon as they arise. Once you build a good reputation with PayPal, you decrease the chances of your money being put on hold.
  • Document your sales transaction. For PayPal, tracking is everything. Fax PayPal copies of the description of the item, the shipping receipt and the buyer’s receipt. Once the buyer receives the item, you’ll get paid.
  • Stay in touch with buyers through the entire transaction. In some cases, PayPal puts the money on hold because the buyer is uncertain about your business or has filed a complaint against you. Make sure that your customers receive their receipts automatically upon their purchase. If they have concerns, address them immediately to avoid misunderstandings or canceled orders.
  • Avoid selling “high-risk” items. If possible, steer clear from selling items like mobile phones, tickets or gift certificates. These products may alarm PayPal, especially if you have never sold these items before. If you are going to sell them, inform PayPal first. Communicating with PayPal about your business moves clears up potential confusion that puts your money on hold.

Why Does PayPal Hold Money for 21 Days?

For most people, 21 days is a long time for PayPal to put your money on hold. However, PayPal prioritizes the security of payments for the benefit of businesses and the consumer. The online payment platform puts funds on hold for 21 days to ensure there is enough money in your account IN CASE issues arise with the order.

When the payment has been held up for 21 days, PayPal should release the funds to your account within 24 hours or so. If the money hasn’t been released after 24 hours, get in touch with PayPal’s customer services to get your money released to your account.

How to Reduce the Risk of PayPal Putting Your Money on Hold?

Documented shipping of PayPal-paid goods and services is the key to reducing the likelihood of your funds getting put on hold. PayPal and eBay, as well as your buyers, prefer that you ship the items quickly. Also, as long as you provide a tracking number and maintain a spotless reputation with your customers, you won’t encounter problems with PayPal.

When it comes to PayPal accounts linked to eBay, feedback matters. eBay wants you to care for the feedback you’re receiving. If you’re accumulating several negative feedbacks, do something about it. Address the needs of your clients because if you don’t attend to your clients, both PayPal and eBay will think they can’t reach you either.

So, in a nutshell, to avoid PayPal putting your money on hold OR to speed up the process:

  1. Communicate with PayPal. Communication goes a long way with PayPal. Discuss with them your goods and services, potential sale amounts and other changes in your account. Always be upfront with the site to clear up any confusion. If you are stubborn, PayPal won’t just hold your payment; it could cancel all payments or penalize your account.
  2. Keep your customers happy. Transparency is a big plus! So are constant updates. Staying on top of customer concerns improves their experience, which positively impacts your access to PayPal funds.
  3. Always have your documents ready. The right documentation can speed up the process. Always have your documents with you in case you need to send PayPal anything to confirm your transaction.

How To Handle PayPal Putting Your Money on Hold

For most sellers, their first reaction to PayPal putting their money on hold is to try to contact PayPal ASAP and complain. However, that doesn’t always work. PayPal is infamous for not budging in most cases, no matter how well you explain the circumstances or plead your case. It’s still worth a shot, but make sure that you have proper documentation and that the hold is unreasonable.

Keep in mind that very large holds or extended holds that endanger sizeable businesses can require legal action. But if this is where you are, you shouldn’t get in touch with PayPal. Instead, work with an attorney.


If PayPal puts your money on hold, don’t panic. It happens. When it does, you’ll need to have your documents ready.

But in some cases, you’ll have to wait out PayPal’s on-hold policy. It will only last for 21 days, so don’t worry. If you’re not a big fan of the way, just make sure you keep your account in good standing.

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