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The “Hows” and “Whys” of Canceling Your PayPal Payment

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Thanks to PayPal, it’s easier to send and receive money online. Useful as it is, however, PayPal also makes it easier to lose money, especially when you enter the wrong email address and hit ‘SEND’ without checking. Before you know it, you’ve lost some PayPal funds.

Fortunately, not all hope is lost. Like other online platforms (e.g. eBay or Shopify), you can cancel your PayPal payment. PayPal allows you to cancel certain types of payments easily. But there are some payments you can’t cancel. Instead, you’ll have to ask for a refund or dispute the charge, if you have a good claim.

So what are your PayPal cancel payment options? And when is it too late to retract a payment?

Can You Retract a PayPal Payment?

Yes, but you have a certain amount of time to do so before it’s too late. Also, some PayPal payments must be accepted first before you can cancel them. As long as the receiver hasn’t claimed their PayPal payment, you can still cancel. But once the money is already in the receiver’s account, cancellation of the transaction is no longer possible (but you can still refund it!).

However, PayPal has several conditions before you can cancel your payment. The conditions, which are listed below, can be very specific:

  • The recipient’s email is not verified. Once they verify their email, the transfer is complete.
  • The recipient doesn’t have a registered PayPal account. Once they register their email, they will receive the payment.

These conditions tackle one of the primary reasons for the cancellation of a PayPal payment: entering the wrong email address.

If the address exists, you must cancel the payment ASAP before the receiver claims it. On the other hand, if the email doesn’t exist, the money will stay in PayPal limbo; even if you don’t cancel the payment, you will get your money back after 30 days.

How to Cancel a PayPal Payment

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How you cancel your PayPal payment depends on your situation: is the payment still pending or completed? Below are instructions on how to cancel your PayPal payment for a pending or a completed transaction.

How Do I Cancel a Pending PayPal Transaction?

PayPal considers payments as PENDING if the payment you received is considered unusual for your selling habits. Other reasons include drastic changes in selling price or an inactive PayPal account. In other cases, PayPal will consider your payment status as pending if the item you sold didn’t meet the customers’ standards or you have a short history on PayPal.

It sounds like a hassle but PayPal is doing this for your (and your buyer’s) security. They also want to ensure that you have enough money in your account in case of disputes or chargebacks.

The money is still yours but it’s temporarily unavailable for use until the buyer confirms that you adhered to the agreement. If the transaction is smooth, PayPal will release the payment within 21 days.

To cancel a pending PayPal transaction:

  1. Go to your PayPal dashboard and click on Activity to find the payment you want to cancel.
  2. Select the transaction and click If the status of the transaction is “Unclaimed,” it will appear in the “Pending” part of your PayPal account.
  3. If the payment is unclaimed, click Cancel under the payment and select Cancel Payment.

You have up to 30 days (from the day you made your payment) to cancel the payment. If the transaction was unauthorized, go to the Resolution Center to report the unauthorized payment. If you did not receive the service or item you paid for, open a dispute case.

How Do I Cancel a Completed Payment on PayPal?

Canceling a PayPal payment once it has been completed is tricky. You can’t cancel it BUT you can recourse. You can request the recipient for a refund within 180 days after the first payment date.

To cancel (or refund) a completed PayPal transaction:

  1. Visit the Summary page on your dashboard. Select the transaction you want to cancel and note down your recipient’s contact details to send them a refund request via email.
  2. Once they respond, ask them to go to the Transaction Details on their dashboard so they can issue a refund.

Can I Cancel a Recurring Payment on PayPal?

Yes. When your subscription needs to end, you can cancel your PayPal payments, as well as your subscription to the business.

There are two ways to cancel a recurring payment. The first option is similar to canceling a pending payment on PayPal, except you have to use the Automatic Payments filter.

The second way is a bit more tedious. On your PayPal dashboard, click on the username button and choose Account Settings. Next, click on Money, Bank and Cards. Next, click Set Automatic Payments. From there, select the name of the business you’re subscribed to and click on Cancel.

Does PayPal Refund Money If I’m Scammed?

making an online payment via phone

If you paid for a product via PayPal and the item never arrived or you suspect you’ve been scammed, PayPal allows you to cancel the payment. You can only do this if the transaction’s status is still Pending. If this is the case, visit your Activity page and select Cancel to cancel the item. If the payment is pending for more than 30 days, PayPal will automatically refund the money to your account.

PayPal also has a refund policy, which guarantees the buyer’s safety. This policy refers to dispute resolution, fraud protection and personal information security. PayPal’s Purchase Protection policies claim that buyers are protected if:

  • They receive an order but noticed that the product is different from what they expected.
  • They didn’t make the charges on their account.
  • They never received the item.

If you’re experiencing one of the situations mentioned above, PayPal reimburses your payment plus the shipping fees. Just make sure you file a dispute within 60 days!

To secure a PayPal refund if you’ve been scammed, you have to file a dispute through the Resolution Center. Click on Report a Problem then select a problematic transaction. Choose the reason that matches your claim and submit your dispute.

If the seller does not respond after 20 days, ask PayPal’s assistance by escalating the issue to a claim. You can do this via the Resolution Center. Once you’ve reported the claim, PayPal will investigate the case. The platform has 30 days to decide whether you will get your money back or not.

Why Can’t I Cancel a Payment on PayPal?

You can’t cancel your PayPal payment if you didn’t catch your error on time or the recipient has already received the money in their account. But as mentioned above, you can still get your money back via refunds. Ideally, you know and trust the recipient. If you do, just ask them to refund the money.

PayPal also works with many online retailers and resellers, but these transfers are more difficult to request. Still, you should try to request a refund. A retailer may deny your refund request but you can always report the issue to PayPal’s Resolution Center. This doesn’t guarantee a full refund but have hope in PayPal. They’re pretty good at granting customer requests, especially if you have a good reason.

What Happens After You Cancel a PayPal Payment?

Once PayPal successfully cancels your payment, the funds will be returned to your account — whether or not the original payment was made via PayPal funds or bank funds. PayPal will immediately return the funds within four days.

Canceling PayPal Payments is Easier Than You Think

Everyone makes mistakes. even PayPal users such as yourself. So if you accidentally sent the wrong amount or paid the wrong person, don’t worry. Canceling the payment can get your money back. While in some cases, it’s not possible to cancel a completed PayPal payment, there are other ways you can get your money back.

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