How to Cancel a Paypal Payment

Posted by Frank Gogol
Updated on May 17, 2022

PayPal is an electronic payment service that has been in use for over 20 years. PayPal lets you send and receive money online easily. However, mistakes happen and sometimes you might send the wrong amount or send money to the wrong person. Read on to learn how to cancel PayPal payments.

Can You Cancel a PayPal Payment?

PayPal is an online payments service. It allows you to send money from your PayPal balance to someone else’s PayPal account for a small fee. 

The service is also integrated with many e-commerce websites, allowing you to make payments for goods and services quickly and easily using your PayPal account

This ease of making payments can sometimes be a problem if you make a mistake and pay the wrong person or send the wrong amount. 

It is generally not possible to cancel PayPal payments sent from your PayPal account. Most payments made from your PayPal account finalize immediately and cannot be canceled.

However, in some cases, the receiver needs to take some action to accept the money you sent and finalize the payment. For as long as the person you sent money to has not claimed the payment you will be able to cancel it and the funds will immediately be available in your account again. 

This situation is quite rare, however. Under most circumstances, the receiver’s PayPal account will automatically accept your payment and it will finalize immediately. 

How to Cancel a PayPal Payment Explained

When you enter someone’s email address to send a PayPal payment to them, there must be a PayPal account associated with that email address. If there isn’t, the payment will remain pending until the person you sent it to creates an account and accepts the payment or until 30 days have gone by. 

If a payment has not been accepted after 30 days, it will automatically be canceled and the money will be sent back to your account. 

If there is already a PayPal account associated with the email address you entered the payment will generally be automatically accepted and finalized. 

However, some people have their PayPal accounts set up to not automatically accept some payments sent to them. If this is the case for the person you sent money to, your payment will not finalize unless the person manually accepts it. 

You can cancel the payment any time before they do this or before 30 days have gone by. After 30 days it will be automatically canceled.

You can follow the steps below to cancel PayPal payment that has not been accepted:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account
  2. Click the Activity button at the top of the screen
  3. Look for the pending payment you want to cancel
  4. Click Cancel
  5. Click Cancel Payment to confirm

If the payment is not marked as pending, then the money has already been accepted by the seller and you cannot cancel the payment. You will have to request a refund instead.

Which Types of PayPal Transactions Can Be Canceled? 

You can cancel any kind of PayPal transaction that is still pending. As long as the receiver has not accepted the money you sent, you can cancel the PayPal payment in your Activity menu

However, once the receiver accepts the payment, it will finalize immediately and you will no longer be able to cancel or reverse it. This is true for personal payments to friends and family and commercial payments made to sellers. In other words, the process of how to cancel PayPal payment works for any kind of pending payment.

How to Cancel a Recurring PayPal Payment

PayPal has an option to schedule repeated payments so that you can pay someone regularly. 

Except for the fact that they are scheduled and done by the software, recurring payments are the same as normal payments. So, the process of canceling recurring PayPal payments is the same as for any others. If the receiver has already accepted previously sent payments, you cannot cancel them because they have already been finalized.

If previous recurring payments have not been accepted and are still pending you can cancel them just the same as normal payments.

You can always cancel recurring payments that are scheduled to take place in the future because no money has been sent yet. The software just plans to send the money later. Canceling future recurring payments that have not been sent yet is easy. 

Follow these easy steps to cancel future recurring payments on PayPal:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account
  2. Select the button with your username on it in the top right side of the screen
  3. Choose Account Settings
  4. Click Money, Banks & Cards
  5. At the bottom of the list click Set Automatic Payments
  6. Choose which recurring payment to cancel
  7. Click Cancel.

Make sure to cancel recurring payments at least 24 hours before the next scheduled payment to make sure it doesn’t get sent.

How to Request a Refund from PayPal

You cannot cancel a payment sent from your PayPal account once the user you’ve sent it to has accepted it. However, there is still an option to get your money back in this situation. 

If you sent the wrong payment or sent it to the wrong person, you can contact that person and ask them to send your money back using the PayPal refund feature.

You can follow the steps outlined below to request a refund on PayPal if the payment has already been accepted:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account
  2. Open the Summary page 
  3. Find the transaction you want to get a refund for
  4. Use the contact information linked to send the seller an email and request a refund.

You can request a refund 180 days after you send the payment. After that, you cannot use the built-in refund feature and you will need to contact the receiver and ask them to manually send the same amount of money back to you.

If the person you sent money to refuses to do a refund, or you realize that they are a scammer, you can open a dispute. Opening a dispute allows you to communicate with the receiver via messages in the PayPal resolution center to try and reach an agreement. 

Follow the steps below to open a dispute on PayPal:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account
  2. Open the Resolution Center
  3. Click Report a Problem
  4. Choose the payment you want to dispute
  5. Click Continue
  6.  Choose the Reason for the dispute.

You can only open a dispute for payments made for purchases, not personal transfers. Also, you can only open a dispute within 180 days of making a payment. 

If the dispute process does not help, you can escalate the dispute to a claim. If you do so, PayPal Support will intervene to investigate and decide whether to return your money or leave things as they are. 

As you can see, the process of getting your money back is not necessarily easy unless the payment is still pending. So, it is extremely important to double and triple-check all the details of any payment you send from your PayPal account before you submit it. That way, you can avoid making a mistake and dealing with the process of trying to get your money back.

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Final Thoughts

Generally, there is no method of how to cancel a PayPal payment. The best you can do is to ask the receiver to send your money back to you. However, for pending payments, you can always cancel the payment as long as the receiver has not claimed it and the payment has not been finalized. You can also cancel future recurring payments easily.


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