How to Cancel a PayPal Transaction

You can easily cancel a pending PayPal payment or unclaimed one

Person pressing a dollar sign key on their keyboard

E+/Tarik Kizilkaya

PayPal is an effective tool for sending and receiving payments online for domestic and international friends, family, clients, and customers. But, sometimes a transaction needs to be canceled, whether it's due to an incorrect price being entered or simple buyer's remorse. Whatever the reason, here's everything you need to know about canceling a PayPal transaction so you can get your money refunded.

When Can I Cancel a PayPal Payment?

Unfortunately, you can't reverse or cancel a PayPal transaction that's been completed. Payment can only be canceled if it's marked as Pending or Unclaimed on its Transaction details page.

How to Cancel a Pending PayPal Payment

Follow the below steps to cancel a pending or unclaimed PayPal payment:

  1. From your PayPal dashboard, locate the payment you want to reverse on the Summary page and select it. You're taken to its Transaction details page.

    PayPal transaction details page.
  2. At the top of the page should be the phrase Payment status. If the word next to it says Completed, you can't cancel the payment, as the recipient has already received the funds. If the text says Pending or Unclaimed, there should also be a visible Cancel button. Select it.

  3. You're shown a confirmation screen. Select the Cancel Payment button at the bottom. Your PayPal transaction will now be reversed.

What Happens When PayPal Refunds Money?

If a PayPal transaction is successfully canceled, the funds are returned to you. If you made the initial payment using PayPal account funds or a bank account, the money is returned to your PayPal account within three to four days. If you used a credit or debit card, the funds are returned to the card's balance within 30 days.

What to Do if You Can't Cancel a PayPal Transaction

If you can't initiate a PayPal payment cancellation, you need to personally get in touch with the recipient and ask them to refund your payment. The easiest way to do this is to email them using the address associated with their PayPal account.

A last resort should be to file a dispute via the PayPal Resolution Center.

How to Cancel a PayPal Subscription

If you have a recurring PayPal subscription, officially referred to as an automatic payment, and you wish to cancel it, this can be done fairly easily.

Canceling an automatic payment only cancels future payments and won't refund past transactions.

  1. From your PayPal dashboard, select the Settings gear icon in the top-right corner.

  2. Select Financial Information from the left menu.

  3. Scroll down to Automatic payments and select the Manage automatic payments button.

    PayPal automatic payment billing details page.
  4. Select the name of the automatic payment you want to stop.

  5. You're taken to a Billing Details page. Next to Status, select the Cancel link to stop the recurring payments.