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 can be an effective tool for sending and receiving payments online for domestic and international friends, family, clients, and customers. Sometimes a PayPal transaction needs to be canceled though due to an incorrect contact or price being entered or because of simple buyer's remorse.

Here's everything you need to know about how to cancel a PayPal transaction and get your money refunded.

When Can I Cancel a PayPal Payment?

If a PayPal transaction has been completed, and this will be the case for most payments done via PayPal, you will be unable to reverse or cancel it. A PayPal payment can only be canceled if it is marked as Pending or Unclaimed on its Transaction details page.

How to Cancel a Pending PayPal Payment

The process is the same to cancel a pending or unclaimed PayPal payment.

  1. From your PayPal dashboard, click on the name of the transaction you wish to reverse. You will be 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 will be unable to 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. Click on the Cancel button.

  3. You will be shown a confirmation screen. Click on the Cancel Payment button at the bottom of the screen. Your PayPal transaction will now be reversed.

What Happens When PayPal Refunds Money?

If a PayPal transaction is successfully canceled, the funds will be returned to you. If you made the initial payment using PayPal account funds or a bank account, the money will be returned to your PayPal account within three to four days.

If you used a credit or debit card, the funds will be 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'll 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 email 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've set up 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, click on the settings gear icon in the top-right corner.

  2. Click on Financial Information from the left menu.

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

    PayPal automatic payment billing details page.
  4. Click on the name of the automatic payment you'd like to stop.

  5. You will be taken to a Billing Details page. Next to Status, click on the Cancel link to stop the recurring payments.