Can You Cancel a PayPal Payment? (All You Need to Know)

PayPal is a financial company that has millions of buyers and sellers on its platform. Unfortunately, when purchasing items, cancelations are sometimes involved.

If you use PayPal to pay for items and services or send money to friends and family, you may be wondering if PayPal allows their customers to cancel payments and how to do so? Here is what I found out!

Can You Cancel a PayPal Payment In [currentyear]?

You can cancel a PayPal Payment, as long as it has not been “claimed” yet in [currentyear]. To cancel a “pending” payment, you need to log into your PayPal account, on the app, or, and go to the “Activity” tab. Once in the tab, click “cancel” and “cancel payment,” and the cancellation will go through.

If you have needed to cancel payments through PayPal before, but you weren’t sure how, keep reading and you will find out!

What Happens If You Cancel a PayPal Payment?

If you cancel a PayPal payment, the money will be refunded back to the original payment option it came from, such as your credit or debit cards, your bank account, or your PayPal account.

After you have canceled the payment, PayPal will send the seller an email stating that the payment has been canceled, which will also inform the seller that the order is canceled.

Additionally, to make sure the seller understands that the order is canceled, you should also contact the company yourself.

Can You Cancel a PayPal Payment After It’s Been Sent?

Fortunately, you can cancel a payment even after it’s been sent, as long as it’s “unclaimed” or “pending”.

To cancel a “pending payment,” you have to do the following:

  • Log in to your account, either on the app or
  • Next, go to the “summary” page, and find the payment you want to cancel.
  • Then, click “cancel,” which is located under the pending payment.
  • Finally, click “cancel payment” to confirm you want to cancel.

Additionally, if your payment is pending for 30 days, it will automatically be canceled, and the money will be refunded back to the original payment option you chose to use.

If you paid through a credit or debit card, the refund may take up to 30 days for the card to be fully credited.

You will also need to allow 3-4 business days for the money to be fully refunded to your PayPal balance. 

Note that if you don’t see the “cancel” link under the payment you would like to cancel, or if it’s been “completed” and is no longer “pending,” then you will not be able to cancel the payment.

Unfortunately, if you cannot cancel the payment and you still want your money back, you will have to request a refund.

If you want to request a refund, you need to send the seller an email.

To find the seller’s email address, go to the “summary” page, select the payment you wish to cancel, and the seller’s contact information will be on it.

In the email, you need to ask them to do the following:

  • Go to the “Transaction Details” page and find your transaction.
  • Then they will need to click “Issue a refund.”

One thing to note- you have 180 days after your initial payment to request a refund.

Unfortunately, if the seller will not refund your money, you will have to open a dispute. You qualify to open a dispute if the following applies to you:

  • You have not received your item
  • The item you received does not match the description
  • Your payment was not authorized

You also have 180 days, after your initial payment, to open a dispute.

To open a dispute, do the following:

  • First, log into your PayPal account. The “Resolution Center” is only available on a web browser, so you will have to log into your account through
  • Second, go to your “Resolution Center,” and click “report a problem.”
  • Next, select the payment you are having a problem with, and click “Continue.”
  • Next, select the reason for the dispute:
    • “I didn’t receive the item”
    • “The product or service is not as described”
    • “I have a billing issue”

Additionally, once you have created a dispute, you can check the progress of it and communicate with the seller to solve the problem in the “Resolution Center”.

Note that your dispute will be open for 20 days unless it is escalated.

Escalating a dispute means it escalates to a claim, and you are asking PayPal to investigate the problem and decide on an outcome. To learn how to escalate a dispute to a claim, click here.

Can You Cancel an Automatic/Pre-Approved PayPal Payment?

Can You Cancel an Automatic/Pre-Approved PayPal Payment?

Thankfully, you can cancel an automatic or pre-approved PayPal payment. To cancel an automatic or pre-approved payment, do the following:

  • First, log in to your PayPal account, through the app or
  • Next, select the profile icon next to “log out”
  • Then, click “Preapproved Payments”
  • Last, select the pre-approved payment you want to cancel, and click “cancel”

Additionally, you can cancel an automatic or pre-approved payment up until the day before your next scheduled payment.

If you cancel an automatic or pre-approved payment the day before, or after your next scheduled payment, you will be charged for it.

Can You Cancel a PayPal Payment to Friends and Family?

Fortunately, the same cancellation policy that applies to cancel a payment for an item you are purchasing also applies to a friend and family payment cancellations.

As stated before, you can only cancel a payment that is still pending.

Therefore, if you send money to friends or family, and notice that you made an error, let your friend or family member know so they won’t process the money.

Additionally, if you are unable to cancel the payment to friends or family, you cannot request a refund or open a dispute.

Unfortunately, the “Purchase Protection” program that allows you to request a refund or open disputes doesn’t apply to personal payments.

However, if you still want your money back, your friend or family member can send a personal payment to reimburse you for things such as dinner, or paying for a gift, etc.

Thankfully, since it is a friend or family member, there should be no problems receiving a reimbursement.

However, if they will not offer you a reimbursement, you will have to contact PayPal directly. To learn how to contact PayPal, click here.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on how long do PayPal refunds take, if PayPal is a bank, and how does PayPal make money.


Unfortunately, in the world of buying and selling, cancellations are common things, and they can sometimes be very difficult to process. Fortunately, for PayPal’s customers, you can cancel a PayPal payment and it’s made fairly simple.

Furthermore, being able to cancel a payment depends on whether it’s still pending, or if it is already completed. Thankfully, even if the payment is already completed and you can no longer cancel it, you can still request a refund.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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