Skip to content
× FreshBooks App Logo
FreshBooks
Official App
Free - Google Play
Get it
You're currently on our US site. Select your regional site here:
5 Min. Read

How Long Does a PayPal Refund Take?

How Long Does a PayPal Refund Take?

PayPal is one of the world’s most popular payment systems. With the ability to accept payments online and even integrate with other software, it’s lightyears ahead of many competitors. But even with the best systems, you’ll sometimes need to request a refund.

The most important thing to understand is that PayPal is just a payment platform; it’s not a merchant. When you request a refund on PayPal, you’re actually requesting a refund from the seller. So a lot depends on how long the seller takes to process the refund.

The other major factor is your method of payment. Bank refunds tend to be faster than credit card refunds. Let’s take a closer look at how this system works, and what you should expect. 

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

PayPal Refund Basics

How to Check Your Refund Status

Where Are PayPal Refunds Sent?

Key Takeaways

PayPal Refund Basics

You can request a refund for any PayPal transaction within 180 days of purchase. At that point, the seller will either approve or deny the refund.

If the seller agrees to the refund, you'll receive your return differently depending on the original payment method. If you used a bank account or your PayPal balance, your refund can take three to five days. If you used a credit or debit card, refunds can take a bit longer – up to around 30 days.

Keep in mind that refunds don’t always have to come via PayPal. While that’s the recommended method, there are times when you might want an alternative solution. For example, if the vendor is someone you have an ongoing relationship with, it might make sense to ask for a credit towards a future purchase.

If the seller denies your refund, or simply ignores you, you have the option to open a dispute. A dispute is still handled between you and the seller, and you can't file a dispute because you didn’t like the product. The product or service must either be defective or not as described.

In the event that the dispute doesn’t go your way, you can file a claim. In a claim, PayPal comes in and acts as a referee. They will ask both parties for their side of the story, and render a final decision.

In total, the PayPal refund process can take as long as 65 days. This assumes that the process escalates all the way to a claim, which it usually won’t. Counting the time it takes for credit card refunds to process, the total refund time can be as long as three months.

How to Check Your Refund Status

So, you’ve filed a refund request, and now you’re playing the waiting game. How do you know when your vendor has made a decision?

To find out, open your PayPal account, and click the “Activity” link on the top menu. If you have a lot of transactions, you may not see the request right away. In that case, click “Filters,” and select “Refunds.” This will clear the list of everything except refund requests. You can narrow things down further if you need to by selecting a date range.

Click on the transaction, and you’ll see the status. It will say either Pending, Refunded, Partially Refunded, or Denied.

Pending means that the vendor has approved the refund, but PayPal has not yet received the money. This is most often because the seller has issued an eCheck and PayPal is waiting for it to clear.

Refunded means that the seller has issued your refund. You should already have received it!

Partially refunded means that the seller has approved and issued a partial refund. Once again, you should have already received it.

Denied means that the seller has denied the refund. If you want to pursue this further, you’ll need to follow the dispute process.

Where Are PayPal Refunds Sent?

How refunds are sent to you depends on your payment method.

Purchases made with a bank or PayPal balance are refunded directly to your PayPal account. If you had paid from a bank account, you can then transfer the money back to your bank. If you paid with a credit card or debit card, the money is simply credited to your card.

If you had split the purchase between a card and a PayPal/bank balance, you'll receive a split refund. The card portion will be refunded to the card, while the PayPal or bank portion will be credited to your account.

Key Takeaways

A PayPal refund can take anywhere from a few days to as long as three months to process. It depends on the payment method, as well as on whether you need to file any disputes. But in most cases, you'll receive your refund within about a week.

Find more articles on finance, banking and accounting on our resource hub.


RELATED ARTICLES