How to Cancel a Pending Payment on PayPal (Quick & Easy)

Published on 5 August 2022
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PayPal is an application that allows you to remit and receive payments online, with tax-deductible and low transaction fees. However, does the application allow its users to cancel transactions?

There may be instances where you need to cancel a transaction for different reasons. After an online transaction, you may realize you sent money to the wrong account or sent the incorrect amount. So, is there a solution?

Depending on your situation, you may cancel your transaction, but if you can’t, there are other ways you can get your money back. 

Can you cancel a sent payment on PayPal?

It’s easy to cancel payments on PayPal as long as it is still possible. You need to access your account and view your transactions.

If it is still possible to cancel a transaction, you will see a link to cancel next to a specific transaction. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to cancel completed payments. In such cases, you will need to ask for a refund. 

Transactions that can be cancelled

You can only cancel payments in PayPal if the status is “Unclaimed” or “Pending”. However, remember that most transactions are instantaneous and become impossible to cancel. Below are some of the reasons transactions get stuck in these statuses.

PayPal automatically gives your money back if they are in one of the below statuses. You will get a refund after 30 days, even if you do not take action. 

You sent money to a dead or invalid account

The transaction will be pended if you unknowingly sent money to James_Miller1123 instead of James_Miller1132. Notice the (32) was mistyped. This often happens with incorrect email addresses.

Some vendors decide on manually approving certain payments

This usually happens when shipping companies cannot find the address. 

Some merchants may not want to handle foreign transactions

Therefore, they flag them for review.

How to cancel pending payments

If you see that your payment is now in “Pending” status, you have an opportunity to cancel it.

You need to cancel your payment before the beneficiary accepts the money. Below are the steps to check if you can still cancel a payment in PayPal:

  1. Sign in to your account like you typically would using your PayPal credentials. 
  2. Go to “Activity”, which is on the top menu.
  3. Select “All Transactions” from the options. 
  4. Search for the payment you want to cancel. If the status is still “Pending”, you will see “Cancel” next to your payment details.
  5. Click “Cancel” to cancel the pending transaction. 

After successfully cancelling the payment, the money will be sent to your PayPal account or bank account. 

Can you request a refund?

If you were too late in cancelling a transaction, you could make a refund request within 180 days after the transaction.

You first need to ask the recipient/seller to return your money, which they can do by clicking the “Issue a refund” option in their PayPal account. Issuing a refund may take days or weeks. 

You can arrange a dispute if the recipient refuses to give your money back. You must file one within 180 days after purchase in the Resolution Center. Note that you can only dispute if the service or product is not what you expected it to be or what the seller advertised. 

If the seller denies your request, you can file a claim, and PayPal will make the final decision for the request within 45 days. 

Video tutorial


It is easy to cancel payments in PayPal when possible. However, you must remember that most transactions are processed instantly, especially if there are no issues. If you are too late in cancelling the payment, you can make a refund request or undergo the dispute process. 

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CollabPay Founder, lead developer and amateur bowler.