How to get a PayPal refund: the process

Zorica Lončar

If you’re not happy with a purchase you’ve made online, you’ll need to look into whether or not you can get a refund.

In this guide, we’ll run through how to get a refund if you’ve paid by PayPal. This includes a step-by-step guide to requesting your refund, whether there are any fees involved and how long it takes. Plus, whether or not you can get your money back using the PayPal mobile app.

We’ll even throw in a handy tip for international spending and online shopping in other currencies - the Wise multi-currency account.

But first, let’s get your PayPal refund sorted out.

Can I get a refund with PayPal?

If you didn’t get what you paid for, or your order was broken or faulty, you have the right to request a refund from the seller. Your consumer rights are the same whether you pay using your debit card or through PayPal¹.

To get a refund when you’ve paid by PayPal, you’ll need to contact the seller to ask for it².

If they refuse, you can open a dispute in PayPal’s Resolution Centre. Through this process, you can communicate with the seller and try to arrive at a resolution. If you can’t agree, PayPal will look into the situation, and decide whether or not you’re entitled to get your money back³.

You have up to 180 days after paying for your item to request a refund².

How do I get a refund from PayPal? The process

Let’s run through the steps you need to follow to get a refund through PayPal²:

  1. Login to your PayPal account.
  2. Contact the seller by sending an email explaining the problem. You can find their contact details on the transaction you’d like a refund for. Ask them to go to the Transaction Details for your purchase and click ‘Issue a Refund’.
  3. If the seller doesn’t agree to send the refund, you may be able to open a dispute in the PayPal Resolution Centre.
  4. The seller should give a response to your dispute, explaining what happened from their side.
  5. Once the dispute is opened, you and the seller will have 20 days⁴ to work out a solution.
  6. If there’s no resolution after this time, you can escalate your dispute to a claim. PayPal will review the case and provide a final decision⁴.

If a refund is due after either of the above steps, it’ll be issued to your debit card or PayPal balance depending on the original method used to fund the purchase. We’ll run through how this works - and how long it takes - in just a moment.

PayPal refund fee

The good news is that PayPal doesn’t charge buyers any fees⁵ to receive refunds, as long as no currency conversion is involved. However, there may be fees on the seller’s side.

How long does a refund on PayPal take?

The time it takes to receive your PayPal refund depends on the method used to make the original payment.

The table below⁶ shows where your refund will be issued and how long it’ll take, depending on how you paid for the transaction originally. As you’ll see, some methods are far quicker than others.

Payment method (when paying through PayPal)Refund issued toHow long it takes
Credit card or PayPal CreditCredit cardUp to 30 days
Bank accountPayPal balance3-5 business days
PayPal balancePayPal balanceSame day
Debit cardDebit cardUp to 30 days

PayPal refund to debit card

If you used your debit card to pay for your purchase, when checking out using PayPal, your money will be refunded back to the same card. But you’ll need to be patient, as it can take up to 30 days to receive the refund⁶.

PayPal refund on app

If you use the PayPal mobile app to shop, spend and send money, you may need to switch to the website version in order to request your refund. This is because the PayPal Resolution Centre isn’t available on the app⁷.

Shopping or spending abroad? Check out the Wise multi-currency account

PayPal is a great option for making online purchases with UK sellers, or when the currency is the same as your own. But what about shopping overseas, or sending money across international borders? If you use PayPal and a currency conversion is needed, it can get a little costly.

Luckily, there’s a money-saving alternative available. Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can send money worldwide for low fees and the mid-market exchange rate - the fairest you can get. Better still, you can receive money for free in 10 major currencies.

You can even get an international Wise debit card for low-fee spending in 200+ countries, as well as online shopping in other currencies. If a currency conversion is needed, it’s automatically done at the mid-market rate at the moment you spend. Clever, right?

Find out more about how Wise works here.

Join Wise today

Sources used for this article:

  1. Citizens Advice - consumer rights when paying by PayPal
  2. PayPal - refunds with PayPal
  3. PayPal - PayPal dispute resolution
  4. PayPal - how to escalate a dispute to a claim
  5. PayPal - consumer fees
  6. PayPal - where refunds are issued and timescales
  7. PayPal - Resolution center not available on app

Sources checked on 27-04-2022.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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