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PayPal eChecks Explained

I am a digital tech enthusiast who enjoys demystifying popular online products and services for my readers.

Learn about PayPal eChecks and how they differ from typical instant payments.

Learn about PayPal eChecks and how they differ from typical instant payments.

What Is PayPal?

PayPal is an online payment system that allows individuals and businesses to pay for goods and services online without disclosing their bank account or credit card details to merchants. It is effectively an online bank account in which users are identified by their email addresses instead of their bank account numbers.

How Does It Work?

When you pay for an item through PayPal, funds from your linked checking account, debit card, or credit card are securely paid into your merchant's PayPal account. Once they have received your money, the merchant can transfer it out of their PayPal account and into their normal bank account.

Who Uses It?

PayPal is owned by eBay and is used for the majority of eBay payments. It is widely believed that PayPal will eventually be the only form of accepted payment for eBay purchases. An increasing number of major online retailers now accept PayPal payments as well. One in three online shoppers in the USA has a PayPal account, and it has quickly become the most well-known and trusted online payment method available.

The main advantage for merchants and sellers is that they can accept credit card payments online instantly without the high fees and credit checks associated with most merchant accounts.

What Are PayPal eChecks and Why Are They Used?

Paypal eChecks are used when the buyer doesn't have a credit card or an alternate funding source attached to their PayPal account. An eCheck works like a normal paper check. When the buyer sends payment, the funds are transferred from the buyer's bank account into a seller's PayPal account.

Here's what you need to know about accepting PayPal eCheck payments.

Here's what you need to know about accepting PayPal eCheck payments.

Receiving PayPal eChecks: Information for Sellers

This section covers everything eBay sellers and other recipients of PayPal eChecks need to know to make sure they get their payments and protect their merchandise.

Example of an eCheck Payment in a Seller's Account

Payment Type: eCheck

This eCheck payment will be credited to your PayPal balance once the funds have cleared from the sender's account. This usually takes three to five working days, so please do not post any items until the funds have cleared. (Estimated completion date: 29 Jan. 2022)

When Do PayPal eChecks Clear?

When you receive an eCheck, PayPal will send you an initial email. You'll receive another email once the eCheck has cleared. You should expect the eCheck to clear in about three to five working days. The funds are not available to you until the check has cleared.

How to Check If an eCheck Has Cleared

Log into the payment page in PayPal, and you will be able to see the check's expected clearing date. Until the payment has cleared, it will show as "uncleared" or "payment pending." If you receive payment via eCheck, I recommend sending a message to the buyer to let them know their expected clearing date and that their item will be sent once the payment clears.

Can eChecks Bounce?

Yes, eChecks can bounce like normal checks. I have found that many eChecks bounce, so I don't ever send an item until its payment has cleared. When you receive an eCheck for an eBay item, the buyer may be unaware that they have sent the payment as an eCheck and may think you are being slow in dispatching their item. This can result in negative feedback. It is always best to send the buyer a message with their payment's expected clearing date to avoid this.

Here's what you need to know about making purchases with PayPal eChecks.

Here's what you need to know about making purchases with PayPal eChecks.

Sending PayPal eChecks: Information for Buyers

This section covers everything eBay buyers and other individuals making payments using PayPal eChecks need to know to make sure their money gets where it's going, and they get their merchandise.

When Might You Send an eCheck?

A payment will be sent as an eCheck if you don't have a credit card or alternate funding source attached to your PayPal account. You can also elect to send a payment via eCheck instead of as an instant transfer if you prefer (instructions below).

How Long Will Your eCheck Take to Clear?

eChecks take three to five business days (up to seven regular days) to clear, so your payment will not be received instantaneously. Please remember that sellers usually will not mail your items until your eCheck has cleared.

How to Avoid Sending Money via eCheck

To avoid sending an eCheck and having to wait longer for your items, make sure you have enough funds in your PayPal account to cover the cost of the item and postage before making any purchases. Make sure you also have a credit or debit card registered to your PayPal account as a source of funding. Update the card information if you receive a new card, as your card number, security code, and expiration date may have changed.

Can You Cancel an eCheck?

A buyer can cancel an eCheck any time before it clears and then fund their PayPal account or register a credit card to make a payment instantly. If you choose to do this, be sure to contact the seller and let them know you are planning on canceling the eCheck so that you can make a faster payment.

How to Send an eCheck Manually

If you have a credit or debit card attached to your PayPal account but want to send a payment as an eCheck rather than as an instant payment, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your PayPal account.
  2. Click the "Send Money" tab.
  3. Enter the required information.
  4. Click "Continue."
  5. Click the "Change" link.
  6. Select the "eCheck" button.
  7. Click "Continue."
  8. Review the information and click "Send Money" to complete the transaction.

The Advantages of Using PayPal

PayPal is one of the largest and most well-known online payment-processing systems in existence. Anyone can open a PayPal account for free and start making purchases or accepting credit and debit card payments.

The main advantage of PayPal is that you don't need a conventional merchant account with a monthly fee and minimum 12-month contract. It is ideal for individuals who just want to sell a few personal items but also for those who run massive online businesses. Accepting credit and debit card payments has never been easier.

The only disadvantage to PayPal used to be that you could only accept payments online. PayPal now offers the "PayPal Here" card reader and smartphone app, however, which means merchants can accept card payments in-person as well. This option involves a small device that can read cards and fits on to a smartphone that can be used to take payments. It is ideal for face-to-face business at markets, fairs, garage sales, and mobile food-and-drink stalls.

Got a Problem With PayPal?

  • How do I Open a PayPal Dispute?
    If you have used PayPal to purchase an item or service and it has not been delivered or is not "as described," you can open a PayPal dispute to claim your money back if the seller/vendor is not being cooperative.

What Is a PayPal Dispute?

  • What Is a PayPal Dispute?
    If you have had a PayPal dispute opened against you for an item you sold or a PayPal payment has been Held or Placed, this page will explain what you can do to resolve the process and how to avoid future disputes.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 SpaceShanty


SpaceShanty (author) from United Kingdom on January 21, 2020:

Sorry to hear this happened to you. I recommend contacting your bank/CC provider that was attached to the Paypal account, they might be able to offer more help than Paypal. Good luck! on January 18, 2020:

Paypal sucks. Someone got ahold of my account, charged a ton of money on a cc and debit card I had stored in there. They wiped out my checking account and luckily the cc dismissed the charges, i think I git most shipments stopped because ebay told me my shipment was on its way. Now i feel like a sitting duck. Paypal investigated then cane back and said there was no evidence it wasn't me. Unbelievable.

Michelle Clemons on December 18, 2019:

I sent money to my husband PayPal on dec 12th it said a completion date of dec 17 well now there saying the 20th PayPal sucks the payment cleared at the bank last week we had major business to do for a home n were going to miss out Because of this

SpaceShanty (author) from United Kingdom on February 06, 2015:

Thanks for your comment.

Dark rev on February 05, 2015:

Nice article

J on September 09, 2014:

@Alexandra Its probably the merchant requesting that because they want the money instantly so they can send your item. If they wait 5 days for the echeck to clear, not only is it confusing, but after 5 days waiting, then 5 days for shipping, most people leave a negative review thinking the ususal shipping times apply and the item sat around before shipping..

SpaceShanty (author) from United Kingdom on September 06, 2014:

Hi Alexandra,

I have not come across this situation before.

Is it for a high value item?

I know that each Paypal account will have a send/receive limit and you may be close to that limit.

Removing the limit is simple, just search the PP help pages for 'remove limits' and follow the instructions.

Alexandra on September 04, 2014:

So what do you do when you have a positive balance in your PP account AND a verified bank account linked to your PP account and yet a merchant STILL insists you link a credit card to your PP account as well before they will accept payment from you? Is it the merchant insisting on this or PayPal itself? If the latter, then WHY?

SpaceShanty (author) from United Kingdom on February 13, 2014:

Thanks for your comment. Yes Bubblews will always send you a Paypal echeck, I think this is because the advertisers pay the money in to Bubblews bank account and then they do a bank transfer via Paypal. This is why you have to wait a few days to get your money from them.

Nell Rose from England on February 12, 2014:

I receive echecks from Bubblews, so this was fascinating to know how it works, thanks! voted up and shared! nell

Cecile Portilla from West Orange, New Jersey on January 31, 2014:

This is a cool hub. Did not know that you could send pay pal as echeck