Can the Sender Cancel an eCheck on PayPal?

By C.D. Crowder

Use eChecks instead of traditional checks when shopping online.
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PayPal eChecks are not an instantaneous payment method. For a certain amount of time, the sender has the ability to cancel an eCheck. During this time, the eCheck is in a processing limbo. Due to this processing time, items paid for by eCheck may take longer to ship than if you paid directly with PayPal or credit card.

eCheck Basics

A PayPal eCheck is a digital version of a regular check. PayPal stores your bank account information and processes the data without the need to send a paper check to purchase items. Recipients never see the name of your bank, routing number or bank account number. It takes between three and five days for an eCheck to clear, meaning the recipient doesn't see the check in his account until the eCheck has cleared.

Canceling eChecks

You can only cancel an eCheck if it hasn't cleared. As long as PayPal lists the status of the eCheck as "processing," the check has yet to clear. Check the status at any time by viewing the History area of your PayPal account. The Details area lists when the eCheck should clear. If you cancel before the eCheck is listed as cleared, the recipient never receives the payment. Cancellation options are listed under the Order Status section.

Cleared Payments

If an eCheck has already cleared, you can't cancel it. The funds are already in the recipient's account and can't be canceled. The only way to reverse the process is by requesting a refund. Remember that the exact time it takes for a payment to clear depends on your bank. The quicker you act, the better chance you have of successfully canceling an eCheck.


If an eCheck payment has cleared, you must manually request a refund from the recipient. You can find the recipient's contact information in the Details area of the transaction. The recipient may or may not grant you the refund. You must provide a good reason for the refund to encourage the recipient to follow through.

For fraudulent sellers, contact PayPal for assistance with the refund. Alternately, if you purchased an item from a specific site using PayPal, contact that site's customer support for help with refunds.


If a buyer has paid by eCheck, wait for the eCheck to clear before shipping the item. If you buy from a seller or site using eCheck, expect the seller to wait for cleared payment before shipping. Waiting ensures you receive payment since the sender can cancel the payment for up to five days after purchasing an item.