Paypal takes donation but doesn't deposit it
May 13, 2020 10:26 AM   Subscribe

Our social service group has started a Paypal donations page. We set it up and paypal verified our bank accounts through 2 small deposits. Paypal allows us to make donations through debitcards with Paypal membership. The bank shows the money being taken out of the debitcards but the money is not showing up in our group account. How can I get Paypal to help? Their virtual assistant is useless. They appear to have no live support due to Covid-19.We are losing donations because we won't link to the page if it's not working.
posted by Xurando to Work & Money (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm confused -it's not showing in the paypal account or not in the bank account? I thought you had to manually transfer from paypal to your bank.
posted by Brockles at 10:33 AM on May 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I think you have to manually ask PayPal to transfer from your paypal account to your designated bank account, it's not an automatic thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:36 AM on May 13, 2020

Response by poster: The debitcard shows the money is taken out and sent to the account but it never arrives at the bank.
posted by Xurando at 10:48 AM on May 13, 2020

When doing donations with Paypal, it sounds like there is a step you are missing:

- money is taken out of donor's bank account and put in your Paypal account (not directly into the bank account)

- you then need to log into your Paypal account (on the Paypal website) and manually move the money from the Paypal account into your bank account.
posted by anastasiav at 10:53 AM on May 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: In the account the summary section says there has been no activity.
posted by Xurando at 10:56 AM on May 13, 2020

Are the donors getting confirmation emails from Paypal? And are you, as the receiver, getting emails that a gift was made? Both things should be happening.

Also, are you using a Paypal generated button or link for the gifts? Or just an email address?
posted by anastasiav at 10:58 AM on May 13, 2020

Response by poster: There is nothing in either our Paypal account or the organization bank account even though Paypal has taken donations from several different debitcards and and the bank has debited the money from those cards.
posted by Xurando at 10:59 AM on May 13, 2020

Response by poster: We are using a Paypal generated link to the donation page.
posted by Xurando at 11:01 AM on May 13, 2020

Response by poster: There are confirmation emails to the organization. However, no money is in the account. The donors are not receiving confirmation emails.
posted by Xurando at 11:10 AM on May 13, 2020

I'm not sure I precisely get your question, so can I just clarify the problem?

Is it:

A) you have a Paypal account linked to your organization's account at Bank Z.
B) Someone makes a donation through Paypay with their personal debit card tied to their account at Bank A.
C) Bank A debits the money from their personal account, then the money just disappears (i.e. never shows up in your Paypal account).


So, it's not that it gets lost going from Paypal to your organization's account at Bank Z, but that it gets lost going from the donor's personal account at Bank A to your organization's Paypal account?
posted by Betelgeuse at 11:28 AM on May 13, 2020

Is it just debit cards with this issue, or do you get the same result when someone donates directly from another paypal account or via a credit card? How long have you been testing this? I ask because I wonder, but don't know, if paypal waits until midnight or some other arbitrary time to clear all debit card transactions for any particular business day. (Even so, I would expect to see it in your account activity, with at least a "pending" note or similar.)

I would also expect anything which generates an email to you from paypal to be viewable in your account activity. I know that's true for my donation account.
posted by maxwelton at 11:31 AM on May 13, 2020

The no activity in your paypal dashboard to me is a flag that something is not configured correctly somewhere. Are you using a paypal-generated "donate now" button which, when people click on it, takes them to a paypal-hosted page, or are you using a more elaborate setup where you're hosting the form on your own site, with all its myriad options, and when its submitted the results are then sent to paypal?

I only have experience with the former (for donations), and it seems bullet-proof. Are the emails you receive sent from paypal itself, and not a process on your own web server? When I get a donation, the email I get is (with my account details removed):
Hello maxwelton , 

This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from jane doe 
( mailto:// 
You can view the transaction details online .

Donation Details

Total amount:$10.00 USD
Currency:U.S. Dollars
Confirmation number:ABC123
Purpose:My configured tagline
Contributor:jane doe


If your emails are NOT like this, complete with a link to view the transaction details, I'd be suspicious of the form's configuration.
posted by maxwelton at 11:55 AM on May 13, 2020

(That email comes from, BTW)
posted by maxwelton at 12:01 PM on May 13, 2020

Response by poster: The scenario looks like this: The donor donates from bank A. She can immediately see the money had gone to the group. The group gets an email from paypal as above showing a donation has been made. No email goes to the donor. Only one donation is shown in the paypal account and that has a notation saying the group hasn't accepted it yet. There is no money in the paypal account and none in the bank account.
posted by Xurando at 1:14 PM on May 13, 2020

Best answer: Does this paypal help page offer any clues? I'd double-check all your contact info has been confirmed with paypal, and you don't have some sort of weird "must approve payments" thing going on.

When you log into your paypal dash, you're seeing one of these for every attempt to donate? Or only one, despite several attempts by different people to donate? Anyway, I'm just shooting into the night, here.

I'd find someone in your group who has a paypal account and have them donate from there, at least then you'd have a "closed loop" and could determine if it's a general problem or just with debit cards.
posted by maxwelton at 2:02 PM on May 13, 2020

Are the donations being made in a different currency? I know that paypal 'Non-profit' accounts are not allowed to recieve donations in any foreign currency. Im not sure what happens if you try.
posted by Lanark at 2:49 PM on May 13, 2020

Response by poster: Problem solved. I did not know I was to confirm the group's email when I set up the account. I don't remember being asked to but you know how that goes. Anyway the money was just sitting there waiting for the email confirmation and the designation that the money should go to the bank rather than sit in the Paypal account. Thanks for helping solve this mystery.
posted by Xurando at 3:33 PM on May 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

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