How to Access Money After Selling an Item on eBay

Accessing funds from eBay sales
Accessing funds from eBay sales is easy and convenient. Getty Images

eBay is an easy, accessible, and efficient way to make money from the comfort of home. One of the most attractive parts of selling on eBay is that no cash is involved, no one can write you a bad check, and funds are usually instantly deposited into your Paypal account. Newer sellers might need some direction when it comes to finding the funds from an eBay sale. This quick tutorial explains how the transfer of money happens and the different options for using funds in a Paypal account.

 

Understanding How Paypal Works

Paypal is the standard for payment on eBay. In the olden days, way back in 1996 when eBay first started, people paid using all kinds of different methods. Some buyers put cash or checks in the mail. The payment system has evolved greatly since eBay's inception and really, the only option now is Paypal.

This means that after a transaction is completed and you’ve shipped your item, the money is generally waiting for you as a “PayPal balance,” an amount of money that is shown as yours when you log into your PayPal account. There are several ways a seller can access their Paypal balance:

  • Go shopping on eBay for personal items. This is the option eBay likes the best! Use Paypal funds to buy whatever you like including clothing, books, collectibles, or even grocery coupons. eBay has millions of products for sale 24/7 so it is never a problem spending money there from your computer or mobile phone. 
  • Buy items on eBay for your business. Smart eBay sellers know the value of re-investing back into the business. Pay your eBay fees, buy shipping supplies, printer ink, or whatever you need for your business. The saying goes, "Business before pleasure." Make sure to leave enough for your eBay fees or your Paypal account can go in the negative. 
  • Transfer funds to a bank account. Once you have placed a bank account on file with PayPal, you can have your PayPal balance transferred to it, at any time, for free, by clicking on the “Withdraw” link near the top of your PayPal home page (shown after you log into PayPal). Transfers usually take 3-4 business days to show up in your bank account, though they are deducted from PayPal immediately.
  • Ask PayPal send you a check. The same link offers you the option to have PayPal mail you a check. This obviously takes a bit longer, since it adds mailing time to the PayPal processing time, but for those who are hesitant to add a bank account to their PayPal account, it can be a good alternate option.
  • Use a PayPal debit card. If none of the other options appeal to you, request a PayPal debit card that functions like any of the other debit cards in your wallet, except that it pulls funds from your PayPal balance. You can even get cash out at any ATM using the PIN associated with the card.

Smart Strategies for Accessing Your Paypal Funds

Paypal has lots of options for accessing your money. After all, Paypal is not a bank but more of a holding account for your money. It is still your money, you just have to designate how to remove it or spend it from your Paypal account.

 

  • Connect your bank account to PayPal. If you connect PayPal to your bank account, it’s wise to get a separate account just for your Paypal transactions. If your Paypal account is ever in the negative, which can happen if a buyer requests a return or files a dispute, Paypal will take funds from the account it is attached to. By using a separate account at a separate institution, any serious issue with PayPal won’t affect your personal household account.
  • Leave a balance. Most online commerce sites accept Paypal as a payment method. Some utilities and subscription or memberships also allow Paypal payments. If you are into gaming, like to shop online, or pay bills using Paypal, leave a balance to cover these purchases. 
  • Not everyone gets a debit card. Though the decision criteria aren’t transparent, PayPal makes clear that there is an approval process involved in getting a debit card, and it’s true that not everyone is approved. If non-approval happens in your case, you’re left with a choice between the other options. Debit cards are only available on business Paypal accounts

    Both eBay and Paypal have evolved significantly since eBay's inception in 1996. The transfer of funds is easy and convenient. So get busy and start listing on eBay today - you will have money in your Paypal account before you know it.

    Updated by Suzanne A. Wells on March 30, 2017.