Here is what you need to know about PayPal's Inactivity Fee

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 16, 2022

PayPal customers who have not had any activity in the past 12 months will be charged an inactivity service fee. Inactive accounts without positive balance may also be closed by PayPal after an additional 60 days. The inactivity fee was introduced in some countries in 2021, and has now been expanded to more countries that PayPal operates in.

paypal inactivity fee

PayPal users who have not used the account in the past 12 months are notified by PayPal about this, according to the company. Customers have until December 13, 2022 to become active and avoid the fee.

PayPal will charge the fee automatically, provided that the inactive account has a positive balance. Accounts with a balance of zero are not impacted by the fee, but they may face closure as well. The maximum amount that PayPal is going to charge is €10, or the equivalent in another currency. If the account's balance is positive but less than €10, that amount is charged by PayPal.

Accounts that remain inactive for another 60 days after the fee has been charged face termination. PayPal explains that its User Agreement allows it to charge an annual inactivity service fee. The fee is charged "to maintain accounts that are inactive".

Here is a summary of PayPal's new inactivity fee:

  • Fee applies to countries that PayPal operates in, with the exception of personal accounts registered in Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Poland. Customers from these countries are excluded in 2022.
  • The fee is €10 or less, depending on the available account balance. If a customer has a balance of €4, that amount is the fee. Charges won't result in negative balances according to PayPal.
  • Accounts without a positive balance after the charge has been processed may be closed after 60 days, if no activity is recorded.
  • To avoid the fee, PayPal customers may do one of the following activities:
    • sign-in to the PayPal account.
    • Use PayPal to make a payment.
    • Send money to friends or family, or vendors.
    • Withdraw money from the account.
    • Donate to charity.

PayPal customers may want to sign in and out of their account to avoid the fee, if they want to keep the account. If they don't, withdrawing all money is the best course of action to avoid inactivity fee charges in the coming years.

Now You: do you use PayPal for online purchases?

Here is what you need to know about PayPal's Inactivity Fee
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Here is what you need to know about PayPal's Inactivity Fee
PayPal customers who have not had any activity in the past 12 months will be charged an inactivity service fee.
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  1. Novice said on January 9, 2023 at 9:52 am

    I never have deposited money into my PayPal account and I don’t think I would ever need to. I just use it at online stores and money is transferred from my financial institution account. If my PayPal account ever does get cancelled through my lack of using it, I’d immediately learn of that when attempting to use it. So if that happens, can’t I just create a new PayPal account and continue with my transaction? I haven’t ticked “use this …. as my preferred payment method, so I see no reason for a delay in creating a new PayPal account. Surely they wouldn’t ban people from creating new accounts. That would be crazy.

  2. userpassadmin said on November 17, 2022 at 7:18 am

    Any better alternatives ?

  3. Benjamin said on November 17, 2022 at 6:39 am

    Geld muss ein öffentlicher Dienst, sogenannte Service Public und Gemeineigentum sein. Privatisiert lässt sich mit Finanzen wunderbar einfach und quasi Spurlos alles erdenkliche an der Öffentlichkeit vorbei Plündern.

  4. Clairvaux said on November 17, 2022 at 12:41 am

    Okay, I deleted my account.

    Those morons tried to threaten me with a warning that “if you close that account, you won’t be able to open it again later”. Meaning what ? You’ll refuse to have my money flowing through your system if I want to open a new account a year from now ? I don’t think so.

    Sure enough, they were “sorry to see me go”, but they added that “I could open a new account later”. Of course I can. And you won’t refuse me under the pretext that I will give you the same name, the same address and so on.

    There was an option to “ask for your data to be deleted”, but this seemed to involve a delay, so I dropped it. Anyway, I did not have any “data”, unless my identity counts as such.

    1. VioletMoon said on November 17, 2022 at 1:02 am

      So you really didn’t delete it; yes, all of your personal information is still on file. In the future, my guess is you will be flooded with emails for “special” reopening deals–all of which you will consider dutifully because it was impossible to simply log in and log out and call it good.

      On principle, or simply lazy? Maybe this has never happened to you. Learning?

      Now . . . the hesistation, the “What did I do; possibly I didn’t want to close my account” idea will haunt and plague your waking and sleeping hours with thoughts of regret because all you had to do was log in and log out and call it good–knowing that millions of banks around the world charge inactivity fees much higher for inactivity of only one month.

      In reality, you are still stuck with PayPal in your life. Procrastination. Indecision.

      Too much of a Hamlet.

      PayPal has entered your life and taken over your mind. Think of the hours already spent thinking about the situation. And the many more that will be spent as PayPal sends those “great deals” to have you log in again.

      Sort of funny . . . .

      1. Clairvaux said on November 17, 2022 at 2:40 pm

        @ Violet Moon

        Why the hatred, insults and silly assumptions ? I won’t get any mail from PayPal. First of all, I did not get any while I had an account. So it’s highly unlikely it will start now. Second, I have a surefire way to stop any spam in its tracks. It’s called Anonaddy. You might check it.

      2. Tom Hawack said on November 17, 2022 at 3:33 pm

        @Clairvaux, indeed Disposable Email Addresses (DEAs) is the way to go and AnonAddy is the best service for this IMO.
        Yet, though I have no reason to doubt of an intermediary’s integrity in principle I avoid this when it comes to official business and prefer then to use/add a dedicated alias to my regular email provider. After all a DEA provider is basically able to read all emails transiting through its service so if enhanced privacy is concerned nothing is worth an alias. DEAs IMO are most valuable for newsletters and so on, anything which is not strictly private.

      3. Alex said on November 17, 2022 at 9:39 pm

        @Tom Hawack
        Do you have an opinion on using a personal domain and create as many emails as you want as opposed to something like AnonAddy (which I think the free tier allows only 10mb per month (?) ).
        Just feels better to own my own domain in case AnonAddy decides to close shop.
        What do you think? Any drawbacks that you can think of?

      4. Tom Hawack said on November 17, 2022 at 11:11 pm

        @Alex, as far as I know using a personal domain is the wisest and most flexible approach for managing one’s emails. As far as i know only and I know little about this. I remember having considered this approach with Infomaniak, had my domain but preferred the traditional email provider and its aliases given the small volume of emails I manage : no need for a kalachnikov when a Beretta does the job :=) It all depends on one’s environment I guess. I switched from an email client (Thunderbird) to Web only email providers for specific reasons I consider valuable, use aliases as i wrote above for confidential emails and a DEA (Anonaddy) for futile services. Should I ever get back into business requiring heavy email flow that i’d likely consider upgrading to a personal domain to manage increased power.

      5. Alex said on November 18, 2022 at 5:32 am

        @Tom Hawack
        I guess you’re right, Tom. It al depends on how many emails we’re talking about. I must be one of the few with like 40 gmail accounts in Thunderbird por personal use haha.
        I started looking more into this since one of my gmail accounts from like 17 years ago was “sold” to some spamming list and now I get 5-10 spam emails that bypass Gmail’s filter and it’s getting very annoying. I can barely use that account anymore.

  5. Clairvaux said on November 17, 2022 at 12:31 am

    All right. Thanks to this article, I discovered I have a dormant PayPal account. Also, my country falls under the inactivity fee. This is supposed to have started on September 30th. However, I never received any email warning about it.

    The conditions are ridiculous. You are only subject to an inactivity fee if you have money on your account. Then, it’s either 10 €, or the whole amount if your credit is lower.

    Afterr this, if you don’t get “active” again within 60 days, your account is closed (or may be closed).

    However I read the conditions, it seems that if you have nothing on your account (my case), then you’re not punished for inactivity.

    How stupid is that ? You leave money on your account, they jump on you and grab it. Maybe even close your account. You don’t leave any money on it, they leave you alone.

    I’ll probably close this silly thing right now (if they let me do it…). The woke bit is the straw on the camel’s back.

  6. Clairvaux said on November 17, 2022 at 12:10 am

    That settles it. I have almost never used PayPal, but now they have a 10 € inactivity fee ? And then, if you don’t “get active”, they’ll close your account ? Plus, they denied service for political reasons ?

    Go to hell, PayPal.

  7. boudeman said on November 16, 2022 at 10:54 pm

    I hardly used PayPal but recently I tried to sign in. With 2FA security a code is sent to your smartphone. I received that code some hours later. That was for me the end of PayPal.

  8. VioletMoon said on November 16, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    What’s the issue here?

    To avoid the fee, PayPal customers may do one of the following activities:

    Sign-in to the PayPal account.
    Use PayPal to make a payment.
    Send money to friends or family, or vendors.
    Withdraw money from the account.
    Donate to charity.

    Banks with “inactivity fees” operate everywhere with impunity for charging as much as $10-15 a month for inactivity for one month. PayPal offers a fair deal when compared.

    [A basic search phrase, “banks with inactivity fees.”]

    “PayPal helps keep transactions secure by not sharing financial information with sellers, and also monitors transactions 24/7. PayPal also monitors fraud prevention and helps with dispute resolution, putting a hold on funds until the issue is resolved.”

    However one decides to pay for products and services, if the above type of support isn’t included, drop the digital payment system.

    Credit card companies do the same thing; no activity for one year, and the account is closed. Many online sites will close an account after one year of inactivity.

    How hard it must be to log in to an account and log out. It may be a good idea–update a password, etc. Send some money to a friend. Donate to the Humane Society. Such a blessing to be able to quickly send money anywhere/everywhere. Zelle works well. Google Pay Send. Apple Pay.

    Send a donation to Martin at gHacks! Make it $50 in consideration for his undying commitment to providing pertinent tech information to the world.

    The best thing is a high paying “cash rewards” credit card and use it for some major purchases–like a dental crown or a computer. The rewards I receive practically pay for the product I purchase.

    “Skrill accounts not used for 12 months are assessed a fee of $5.”

    “Google Pay Send does not charge a fee on debit transactions, whereas PayPal charges 2.9%.”

    “Stripe charges 2.9% plus 30 cents on every transaction.”

    Someone needs to take a Financial Literacy 101 course.

    And merchants? “According to Forbes, the favorite payment platform for merchants in 2022 was Square.”

    1. LOLOLOLOLOL said on November 21, 2022 at 6:16 am

      Use it or lose it does not legitimately apply to bank accounts or genitalia.

  9. Some1 said on November 16, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    PayPal just shot themselves in the foot. Their service is not crucial these days. No reason to pay.

  10. Brad said on November 16, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    Bunch of thieves.

    Rule of thumb: if a company is American, try to avoid using them. If they’re based in Silicon Valley, definitely try to avoid them.

  11. Mystique said on November 16, 2022 at 12:51 pm

    There are plenty alternatives available now and its high time people adopt them including stores.
    Wise (formerly Transferwise) has been around long enough and is cheaper also.

    1. cams said on November 16, 2022 at 3:43 pm

      Why care about alternatives? the fee is because you didn’t use them or sign into your paypal account for 12 months, you want to sign up to an alternative to not use them either!

      1. Mystique said on November 17, 2022 at 8:00 am

        The truth is that paypal charges too many fees as it is and I also find their currency conversion to be BS

  12. cams said on November 16, 2022 at 10:22 am

    All you have to do is sign in once a year to avoid the fee, nothing to get excited about.

  13. D said on November 16, 2022 at 9:52 am

    Lovely. I hear people are already closing those PP accounts on “go woke, go broke” principle.

    Seems I’ll be doing some, ahem, “streamlining” by the end of the year myself too: ditch Paypal, ditch DKB V-Pay, ditch Diners (no more free business lounges), put aside N26 and Curve (not much value-added since I got a 2-year-all-free deal at some other bank)…

    To paraphrase an old saying: Banks and financial services are like diapers; you have to monitor them constantly and change them often. ;)

    1. Brad said on November 16, 2022 at 1:31 pm

      “Woke” (whatever that dumb phrase actually means) essentially boils down to people trying to be considerate towards other human-beings.

      If you are against that, then you then you are basically admitting that you are nothing but a selfish, jealous, greedy, unintelligent scumbag.

      1. Clairvaux said on November 17, 2022 at 12:05 am

        @ Brad

        That’s a nice way to demonstrate what woke is : a blatant attempt at dictatorship through collective intimidation — and lying.

        Denying woke exists (“whatever that dumb phrase actually means”), then confirming it bloody well exists (“if you are against that, then you are basically admitting that you are nothing but a selfish, jealous, greedy, unintelligent scumbag”).

        Typical communist way of claiming the moral high ground while threatening others into submission by insulting them, harrassing them, depriving them of their jobs, means of livelihood, reputation, friends, family, you name it.

      2. Sebas said on November 17, 2022 at 9:59 am

        @ Clairvaux Woke is the embodiment of the darkest subconscious human hatred.

        “there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average

        human being to supply any given army on any given day

        and the best at murder are those who preach against it

        and the best at hate are those who preach love

        and the best at war finally are those who preach peace”

        Charles Bukowski

      3. Alex said on November 16, 2022 at 11:20 pm

        You couldn’t be more wrong.
        “Woke” means to be so progressive that you end up supporting absolutely ridiculous policies that create way more problems than it claims to fix.

      4. Sebas said on November 16, 2022 at 11:00 pm

        @Brad full of hatred intolerance and ignorance. Woke is fascism 2.0.

      5. D said on November 16, 2022 at 5:40 pm

        @Brad: Let me just say that “woke” is to “being considerate towards other human beings” as “communism/socialism” is to “social state”.
        The first is an ideology that does harm (or at least quite the opposite of what it’s trying to achieve) to the second.

      6. txtim said on November 16, 2022 at 3:25 pm

        “a selfish, jealous, greedy, unintelligent scumbag.” love the description of yourself being “considerate towards other human-beings.” thanks for the PERFECT example of being woke

      7. Sebas said on November 17, 2022 at 9:44 am

        @txtim +1

      8. Herman Cost said on November 16, 2022 at 9:06 pm


      9. just an Ed said on November 16, 2022 at 2:23 pm

        The problem is that those that you are being “considerate” to demand you follow their rules, and are beyond inconsiderate to those they don’t agree with. I think this qualifies as sc*%mb@gery, as you put it. Cancel culture is real and quite unforgiving. I suggest you may want to rethink your position. You might also wish to learn some biology, which such types seem determined to “deny”.

    2. anona said on November 16, 2022 at 10:13 am

      What did DKB do? are they woke now?

      1. D said on November 16, 2022 at 11:38 am

        They started charging 2.49 EUR per month for Visa Credit card (keeping for now, it’s still quite good), and 0.99 EUR for V-Pay (ditching, as I don’t really need it).
        Unfortunately yes, they’re wokish too, using “Gendersprache”. Kund*innen and hard-to-read stuff like that. :/

  14. Tom Hawack said on November 16, 2022 at 9:47 am

    Flattr, Stripe when available, otherwise direct bank withdrawal, but not PayPal for which I’ve had an account closed a long time ago. This PayPal inactivity fee is hilarious : “The fee is charged “to maintain accounts that are inactive”. PayClown should the company be called.

    1. cams said on November 16, 2022 at 3:50 pm

      If the account is inactive then close it or sign in once a year = no fee. Never do DD as when the item doesn’t turn up, wrong item or broken the chance of a refund could be slim to none.

      1. Tom Hawack said on November 16, 2022 at 8:19 pm

        I’ve closed my PayPal account years ago, at the time because it required Google’s captcha (I don’t boycott sites requiring it but only registration requiring it) and an inactivity fee is definitely not an incentive to open a new account. This said major corporations seem to be searching for new funds. I’m not going to pay for a service which makes it money with our transactions, we already do that with bank accounts, far enough. Basically I guess I’m basically anti-corp, not by political demagogy but by the way these giant companies are 1- imperialist, 2- know no limits when their credo is “always more”. There’s another world, another universe on the rise, neither leftist nor rightist (healthy minds IMO are fed up with this binary vision of reality), but HONEST with HONEST products and services, HONEST alternatives. I’m committed to that universe.

      2. Karl said on November 17, 2022 at 12:34 am

        In a way I agree, Tom. But I feel I can’t be ani-corp as that would give all corps the “bad” stamp, which would be unfortunate as some are better than others. And I would also turn into an anti-entrepreneur, which I absolutely isn’t! Similarily I can’t be anti-politicians just because some of them are rotten or simply incompetent, wanting more tax money than they really need instead of cutting down an already swollen state, cancel flashy projects and to reprioritize with the money they already get and simply focus on a state’s core missions, and even better, lower their salary, silly to see politicians *serving the people* while having salaries at the level of some private company CEO*. But yes, a corp behaving like this will hurt their own brand (like a rotten politician hurting the voters trust), which they probably know from all the internal company “experts” giving the management advice for this and that, so the bottom line is that they probably simply don’t care. A company becoming greedy shows that they have become incompetant and can’t keep up with the competition and thus deserves to sail into the horizon. Although this particular case with Paypal is not as bad as some of the others we have seen through the years, so this “move” will probably not sting as bad and most users will stay. But let’s see if your idea about honest will find its way over to the big corps that need it the most, hopefully sooner rather than later!

        *I am all for private companies making a lot of money, as long as they keep the ugly greed monster at bay! Many jelous “solidarity” leftists seem to hate that Mr. Musk got a lot of money, I don’t, I really love knowing that he got all that money and not some money loving government somewhere which would only spend it on everything except the things that a government is meant to spend money on, its core mission. Musk apparently got so much money that he should “end world hunger now!” they say, yeah let’s do that, and also keep some of the worlds most corrupt so called governments in place in those countries where world hunger is the worst and democratical systems are often non-existent, “world hunger” would make a comeback before the “solidarity” people even know it. Who’s money would they want to give away next? Not their own, I know that much. There are effective and ineffective ways of helping people in need. There are smart and stupid ways of wanting to spend money, especially other peoples hard earned money which is none of our business.

      3. Tom Hawack said on November 17, 2022 at 10:54 am

        @Karl, don’t let me be misunderstood. When I evoke anti-corporatism I refer to corporatism in the sens of big business not in that of the private sector even if the academic definition of anti-corp activism considers basically the former (“Anti-corporate activism refers to the idea of activism that is directed against the private sector. It stems from the idea that big business needs to be held to account for its activities and impacts that may be to the detriment to the public good and democratic processes.” []

        I deny for my part any form of radicalism, on both sides. The private sector is the very expression of freedom in terms of business and implies innovation and often progress. But when the private business becomes big business, imperialist, “live and let die” then we have a problem. because this deviation contradicts the very argument of its existence : abolition of freedom to enterprise when free competition is broken. The enterprise is in fact that of emerging ideas, concepts all in the hands of emerging companies, and that is good. It’s after that the problems rise.

        “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” (“Liberty, equality, fraternity”) : the third, “fraternity” is in fact the synthesis of the first two and proposes itself as indeed the key to thesis and anti-thesis. In that, ethics, in business as in every area of human relationships, appears to be the key and perhaps the only key to combine liberty and equality. Big business is not in that perspective, to put it mildly, which is why I focused on what appears to me as being a true problem. In the same way and to remain coherent I would definitely never prone activism other than to emphasize on fraternity.

      4. Karl said on November 20, 2022 at 9:56 pm

        @Tom. Ah ok, then I understand more of how you meant. Yes, in some cases like that, then it can indeed become a problem. I hope you have a good Sunday evening.

  15. Techno said on November 16, 2022 at 8:59 am

    I know there was a recent controversy over PayPal closing the accounts of organisations that have political views that they don’t agree with. However, it’s such a useful service to me. One of the main benefits is where you can pay subscriptions by PayPal, and the company makes it difficult for you to cancel the subscription directly on their website, for example, by forcing you to telephone them. You can cancel the payment authority directly on the PayPal website so when they try to take the payment it gets rejected. I have done this many times.

    1. Jojo said on November 16, 2022 at 7:24 pm

      I had heard that PayPal was implementing something like this sometime back and thought it was a huge positive.

      How exactly do you make the cancellation on the PayPal site w/o canceling the credit card?

      Is there some cancel recurring payment flag/switch to click?

      1. Jojo said on November 18, 2022 at 7:14 am

        OK, so the link states:
        How do I cancel an automatic payment I have with a merchant?

        Here is how to cancel an automatic payment with a merchant

        – Log in to your PayPal account.
        – Click Profile at the top of the page.
        – Click My Money then click Update beside My preapproved payments to find your payment.
        – Select the payment, and then click Cancel.

        A subscription can be cancelled up until the day before the next scheduled payment in order for you not to be charged.
        but it isn’t clear if this permanently removes the recurring payment or do you have to repeat this each time before the charge is made?

      2. Anonymous said on November 16, 2022 at 8:46 pm

        When you set up an automatic payment for a subscription with PayPal, you’ll see an agreement sort of thing with that place on your PayPal account. You can merely terminate that agreement and the place can no longer pull funds from PayPal.

  16. Jojo said on November 16, 2022 at 8:33 am

    Unclear if this applies to the USA, as you only specify charges in €?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 16, 2022 at 10:08 am

      PayPal launched this in 2021 in some countries, but does not specify in which. I suggest you check the terms of service for your country. Just search for inactivity, and if you find it mentioned, the country is included.

  17. coco said on November 16, 2022 at 7:30 am

    Perfect article.
    Because of it, i just closed my account .
    I did not used paypal for the last years, the virtual one time card i have in revolut is more than enough for being safe online…

    1. Frankel said on November 19, 2022 at 1:09 pm

      Closing an account when all you have to do is sign in ONCE every couple of months. Let’s see how that will turn out for you :)

      1. John B said on November 21, 2022 at 6:10 am

        Allowing greedy people to waste your time for several kilobytes of database storage on petabytes worth of server storage. Let’s see how that will turn out for you. ??

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