I bought some airline tickets using paypal (I have a debitcard associated to this account) and it seems that paypal debited the ticket price once and then also blocked the same amount on the card. Looking in paypal I see:

Order To    ****
**In Progress**
Details Order To ****       -€449.76 EUR

Jul 10, 2014        
Payment To  ****
Details Payment To ***      -€224.83 EUR

Jul 10, 2014        
Transfer From Credit Card
Details Transfer From Credit Card ****      €224.83 EUR €224.83 EUR

Jul 10, 2014        
Payment To  ****
Details Payment To *** ***      -€224.83 EUR    €0.00 EUR

Jul 10, 2014        
Transfer From   Credit Card
Details Transfer From Credit Card ****      €224.83 EUR €224.83 EUR

As you can see there are two pairs (I bought tickets for 2 persons so transactions appear separatelly) of Transfer From/Payment To transactions which are completed (and which were ok debited from my debitcard account) and one Order To transaction which is still pending and which I supposed represent the blocked amount.

I can't check with my bank right now (all I have from them is that balance is: X, Available balance is: (X - 450), so my guess is that it is paypal who blocked that amount). Is this normal? From what i see transaction will expire in 1 month, but then will the momeny be automatically unblocked or do I have to make further actions/wait more time?

1 Answer 1


You should probably call the travel agency and complain. Not that they will care, but if by any chance they do - they can ask PayPal to remove the block. This is what is called "authorization pending". Usually, a credit card transaction has two stages:

  1. The merchant requests its payment processor to authorize the transaction. The processor will contact the card issuer with the transaction details and will get the authorization code which will be passed to the merchant. At that stage the transaction enters the "pending" stage on your account.

  2. The merchant submits the transaction and gets the money from its payment processor, who forwards the transaction to the card issuer and gets the money from there. The card issuer charges the card owner. The transaction should have the same authorization code received in step #1, and by matching it to the pending transaction, the card issuer removes the pending transaction, and posts the actual transaction.

However, if the transaction in step #2 doesn't include the code from step #1, the match doesn't occur and you see the situation you have now: both the actual transaction and the pending are active. In this case the merchant should contact its merchant processor and request the revocation of the authorization code. The processor will then forward the request to the card issuer, who will then remove the pending transaction. As you can see - multiple parties have to actually care for that to happen, and many times they don't, because they don't have to.

As to the period - it's up to the card issuer (PayPal in your case), but 1 month is a very long time. Usually it's about a week or two, unless it's a hotel/car rental. In any case - once it expires, it will go away on its own and if you don't mind for the amounts to be blocked until then - just let it expire.

The fact that you used a debit card for this transaction is irrelevant. Unless it was a pin transaction, debit card transactions are processed as credit card transactions by processors. For pin transactions, there process is different and you shouldn't see doubles. If it was a pin transaction - contact PayPal and check with them what's going on.

Generally, PayPal is not to be used as a "bank account", it is merely a payment processor, and it is advised to remove the money from there as soon as possible.

  • "However, if the transaction in step #2 doesn't include the code in step #2" One 2 should be a 1, right?
    – DJohnM
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 5:21
  • Thanks for the very clear explanations, indeed the month has passed yesterday and the money were automatically released by PayPal.
    – NewGuy
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 18:13

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