I find that often when I pay a bill with PayPal somehow the vendor is able to create an automatic payment. Then I have to go and cancel it. This is extremely annoying.

How can I prevent PayPal from setting up automatic payments unless I explicitly authorize it?

  • 2
    I've never seen that problem. You might want to consider whether you are doing business with trustworthy vendors...
    – keshlam
    Aug 5, 2016 at 2:29
  • 1
    Are you saying that a site is making it appear to be a one time fee but actually are tricking you into a subscription? If that's the case, I assume they aren't redirecting you to PayPal for payment, but are collecting your payment information directly on their site?
    – TTT
    Aug 8, 2016 at 19:01
  • Yes yes yes yes Aug 8, 2016 at 19:09
  • 1
    Wow. That's pretty shady. I'd be surprised if that isn't a violation of PayPal's ToS for their integrated product. I assume PayPal would want to know about it so they could either shut it down, or at least force them to start being honest with their customers.
    – TTT
    Aug 8, 2016 at 19:32
  • GoDaddy does that every time you buy a domain name for example. Not sure if it's supposed to, but canceling auto-renewal on their web site does not deactivate the Automatic Payment entry in paypal.
    – Klesun
    Jun 25, 2021 at 8:28

5 Answers 5


I'm not sure that you can directly prevent it, because it's up to the vendor to determine whether you are charged once, or recurring. However, any vendor that is charging you on a recurring basis should make this very clear to you at the time of purchase. If they do not, they are probably breaking some laws. Some vendors offer options for either recurring or a one time fee. If they only offer a recurring option, then your choices are to cancel on the vendor's website after signing up, or doing what you've been doing and canceling with PayPal after you sign up. (Or not buying at all.)

You can probably indirectly prevent it by using a virtual credit card, but I think you're still better off canceling the subscription either directly with the vendor or with PayPal after signing up, as it is much cleaner that way. It also sends a clear message to the vendor that perhaps they should consider offering a one time fee option since some people do not like recurring payments.


I am dealing with this same issue, and it makes me incredibly angry that Paypal doesn't offer a way for us to OPT OUT of vendors being added to our automatic payments approval list - If I want a vendor on that list I should give explicit permission!!! I read somewhere that anytime you conduct a transaction with a vendor who uses paypal pro, that vendor is immediately added to your automatic payments approval list (and if unscrupulous can start making recurring charges because that have/keep your information).

Also the "manage your automatic payments" option is extremely buried and hard to locate - it should be a direct link from the "Wallet" page!!!


Use a payment system other than PayPal.

To clarify, this prevents PayPal from taking the action you prefer it to avoid by cutting then out of the transaction entirely.


My solution to this is simply to do my transaction and then immediately log into paypay and check the automatic payments list; remove the unwanted ones.

PayPal SHOULD have an Email sent to you declaring "Your automatic payment was started" because they immediately send you "Your automatic payment was canceled" when you cancel one, but they don't (which you obviously already know about since you were the one who cancelled it; it makes no sense)

I have had this happen with ALLOT of major vendors that don't makes sense. the most recent is BestBuy where there is zero reson to allow automatic payments.

I noticed any provider who primarily dealw with a renewing service that you pay for yearly or monthly will do this by default. So anytime you deal with one of these go and remove them immediately.

The reason I don't leave it on for these recurring payments is because ANY company's financial billing system can screw up and then suddenly take money from the system.


There are GoFundraise sites (if not GoFundraise itself) that are doing exactly this - but I'm sure they aren't the only one.

Perhaps their aim is easier future (one-off) transactions for the customer, but when transactions presented as one-off on the GoFundraise site are actually prompting for a recurring payment authorisation in the paypal portal, there's some misleading stuff going on. To quote the actual Paypal payment portal for a one-off ticket purchase from GoFundraise:

I want to use my (payment method) for my automatic payments to GfPayment. Payments will be made first from my PayPal balance, and then my chosen payment method above. I understand that if my payment method is unavailable, PayPal will charge my backup payment method and my bank may charge a dishonour fee."

Pretty suck if you start copping fees because of recurring payments you didn't intend on authorising. My preferred solution is:

A PayPol checkbox saying "one transactionn only" that appears when vendors request recurring approval would fix the problem, for all vendors.

(The alternate approach of getting developers to amend the vendor site would be an uphill battle, and only fixes the problem for a single vendor at a time).

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