A Paypal eCheck is a type of Paypal payment that is made with funds directly from your bank account, rather than from your Paypal balance or debit / credit card. It’s like writing a check electronically to pay for something you’ve purchased online with Paypal handling the writing of the check for you.
However, of all of the ways to fund your Paypal account, this is the worst option you could choose. It adds layers of needless difficulty to your transaction and will slow down your purchase by several days.
A Paypal eCheck is Just a Hassle for Any Seller to Accept
Paypal doesn’t tell you this when sign up, but it’s a huge pain in the rear for online sellers to process an eCheck. It usually takes 3 to 5 business days for an eCheck to clear and for the money to actually be sent to the recipient. If there’s a weekend in between that period it takes even longer because those aren’t counted as “business days” So it can take as long as a week for a payment you’ve made to actually reach the person you sent it to.
From the seller’s side, this is the warning they see when someone sends them a Paypal eCheck.
So now your payment is in Paypal limbo. It’s been taken from your bank account but not given to the seller. Nobody wins here. The seller isn’t going to send your item because they don’t have the payment yet. But you want your item shipped because the money has already been taken from your account.
All this results a several day delay in you getting what you ordered. On eBay this misunderstanding can also result in a seller getting undue negative feedback or detailed seller ratings because of unrealistic expectations that a buyer might have. So do everyone a favor and don’t use a Paypal eCheck to pay for anything. There are better ways to fund your account, and they are just as easy.
Instead of an eCheck Use a Regular Paypal Payment
Before you buy something and use Paypal to pay for it, consider a few options available to you besides using an eCheck. The simplest is to use your checking account’s debit card as your funding source. It works the same way with your bank account and the transfer is instant, making everyone involved happy. You can learn how to do it step by step on Paypal’s website here.
That method also works for setting up a credit card as a funding source instead of your bank. Credit card payments are also be made instantly so they’re a good alternative if you don’t have a debit card for some reason. If you want, you can even have both a credit card and a debit card set up as funding sources at the same time.
The next easiest thing to do is to add money to your Paypal balance prior to making a purchase. You can do this directly with MoneyPak or with a bank transfer. With MoneyPak, you can take cash to one of their retail locations and they will instantly deposit it to the balance of your Paypal account.
As a last resort, you can just manually add funds to your Paypal balance from your bank account before you make a purchase. Just click on the “Add Money” link on the top of the Paypal website and it will give you an option to add the funds yourself. It will take a few days to be deposited with this method. But once the deposit is reflected in your Paypal balance, you’ll be able to send it instantly which will avoid the eCheck problem.
Let me answer one final question here. Yes, Paypal eChecks can and do bounce. In 4 years of selling I’ve personally seen 2 fail. In the case of the first one the buyer didn’t do anything and the transaction ended up getting cancelled. With the second the buyer re-sent the payment as regular payment and we completed the sale without any other problems. And he learned not to use eChecks anymore.