Just days left for millions of PayPal customers to avoid new £9 a year penalty

PayPal customers have just days left to avoid a new £9 a year penalty charge.

The online shopping platform said it will start charging customers from December 16 as part of a crack down on dormant accounts.

The charge was initially set to be £12 a year, however PayPal recently reduced it to £9.

It said the funds will be money automatically taken from accounts later this month.

The new fees will affect those who have not used their account for a year or more – with the money debited from their current balance.

However, PayPal said it has no plans to close accounts – so if you have a log-in that’s empty and not linked to a bank account, you won’t be charged.

It also won’t apply to customers in Ireland, according to the terms and conditions of the penalty.

“We are establishing an inactivity fee for accounts that have been inactive for at least 12 consecutive months,” a PayPal statement said.

“This provisions does not apply to PayPal users registered in Ireland and to personal accounts registered in Hungary.”

What’s happening?

The new charges, first flagged by consumer expert Martin Lewis in September, mean many customers could find themselves £9 out of pocket in the run up to Christmas.

Under the terms and conditions, PayPal users will be charged £9 from December 16, 2020 if their accounts have been inactive for at least 12 months in a row.

By “inactive”, PayPal means accounts where the owner hasn’t logged in or sent, received or withdrawn money.

If there’s less than £9 in your account, PayPal will simply zero it.

If you don’t have any money in your PayPal account, or your balance is negative, you won’t be charged.

PayPal said it would warn inactive users about the fee 60 days, 30 days and then seven days before they are charged.

How to avoid it
To beat the charge you need to log into your PayPal account or make a transaction on or before December 15, 2020.

If you’re not using your PayPal account and don’t want to risk being charged, you can close the account by going to “Settings” and selecting “Close your account” at the bottom of the “Account” menu.

Alternatively, you can also keep the account open but transfer any money you have there into another account, as you won’t be charged in future if your PayPal account has a zero balance.

If you’re an irregular PayPal user but still want to keep your account open and maintain a balance, just set a calendar reminder on a certain date every year to ensure you’re not charged the fee in future.