PayPal refunds between Pounds (GBP) and Dollars (USD)

I’ve just spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to refund a USD deposit payment to one of my PayPal accounts back to the originator.  When receiving the money I’d converted the payment to GBP and so that PayPal account only had a single (GBP) currency.

When trying to refund the chap’s USD payment out of my GBP balance PayPal would respond with the unhelpful ‘Your refund must not exceed your available balance. If you have funds in another currency balance, you may want to consider transferring funds from other currency balances.‘.

I say unhelpful because it didn’t point me at the simple solution!  The short answer is – go to Profile, select Currency Balances and from there setup a USD balance.  Now transfer some GBP into the USD balance (the converter shows you how much you’re transferring), complete the transfer and successfully issue the refund.

If you’ve received foreign balances before (and opted to store them in the original currency, not your default currency) then you’ll already have a link to ‘manage currencies’ on the frontpage.

PayPal’s UI could certainly do with some UX love.

Ian is a Chief Interim Data Scientist via his Mor Consulting. Sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London and to hear about his data science thoughts and jobs. He lives in London, is walked by his high energy Springer Spaniel and is a consumer of fine coffees.


  • James
    Thanks! That saved me a few mins :)
  • Muhammad Umair
    Many many thanks for the solution. I was struggling for an hour to find the solution to this.
  • Matthew Webb
    Many, MANY thanks for this! I've been trying to get this information out of PayPal for ages but as always Google was more of a help! :)
  • Why is it so easy for you and so hard for Paypal? Thanks for posting the solution to my problem!
  • Damien
    THANK YOU! Just happened to me recently, saved me a whole load of time. :)
  • Karl
    Same from over here. Thanks for your helpful article!
  • Hi Ian! Many many thanks - its unreal how BADLY designed Paypal's site is - especially when you run into a problem. Its brother site - EBAY isn't much better in my opinion for same reason! A google search turned up your solution above - you deserce the credit!!! Thank You for taking the time to post this great article! It's just a bit ironic that it shouldn't be needed in the first place, if PAYPAL would listen...
  • Eleni
    Hello Ian! I've found you after almost an hour of trying to figure this out. I've seen the currency exchange column but the impression given is that under it there is only currency converter information. Even after I read your review I hesitated because I was sure that this column was only informational. But then I thought so many people are thanking him, so let's give it a try! Thank you for sharing this with us!
  • Bogdan