Editor’s Note: Originally published on Jan. 9, 2020, last updated on June 23, 2022.
What happens when Amazon places a hold on your funds? And what in the world is an Amazon reserve? Have a quick read and find all the answers right here.
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When Amazon withholds your funds, your first instinct is to look this up on the Seller Forums.
As soon as you do that, you learn that it’s a common issue.
When sellers are low on cash or hit with an account suspension, they always ask for more convenient Amazon disbursements.
But there’s some confusion over how funds are withheld with Amazon reserves and permanent holds.
And it’s also not very clear how long and for what reason Amazon can put a hold on a seller’s funds.
So, let’s have a look at the basics of fund withholding on Amazon.
What is an Amazon Reserve?
In Amazon seller parlance, a reserve is any hold placed on funds for any reason and for any amount of time.
But there are different ways that Amazon may choose to withhold a seller’s funds. They can all affect a seller’s cash flow, but each situation calls for a different approach.
1. Delivery Date-Based Reserve
This amount shows up as a Deferred Transaction.
The funds are not released for disbursement The name of the payment Amazon ma… More until Amazon is satisfied that an item is delivered and there are sufficient funds to cover a claim, return chargeback, or refund request.
The funds are withheld based on the age-old “DD+7” policy; usually for 7 days on top of the EDD or actual delivery date.
So, the earliest they can be released is 8 days after delivery is confirmed or expected.
To find out when you’ll be able to access these funds, go to the Deferred transactions page and check the “Payment release date” field.
Once the funds are released, the amount will move over to the Transaction View page.
Delivery date-based reserves are shown as individual values.
So, you should be able to see specific amounts and dates for every item of sale revenue currently on hold. They used to be displayed on the Payments dashboard as part of a lump sum under “Account level reserve”.
2. Account Level Reserve
As explained on the Account Level Reserve help page, this is a hold on funds that have already been released for disbursement The name of the payment Amazon ma… More.
Amazon will withhold the total value of all the sales that fall into any of these categories:
- Ongoing A-to-Z claims. These can take weeks to resolve.
- Unresolved chargeback claims from the last 30 days.
Performance metrics below benchmarks.
- Account review. This could be due to sales fluctuations, unusual activity, or long EDDs on a new account.
- Income tax owed. This will be based on tax registration status and local regulations.
| Note: On some venues, delivery date-based and account level Amazon reserves (points 1 & 2 above) are still treated as one. They may be referred to as Unavailable Balance. |
There’s no clear timeline for lifting an account-level hold.
But it can only happen when Amazon no longer deems it necessary.
Merchants with substantial sales should expect some account-level reserves at all times.
| Note: Amazon’s reserve policy took effect in August 2016. So, ‘grandfathered’ accounts may not be subject to it, unless they’ve been suspended and reinstated in the meantime.|
3. Pending Transactions
Another example of a deferred transaction is an Invoiced Order.
This is an order placed by an Amazon BusinessAmazon Business is Amazon’s wholesale … More Customer.
This amount is not released for disbursement The name of the payment Amazon ma… More until the buyer settles the payment. It may take 30-45 days from the time the order was placed.
In the event that the EDD is longer than that, then clearing the Amazon reserve period may take a few extra days.
Just like delivery date-based reserves, the amounts and release dates for Invoiced Orders will be displayed on the Deferred transactions page.
4. Withheld Funds
These are amounts that Amazon will hold onto if it suspects deceptive, fraudulent, or illegal activity.
It can do this because of its Funds withholding policy.
The aim is to settle any claims, chargebacks, returns, or refunds that may take place within 90 days of suspension.
The funds become inaccessible to sellers as soon as their account is deactivated. But they can be released with a successful appeal.
There’s a 90-day ‘cooling off’ period.
From then on, sellers who don’t file a successful appeal can ask for their funds back.
If Amazon still deems the activity to be fraudulent, it can continue to withhold some or all of the funds.
Here are some examples of fraudulent activity: falsifying information, submitting forged documents, misrepresentation, and breaching Amazon’s anti-counterfeit policy.
Amazon can even put a permanent hold on funds. This usually happens if there’s an intellectual property A collection of ideas, concepts, … More issue, but there are many other causes.
The Funds Withholding Policy page has this to say:
5. Cleared Payment Delays
Amazon disbursements can take some time to process, as mentioned on the official Disbursement Tracker page.
Once a disbursement The name of the payment Amazon ma… More is cleared for payout, it can take a further 5 days for the funds to show up in the seller’s bank accounts.
Sellers should bear this in mind too.
The Amazon Disbursement Timeline
Three main factors affect how long it takes to get paid on Amazon: EDD, tracking, and disbursement The name of the payment Amazon ma… More settings.
But virtually every seller will have some money tied up in Amazon, whether it’s a cleared disbursement or a reserve that may never be released to them.
As a new seller, you have the option to request daily disbursements into your bank account.
This can help offset the effects of an Amazon reserve.
For sellers with grandfathered accounts, disbursements happen automatically every 2 weeks.
On the upside, they don’t usually have any reserves.
Why does it all matter? Selling an item on your own website would make the revenue available to you instantly, without reserves or payment holds.
But if you were to sell the same item on Amazon, it could take anywhere from 2 to 7 weeks to get paid.
So, a regular US seller delivering domestically with a tracked service would get paid in 15-20 days. That’s 2 business days (b.d.) standard lead time, 7 days to deliver, 7 days for the delivery date-based reserve to clear, and another couple of days for disbursement.
But what happens if the seller ships internationally, without a tracking number, and without daily Amazon disbursements?
It could take 50 days.
That’s 2 b.d. for handling and up to 18 b.d. to deliver globally, bringing the EDD to 28 calendar days.
Add 7 days for the reserve to clear, up to 14 for disbursement, and some time for the money to appear in the bank account.
What Can You Do to Speed Things Up?
We’ve already mentioned some of the ways sellers can shorten this time frame.
- Check the banking and credit card fields in Seller CentralAmazon Seller Central is a portal or a h… More for any outdated information.
- Declare your tax registration status.
- Set up daily disbursements in Seller Central, if eligible.
- Switch to FBA for items preferred by international buyers.
- Confirm all shipments in Manage Order as soon as possible.
- Upload valid tracking numbers on Amazon asap to bring down EDD.
- Shorten Lead Time to Ship (LTS) or handling time if you can dispatch quicker.
- Don’t ship early without a tracking number. It won’t affect your EDD.
- Use integrated carriers and select the fastest shipping option available.
- Address all A-to-Z claims and chargebacks promptly.
- Draft and submit appeals quickly, ideally with help from Amazon experts.
Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed.
this was very informative-thank you.
I am wondering if you can help with how to handle these unavailable balances when filing a tax return? I don’t feel I should pay taxes on it if I am never going to receive these funds. I know they are included in the 1099K, and I have to enter the gross, but how do I handle the unavailable balance? should I consider it a return or bad debt? or?
Thank you for any help
Thank you for your question. It was a good one! Unfortunately we aren’t able to give a definitive answer here, seeing as how there are a lot of different variables that may be at play. Our accounting team suggested reaching out to a CPA in order to get clarification here. Please let us know if you need help with anything else.
I’m having a problem with how Payments from Amazon Seller Central should be booked specifically the Amount previously Withheld which is usually included in Amazon’s next payment. I don’t know where to apply this amount, to what specific invoices since their report does not really include it. Please help. Thank you.
Thanks for your comment. We have a few clarifying questions for you. Could you please reach out to us directly and we will figure this out? We can be reached at email@example.com.
I have a 100% rating on Amazon and a buyer tried to extort money from me as he said items did not arrive. Tracking shows we sent two different shipments for one order and both trackings say they were delivered. He then said they were there and he wanted to return them. I gave him instructions and he never returned it. He filed an A-Z claim which has held my funds for over 2 weeks and Amazon can’t and won’t give me an answer as it was 3 months past the delivery date which means he has no right to a refund. Why is Amazon still holding my money. Is it just to make their revenue look good? Please advise.
A to Z claims can take several weeks to be cleared up. It sounds like this was an FBM order? You can follow up with the A to Z, and if you can prove that he didn’t return the item then they may rule in your favor. Unfortunately this type of bad customer is sometimes the cost of doing business on Amazon. Much like brick and mortar businesses account for some amount of stolen merchandise, e-commerce sellers should expect to have some percentage of dishonest buyers. I’d be happy to learn more about your case, and offer help if possible. Please feel free to reach out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for the article
My account has been suspended for more than 6 months and I have appealed for the fund, amazon responded on Dec 31,20 said “all of your funds would be disbursed on the next settlement date”
However, I was only able to withdraw the “standard order” balance
“invoiced order” balance is still stuck there as “Account Level Reserve”
Do you know how this work? will they release this fund anytime soon?
Amazon just blocked my payments because I dont have enough reviews compared to my sales for Amazon Italy. They now have blocked payout for ALL marketplaces (7 countries) it’s absolutely illegal to do so in Europe, there is no answer and it takes too long. If I don’t get paid at the end of the month, how do I pay VAT (21%?) how do I pay my suppliers?
It looks like your account might have been placed under a velocity review. It should not be something difficult to handle, but before giving you a definitive response, you can reach out to us and we can discuss the particulars. Our email address is: email@example.com
My account is in good status, verification is valid, bank account is valid, still able to do all my day to day business only am unable to disburse my funds, I got an email from from amazon saying my funds is available to be disburse and they where through with the verification but the funds is still coming up as reserved and next payment date is still showing £0.00.
I have opened so many cases with amazon seller support where I informed there’s nothing they can do about it and that it is only the internal team that have access to it which they have sent several email both to the internal and payment without no response.
kindly advise on what to do.
Note my account has not been suspended all other activities are normal apart from the issue of disbursement.
Hello, Olu! Thank you for reaching out to us. This is very strange behavior you’re describing, indeed. There are a few options and channels to reach Amazon specifically for disbursements, especially when opening cases leads to a never ending canned response loop. We’d be happy to learn more about your case, and offer help if possible. Please feel free to reach out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After waiting for 180 days I appealed for funds and amazon rejected the funds appeal and said will keep an hold on this . That there is some sort of FRAUD and all .
We have not done any kind of fraud to anyone even though my money got stuck . Any ways to get my money back
Hello, Jagmeet! I am really sorry to hear about this. Indeed, sometimes Amazon deems as fraudulent behavior that is completely OK. We’d be happy to learn more about what happened. Please reach out to us at email@example.com and our team will look into the case.
• Good morning just doing a research in regards to my Amazon store it’s being deactivated going for a year no matter how many appeals we have send to Amazon is never enough for them, my account is an automated store running right now through DBC Limited CEO Mitch Holt, I’m ver y tiredof sending chats to this people and all they do is ignore me. They have been holding my funds its been very stressful. I don’t know which is the best direction to take, I invested close to $18,000 to start this business and today instead of making money I end up putting my head in a hole, I continued to paying a monthly payment to report my taxes which are 0, because I don’t want any issues with the IRS later on, I need help please
I’m sorry to hear about this frustrating situation. I’m happy to take a look at the issue and let you know how we can help. I sent an email to you so we can learn more about what happened. I look forward to hearing from you.
Good Morning, My account was deactivated on May-31st 2022 and my appeal for reactivation was denied. So after 90 days I applied for the disbursement of amount and had my video call scheduled on Dec-5th. Couple of days after the video call, on Dec-7th I received an email from Amazon that all my funds will be disbursed on next settlement date. Till now I have been waiting for my funds to be disbursed but it is showing under account level reserved. I have sent so many emails to payment department but only one response I got that my payment is in account level reserved and whenever it is available to my available balance, it will be disbursed. I have also called them so many times but they know nothing about anything.
In your situation, since you can not get in touch with Amazon via normal emails, you could try writing a new appeal and escalate to a higher team. These situations tend to take some time to be solved, but a good appeal can go a long way.
Hi my store received a performance notification, the subject is “Disbursements Withheld” and the contents are as follows:
“We have become aware of activity on your account that is not in compliance with Amazon policies. As a result, disbursements on your Selling on Amazon payment account are withheld by Amazon Payments UK Limited and Amazon Payments Europe S.C.A. while we investigate this matter.
Remember: it’s the responsibility of each Amazon seller to ensure they are compliant with all applicable laws and you should seek professional advice if you are unsure of your obligations.”
I need help please.
I am sorry to hear that you are going through this tough situation and I hope you will be able to sort it out soon.
If that is all the text that Amazon sent to you, you need to open a case and request a call from Amazon Support as soon as possible and find out more about the reason for them withholding your funds. After you find out the exact reason that led to this, you can contact us back so we can further help you.