Hand holding smartphone with PayPal logo displaying
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PayPal is a great online payment service, but it records your complete transaction history with no way to delete it. If you want your transaction history zapped, then you’ll have to permanently delete your PayPal account.

What You Need to Know Before Deleting Your Account

There are a few important things that you need to know before proceeding. Unlike social media accounts where you generally have the option to deactivate your account rather than delete it, you don’t have that option with PayPal. You can only delete your account and, once you do, the account and all of its accompanying data are gone for good. If there’s any account data that you may need in the future, you should download it.

You can, of course, create a new account (even with the same email address), but PayPal will consider it a completely different account—there’s no retrieving the old one.

You’ll also need to settle any debt or outstanding balances on your account to close it. If you owe anything, or if you have any pending payments, you can’t close your account. You’ll also need to withdraw (or spend) any money you have in your PayPal account.

Also, if you’re using PayPal for business instead of personal use and haven’t provided all of the necessary documentation to verify your account, you won’t be able to delete it. You heard that right. You can use your account but you can’t close it without completing the account verification process. Bizarre.

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Lastly, before you delete your PayPal account, you may want to download your account history just in case you need to refer to it in the future. Because as we mentioned, once your account is gone, so is the data.

How to Download Your Account History

To download your account history, go to PayPal’s official website, log in to your account, and then click the “Reports” tab.

Click the "Reports" tab in the header.

In the left-hand pane, click “Activity Download.”

Click Activity Download.

On the Activity Download page, you can select which types of transactions you want to download (such as completed payments), the date range of transactions (of up to 7 years), and the file format of the report (such as CSV or PDF). Once you’ve decided all of this, click the “Create Report” button.

Click "Create Report."

You’ll then see a notification saying they’ll send you an email when your report is ready for download. It could take a while, depending on the number of transactions in the report. Be sure to wait until you can download the file before you delete your account, as you’ll need to log back into your account to get the report once it’s ready.

Once you receive the email saying your report is ready, you can download it from the same page you created the report.

Permanently Delete Your PayPal Account

To permanently delete your PayPal account and transaction history, open any browser on your desktop, go to PayPal’s official website, and then log in to the Paypal account you want to delete. Once in your account, click the gear icon in the top-right corner of the window.

A drop-down menu will appear. Click “Account Settings.”

Click "Account Settings" in the drop-down menu.

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On the Account Settings page, click “Account Preferences” in the left-hand pane.

Click "Account Preferences" in the left-hand pane.

At the bottom of this page, you’ll see “Account Type.” This could be either “Personal” or “Business” depending on what you selected when creating the account. Either way, click the “Close Account” button to the right of the Account Type option.

Click the "Close Account" button.

Next, you’ll be asked why you want to delete your account. Tick any relevant boxes by clicking them, type any comments you want to leave in the text box, and then click “Continue.”

Enter reason for closing your PayPal account and click Continue.

They’ll ask you to confirm that you want to close your account and, depending on which boxes you checked in the previous step, will leave a specialized message trying to convince you to stay.

If you’re sure you want to permanently delete your account, click “Continue.”

Warning: Once you perform this action, your account and all accompanying data will no longer be accessible. Be absolutely sure you want to delete the account before proceeding.

Click "Continue" to permanently close your account.

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Your PayPal account and all data (including your transaction history) are now permanently deleted.

If you ditched PayPal because you’re not happy with its service, then you’re in luck—there are many digital payment services out there. Two of the most popular are Google Pay and Apple Pay. Not only can you send and receive money with both of these services, but you can also even use them to pay for gas!

RELATED: How to Use Your Phone to Pay for Gas

Marshall Gunnell
Marshall Gunnell is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer at LINE Corporation in Tokyo, Japan, runs ITEnterpriser, a data-storage and cybersecurity-focused online media, and plays with development, with his RAID calculator being his first public project.
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