Sent Money to the Wrong Person? Here’s How to (Hopefully) Get It Back
Accidentally sending money to the wrong person on Venmo, PayPal, Cash App or another popular money transfer app can quickly become a pain. While you meant to send your friend $15 for pizza and wings, you sent it to a random stranger. Can you get your money back, or have you just surprised someone with a lovely gift?
We explore different services to see what actions are possible. Policies vary, so we’ve collected all the details to simplify the process. Here are the top money transfer apps and how to get your money back if you send cash to the wrong individual.
What to Do if You Sent Money to the Wrong Account
If you’ve sent money to the wrong person on a money transfer app, you can take a few actions to retrieve your money. In most cases, apps provide little support, but you can reclaim your lost cash with a bit of effort.
With Venmo, payments cannot be canceled once they are sent. If you sent money to the wrong person, you can attempt to send them a charge request for the same amount you accidentally sent. Within the request, you should include a note letting the individual know you made a mistake.
- Open Venmo, then tap the “Pay/Request” button.
- Search for the person you accidentally sent money to and select them.
- Enter the amount you sent and add a note about the accident.
- Tap the “Request” button.
While support options are limited, Venmo recommends contacting its support team if you accidentally send a payment to a stranger. When contacting Venmo, include the username you sent the funds to, the amount of money, the date of the transfer and the information for the originally intended recipient.
If you’ve accidentally sent money on Cash App, there is no way to cancel the payment; however, there are actions you can take to retrieve the money. Start by asking the recipient for a refund by using Cash App’s support process found under the “Report an Issue” menu. You can do this by following these steps:
- Open Cash App and tap the “Activity” tab.
- Tap on the payment you made, then tap “Completed.”
- Tap the option to “Report an Issue.”
- Follow the prompts to complete your request.
If it has been over 30 days since you sent the payment, you won’t be able to use this method to request your money back. After 30 days, you must request the money as you would from any individual. We recommend explaining the mistake in the notes.
PayPal allows you to reverse a payment sent to the wrong account if the money is unclaimed. You can request a payment cancellation by visiting your “Activity” section in PayPal, selecting the payment and choosing “Cancel.” Alternatively, you can use the individual’s contact information to reach out and request a refund.
PayPal does offer an option to open a dispute in the case of accidentally sending money. To request your money back, visit the Resolution Center. From there, select “Report a Problem” and follow the on-screen prompts. The Resolution Center does not guarantee your money back, but it opens up a possibility for you to retrieve your funds.
You may reverse a charge on Zelle only if your recipient does not have an account with the service. Otherwise, the money sent is deposited directly into your recipient’s bank account and cannot be canceled. If you accidentally sent money to a person who does not have an account, you can reverse the charge by following these instructions:
- Either within the Zelle app or your bank’s mobile app, go to your “Activity” page.
- Find the sent payment and tap on it.
- Choose the “Cancel This Payment” option.
Within the Messages app on your Apple device, you can send money to family and friends using Apple Cash. If you sent a payment to the wrong person, you can attempt to retrieve it if it has yet to be claimed. Follow these steps outlining how to recover your money when it has been sent to the wrong recipient:
- Open the Messages app and tap the conversation with the payment.
- Tap on the payment; this will open the Wallet app.
- Under “Latest Transactions,” tap the payment twice.
- Tap the “Cancel Payment” button.
If you do not see the “Cancel Payment” option, the individual has already accepted the payment. In this case, we recommend using the Messages app to contact the individual, explaining the accident and requesting your money back.
Are you confusing Apple Cash and Apple Pay? Apple Cash allows you to send payments to people via the Messages app, while Apple Pay allows you to pay with your digital wallet online or in stores.
If you accidentally sent a payment to a stranger using Google Pay, the company has provided a few ways to reverse the payment. Not all payments can be retrieved, but we recommend trying the available support options. Once a transaction has been completed, it can be disputed using the Google Pay help form.
If you send an improper payment to a business (not an individual) on Google Pay, you must contact the merchant to resolve the dispute. If you wish to dispute an accidental payment for a Google product or service, use the Unauthorized Purchases form.
The Meta Pay feature is available within the Facebook Messenger app in the United States to send and receive money. Money is transferred immediately and cannot be reversed if you send a payment via Messenger. Meta recommends contacting the individual in Messenger and asking them to send you money back.
Avoiding Money Transfer Mistakes
When using a money transfer app, it is crucial to identify mistakes before you hit the “Send” button. No payment service guarantees your money back if it is sent to the wrong person. In most cases, you are left relying upon the goodwill of the unwilling recipient to send the money back to your account rather than keep it.
Send payments only to individuals you know. Verify the phone number, email address or username to which you are sending money. Finally, double-check that information and ensure it is correct. Once you hit “Send,” you are mainly on your own.
Common Money Transfer Scams
Money transfer apps make our lives easier and more convenient, but they also open up a new avenue of attack for scammers. The most common scam, unfortunately, mimics the idea of mistakenly sending money, meaning that you should be suspicious of the types of messages you may use when you request money that has been accidentally sent.
A scammer may send you money using a stolen credit card and then request that you return the money, claiming the transaction to be an error on their part. If you send them money back, the card is reported as stolen and a reverse charge occurs, the funds you had initially accepted will be taken from your account.
Scammers may also pretend they are friends or family members desperately in need of cash. If you receive an unexpected transfer request from someone you know, contact them directly before sending over any money.
Lastly, if you need to send an online payment in exchange for a product or service, use a money transfer app, such as PayPal or Venmo, that allows you to send payments as business transactions. This feature will provide you with a level of buyer protection.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Unfortunately, most money transfer apps do not guarantee your money back if it is sent to the wrong individual. That’s why it’s vital to double-check the email address, phone number or username to which you are sending money.
If you have accidentally sent money to someone, check with the money transfer app’s support team to see if it can assist you. You can also try sending a payment request to the individual for the amount you accidentally sent. We recommend including a note with such requests explaining the accident.
We recommend that money accidentally sent to you is returned to its proper owner — you’d want the same if you accidentally sent money. If you accidentally receive a large sum of money, we recommend contacting the transfer service's support team for assistance, as it may be a scam attempt.