Reattempt failed recurring payments with Subscribe buttons

A recurring payment fails if funds cannot be moved from the subscriber's PayPal account to your own. PayPal by default reattempts the failed payment a couple of times, then cancels the subscription if it continues to fail.

How reattempts on failed recurring payments work

To avoid overlapping payments, a reattempt will not occur if another subscription payment is scheduled within 14 days of the failed payment. Otherwise, PayPal reattempts a recurring payment three days after the recurring payment failed. If this first reattempt fails, PayPal waits 5 days to reattempt a second time. If the second reattempt fails, PayPal cancels the subscription.

Note: PayPal, rarely and for a variety of reasons, places temporary limits on subscribers' accounts. Such temporary limits could be in effect at the same time as a recurring payment. PayPal often lifts these temporary limits quickly.

Reattempt example

Subscription terms:

  • A regular subscription for $20.00 USD a month, for one year

Bob signs up for the subscription on Feb. 12.

  • On Mar. 12, PayPal attempts to collect Bob's recurring $20.00 payment for March, and the payment succeeds.
  • On Apr. 12, PayPal attempts to collect Bob's recurring $20.00 payment, but the payment fails because of a temporary limit placed on Bob's PayPal account.
  • On Apr. 15, PayPal reattempts to collect Bob's recurring $20.00 payment for April, but the payment fails again because the temporary limit remains on Bob's PayPal account.
  • On Apr. 18, Bob takes action on his PayPal account, and PayPal lifts the temporary limit.
  • On Apr. 20, PayPal reattempts to collect Bob's recurring $20.00 payment for April, and the payment succeeds.
  • On May 12, PayPal attempts to collect Bob's recurring $20.00 payment for May, and the payment succeeds.

Override reattempt default in HTML button code

To override the default reattempt payment setting, you can specify the sra HTML variable with the value set to 0. Only use this setting if you do not want PayPal to reattempt the failed payment.

For an example of button HTML code that uses this setting, see Subscribe: sample HTML button code.

See also

For information on PayPal subscribe buttons, see subscribe button basic payment options.