Perhaps, you’re wondering what an unavailable balance is. Or maybe you know them all too well. Here is a full breakdown of what unavailable balances are and what to do when you’re faced with one.
What is an Unavailable Balance?
When you have an unavailable balance, Amazon is essentially holding all or part of your payment for more than the usual 14 days. The balance could rollover into your next pay period or be on hold for longer. The details of your unavailable balance (why you have one, how much it’s for, and how long Amazon’s holding it) depend on a number of factors. Here are some of the most common:
- Order delivery issue or delay: If a delivery is taking longer than expected and Amazon is still waiting for delivery confirmation, they’ll post an unavailable balance. Amazon already holds payment for 7 days post-delivery in case a customer wants to return or file a claim/chargeback. If delivery is confirmed later than expected, that 7 day window increases and turns into an unavailable balance on your account.
- Claims and chargebacks: If a buyer files an A-to-z Guarantee claim, Amazon will hold funds until the issue is resolved (which could take 14+ days). If there are chargebacks within the last 30 days, you’ll be paid after they’re processed.
- Seller Performance: If your performance metrics drop, your chances of an unavailable balance increase. This is because poor performance often leads to more claims, chargebacks, and returns.
- Account Review: If your account is under review for other reasons like sudden changes in sales or activity or if you’re new to selling, Amazon might post an unavailable balance.
If you see an unavailable balance on your account, you can learn more about your specific reason (or reasons) on the Account Health page in Seller Central.
How to Prevent an Unavailable Balance
To prevent an unavailable balance, you’ll want to make sure that your account is in good standing — that means having strong seller performance, positive feedback, error-free fulfillment, low return rates, etc. Running an audit of these areas will help you identify pain points that might need fixing so you can improve your operations, avoid unavailable balances and ultimately focus on growing your business.
But sometimes you can do everything right and still get an unavailable balance.
One reason for this could be your industry or vertical. For example, if you sell shoes or clothing, you’re bound to experience a higher volume of returns and/or exchanges if a customer ordered the wrong size.
Another reason for poor selling performance could be your pricing. If you’re not priced competitively, you just won’t make the sales you need to be in good standing. Using a repricing tool like Informed.co can help you set the right price so you have one less thing to worry about.
No matter the reason, there are ways to maximize cash flow even with an unavailable balance, which leads us to our final section.
Cash Flow 101: How to Overcome an Unavailable Balance
Simply put, having an unavailable balance means you’re not getting paid on schedule and don’t have a clear sense of when Amazon will actually disperse your funds. All this to say, your cash flow is more strapped than ever, especially if Amazon is your primary source of revenue. Thankfully, there are ways to boost your cash flow and manage through an unavailable balance. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve outlined six options and their pros/cons:
Increase your credit card limit.
- Pros: Increase your spending power quickly; you might need an increased limit in the future anyway
- Cons: If you’re not responsible, you might not be able to pay down your balance (especially if you were relying on the unavailable balance to pay it off)
Get a bank term loan
- Pros: High dollar amounts, low interest rates, long payment terms
- Cons: Low approval rates for small and online businesses; long and tedious application process requiring endless paperwork and credit checks
Get an online business loan
- Pros: Simple application process with minimal paperwork, high approval rates for small and online businesses, fast funding
- Cons: High interest rates and short payment terms
Use your savings
- Pros: Immediate access to cash, no application needed, no interest payments
- Cons: You might not have enough (or any) and should really only use your savings as a last resort
Talk to your suppliers about longer payment terms
- Pros: You can still get your inventory on time
- Cons: Not a long-term solution; your unavailable balance might still be on hold when your supplier payment is due; your supplier might not agree to longer terms in the first place
Sign up for Payability’s Instant Access
- Pros: Simple application process (no need for credit checks, bank statements or tax documents); fast, easy and long-term solution to cash flow issues
- Cons: Double fees on rollover balances
New to Payability? Designed specifically for marketplace sellers, Payability offers cash flow solutions to help you overcome things like unavailable balances so you can finally grow your business. With Payability’s Instant Access, you get paid the next day, every day (even on weekends and holidays). After Amazon’s sales days close, Payability buys the amount Amazon owes you from that day of sales and makes 80% of it available to you the next business day (the remaining 20% is reserved for any returns or chargebacks and will be paid out with your next Amazon payment).
Payability also offers Instant Advance, which essentially gives you a large lump sum of cash up front, as well as the Seller Card that allows you to access your funds immediately. At the end of the day, Payability can help you overcome your unavailable balance in 24 hours. The application process is simple and fast — in fact, it doesn’t require a credit check, bank statements or tax documents. Instead, approvals are based on your account health and overall sales performance.
To take control of your income, prevent and manage through an unavailable balance, and finally set your business up for long-term growth, visit http://go.payability.com/InformedCo and get a $250 sign on bonus.