How to Avoid Controversial Etsy Payment Reserve

How to Avoid Controversial Etsy Payment Reserve

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Etsy's Payment Account Reserve Policy
    • History of the Policy
    • Reasons for Reserves
    • Release of Funds
    • Factors that May Trigger Reserves
    • Updates to the Policy
  3. Problems Faced by Sellers
    • Delays in Payment
    • Lack of Transparency
    • Unpredictable Nature of Reserve Placements
    • Inequitable Impact on Sellers
  4. Ways to Minimize Reserve Placements
    • Timely Order Fulfillment
    • Accurate Processing Times and Tracking
    • Prompt Customer Communication
    • Staying Updated on Etsy Policies
    • Maintaining Star Seller Status
    • Creating Your Own Website
  5. Recommendations for Sellers
    • Avoiding Fee Cutting Strategies
    • Considering the Benefits of Promoting Your Shop
  6. Dealing with Reserve Placements
    • An Unfortunate Reality
    • Preparing for the Worst
    • Exploring Alternatives to Etsy

Etsy's Payment Account Reserve Policy and Its Impact on Sellers

If you're a seller on Etsy, you're probably familiar with the ongoing discussions and frustrations surrounding Etsy's Payment Account Reserve Policy. This policy has left many sellers feeling confused, financially burdened, and desperate for answers. In this article, we will delve into the details of the policy, the problems it creates for sellers, and provide recommendations on how to navigate it effectively.


In recent years, Etsy has implemented a Payment Account Reserve Policy aimed at safeguarding itself against potential financial risks. Under this policy, if Etsy deems that there may be a high level of financial risk associated with a seller, they will place a hold on 75% of the seller's funds, leaving only 25% accessible. The remaining 75% will be held in a reserve account until Etsy releases the funds, either after the order is shipped with tracking or after 45 days.

Etsy's Payment Account Reserve Policy

History of the Policy

The Payment Account Reserve Policy was introduced by Etsy in February 2021, initially targeting new shops. However, it soon expanded to include both new and established shops. The sudden growth of Etsy's platform led to an influx of scammers, prompting Etsy to take measures to protect itself and its buyers.

Reasons for Reserves

Etsy justifies its reserve policy by stating the need to ensure sufficient funds in a seller's account to cover unexpected refunds or charges from a sale. Factors that may trigger the placement of reserves include consistently missing tracking information, late shipments, a sudden increase in orders or refunds, recent first sales or sales after a period of inactivity, and a history of negative reviews.

Release of Funds

According to Etsy, the remaining 75% of the funds held in reserve will be released once the order is shipped with tracking or within 45 days. Etsy's policy also exempts Star Sellers from reserve placements. Sellers who earn the Star Seller badge by meeting the criteria during the monthly review will have any reserves in their payments account removed within 24 hours.

Factors that May Trigger Reserves

The discretionary nature of Etsy's reserve policy has been a major cause of frustration for sellers. Reserves have been placed on accounts that have a long history of successful sales and no record of fraud or customer service issues. Sellers have raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the decision-making process and the inability to understand why reserves were placed on their accounts.

Updates to the Policy

In response to the backlash from the Etsy community, Etsy has made some changes to the Payment Account Reserve Policy. These changes, announced in August 2023, include making reserves more dynamic by decreasing the percentage of funds held for the majority of sellers. Etsy also pledged to improve communication with sellers placed in reserves and make adjustments for issues beyond sellers' control, such as limited options for low-cost tracked shipping services in certain markets.

Problems Faced by Sellers

Despite the updates to the policy, sellers continue to face several problems as a result of reserve placements.

Delays in Payment

One of the most significant issues is the delay in receiving 75% of the funds from Etsy. Sellers have reported waiting for months to access their money, resulting in financial difficulties and cash flow issues.

Lack of Transparency

Many sellers feel frustrated by the lack of transparency regarding the reasons for reserve placements. Sellers are often left in the dark, unsure of what steps they need to take to have their funds released.

Unpredictable Nature of Reserve Placements

Another problem is the randomness and discretionary nature of reserve placements. Sellers live in constant fear of having reserves placed on their accounts, even if they have a successful track record and an excellent customer experience history.

Inequitable Impact on Sellers

The policy's impact is not equitable for all sellers. Non-US sellers are more likely to have reserves placed on their accounts due to the tracking requirement, which is not always feasible or available in certain countries. Large shops are better equipped to handle the financial impact of reserves, while small shops often struggle to navigate the loss of income.

Ways to Minimize Reserve Placements

While there is no foolproof method to avoid reserve placements, there are steps sellers can take to minimize the chances.

Timely Order Fulfillment

One way to reduce the likelihood of reserve placements is by fulfilling orders in a timely manner. Adhering to accurate processing times and ensuring timely delivery can help maintain a positive track record and minimize Etsy's concerns.

Accurate Processing Times and Tracking

Sellers should set realistic processing times for their products and accurately communicate them to buyers. Additionally, using tracking numbers for packages, when feasible, can provide an extra layer of security and assurance to Etsy.

Prompt Customer Communication

Being responsive to customer messages is crucial, both for providing excellent customer service and demonstrating your commitment as a seller. Setting up auto-reply features and promptly addressing inquiries can help build trust and mitigate any concerns Etsy may have.

Staying Updated on Etsy Policies

To stay compliant with Etsy's policies, sellers should regularly review the Etsy Seller Policies page and bookmark it for future reference. By being aware of any policy changes, sellers can avoid inadvertently violating guidelines that could lead to reserves being placed on their accounts.

Maintaining Star Seller Status

Earning and maintaining Star Seller status can provide sellers with added protection against reserve placements. Etsy exempts Star Sellers from reserves and promptly removes any existing reserves from their payments accounts within 24 hours.

Creating Your Own Website

For sellers looking to reduce their reliance on Etsy and have more control over their business, creating their own website is a viable option. A personal website allows for greater flexibility, ownership, and independence from Etsy's policies. Sellers can diversify their sales channels, market their products more extensively, and have full control over their business operations.

Recommendations for Sellers

While there are certain strategies that sellers should avoid, such as cutting Etsy fees to minimize reserve deductions, there are other recommendations worth considering.

Avoiding Fee Cutting Strategies

Some sellers may be tempted to cut Etsy fees as a way to counterbalance the impact of reserves. However, it is crucial to weigh the potential risks and consequences of such actions. Instead of focusing on fee cutting strategies, sellers are encouraged to explore alternative approaches that offer long-term growth and stability.

Considering the Benefits of Promoting Your Shop

Contrary to popular suggestions, refraining from promoting your Etsy shop to avoid a sudden influx of sales is not a proactive approach. Instead, sellers should embrace and leverage the marketing opportunities available on Etsy to grow their customer base and expand their business. If the fear of reserve placements hinders your ability to promote and market your products, it may be time to consider establishing your own website where you have greater control over your sales and marketing efforts.

Dealing with Reserve Placements

In cases where sellers find themselves facing reserve placements, there is no magic solution. It is essential to acknowledge the limitations and complexities of the situation.

An Unfortunate Reality

Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done when reserves are placed on an Etsy account. The discretionary nature of the policy makes the decision-making process unclear and challenging to challenge. It is crucial to prepare for the possibility of reserve placement and explore alternatives.

Preparing for the Worst

Sellers should assess the potential impact of reserve placements on their business and decide if it aligns with their goals and financial stability. If the risks and uncertainties outweigh the benefits of remaining on Etsy, it might be time to transition away from the platform and establish a more independent, self-reliant business model.

Exploring Alternatives to Etsy

For sellers who feel that the reserve policy and other constraints of Etsy are inhibiting their growth and success, creating their own website can be a game-changer. Owning and managing a personalized website provides sellers with greater control, flexibility, and growth opportunities. By establishing their own online presence, sellers can build their brand, diversify sales channels, and have full control over their business operations.

In conclusion, while Etsy's Payment Account Reserve Policy has been a source of frustration for many sellers, it is important to understand the reasoning behind the policy and explore ways to minimize its impact. By staying informed, implementing best practices, and considering alternatives, sellers can navigate the challenges presented by the reserve policy and find sustainable solutions for their business.

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