Amazon Seller Payment Schedule: The Complete Nuts-and-Bolts of How Payouts Work
March 24, 2021
What’s not to love about being an Amazon Seller? You get access to Amazon’s multi-billion-dollar marketplace and all the credit card waving customers that come with it. Plus, the process is almost hands-free. You ship your goods off to their warehouse, and continue on marketing your products while Amazon takes care of the rest.
In fact, the eCommerce giant’s business model has become so successful that it is now the most popular shopping app in the US. Not only that, Amazon pulled in a whopping $75.5 billion in revenue in Q1 2020, a 26% rise compared to Q1 2019.
But with traffic and sales this solid, running a business on Amazon can be very capital-intensive.
You’ve got to keep enough product on hand to avoid out of stock issues and you may even need to place replenishment orders before Amazon releases your payments.
If you’re like the vast majority of Amazon sellers wondering how you’re going to bring in enough funds to tide you over while waiting on Amazon’s payment system, we got you.
With a little planning and imagination, managing your cash flow as an Amazon seller can be a breeze — who knows, you could even find yourself with the resources to scale. 😉
Let’s take a closer look at the ins and outs of Amazon’s seller payment schedule and walk through some of the proven tactics you can use to successfully navigate your business while you’re waiting for your payout.
How Does Amazon Pay Sellers?
Cha-ching! You’ve just made a heap of sales. Excited to check out your new and improved account balance, you head over to your business bank account, log in, and…nothing.
Not a cent has dropped.
After some digging around in Amazon’s forum, you uncover one slight problem: Amazon doesn’t release the money straight away.
There are a series of steps your money will go through before Amazon pays you. And for good reason.
The Amazon payout process ensures there’s enough cash to handle things like chargebacks, refunds, disputes, and guarantee claims — all things you definitely don’t want to be dealing with on your own.
Amazon’s top priority (and most likely yours too) is to provide a stellar customer experience. They need to hang on to your cash for a couple of extra weeks in order to make sure your customers are 100% happy before releasing the funds.
Now that you know why Amazon keeps your cash for as long as they do, let’s get into the moving parts of the Amazon seller payment schedule.
Here’s how the Amazon Seller Payment Schedule works:
- The seller receives funds into their Amazon seller’s account.
- Amazon automatically traces this payment and places your funds ‘on hold’, usually for 7 days after the delivery date.
- Amazon disburses funds every 14 days.
- Amazon pays into a verified bank account. If your bank rejects it, Amazon will hold the payments until you solve the account issue. If you choose to change your bank account, it will activate a three-day security freeze before you can transfer money.
- You have the option to release funds via the ‘request transfer’ button. This option kickstarts the transfer of funds before the dates you’re usually paid. However, only the available funds that have cleared Amazon’s reserve period will be eligible for release.
Understanding the Lingo behind Amazon Payouts
If you’ve come across some terminology you’re unsure about, know that you’re not alone. The terms Amazon uses to describe its seller payment schedule can be tricky to understand at first.
Let’s break down some of the Amazon payout lingo you’ll need to know.
Reserve – Amazon holds seller funds for 7 days after the estimated ship date of the order.
Provided there aren’t any fees payable, Amazon will release the money to you in the next pay period (disbursement).
Disbursement – This is the funds that have cleared Amazon’s ‘reserve’ period.
Amazon makes disbursement payments every 14 days. Note that this time does not include any processing times your bank may have on their end.
The day you receive your Amazon seller payment is known as a disbursement date.
Amazon also has a disbursement tracker (accessible from the payment page under the ‘disbursements’ tab that helps you find your payment stage.
Unavailable balance – These are the funds that Amazon won’t release to you in the next payout (disbursement).
The figure can contain some or all of the money owed to you. For example, any funds in your reserves that a chargeback or return has claimed. Even a late delivery can affect your unavailable funds.
Why Haven’t I Been Paid Yet?
After making it through the Amazon payment schedule, you may find that you still haven’t been paid. This can be frustrating, but don’t worry. There are often reasonable explanations.
A few common reasons for a delay in disbursement are:
- Missing or incorrect bank account and credit card information
- A negative or zero Amazon seller account balance
- An order’s shipping hasn’t been confirmed
Once you’ve rectified the issue on your end, or waited a few days for Amazon to resolve any issues on their end, you should start receiving funds. If in doubt, you can always contact Amazon support for help.
A 3-Part Strategy for Staying One Step Ahead of Amazon’s Payment Schedule
Creating a multifaceted funding plan is the key to ensuring you have enough money to operate and grow your business, whether Amazon pays you on time or not.
Here’s a three-part strategy to help you dodge financial tight spots and thrive as an Amazon seller:
#1. Get your financial house in order
There’s no denying that a lack of capital and subsequent late payment issues torment growing businesses. In fact, a 2019 study by QuickBooks found that 61% of small businesses globally struggle to manage their cash flow.
But this doesn’t have to be your story. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to make cash flow management a priority.
Cash flow is the net amount of cash your eCommerce business preserves after your expenditures have been met. Think of it as the difference between your net sales income and expenditures over a given period of time.
To remain in business, you need to maintain a certain level of cash flow and keep a healthy balance between the amount of money coming in and the amount of money going out.
Keeping a close eye on your cash flow will help you:
- Ensure your monthly costs are covered
- Prepare for large expenditures
- Know exactly when your business receives payments and other income
Cash flow management is critical for eCommerce businesses who regularly need to place bulk orders, hire seasonal staff, or optimize their advertising.
With smart cash flow management, you can get ahead of any upcoming cash gaps and avoid making poor financial choices while waiting for an Amazon payout.
Let’s take a quick example.
Imagine it’s July 1st, Q3. Sales have gone well and it’s time to restock.
You need to purchase enough inventory to fulfill Q4’s projected bumper sales and ensure that your product is produced, shipped and firmly situated in Amazon’s warehouse by the end of August.
There’s just one problem…you’re not expecting an Amazon payout for another two weeks.
Here’s what your numbers look like:
$14,000 – Disbursement payment — payable on 15th July
$3,000 – July restock order – due 5th July
$7,000 – Q4 order – due 7th July
$200 – Tools and subscriptions due 13th and 14th July
Current Account Balance:
From the figures above, we see that if you were to order both your restock and Q4 inventory before July 15th, you’d have a shortfall of $6,200.
Since you know you’re expecting an Amazon payout in two weeks, you could look into cost-effective funding solutions such as an Amazon cash advance to keep your inventory moving or delay the order, if possible.
In the future, you could also use cash flow forecasting tools like Float to predict future cash needs and avoid surprises.
#2. Create a Cash Reserve
In the game of business, things have a way of popping up when you least expect them. Be ready for unexpected income gaps by creating a business emergency fund.
You can save this by putting aside a set percentage of your profits each month, e.g. 10% into a separate savings account taken via direct debit, just like a bill you have to pay no matter what.
Over time, this pot can grow into a sizable amount that can be your buffer if cash flow issues arise.
#3. Expand Your Selling Horizons
In business, it’s never a good idea to keep all your eggs in one basket.
Don’t be afraid to explore other sales channels. These days there are many marketplaces to choose from — Shopify, Walmart Marketplace, BigCommerce, eBay, Etsy and more.
Research by Stitch found that businesses who sell on two marketplaces make 190% more revenue than those who sell on a single marketplace.
Adding the right selling channels will help you increase your revenue, diversify your income streams, and vary your payout dates so that you won’t be 100% reliant on Amazon to fund your growth.
How the Right Type of Cash Advance Can Help While You Wait for Your Amazon Payout
At some point, every business needs more cash, whether it’s to restock inventory, invest in better tools, or boldly scale into new territories.
The funding source you choose will depend on your business needs.
Here are a few options to consider:
Borrow from family and friends – This is a less discussed option, but if your cash flow gap is at the lower end and you have a person in your family or network who can loan you the funds, this could be a cost-effective option. Just be sure to have your loan terms spelled out in a contract and signed by all involved parties.
Use a business credit card – A credit card could be the way to go if you need some cash and can pay it off in full before the payment date. But be careful. Credit cards can be great for buying yourself time when used strategically, but they can also be dangerous. So, choose wisely.
Some cards offer 0% balance transfers for up to 24 months, which could help you spread the payments if you can’t pay in one lump sum. Whatever you choose, try to get a business card with benefits like points or cashback to get the most bang for your buck.
Take out a traditional bank loan – Most banks just don’t understand eCommerce, and securing a traditional bank loan can be challenging. But if your business meets the criteria and you can get a reasonable interest rate, it may be worth a try.
Secure a business line of credit – If you have other investments you want to make in the business, a business line of credit is a great option for Amazon sellers, and the right one can save you a fortune in interest and fees compared to most banks, loans and credit cards.
Once you’re approved for a line of credit, you can withdraw funds on an as needed basis. Some funding providers (us included) will even make sure that you only pay interest on the amount you use, not the entire amount you borrow.
Find a trustworthy cash advance provider – Most eCommerce sellers have heard of merchant cash advances (MCAs). Know that if you’re skeptical about them, you have every right to be. Many MCAs have strict daily repayment schedules and interest rates and fees in the triple digits. Choose the wrong MCA, and you could end up in a debt trap, making it virtually impossible to get your cash flow back on track.
At SellersFunding, our team comes from the world of eCommerce. We got fed up with rigid, outdated and straight up shady funding solutions and set out to offer fair and flexible options tailored to the needs of eCommerce owners. Our Daily Advance solution slashes your wait time for Amazon payouts from the typical two weeks to the very next day.
Whether you choose to work with us or another funding provider, here are some crucial points you’ll want to look into:
- Do they make decisions quickly? ‘We’ll let you know within 30 days’ won’t cut it in Amazon selling. 🚫
- Are they flexible in how much you borrow and when you can pay it back?
- What are their interest rates? Are they fair or sneaky?
- Do they have low to no transaction fees?
- Are their loans catered towards small businesses?
The SellersFunding Daily solution will give you up to 90% of your previous day’s sales with rates as low as at 2%. Zero prepayment penalty. Zero impact on your credit score.
Work with (Not Against) the Amazon Seller Payment Schedule
The Amazon seller payment schedule doesn’t need to be intimidating.
Once you’ve learned its terminology and processes, you can forge a rock-solid plan to empower your business to keep moving forward, regardless of your Amazon payout date.
Start by putting measures in place to get your company to a better place financially, like creating cash flow management reports and building a savings pot. Then, branch out to expand your business reach and diversify your income streams.
Finally, choose the correct avenue to secure a transparent cash advance or line of working capital should you need it. Taking a multifaceted approach to combating the uncertainty of the Amazon seller payment schedule can help you cover all bases.
Don’t get caught in a cash flow gap. Create a SellersFunding account today and be ready for anything.