Amazon pays sellers for completed sales. As an Amazon seller, you may have noticed that you don’t get paid immediately, and Amazon holds these funds in an Amazon Account Level Reserve.
So, what is Account Level Reserve on Amazon, and how can it impact your sales? Here’s a full guide.
The Amazon Account Level Reserve is the percentage or amount of money Amazon holds back on your completed sales to cover any claims, chargebacks, or refunds. Amazon holds varying amounts and releases these funds every two weeks for orders delivered at least 7 days before payout.
Sometimes, you may wonder why your money is trapped in your account level reserve. Keep reading to find out why Amazon has an Account Level Reserve for its sellers, how long Amazon holds these funds, when you should expect a disbursement and more.
The Amazon Account Level Reserve (also known as Amazon Unavailable Balance Reserve) has three tiers for Amazon sellers. These tiers represent different percentages of sales revenue that Amazon will hold as reserve funds.
- Tier One
Amazon places all new sellers on tier one. In this tier, Amazon holds 100% of all the money from completed transactions in a reserve account. Usually, Amazon holds these funds for 7 days after the transactions have been processed before sending them to the seller’s account.
If there are unresolved sales issues like refunds, chargebacks, or costs from A-to-Z Guarantee claims, then Amazon will remove them from this reserve and credit the seller with the balance after 7 days.
This tier has the highest reserve funds because the sellers are new to selling on Amazon, are often not experienced with customer expectations, and may have the highest number of sales disputes.
- Tier Two
Tier two is for Amazon sellers who have completed over 100 orders. Amazon reserves about 3% of all daily transactions in the last 28 days in this tier, and this 3% could also represent the total number of unresolved sales disputes within 28 days.
You can request an upgrade from tier one to tier two if your Amazon seller account is eligible. A seller account that will be eligible for an upgrade must have completed over 100 orders and maintained an Order Defect Rate (ODR) of less than 1.0%.
To upgrade, include your seller ID, website URL, and the reason you request the upgrade in that email. Amazon reviews requests for tier upgrades no more than once every 6 months.
- Tier Two-Plus
In tier two-plus, Amazon only holds the amount on unresolved sales disputes, like chargebacks and refunds.
Amazon automatically upgrades tier two sellers to tier two-plus if they keep their ODR below 1.0% for the next 60 days.
However, this is not a permanent tier for sellers. If the ODR of a tier two-plus seller hits the 1.0% mark, Amazon will automatically demote them to tier two until the metrics change.
Why Does Amazon Hold Account Level Reserve for Amazon Sellers?
As an Amazon seller, you might wonder, “Why does Amazon reserve something of the payout?”
Amazon holds an account level reserve for Amazon sellers to protect against the risk of fraud, chargebacks, and other losses inherent in the retail business.
Because Amazon will not bear the risks of third-party sellers, they keep something in case orders are returned, damaged, or sometimes never delivered.
Although this could play out in many ways, here are common reasons why any of these, or a combination of these, could make your funds stay in reserves.
- Orders with A-to-Z Guarantee claims
- Order chargebacks on transactions
- Account review due to change in sales traffic
- Poor sales performance
- Tax requirements
Sometimes, sellers could perpetuate scams by selling many items with an extended delivery period and cash out on their Amazon sales without ensuring the orders were delivered. So, Amazon reserve funds are also an excellent strategy to prevent scammers from taking advantage of Amazon Payouts.
Because Amazon pays out these reserves 7 days after an estimated or actual delivery, customers can report any complaint to Amazon and prevent this risk of loss.
Amazon holds the funds in your Account Level Reserve until the reserve period elapses, about 7 days from the order delivery (5-7 days after the offer ships).
So Amazon sellers can expect their sales revenue to be held by Amazon for approximately 14 days. Here’s an illustration:
- A buyer places an order on September 1
- The order ships on September 2
- The delivery is made on September 7
- Funds from sales will be available on September 14.
So, the funds will be available seven days after the order has been delivered. However, since it may take 5–7 days for the item to ship, it may take 12–14 days for the funds to be available (counting from the shipping date).
This analysis is specifically for orders Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA). For Fulfilled By Merchant (FBM) orders, the funds will be held for seven days after the estimated delivery date, not the actual delivery date.
This means that even if the order arrives earlier, say a day before, third-party sellers will still wait at least seven days from the estimated delivery date to get their funds.
Your Amazon Account level reserve may be negative if the fees you owe, refunds you have to make, and chargebacks on your orders have exceeded your sales value and the amount in your reserve.
You will find a detailed report of this on your Payments reports page. You can see all your transactions and the charges imposed on your account.
If your account level reserve is negative, you will have to pay off this balance before you can withdraw any funds from the reserve.
It may take 14 days for Amazon to release disbursements. Amazon only releases disbursements for funds that reflect in your balance after the seven-day holding period after delivery has elapsed.
However, this does not mean the funds will arrive in your bank account that day. It is common for you to receive your payment between 3–5 days after the disbursements.
This is why first-time sellers on Amazon may have to wait between 4–6 weeks before they see their first sales payout.
To be eligible for a disbursement, you should have the following:
- Available funds
- A bank account linked to your Amazon account
- A valid credit card.
If you want to fast-track your payment process or can’t wait for the payout date, you can hit the “Request Transfer” button. Once you do, you will get the available funds on orders delivered in the past 7 days (you won’t have to wait for the regular payment cycle).
However, a new two-week cycle begins, and you will receive the balance of your reserve funds and whatever additional funds have been processed. Here’s an illustration:
- You have a pending reserve balance of $4,000, which is scheduled to be transferred on the 20th.
- It’s the 10th, and you need cash, so you hit Request Transfer.
- As of the 10th, only $500 worth of orders has been marked as delivered at least 7 days from the 10th.
- You can only transfer $500 to your bank account.
- You can expect the $500 to show up in your bank account in 3–5 business days.
- The remaining $3,500 will be deposited 14 days from the 10th (not on the 20th as originally scheduled).
When you complete an Amazon sale, Amazon holds a certain percentage of your sales revenue in your Account level reserve. Amazon does this to pay for potential purchase disputes like chargebacks, claims, and refunds. However, after 7 days from delivery, these funds will be available for disbursements every two weeks.
Welcome to CompanyScouts! I am Jake, the founder of CompanyScouts. I hold an Msc in Economics and Business Administration. With a deep interest in the consumer segment, I strive to help people get to know their favorite companies even better.