Backing up a Swap with PayPal – How To

Backing up a Swap with PayPal – How To

Swapping is a great way to make the most of your crafting materials. We all want to trust our fellow crafters, but unfortunately there are some people out there who will take advantage of that trust. Backing up your swap with PayPal can help give you some peace of mind.

As the hosts of Crafty Swaps on Facebook we want to help crafters make the most of their stash by swapping. Even though we talk about crafting, this method can help secure any swap with PayPal and good communication.

Backing up a Swap with PayPal

What is a PayPal backed swap?

First off a reminder that this is all about swapping, not buying.

A quick summary…


You’ve found someone willing to swap their Cricut Cartridge for your five rolls of unopened iron-on vinyl.


You both agree the items are worth $50, and work out the details on how the items will be sent.


You both send a Request for payment to each other for $50 through PayPal.

Once both sides pay, you send out your goods as agreed.

Why a PayPal backed swap?

  • When it all goes well you are making a wash of the exchange by trading the same amount of money.
    • If someone agrees to secure a swap with PayPal, it’s less likely they are looking to scam you.
  • You can pursue a dispute through PayPal if goods are not received.
    • If you both agreed your items are worth $50 but the swap goes bad… You’re out your items, but with a successful claim to PayPal you at least get most of your money back.

What are the risks?

  • A dispute claim is not guaranteed
    • You do have a good chance at a successful claim if you document your transaction. We offer some suggestions here to try to help you keep things documented well.
  •  Paypal will charge a small fee
    • As of this writing PayPal fees are 30 cents + 2.9% of the transaction. For example on a $50 trade PayPal charges $1.75. This is a cut of the exchange, instead of receiving $50 you will receive $48.25.
    • Shopify has a handy PayPal Fee Calculator you can use.

Ready to swap!

You’re ready to make your swap! Great!

We’ll walk you through the steps, but this isn’t a full on PayPal tutorial. If you have questions on PayPal and your account you can visit PayPal’s Help & Contact Center.

You both will need a PayPal account. If you don’t have one you will want to sign up.

1 Email each other picture and details of the items.

You could agree to do something like include a newspaper with the current date in the photo, or a piece of paper with the date and something you agree to like a heart written on it. This way you know it’s not a faked photo.

Make sure the items meet your expectations. In packaging, unopened, etc.

2 Decide on the value for your trade.

You will in effect be swapping each other the same amount with your payment Request, minus PayPal’s small cut from their fees.

3 Agree on how and when the items will be sent.

Some questions you might think about:

  • What carrier and shipping method? You don’t want to find out after the fact you sent your shipment priority mail and they sent theirs UPS ground and it will be there in two weeks.
  • Insure the shipment?
  • Use delivery confirmation?
  • Swap tracking numbers?

Agree to a timeframe of when the items will be sent out, such as within seven days of payment.

4 Send a final email to each other with all the details, and reply with your agreement.

Just to have it all in one place, make one final email with:

  1. The photos
  2. The list of items being swapped
  3. The amount being requested through PayPal
  4. All the details agreed to for sending

Once you each review and agree, reply to the email stating you agree.

This will be your documentation if you find that you must unfortunately go to PayPal to dispute a payment.

5 Send a money Request to each other through PayPal.

Include a note about your sale. For example: For one Photo Props Cricut Cartridge and USPS Priority Mail Shipping at buyer’s risk.

6 Once you both have received payment, send the items out as agreed.

If you agreed to share tracking numbers make sure to send those out in email promptly.

Be a good swapper

Keep your interaction courteous.
Be honest in your swaps and your documentation.
Know you can’t meet a deadline? Don’t agree to it. Your honesty will be appreciated more in the long run, rather than you agreeing to deadlines you can’t meet.
A delay does pop up? Communicate at your earliest convenience with the swapper what’s going on. Don’t leave them in the dark.
If something comes up and you have to back out of a swap, it’s courteous to send the swapper money to cover their costs due to PayPal fees if it got that far.

I need to dispute a payment

Sorry if things didn’t work out and you never received the items you agreed to in the swap. File a dispute with PayPal to get your payment back. Remember, you are disputing your payment on their Request.

PayPal outlines their Dispute Resolution Process at

Crafty Swaps

Check out our Crafty Swaps group on Facebook! It’s a great place to swap your craft goods.

Do you have craft materials and resources you aren’t using? Why not swap them?! It’s a great way to make the most of your stash that you aren’t using.

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