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How to help a customer add a PayPal button to their website so that it actually works

4 mins read


PayPal buttons are a simple way for a customer to take payments on their website. The customer needs the following in order to sign up with PayPal: 

  • They need to be willing to set up a PayPal Business account, which will give them many checkout options (including donation options for non-profits), in a way that a personal PayPal account will not. 
  • They need a business or organization name and entity.
  • They need to be willing to connect PayPal to their bank. 
  • They need to be cleared by PayPal to accept money, which will require passing any clearance on PayPal's end for their financial suitability*

*These criteria are required for a customer to implement any business payment gateway (Stripe, Square, etc.) Personal payment gateways like Venmo or CashApp may not have the same requirements.

Getting Started

  • Send this link to the customer, so they can sign up for PayPal:
  • Let them know they will have to enter their business or organization information
  • Let them know they will have to connect their bank or financial institution to PayPal so they can accept payments. PayPal will run test payments, so they will need to watch out for these micro-transactions.
  • It is also critical that the customer verifies their email once they sign up. They should do this immediately.
  • Then, they are ready to create their PayPal button.

Creating a Button

1. Have the customer share their screen with you, and guide them to the Pay & Get Paid section. In the right hand column, they should select PayPal Buttons.


2. The most common type of button for their purposes will be the SmartButton on the far upper left hand corner.


3. From here, they will chose a Fixed-Price option, a single-select list, or a variable price option. If they are selling one item and one price, the fixed-price option is the right way to go. If they can choose from a few options, the single-select list is the right way to go. If their customers can select from a price range, the variable price option is the right way to go. Our customers will mostly use the first fixed-price option, and sometimes the second single-select list option.  



4. Then, they should fill in the description for the item(s) they are selling. They should add their price, and a shipping or tax fee depending on what they are selling and where they are located. 


5. Then, they get to choose the look and feel of their button and the verbiage on their button. These options are pretty straightforward.



6. They can see what their choices look like, by viewing the panel on the right of their screen.


7. Then, they will "copy code" and send you the button code to put in an Arbitrary html component to go onto their website. 



8. Now the button is created and is living on their website. They can have someone run a test and buy their item. Two things to note: 1. They likely won't be able to do the test purchase because PayPal will flag them as the seller. So, someone else will need to place the test order. 2. More importantly to know: although the payment will look like it goes through, it wont' actually go through. Neither the buyer or seller will get a transaction email and the money will not be added to their PayPal account or to their bank. 

9. This is because every new PayPal account starts in Sandbox mode, which is PayPal's Developer test mode. This is the default. So, you need to guide the customer on how to turn that off, and turn on their live PayPal account. 


Turning Off Sandbox Mode & Going Live

10. Next, you have to help the customer navigate to their Developer Account. It's in the upper righthand corner by their name. 




11. You'll get a dropdown. The Business Dashboard is where they currently are. So, you'll have them select the Developer Dashboard.



12. They will come to this screen, where you will both see right away that their account is in Sandbox mode (on the right). Toggle to "Live". 





13. Then, have them select "Apps & Credentials". They will see this screen. They will need to "Create an App". They should name it something that relates to their business. Then, they can click that blue link to their app.



14. Then, they'll have access to their new Client ID, which is the the key to making their PayPal button live so they can accept money from customers. They should select the copy icon on the right to copy this link.


15. They should send this link to you, so you can replace sb in the following portion of the code: | client-id=sb&enable-funding | with the newly create Client ID.




16. Update the component, and have someone on their side make a purchase. At this point, the transaction should go through, landing in their PayPal account, and sending the buyer a purchase email, and the seller a transaction email. 


17. Warn the customer that PayPal will hold their money for up to 21 days when they first start out, until they become a verified seller. 


BONUS: If you'd like to watch this process of turning Sandbox Mode off and Live Mode on, here is a YouTube video created just for this purpose: Change PayPal Sandbox to Live Mode Credentials Smart Mode

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Written by Vanessa Marchant
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