PayPal available for one time purchase, Not for subscription?


Got excited to see PayPal as an option. Switched my order to subscription. Not an option.



You might want to tag @JulioMiles or @rob!


I’ve dealt with Paypal subscriptions as a merchant many times, they are a HUGE pain in the ass. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say they are not flexible and can be very problematic for customers and merchants alike. My bet is that’s why you don’t see them. Credit card rebels through a regular merchant account are a whole other story and are trivial for both parties.


Good to know, @vanclute, as I was wondering if I should look into making PayPal subscriptions an option for my DIY soylent sales! :stuck_out_tongue: Care to elaborate on the boring details of the problems you’ve encountered with them?


@vanclute, Sounds like that makes $ense. Thank you


Shopify (one-time payments) offers PayPal as a payment gateway option, our subscription provider does not. Hopefully it’s something we can offer in the future :smile:


There are a variety of headaches, but the ones I most vividly remember are in no particular order…

If a customer payment fails to go through too many times (like insufficient funds, expired credit card, etc… Paypal retries like 3 I think, I forget) then the subscription will simply be automatically canceled and you the seller may or may not know about it, depending on if you’ve set your side up to properly handle Paypal’s API responses.

If a customer decides they don’t want the subscription anymore, they can cancel it on their end and again if you aren’t set up properly to field the API responses from Paypal (or there’s a hiccup in communication, since the message is only sent once), then you may not be told that their subscription ended and you keep shipping them goods.

If a customer spends a bunch of money in a short time, Paypal can limit their account and if your subscription is next, it may be denied and you don’t get your payment but might have shipped goods anyway.

If a customer for some reason needs to change the billing address on their account, it can cause payments to fail.

There are others I’m not recalling at the moment. Perhaps some of these have been addressed a bit in the last few years since I last dealt with Paypal as a merchant, but bottom line is that Paypal is not actually a terribly robust system in many ways, and I can understand why many companies elect not to offer it for subscriptions. That being said in some markets it’s simply going to be the dominant payment method so if you don’t offer it, you don’t get subscribers.


Good to know, thanks @vanclute! :slight_smile:


I use PayPal subscription for my sales and can say - that it works.

In case that a transactions do not go through - I receive a message, that PayPal cannot charge the account - so I can contact a customer. So up to date I’m happy with it, but if such things will be often:

[1]:!menu-to-subscribe/c1bl9[quote=“vanclute, post:7, topic:13712, full:true”]
If a customer for some reason needs to change the billing address on their account, it can cause payments to fail.

It would be sad…


That’s for the “push” style payments from Paypal, where they handle the subscription and the rebilling. Merchants can also request to be allowed to automatically initiate payments from your Paypal account. This works more like a credit card rebill. The customer can still at any time revoke the authorization on the Paypal site, and the next rebill will fail, but because the merchant is initiating the payment request they’ll see it denied.


Ah interesting and good to know, I wasn’t aware of the differences. I had noticed a few merchants (Godaddy for ex) where I had some sort of authorization for them to bill me but it was in a different place from the normal subscription info. Now that makes sense. Thanks for the added detail!


There are more advanced subscription management systems (like Chargify, etc.) - but the cost of use is to high for small operations. So PayPal is the best for the start.