Some website owners are not clear what Paypal Express is or what advantages it has for their ecommerce website.

It is best to start by explaining the original way Paypal worked and still does. In other words, what is the difference between Paypal Express and Paypal Standard.

The great advantage using Paypal Express is that your website does not need to request your customer to complete a register form or a guest form. There is no need to ask for any details. Why? Because they are provided by Paypal.

In this article we will be looking at

How Paypal Express works in simple terms

The assumption is that a good proportion of your potential or existing customers already have a Paypal account.

These customers with Paypal accounts have already provided all details such as name and address to Paypal. So Paypal passes their details to your website.

Typically a Paypal Express button can be placed on a shopping cart because there is no need for a checkout page with Paypal Express.

The customer clicks the Paypal Express button and is then linked to Paypal. He/she then logs into the Paypal account. The customer sees the amount and an initial approve button. Clicking the initial approve button then links the customer back to your website.

At this time a communication channel is opened between Paypal and your websitte – and Paypal pases the customer’s details to your website’s admin system.

Your website will then be set-up to display all the details from Paypal, such as name and address as well as the amount that will be paid.

At this stage the payment has not completed because the customer needs to approve the purchase while on your website.

When we develop these return pages from Paypal we call them a Paypal confirmation page. The customer will normally have a check/tick box to agree to sales terms and conditions.

The customer then needs to click a button on your site’s confirmation page to finally approve the transaction. Pressing this button, code on your website will communicate with Paypal saying, in effect – this customer has agreed, please complete the transaction.

Paypal receives this command and moves the funds from the customer’s account to the seller’s account and then tells the website that the transaction has been completed.

The website can then display a final page with an order number and any other information the site owner needs to display.

We find that sometimes there is a small delay from when the customer presses the final confirmation button to when Paypal responds back, therefore is is good practice to show a processing or egg-timer spinning, in case the customer is wondering what is happening.

Paypal Express is ideal for impulse buyers or buyers who want to have a quick checkout process.

With Paypal Express only 5 clicks are needed plus entering the Paypal account’s username and password.

What is the difference between Paypal Express and Paypal Payments Pro?

Paypal Payments Pro is Paypal’s payment gateway. It is similar to say Authorise. A payment page is developed for your website and the customer remains on your website at all times. No Paypal account is needed because all payments are completed with a credit or debit card.

How to use a credit card with Paypal Express or without a Paypal account

This does cause some confusion so let’s try to make it clear. There is a setting in every Paypal account to add payment by credit/debit card as an option for the Paypal login page.

However this option will only show if the customer’s browser cookie tells Paypal that the browser has never logged into Paypal before.

So for anyone who does not have a Paypal account and has never logged in before then they will see the payment by card option.

If anyone using the same browser has logged into Paypal before then the pay by card option will not show.

Is Paypal Express a guest checkout?

On a website, a guest checkout is a streamlined checkout that does not require the customer to register an account. But they still need to provide name and address information (assuming a physical product is to be shipped).

Paypal Express is a quicker type of guest checkout as it only needs 5 clicks and entry of a username and password.

What information is needed to set-up Paypal Express?

First Paypal Express can only be used with a verified business Paypal account.

For the Paypal account used on the website your web developer will need the parameters listed below so the code on the site can communicate with the seller’s Paypal account:

  • PayPal ApiUsername
  • PayPal ApiPassword
  • PayPal ApiSignature
  • Paypal email address

To obtain the above here are the instructions:

  • Log in to your PayPal business account
  • Go to the My Account tab
  • Click on the Profile tab
  • Click on Request API credentials under Account information
  • Click on Set up PayPal API credentials and permissions under Option 1
  • Click on Request API Credentials
  • Click on Request API signature
  • Click on Agree and Submit
  • Copy and paste the API username, password, and signature and pass to your web developer or paste into where it is required in your website’s back-end admin

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