The Ultimate PayPal For Businesses Guide



Create a Subscription

You can use PayPal to take ongoing monthly payments. PayPal’s system will keep track of all your subscribers for you and bill them according to the plans you setup. You can setup billing cycles in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly increments. You can also setup free trails using PayPal.

Here’s how to create a subscription in PayPal.


Step 1: Go to Merchant Services

Click on Merchant Services to access your billing tools.


Step 2: Click on Subscribe

Under “Create Buttons” click on Subscribe.


Step 3: Give Your Subscription a Name

Name your subscription. This is the name of the subscription that users will see when they’re checking out. The name should be descriptive and should remind them of exactly what they’re purchasing.

The subscription ID is an optional field that you can use for internal tracking purposes. If you use tracking software that can track using ID numbers or you manage many subscriptions, this number could come in handy.

Finally, choose the currency that your subscription will be billed in.



 Step 4: Customize the Look and Feel of Your Button

Choose how you want the purchase button to look. If you want to upload your own image to use, you can do that.

Most people will just use PayPal’s checkout button. Use the various options available to customize both the functionality and look of the button.


You can choose between the button saying “Subscribe” or “Buy Now.” You can use a large or small button and you can choose whether credit card icons appear.

If you want to add text above the button, you can. If you want to add options they can choose when they checkout, you can. You can even choose from several different subscription prices.

Once you’ve customized your button, move on to the next step.


Step 5: Specify Billing Details

Tell PayPal how much you want to bill your customers in each billing period. Also set how long each billing cycle is.

Finally, tell PayPal when it should stop billing. If you’re creating a 4 month installment payment plan for example, tell PayPal to stop billing after 4 months. On the other hand, if it’s an ongoing subscription program, then you can tell PayPal to never stop billing.


Step 6: Specify a Trial Period (Optional)

If you want to offer a free trial, a $1 trial or a low-cost trial to use your product, you can.

Simply check the box that says “I want to offer a trial period” to access the trial menu.

In this menu, you can define how much you want to bill for the trial period and how long the period lasts before they get their first “real” bill.

You can even offer a second trial period if you want.

To offer a free trial period, just type in 0 for the amount to bill.


Step 7: Set Advanced Options (Optional)

You can tell PayPal whether or not you need users to enter their shipping address, as well as where you want users to be directed to after they’ve finished the checkout process.


Step 8: Copy and Upload Code

Copy the PayPal generated code, paste it to the sales page and upload your page.



Congratulations! You’ve now set up recurring billing with PayPal.


Create an Add to Cart Button

PayPal’s shopping cart makes it easy for website owners to process payments for multiple products.

Other shopping carts like 1ShoppingCart, ZenCart and so on require a different payment processor on the back-end, usually with a merchant account tied to a gateway like That makes the setup process cumbersome and time consuming, sometimes taking months if you don’t already have a merchant account and gateway setup.

PayPal on the other hand, integrates the shopping cart software automatically with its payment processing, so all you need to do is create the buy buttons for your products and you’re up and running.

With PayPal’s shopping cart system, users can add multiple products to their shopping cart and see their products, taxes, shipping and totals before checking out. They can add as many products as they want and just go through the payment process once, making it easy to sell multiple products at once.

Here’s how to add an Add to Cart button to your website.


Step 1: Click on Merchant Services

Access your billing tools by going to Merchant Services.


Step 2: Click on Add to Cart Button

Along the top of the merchant services page is a row of 4 buttons. Click on the Add to Cart Button logo to start the button creation process.


Step 3: Select Item Name and Price

Give your item a descriptive name. This is the label for the product that your users will see on their shopping cart before they checkout.

The item number is strictly for internal purposes. It makes shipping and handling a lot easier if you’re processing many orders. It’s a lot easier to tell an employee to ship “Item #174” than to ship “A pair of size 8 black Nike sneakers with white laces.”

The item number will be reported to you every time the item is sold. If you run a virtual business or your sales volume isn’t high enough that fulfillment is an issue yet, then you can safely just leave this field blank.

Finally, fill in the price of the item.


Step 4: Customize Your Button

PayPal offers many options for how your button can be customized.

First of all, you can customize your button with a drop-down price menu. Use this option if you have items with multiple price options. If you do use this drop-down menu, leave the Price field in Step 3 blank.

You can also add a drop-down menu for different product choices. For example, if you have an item in multiple colors, you can add a drop down menu with their color choices.

You can also add any miscellaneous pieces of text you want above the button.

Finally, you can use your own image if you want to instead of using PayPal’s default add to cart button.


Step 5: Specify Shipping and Taxes

Specify the shipping rates and tax rates for this item.


Step 6: Apply Advanced Options (Optional)

PayPal offers many advanced options that you can use to customize how your button and shopping cart interacts with your customers.

Click on “Step 3: Customize Advanced Features” to change some of these advanced options.

Among these options include:

  • The ability for users to send you a special note about their order.
  • The ability to specify where users go after completing the checkout process.
  • The ability to use PayPal to pass variables to custom tracking software.
  • The ability to have PayPal track your inventory.


Step 7: Click Create Button and Upload Code

Once you’ve finished with all the options, click Create Button to get the HTML code for the button.


Copy and upload the code generated by PayPal to your website.


Repeat this process with each product that you’re selling.

Users will then be able to add products to their cart and choose to either keep shopping or checkout. They can add as many items to their cart as they want and go through the checkout process once they’re ready to pay.

Congratulations! You’ve setup your PayPal add to cart button and are now able to use PayPal to accept payments for one or more product at once.


How to Create a Gift Certificate

PayPal makes it easy to sell gift certificates on your website. You can sell gift certificates at no extra cost; the PayPal fees are exactly the same as a direct purchase.

PayPal will track all the gift certificates that are purchased as well as all the certificates that are redeemed. You’ll get an email each time someone buys a certificate or redeems a certificate.

It’s essentially a free sophisticated gift certificate system you can take advantage of through using PayPal.

Here’s how to create a gift certificate.


Step 1: Click on Merchant Services

Merchant services is where you manage all the services PayPal provides you as an online payment processor. Click on Manage Services to access the menu.


Step 2: Click on Gift Certificate

Click on Gift Certificate under Create Buttons to create a gift certificate.


Step 3: Enter the Shopping URL

Enter the URL of the site where someone can redeem their gift certificate.


Step 4: Specify the Gift Amount

How much do you want your buyers to be able to purchase the gift certificate for? Choose either for PayPal to use their default list of amounts, or to specify your own.


Step 5: Add a Logo (Optional)

If you want to add a bit more personality to your gift certificate, you can add a logo. This will appear on top of your gift certificate to help brand the checkout experience more.


Step 6: Choose Background Color or Theme

Choose a background color that matches your logo or brand “vibe.” There are also a few themes you can choose from, some of which includes an image. For example, the “birthday” theme includes a birthday cake in the background.

Play around with the different colors and themes and find the one that matches your site the best.


Step 7: Preview Your Certificate

Click on “Preview Gift Certificate” to see a preview of how your certificate will look.


Here’s what a preview might look like:


Step 8: Click Create Button and Upload Code

Click on “Create Button” to finish the button creation process.


Copy and paste the code from PayPal to your site editor and upload it.

Congratulations! You’ve created your first gift certificate. Users can now click on the button to order a gift certificate and send it to a friend. They can then use the gift certificate to purchase products on your site at no additional service charge to you.



Set Up Taxes and Shipping

Setting up the right taxes and shipping settings for your PayPal account can seem tricky at first, but are essential for just about any internet merchant, especially if you’re selling physical products.

Here’s the guide for setting up taxes and shipping.


Step 1: Get a Premier or Business Account

Personal accounts can’t setup taxes or shipping; only premier and business accounts can. To set up this account, visit:

1-Setup-Premier-or-Business If you already have a PayPal account, just click “Upgrade now” to upgrade. Alternatively, click “Get Started” under either category to create the account.


Step 2: Click on “Profile” Under “My Account”

To access the shipping and taxes options, click on “Profile” under the “My Account” tab.


Step 3: Click on “Sales Tax” Under “Selling Preferences”

To setup your sales tax, click on “Sales Tax” under “Selling Preferences” on the column on the right hand side.


Step 4: Add a New Sales Tax

Click “Add New Sales Tax” under either domestic or international to add a new sales tax.


When you click add, you’ll see a screen where you can select by state or country the areas you want to add a sales tax to. To select more than one, click and hold control while selecting another one.

To process by zip code rather than state, click on “Zip Code” in the upper right corner.


Once you’ve selected the areas you want to apply the tax to, type in the tax rate and press “Continue”.

Repeat this process for all the different states and countries you want that have different tax rates.


Step 4: Click “Set Up Shipping Calculations” in “Selling Preferences”

Go back to your Profile screen under your My Account tab. Click on “Set Up Shipping Calculations” to setup your shipping.


Step 5: Click Start and Select Countries

Click “Start” under either domestic or international to get started.


Select where you want to ship your products to. If you want to ship to all states, just add “All States and Territories.”


Click “Continue” once you’ve added all the places you want to add.

If you have different rates for different areas of the country or different places in the world, then create a different shipping option for each.


Step 6: Set Your Shipping Settings

Once you land on your shipping setup screen, you’ll see a screen that looks like this:


Here’s how to setup each section:

  1. Shipping Method Name: Tell your customers what kind of shipping they’re paying for. For example, “Economy” or “Global Priority” or “One-day shipping.”
  2. Select Delivery Time: Tell your customers when they can expect to receive their package.
  3. What are shipping rates based on: If you want to base how much shipping costs on the total cost of the order, then select “order amount.” If you want it to be based on the weight of the products, select “order weight.” If you want it based on how many items they ordered, select “item quantity.”
  4. What are your shipping rates: Create a range for the order amount, weight or item number, then type in a rate. For example, if orders between $1 and $20 cost $3 to ship, then you’d put in $1, then $20 then $3 in the boxes above.

Click Continue when you’ve added all your settings.


Step 7: Review and Save

Review your settings. If everything looks in order, click Save Shipping Methods.


Now you’re all setup and ready to use PayPal for your Business!