PayPal Express Checkout

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PayPal Express Checkout is a payment method you can use to accept online credit card payments on your website. You can use it for one-time payments or recurring payments.

PayPal users are being transitioned to the new PayPal Checkout gateway. For more information, click here.

Before you can set up your Wild Apricot site to work with PayPal Express Checkout, you must set up an account with PayPal.

If you enable a payment system other than Wild Apricot Payments, and your organization is based in the US or Canada, a 20% Payment System Servicing Fee will be applied to your account's billing plan on your next renewal date on or after July 2, 2019. For more information, click here.  

Paying using PayPal Express Checkout

Once you've integrated your PayPal account with your Wild Apricot site, visitors to your site can pay online for membership fees and event registrations, and make donations.

When a visitor fills out an integrated online form on your Wild Apricot website (e.g. membership application or event registration) and chooses to pay online, they will be redirected to PayPal's site where they can use their PayPal account or their credit or debit card to make the payment.

Membership applicants for levels with recurring payments must use their PayPal account.

From here, they can log into their PayPal account or enter their credit card or debit card details. Then they will be returned to the Wild Apricot site, where they can confirm and complete the purchase.

For information about the transaction – including transaction ID and status – check your PayPal account's IPN (Instant Payment Notification) history. To view your IPN history, go to PayPal, click My Account, then under History select IPN History.

Integrating your PayPal account with Wild Apricot

Instructions for third-party payment systems are provided as a courtesy and may contain out of date information or screen clips. For the latest instructions, consult the payment provider's website.

To accept online payments using PayPal Express Checkout, you must have a Business or Premier PayPal account. See PayPal account setup for recommended account settings.

Recurring payments

If you want to set up recurring payments for membership fees, you must enable instant payment notification (IPN) in your PayPal account. For instructions on enabling IPN, see Recurring payments.

What you need to get started

To integrate your PayPal account with Wild Apricot, you will need your PayPal account ID (your email address), your API username, your API password, and your API signature. To view or request your API credentials, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your PayPal account.
  2. Click the setting icon in upper right corner, then click the Account Settings option.
  3. Click Update beside API Access under Account access.
  4. From the Your payment API credentials screen, click the Manage API credentials link under NVP/SOAP API Integration (Classic).
  5. If you haven't requested API credentials before, click the Request API signature if your shopping cart or solution provider has asked for an API username, password, and signature, or if you're developing a custom shopping cart option, then click Agree and Submit.
  6. The details of your API signature now appear. You can click the Show link beside API username, API password, and Signature then copy them and paste them into your Wild Apricot settings (for details, see below).
  7. Click Done to return to the Your payment API credentials screen.

Payment settings for PayPal Express Checkout

Once you have set up your PayPal account, follow these steps to integrate it with your Wild Apricot site:

  1. Click the Settings menu to display the Global settings screen.
  2. Click Payment settings under Your account.
  3. On the Payment settings screen, click the Edit button. If you don't see an Edit button at the top of the screen, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click Other payment settings, then click the Edit button on the screen that appears. payment settings-Ot0.png

  4. Click the Payment system drop-down list and select PayPal Express Checkout.
  5. If you want to begin accepting online payments immediately, click the Live radio button. If you want to test your settings using test or sandbox accounts provided by PayPal, click the Test/Sandbox radio button. While in test mode, your payment provider will accept or decline your test transactions as it would live transactions, but will not charge any credit cards or update any bank accounts. Wild Apricot will, however, create payment records and update Wild Apricot balances as it would with live transactions. For more information, see Live vs. test/sandbox modes.
  6. Enter your PayPal account ID (your email address).
  7. Enter your API username, API password, and API signature.
  8. Set the Preferable way to pay option to Pay with a debit or credit card, unless you want payers to be required to log into a PayPal account to complete payment. Payers will still be able to pay using their PayPal account but won't be required to do so.
  9. Select the credit card types you want to accept. (These should match what you have set up in your PayPal account.)
  10. Click Validate account to make sure your PayPal Express Checkout account details are valid.  If the account validation fails, check to make sure you entered the account details properly.
  11. Select the default country you want to display to the customers for online payments.
  12. Select the currency you want to use in your transactions. (This should match your PayPal account.)
    Note: Do not change the currency after your site begins accepting online payments. If you change the currency, existing payment records will not be recalculated and will no longer display correct amounts.
  13. Add payment instructions to be displayed to the customer.
  14. Click Save changes.

Now that you have set up your Wild Apricot site to receive online payments, a Pay online button will appear after a visitor to your site clicks the Confirm button while applying for membership or registering for an event.


If you encounter problems using PayPal Express Checkout to process transactions on your Wild Apricot site, check the following:

  • Contact PayPal to see if there are any issues with your PayPal account (you may have missed some payments, for example).
  • Check your Wild Apricot audit log for transaction errors and compare them to the list of PayPal error codes.


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