PayPal Payments Standard

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PayPal Payments Standard 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 Payments Standard, 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 Payments Standard

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 to make the payment.

From here, they can log into their PayPal account or pay with their credit or debit card.

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

After the transaction is completed, PayPal displays a confirmation page. The confirmation page will include a link back to your Wild Apricot site.

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Instructions for third-party payment systems are provided as a courtesy and may contain out of date information or screen clips.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 through PayPal Payments Standard, 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.

Membership applicants for levels with recurring payments must have a PayPal account – they can't pay with a credit card without creating a PayPal account first (a limitation of the PayPal Payments Standard system). 

What you need to get started

To integrate your PayPal Payments Standard account with Wild Apricot, you will need your PayPal account ID (your email address) and your PDT identity token.

Payment settings for PayPal Payments Standard

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 Payments Standard.
  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). Be sure to enter the primary email address for your PayPal account and not one recorded in your account as a secondary address.
  7. Enter your PDT identity token.
  8. Select the default country you want to display to the customers for online payments.
  9. Select the currency you want to use in your transactions. (This should match your PayPal account currency.)
    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.
  10. Add payment instructions to be displayed to the customer.
  11. 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 have any troubles processing payments with PayPal Payments Standard:

  • Try to run a test transaction yourself and see what message you get from PayPal. You can then contact PayPal support with exact details.
  • Check your PayPal account type. To accept credit card payments, you need Business or Premier account. Personal PayPal accounts cannot accept credit card payments. (See Which account type is right for you?)
  • Check your PayPal account settings
  • See Failed online payments


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