Connect PayPal to accept one-time payments for your Thinkific courses! When you’re ready to get started, follow the instructions below to connect PayPal to Thinkific.
Currently PayPal can only be used for one-time payments from your users. To take full advantage of all of our pricing options, we recommend integrating with Thinkific Payments (and/or) Stripe, as well as PayPal.
In this article:
- Paypal only processes one-time payments. Check out What's the difference between Thinkific Payments, Stripe, and PayPal? to learn more about other payment processing options.
- You must have a Standard Business account to use our PayPal integration. If you have a personal account, you can upgrade in PayPal for free.
- Your PayPal integration will default to USD currency. If you are only using PayPal, you will not be able to change this currency setting. However, if you integrate with both PayPal and Stripe, changing the currency in your Stripe integration will also change the currency for PayPal.
- If you refund a customer via PayPal, it will not end the student's enrollment in your course automatically. You will need to manually unenroll students.
- Only Site Owners will be able to set up/modify payments and payment integration settings. Ensure you are logged in to the correct account to make payment setting changes.
Get Started with PayPal
- Go to Paypal and create a Standard Business account
Optional: Upgrade your personal account to a Standard Business account
- Log into your PayPal account
- Select the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner
Select Upgrade to a Business account under Account Options
Connect PayPal with Thinkific
To connect PayPal, you will need:
- An Email address associated with your PayPal account
- A PayPal Merchant ID
Access Your PayPal Merchant ID
- Log into your Paypal account
- Click on your Profile and go to Account Settings
- Click on Business information
- Copy your PayPal Merchant ID
Your PayPal Merchant ID will be string of random numbers and letters around 13 characters long. Please note that it is case sensitive, and all letters are always in upper case — so make sure you are using only capital letters when entering the ID elsewhere.
Add Your PayPal Details to Thinkific
- Login to your Thinkific site as a Site Owner
- Go to Settings and select the Payments tab
- Select Additional payment methods and go to the Paypal section
- Input the email address associated with your PayPal account under the Paypal email field
- Input your PayPal merchant ID under the PayPal merchant ID field
- Click Save
And that’s all you need to do to be able to accept PayPal payments on your Thinkific site!
You also have the advanced option to add your PayPal IPN, but this is NOT required in order for you to take payment. This is only required if you want your PayPal refunds to show in our reporting. For more details on setting up your PayPal IPN, read the section below. If you don’t need this, you’re already done!
PayPal IPN URL
Instant Payment Notification (IPN) is a message service that automatically sends notifications about events related to PayPal transactions.
For example, once you add your Thinkific PayPal IPN URL to your PayPal account, PayPal can let Thinkific know when a refund is processed for a previous order.
- Return to the PayPal section in Settings once you've saved your PayPal email and Merchant ID (see above)
- Click Show Paypal IPN URL and copy the IPN URL
- In another window/tab, go to PayPal and log into your account
- Click the Gear icon on the top right-hand corner and select Account Settings
- Select Notifications in the left menu
- Select Update beside Instant payment notifications
Select Choose IPN Settings
Paste the IPN URL into the Notification URL field and make sure that Receive IPN messages (Enabled) is selected before clicking Save.
PayPal IPN Considerations
The Paypal IPN is good to set up as it helps with refund tracking - but it is not required to take payment via Paypal on your Thinkific site
If you refund a student in PayPal, the IPN will be used to automatically update the amount paid on the Orders table in Thinkific. This is helpful in keeping your reports accurate.
You have the option to enable Thinkific order receipts for your students and payment notifications in PayPal. Learn more in our article on Student Order Receipts and Payment Notifications.
Checking Out with PayPal
Once you have connected your PayPal account to your Thinkific site, your students will be able to select PayPal as an option at the checkout. Using our built-in Paypal integration allows students to purchase using:
- Their credit/debit card
- Their own Paypal account
If you are only using the Paypal integration (and do not have any other checkout option like Thinkific Payments enabled), students at the checkout will see the option to buy with Paypal, and when they open the Paypal checkout, it will display options for them to either sign in to their Paypal account or make their purchase with their credit or debit card.
For more information on how the checkout looks and functions when you have both Thinkific Payments and PayPal connected, check out: If I connect with Thinkific Payments, can I use Stripe and PayPal to accept student payments too?
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Paypal not accepting payments from my students?
Here are some troubleshooting tips if you’re encountering difficulties trying to accept payments from your students via Paypal. If the situation persists, contact Paypal Support or explore the Paypal Help Center.
Payment Gateway Integration
Review your PayPal integration in Thinkific and your PayPal account to confirm that your account information is correct. Make sure that your PayPal email and Merchant ID match.
Verify Your PayPal Account
Ensure that your PayPal account is verified.
How do I get Verified?
Customer Errors or Issues
Sometimes, payment failures may be due to student errors or issues. Ask your student to verify that the error was not due to insufficient funds or blocked for security reasons by their bank.
Why was my payment declined?
Resolve Account Issues
Open issues, such as disputes or limitations, can prevent you from receiving payments.
How do I check the status of my dispute or claim?
How do I remove a limitation from my account?
Check for Account Restrictions
Verify that your PayPal account is not subject to any restrictions, which may be imposed for various reasons.
Why is my PayPal account limited?
How do I remove a limitation from my account?
Check Payment Limits
Review your PayPal account's sending and receiving limits. If you've reached your limits, consider contacting Paypal to upgrade your account.
Check Your Payment Receiving Preferences
Payment Receiving Preferences can handle payments automatically. You can convert any payment into your primary currency or block certain types of payments. Check your preferences to make sure your preferences are not stopping your students from making purchases.
What are Payment Receiving Preferences and how can I set them?
I've entered the wrong PayPal email address, what do I do now?
If you've accidentally entered the wrong email address when setting up your PayPal account, you can still receive the funds:
- Log in to your PayPal dashboard
- Click the gear icon in the top right to go to your Account Settings page
- Under My business info, go to the Email address
- Click on Update
- On this page, click on the "+" sign in the top right
- Add the exact email that was used in your Thinkific site PayPal integration (in this case, the mistyped email)
- This is then logged as an alternate email address for your PayPal account, so you can still receive the funds that have been sent to the wrong email.
If you don't add an alternate email, the funds will be returned to the student after 30 days.
Will my students need to create a PayPal account to buy my course?
Yes, students will need to sign in to or sign up for a PayPal account.
You may be able to enable student checkout without a PayPal account in your PayPal account setting. See PayPal's documentation on this for more information.
Does this integration use PayPal Express Checkout?
Yes! Our PayPal integration uses PayPal's Express Checkout.
Why does my payment have a hold?
For brand-new business accounts, PayPal will hold funds for up to 21 days to verify that the business is legitimate. You can learn more about this in the Why is my payment on hold or unavailable? article.
Why doesn't the PayPal pay option show up for Subscription or Payment Plan prices?
At this time, payments for Subscription or Payment Plan prices for courses or bundles, via Thinkific's Built in Checkout, can only be processed through Stripe. For this reason, students won't see the option to pay with PayPal at checkout for Subscription or Payment Plan prices, even if you have your PayPal integration set up.
Can I use the same PayPal account for multiple Thinkific accounts?
Yes, you can use the same PayPal account to process student payments for courses hosted on multiple Thinkific accounts, however, you will need to allow duplicate invoice IDs in your PayPal account settings. For more information about how to set that up, please see our article: Can I connect the same PayPal account to multiple Thinkific accounts?
What are PayPal's Processing Fees?
You can view a list of PayPal's processing fees and other related fees on their Fees page.