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 Stripe as well as PayPal.
In this article:
- 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 it for PayPal.
Please note that if you refund a customer via PayPal, it will not end the enrollment automatically. You would need to do that manually — here’s how!
Get Started with PayPal
- If you don't already have a PayPal account the first step will be to sign up here.
- You will need a Standard Business account to integrate with PayPal. If you already have a personal account you can upgrade to the Standard Business account for free, just log into your account, find the Settings icon and scroll down to the “Account Options” section and you will see the “Upgrade to a business account” link.
Connect PayPal with Thinkific
To connect PayPal, you will need:
- Email address associated with your PayPal account
- PayPal Merchant ID
To Access Your PayPal Merchant ID
- Login to PayPal here
- Follow the instructions in this article:
- 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; keep in mind that you must be logged in as the Site Owner
- Go to Settings and click on the Payments tab
- Scroll down to the PayPal block under Additional payment methods
- In the PayPal email field, input email address associated with your PayPal account
- In the PayPal merchant ID field, input your PayPal merchant ID
- Click Save
And that’s all you need to do to be able to accept PayPal payments on your Thinkific site! Super easy, right?
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. If you do, keep reading! 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. So, 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.
PayPal IPN Considerations
The Paypal IPN is a good thing to set up since it helps with refund tracking. But again, it is not required to take payment via Paypal on your Thinkific site!
If you refund a customer in PayPal, the IPN will be used to automatically update the amount paid in the order in Thinkific. This is nice because it keeps your reporting accurate.
Okay, ready to dive back in and set up the Paypal IPN? Here we go!
- Once you've saved your PayPal email and Merchant ID (see above), return to the PayPal section in Settings, click Show Paypal IPN URL and copy the link that appears.
- In another window/tab, go to paypal.com and log into your PayPal account
- Click the Gear icon on the top right
- Select Account Settings
- Select Notifications in the left menu
- Select Update to the right of Instant Payment Notifications
- Select Choose IPN Settings:
- Finally, paste the link from earlier into the Notification URL field and make sure that Receive IPN messages (Enabled) is selected. Then click Save.
Phew! Now you've fully integrated your PayPal account with Thinkific! You can now receive purchases and handle refunds from PayPal.
You have the option to enable Thinkific order receipts for your students and payment notifications in PayPal. Learn more here: Student Order Receipts and Payment Notifications
Frequently Asked Questions
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, don't worry because you can still receive the funds. You'll first want to log into your PayPal dashboard, and click the gear icon in the top right to go to your Account Settings page.
Then under My business info, go to Email address and click on Update. On this page, click on the "+" sign in the top right and add the exact email that was used in your Thinkific side 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. Please 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 here: Why is my payment on hold or unavailable?
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?