Merchant Subscription FAQs

* The below information applies to Business accounts only.



How do I enable subscriptions for my business?  

You can enable subscriptions using one of 3 methods:  
  1. PayPal Subscription Dashboard and Smart Payment Button (SDK)
  • Go to your Subscriptions.
  • Click Create Plan and enter your subscription details.  
  • When finished, click Save Plan and Turn on Plan.
  • Click Generate Code and Copy Code to copy and paste the Smart Payment Button HTML/JS code to your website.
  1. Subscription REST APIs
  • Generate your API credentials through the PayPal developer portal.
  • Use the create plan API to produce and activate your subscription plan.
  • Use the PayPal JavaScript SDK to add the PayPal subscribe button to your website
  1. Sell on Social subscription weblink
  • Go to your Subscriptions.
  • Click Create Plan and enter your subscription details.  
  • When finished, click Save Plan and Turn on Plan.
  • Click Generate Link and Copy Link to copy and paste the weblink and add it to your social media platform.

Can I temporarily pause an active subscription? 

Yes. To pause a subscription, follow these steps:
  1. Go to your Subscriptions.
  2. Select the subscription profile.   
  3. Select the button next to "Paused".
You can also reactivate a subscription following the steps above and selecting the button next to "Active". 

Note: PayPal doesn't charge customers for subscriptions that are paused.  
 

What changes can customers make to their own subscription plans? 

Customers can modify their existing subscription quantity. The subscription price will be based on the new quantity.
 
Customers can also switch plans for the same product. The billing and pricing terms of the new plan will take effect during the next cycle.
 

Can I enable subscriptions on my social media sites?

Yes. You can enable subscriptions on social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram. Here's how:
  1. Go to your Subscriptions.
  2. Click Create Plan and enter your subscription details.  
  3. When finished, click Save Plan and Turn on Plan.
  4. Click Generate Link and Copy Link to copy and paste the weblink and add it to your social media platform.

How do I track overall performance of my subscription business?  

You can track performance through various metrics on the dashboard. Here's how:
  1. Go to your Subscriptions.
  2. Click Overview.
The overview page allows you to view cumulative revenue and total subscriptions count for your business. You can also compare the performance of different subscription plans by churn rate, monthly recurring revenue and customer lifetime value.
 

What features are included in a PayPal subscription plan?    

You can choose from multiple features to customize subscription plans and pricing, including:
 
Cross-border subscriptions. Define subscription plans in different currencies to enable cross-border subscriptions. The customer will be charged in the currency you configure.
 
Promotional trial cycles. Offer free or discounted trial cycles to your subscribers by defining trial periods for subscription plans. You can define up to 2 trial periods and set discounted pricing.
 
Example: A merchant offering video streaming service configures a subscription plan at $0 for the first month, $4.99 per month for the next 2 months and $9.99 per month onward.
 
One-time setup fee. Define a one-time setup fee for any registration or configuration purpose.
 
Example: A merchant charges a $10 registration fee to enroll in gym and yoga classes, normally priced at $50 per month.
 
Negotiated or discounted prices. Customize any subscription at a negotiated or discounted price to certain customers.
 
Example: An educational institute typically offers online tuition classes at $10 per month but offers a discounted price of $8 per month to a specific student.
 

Can I offer tier-based pricing to my subscribers?  

Yes. You can define volume-based and tier-based pricing models for your subscription plans.  
 
Example: A merchant offering helpdesk services and live technician support defines a tier-based plan at $20 per technician for the first 10 technicians, $18 per technician for the next 10 technicians and $15 per technician after that. If a subscriber requires 30 technicians, the subscription price will be: $20x10+$18x10 + $15x10 = $530 per month.
 

Can I update the price of all active subscriptions in a particular plan at once?  

Yes. You can update the price of all active subscriptions by updating the price of the original subscription plan.
 
Example: If you update the price of a 'standard' plan from $20 per month to $25 per month, then all existing and new subscriptions under the 'standard' plan will be charged $25 per month from the next effective billing cycle.
 

Does PayPal provide real-time webhooks for payment status? 

Yes. PayPal provides webhooks for all payment and lifecycle activities. To track payment status, your platform must be set up to listen to the webhooks.
 

Can I modify the PayPal Smart Payment Button layout and color format to match the look of my website? 

Yes. To change the look of the PayPal Smart Payment Button, follow these steps:
  1. Go to your Subscriptions.
  2. Click Subscription plans.
  3. Click the 3 dots to the right of the plan you want to update and select "Copy code".
  4. Click Copy Code to copy and paste the button code into any editor and make your changes. 

Can I enable credit card, bank account and other payment method options for my subscribers?  

Yes. PayPal supports full stack payments capabilities including:
  • PayPal
  • Credit/debit card and bank account via the guest flow for non-PayPal customers
  • Unbranded or white-labeled card support (via API only)

Can I generate API credentials for integrating subscriptions? 

Yes. You can generate API credentials through the PayPal developer portal.
 

Can I create a PayPal Sandbox account to test and integrate subscriptions? 

Yes. You can create a PayPal Sandbox account through the PayPal developer portal.  
 

What happens when a subscription payment fails? 

If a subscription payment fails at the start of the billing cycle, we'll try the payment again every 5 days for a maximum of two retries until the next billing cycle.
 
If the second payment attempt fails, we'll increment the failed payment count by 1, place the failed payment amount in the customer's outstanding balance and add the amount owed to the next billing cycle.
 
You can also set a failure threshold for subscription plans. We'll pause the subscription if the customer exceeds the failure threshold.
 
You can capture an outstanding balance at any time. You might want to do this if the failure threshold is met and the subscription is suspended.