Payflow Payment Gateway: Getting Started

This guide presents the following topics to get you up and running:

For more information


Merchants with an existing Internet merchant account can use Payflow Payment Gateway, or Payflow. Payflow uses real-time, encrypted communication to process debit and credit card transactions. To make test calls to Payflow, submit transaction data to the pilot endpoint (

This document is for demonstration only. To understand the rich feature-set of this product, see the Payflow Gateway landing page, which includes links to documentation.

Key concepts

A payment gateway provides a merchant with access to payment processing networks. When a merchant signs up with a payment gateway, the merchant can keep that gateway even if the merchant changes banks.

This document describes just one way to use Payflow. Merchants integrate with Payflow in different ways, based on their specific needs.

Make your first call

To send transaction data to Payflow, set up an account and submit data to the pilot endpoint (

Get a Payflow account

  1. Review the information on the Payflow page and click the Get Started Today button.
  2. Sign up for a Payflow Pro account. Please note that signing up includes the requirement that your credit card will be billed; please review the information in the signup pages.
  3. After getting the account, confirm that you can log in to PayPal Manager.

Note: You also can get a Payflow Pro account without having to submit your credit card (for now) by signing up for a test account. This free trial will expire in 30 days and you will be prompted to enter a credit card which will be billed.

Send name-value pairs to the pilot URL

As described in the Payflow Gateway Developer's Guide (HTML), you can send test data, e.g. as name-value pairs, to the Payflow pilot endpoint (

Note Since Payflow is operating out of multiple data centers we highly suggest that all API calls are done using the host URLs above. Should you hard code the IP addresses to send transactions via the Payflow API, PayPal cannot be responsible should your transactions fail should a data center be offline due to any issues or any scheduled maintenances.

The example below contains nine parameters:

PARTNERThe Payflow partner. The example below uses PayPal, since in this document, the account was purchased directly from PayPal. If an account was provided by an authorized PayPal reseller, who registered a Payflow user, then the ID provided by the reseller is used.
PWDThe password that you specified when you got the Payflow account, in the previous steps.
VENDORThe ID that you specified when you got the Payflow account, in the previous steps (same as USER). That is, the merchant login ID for the account.
USERThe ID that you specified when you got the Payflow account, in the previous steps (same as VENDOR, because for this example, we assume that you haven't set up additional users on the Payflow account).
TENDERThe payment method. For example, C for credit card.
ACCTThe buyer's credit card number.
TRXTYPEThe type of the transaction. For example, S for sale.
EXPDATEThe expiration date of the credit card.
AMTThe amount of the sale.

Use your values for a test sales transaction

The cURL command below uses several parameters to submit data to Payflow.

In the case of four parameters (PARTNER, PWD, VENDOR, and USER), you must substitute your own values.

curl \ -s \ --insecure \ -d PARTNER=PayPal \ -d PWD=MyPassword \ -d VENDOR=MyMerchantID \ -d USER=MyMerchantID \ -d TENDER=C \ -d ACCT=5105105105105100 \ -d TRXTYPE=S \ -d EXPDATE=1221 \ -d AMT=1.00

The response is similar to this response:


The response contains:

  • RESULT=0. Indicates approved.
  • PNREF. The Payflow transaction ID value.
  • RESPMSG. The response message. Value is Approved.
  • AUTHCODE. The approval code value.

Next steps

Review the Payflow features, options, and documentation available on the Payflow Gateway Landing Page.