The PayPal APIs are HTTP-based RESTful APIs that use OAuth 2.0 for authorization. API request and response bodies are formatted in JSON.

A | B | C | F | H | I | P | Q

This glossary defines commonly used terms for the PayPal REST APIs.

access token

The credentials that the PayPal authorization server issues to a client in exchange for OAuth client ID and secret and that authorize the client to make a REST API requests.

API request

The combination of an HTTP method, a URL to the API service, a URI to the resource, optional query parameters for filtering and pagination, HTTP request headers including the Authorization header with the access token, and, if required, a JSON-formatted request body.


When you create an app, PayPal generates a set of OAuth client ID and secret credentials for your app for both the sandbox and live environments. In exchange for these credentials, the PayPal authorization server issues an access token that you use for authorization when you make REST API requests.

bearer token

A type of access token that lets you complete an action on behalf of a resource owner.


A command-line tool that lets you send HTTP requests and receive responses.


The use of query parameters to filter the items that are returned in an API response.


A constraint of the REST application architecture, Hypermedia as the Engine of Application State dictates that each API response include an array of contextual links, if available, that gives you more information about and lets you construct an API flow that is relative to that request.

Internet date and time format

The ISO 8601-compliant format that API requests and responses use for date and time values.


The use of pagination parameters to limit the size of and sort the data returned in an API response. A pagination parameter is a type of query parameter.

query parameter

A type of parameter that you include on the request URI to filter and sort the items that are returned in an API response and limit the size of the data returned in that response.