Checkout settings

You can enable settings in the My selling tools section of your PayPal account profile to further configure how your payment buttons work and customize the buyer's checkout experience. For many of these settings, you can include an equivalent HTML variable to control the behavior of individual transactions. To use HTML variables, you'll need to be familiar with HTML programming.

These topics describe the checkout settings that interact with developer-written code:

Note: For information about administrative tasks that you can perform from your PayPal account, such as adding users, setting up custom page styles, and managing multiple currency balances, see the Merchant setup and administration guide.

Customize the PayPal checkout pages

You can customize the PayPal checkout pages your buyers see to match the style of your website. Custom payment pages work with all PayPal Payments Standard buttons. You can add up to three custom page styles and edit them in your PayPal account profile. Since you assign a name to each page style you create in your account profile, you can subsequently use HTML variables to pass your preferred custom page style name and change the custom checkout page for individual transactions.

For detailed instructions, see customizing PayPal checkout pages in the Merchant setup and administration guide.

Override customized checkout pages on individual payment buttons

Your primary page style, specified in your account profile, is applied to all of your checkout pages unless you specify otherwise. You can override this behavior by specifying custom page style variables in the HTML code of your payment buttons.

To change the page style for an existing button, replace the value of the page_style variable with the page style name you want to use. This variable overrides the primary page style set in your PayPal account profile. The next time a buyer clicks the payment button, the checkout pages appear in the new style.

You can specify additional variables to override specific co-branding options. For example, the image_url variable sets the logo image that displays in the top left corner of the checkout page.

For more information on modifying your PayPal checkout page, see HTML checkout page variables.

Order of page style HTML variables

The customizing of payment page variables takes precedence in the following order:

  1. HTML checkout page display variables on individual buttons, other than page_style.
  2. The page_style variable on individual buttons which overrides your primary page style set in your account profile.
  3. Your primary page style set in your account profile.
  4. The default PayPal page style in your account profile. The default page style is used when an alternative is not selected and designated as primary.

Tailor the checkout experience

In addition to cobranding the checkout pages, you can customize the buyer's checkout experience further using features that can be configured in your PayPal account profile settings. See tailoring the checkout experience in the Merchant setup and administration guide for details on how to configure your PayPal account profile to do the following:

  • Auto return the buyer to your website
  • Provide your customer service number
  • Handle gift purchases
  • Prompt buyers to accept marketing messages
  • Ask buyers survey questions
  • Obtain buyer telephone numbers

You can also use HTML variables to override some of the above-mentioned features for individual transactions. Using HTML variables to override PayPal account profile features is discussed in each of the following sections.

Auto return the buyer to your website

With Auto return for PayPal payments, buyers are not required to click a button to return to your website after they complete their payments with PayPal. Auto Return applies to all PayPal Payments Standards payment buttons, including Buy Now, Shopping Cart, Subscription, Gift Certificate, and Donate buttons.

Auto Return shortens the checkout flow and immediately brings your buyers back to your website upon payment completion. To set up Auto Return, you need to turn it on in your PayPal account profile and enter the return URL that will be used to redirect your buyers back to your site. For more information on how to enable this feature in your PayPal account, see Auto return in the Merchant setup and administration guide.

Subscriptions Password Management and Auto return

If you are using the Subscriptions Password Management feature, you must make sure that Auto return is disabled in order to display the PayPal-generated username and password to the subscriber.

Note: You can use Auto return with subscriptions, which is a separate feature from Subscriptions Password Management.

Override the return URL on individual transactions

With Auto return turned on in your account profile, you can set the value of the return HTML variable on individual transactions, which overrides the value of the return URL stored in your PayPal account profile. For example, you might want to redirect payers to a URL on your site that is specific to that person, perhaps with a session-id or other transaction-related data included in the URL.

To set the return URL for individual transactions, include the return variable in the HTML form:

<INPUT TYPE="hidden" NAME="return" value="The-Page-On-Your-Site-To-Which-Buyer-Returns;">

Note: To receive transaction-related notification data from PayPal, you must turn Payment Data Transfer on. To learn more, see the Payment Data Transfer page.


Calculate sales tax automatically

With PayPal payment buttons (PayPal Payments Standard), you can have PayPal calculate sales tax (also called value-added tax or VAT) automatically. PayPal calculates sales taxes based on rates that you specify in your account profile.

You can set up the following types of tax rates:

  • Domestic (U.S. only) tax rates by state or zip code.
  • Canadian tax rates by province.
  • International sales tax rates by country or jurisdiction.

For more information on setting up this feature in your PayPal account profile settings, see Automatic calculation of sales tax in the Merchant setup and administration guide.

Override sales tax calculations on individual transactions

Regardless of a buyer's location, you can override automatic tax calculation on an individual transaction or on individual items in a transaction if you are using the PayPal cart. For more information, see Setting tax on individual items and Setting the tax for the entire cart.

Calculate shipping charges automatically

Merchants using PayPal payment buttons (PayPal Payments Standard) can take advantage of PayPal's automatic shipping charge calculation feature. PayPal calculates shipping charges based on rates that you specify in your account profile.

You can set up shipping rates in your PayPal account profile as follows:

  • Domestic (U.S. only) shipping rates for regions defined by state or zip code.
  • International shipping rates for regions defined by country or jurisdiction.

Within shipping regions, you can specify rates for different shipping methods, such as standard and express delivery.

For more information on how to configure this feature in your PayPal account profile, review the section on calculating shipping charges automatically in the Merchant setup and administration guide.

Override shipping calculation on individual transactions

Sometimes you want to set special shipping rates for certain items, such as especially heavy ones that cost more to ship, or services and digital downloads that do not require shipping.

To override your profile-based shipping rates:

Configure language encoding

Websites that use PayPal in different parts of the world work with different languages and different character encoding schemes. PayPal refers collectively to these differences as language encoding. You can set the default language encoding for your checkout pages as well as for the data that you exchange with PayPal. See Configuring language encoding in the Merchant setup and administrative guide for details.

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