Enable Payments Using PayPal Express


There are many payment gateways that can be used to accept payments from customers.  PayPal has several methods for you to use to do just that.  Hotcakes Commerce comes with the PayPal Express Checkout feature available out of the box.  This feature allows you to accept payments from customers without having to worry about PCI compliance, since the payments are input and processed on the PayPal website and not your own.


The following pre-requisites will be necessary to accomplish the goals of this article:

Getting Started

If you haven't done so already, create your PayPal account, or log into it so that you can access your account information easily and follow along with the instructions below.

Enabling PayPal Express

There are potentially 3 major steps to test and then enable PayPal Express.  The PayPal Development tab is only necessary if you are a developer, such as our Partners, and you wish to perform a very thorough testing process.  The PayPal Production tab is what you'll want to follow if you're intending to get your store ready for launch.  Finally, the Hotcakes tab will illustrate what to do with the information you gather from either of the first two tabs.

Please note that the information in the first two tabs is documented from a third party website, and subject to change at any time.  You should always consider checking their documentation for the latest steps to follow.

PayPal Developer Configuration

As mentioned above, the steps here should NOT be followed for a standard store configuration.  The instructions in this tab are instead meant to be used by your development team.  

If you're setting up your store for your customers, please go to the next tab instead.

In order to begin testing PayPal Express, you'll need to login at the PayPal Developer website.  Once you do, choose the Dashboard page.

PayPal Developer Website

Next, choose Accounts under the Sandbox menu to display the test accounts that you have created.  If you don't see any, create at least one.  When you expand any of these accounts, you'll see a Profile link.  Click the Profile link.

PayPal Sandbox Test Accounts

You'll see a pop-up style view appear.  Choose the API Credentials tab to continue.

PayPal Sandbox Account Details

On this tab, you'll see the Username, Password, and Signature that you'll need to use in the Hotcakes Commerce configuration view.  

PayPal Express API Credentials

Keep this information open, and move to the Hotcakes steps in the last tab.

PayPal Production Configuration

The instructions below are meant to be used by a store owner, or someone who maintains the online store - NOT developers.  Follow these instructions ONLY if you're building a store that will be used to sell to customers.

If you're a developer that's performing testing, please go to the previous tab instead.

In order to get the information you need to configure Hotcakes to display PayPal Express as a payment option, you'll need to go to the PayPal website and login.  If you don't already have an account, you'll need to create one first, and follow their processes to enable it to be a business account.

Once you're logged in, click on the Profile icon to display an action menu.  Choose the Profile and Settings option.

PayPal Profile and Settings

Choose the My Selling Tools option.

PayPal My Selling Tools

Next, click the Update link associated with the API Access area.

PayPal API Access

You have three options to choose from on the next view. Click on the Enable Express Checkout link.

PayPal Enable Express Checkout

We're not blocking anything right now, so instead choose the Accept PayPal Payments option and click the Submit button to continue.

Accept PayPal Payments

The final step here is to Request API Signature.  This will generate the API information you need from PayPal.

PayPal Request API Signature

You'll now see the API Username, Password, and Signature that you'll need for the Hotcakes configuration area.  Keep this view open, and move on to the next step.  

View API Signature

Hotcakes Store Administration

In order to enable the PayPal Express payment method, you'll first need to be logged in and in your store administration area.  Once there, navigate to payment methods in the Settings menu.

Navigate to the Payment Method settings page

At this point, you can enable as many payment methods as you wish, but for now you should just check the PayPal Express payment method.  Don't forget to save your changes.

Hotcakes Enable PayPal Express

If you click the edit link next to PayPal Express, you'll be able to enter your payment settings that will allow Hotcakes and PayPal Express to communicate properly with each other. Saving your changes here should have your PayPal Express payment method working now, provided everything is enabled in the PayPal administration area too.

Hotcakes PayPal Express Configuration

Setting Description
PayPal Mode Choose production if your site is actively being used by customers to checkout.  Enabling Sandbox Mode is only for testing, as the funds collected will not be transferred.
API Username This is the API Username value you found in one of the previous tabs.  Copy it from there and paste it here.
API Signature This is the API Signature value you found in one of the previous tabs.  Copy it from there and paste it here.
API Password This is the API Password value you found in one of the previous tabs.  Copy it from there and paste it here.
Authorizing Account E-Mail Address You should put the email address of your PayPal account in this field.  It's the same email address that's associated with your PayPal ID.
PayPal Monetary Format PayPal accepts a large number of currencies.  Choose the currency that you wish for all of your customers to be charged.  This will be sent to PayPal as a setting, so they know how to process the money as appropriate.
Capture Mode When authorize is selected, the payment is verified, but the funds are not actually transferred to your account.  You will need to instead capture the funds later, most likely at the point of fulfillment.  This is generally the legally required option for online stores in most jurisdictions that sell physical products.  If you wish to have the funds captured and transferred immediately, choose the Charge Full Amount option instead.
Allow Payments... PayPal will need your permission to process payments for email addresses that are not yet verified. While this is a good security measure to mitigate fraudulent charges, it could also result in a higher number of abandoned carts.
Require PayPal Account When checked, all customers must create or login to their PayPal account in order to complete the transaction.  If you don't require an account, there will be an option for customers to pay immediately by credit card.  
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