PayPal Express Checkout

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Overview ↑ Back to Top

PayPal Express extends the WooCommerce payment options by allowing you to accept payments via PayPal or credit card on your eCommerce site. Please note that PayPal Express skips the WooCommerce checkout experience, and checkout is instead done entirely on PayPal’s website. Customers are then redirected to your site after purchase so that your security responsibilities are limited. You will need to ensure that PayPal Express is enabled for your PayPal business account.

Installation ↑ Back to Top

  1. Purchase and download the plugin zip file from WooThemes
  2. Download the extension from your dashboard
  3. Go to Plugins > Add New > Upload and select the ZIP file you just downloaded
  4. Click Install Now, and then Activate
  5. Click WooCommerce > Settings > Payment Gateways and read the next section to learn how to setup and configure the plugin.

Setup and Configuration ↑ Back to Top


To setup your PayPal Express payment gateway you will need to enter your API Username, API Password, and Signature.

First, sign up for PayPal Express if you have not done so. You can also view PayPal’s documentation on obtaining API credentials.

  1. Login to your PayPal account
  2. Click on My Account > Profile > My Selling Tools
  3. WooCommerce PayPal Express Payment Gateway API Access

    Accessing API Credentials in PayPal admin

  4. Choose “Option 2″ to get your API signature.
  5. WooCommerce PayPal Express Payment Gateway Get API Signature

    Requesting API credentials

  6. For this gateway, you need to use the “signature” rather than “certificate” credentials:
  7. WooCommerce PayPal Express Payment Gateway API credentials

    Select API signature credentials

  8. Copy your API Username, Password, and Signature to import into your WooCommerce PayPal Express settings.
  9. WooCommerce PayPal Express Payment Gateway API Credentials

    Save your API credentials

  10. Enter the API credentials and press “Save Changes”.
  11. WooCommerce PayPal Express Payment Gateway Admin Settings

    PayPal Express Admin Settings


    • To configure the plugin, click on WooCommerce > Settings from the left hand menu, then the top tab “Payment Gateways”. You should see “PayPal Express” as an option in the list.
    • Optionally, you can select the radio button next to this option to make it the default gateway.
    • You should see “PayPal Express” displayed across the top of the page as a link also. Click on this to configure the plugin, and you will see a list of options:


    • Enabled – This will enable the gateway to be used by customers to checkout.
    • Title – This is the text shown for the payment during checkout and on the Order Received page.
    • Description – This is the text shown under the title during checkout. Limited HTML is allowed. If you enable sandbox mode, this section will also display a notice along with test credit card numbers.
    • API User Name – This is the API User Name you obtained from the your PayPal account. Follow the steps above to get this.
    • API Password – This is the API Password you obtained from the your PayPal account. Follow the steps above to get this.
    • API Signature – This is the API Signature you obtained from the your PayPal account. Follow the steps above to get this.
    • Sandbox/test Mode – Enable this to send transactions to your PayPal Sandbox/Test Account. Note: These credentials are not the same as your live/production account. This is an entirely separate sandbox environment that requires a separate login. Production credentials can’t be used in the Sandbox. Please see the FAQ for more info.
    • Debug – Enable this is you are having issues correctly processing transactions; errors will be saved to the WooCommerce Error Log (/wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/logs/paypal_express.txt). All debugging messages are cleaned of sensitive information before display, but as a best practice, please do not enable this unless you are having issues with the plugin.
    • Checkout button style – Enable this checkbox to determine if PayPal’s default checkout button should be used (checked) or the current WordPress theme’s styling should be used (unchecked) on the Cart page.
    • Standard checkout button – Enable this checkbox to hide (checked) or display (unchecked) the “Checkout with PayPal” button on the cart page.
    • Standard checkout – Enable this checkbox to display a “Checkout with PayPal” button on the Checkout page.

    Don’t forget to press “Save changes” to save your changes. :)

    Processing Orders ↑ Back to Top

    This extension skips the entire WooCommerce checkout process, and customers leave your site from the “Cart” page to complete the checkout through PayPal. PayPal Express is meant to reduce the amount of data entry (and possible data entry error) that the customer needs to do. To achieve this, PayPal Express sends back the customer’s shipping information after they have logged into PayPal and authorized the transaction.

    Typical scenario:

    • Customer shops on your site
    • Customer adds products to their cart
    • Customer reviews the Cart page
    • From the Cart page customer presses the “Checkout with PayPal” button
    • Customer is redirected to PayPal and WooCommerce sends the Sub Total of the order to PayPal*
    • Customer logs into PayPal and authorizes the transaction**
    • PayPal redirects customer back to WooCommerce and sends authorization token and customer’s shipping information
    • On the WooCommerce Review Order page customer can see any taxes and choose a shipping option
    • Customer finalizes the order and the transaction is finalized with PayPal using the order Grand Total

    *The Sub Total is sent without shipping or taxes because WooCommerce needs an address to calculate shipping and taxes and has not yet received that from PayPal.
    **Order authorization happens for an amount that is 150% of the sub total to anticipate taxes and shipping costs. If there are no taxes or shipping costs, then the original amount is used.

    Frequently Asked Questions ↑ Back to Top

    Q: The Pay with PayPal link in the checkout just redirects back to the cart.
    A: When the PayPal Express plugin is first installed, a new page is created. If this page is missing then the redirect to PayPal will not work. Try disabling the WordPress HTTPS plugin if it is installed.

    Q: I see a blank page with a “1″ because SetExpressCheckout errors out when I test PayPal Express in Sandbox Mode.
    A: You cannot have the “PayPal Sandbox” option turned on and use production API credentials. You’ll need to to go to and create a “buyer” and a “seller” profile in order to create a sandbox account. You can request sandbox credentials in the same way that you request live credentials once your account is set up. Put the seller’s API credentials into the WooCommerce admin for PayPal Express and use the buyer’s credentials to test purchases with. When you’d like to return to production mode, you’ll have to change back to your production/live API credentials.

    Q: Can I ensure that the order includes a phone number for the customer when an order is placed using PayPal?
    A: Version 2.1+ of PayPal Express will return a phone number for the buyer, but only if the admin has set up their PayPal account properly. The administrator needs to go to Profile > My Selling Tools > Website Payment Preferences and set the “Contact Telephone Number” to required. This will not work with PayPal’s API if the contact phone number is optional.

    Feedback ↑ Back to Top

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