Configuring and Troubleshooting with PayPal Express Checkout

PayPal is no longer accepting new Digital Goods integrations. If you already have Digital Goods for Express Checkout enabled on your PayPal account then you can continue to use this gateway integration in MemberPress without issues.

If you do not have Digital Goods for Express Checkout enabled on your PayPal account, you CANNOT use this integration. You must use our PayPal Standard integration. 

We are working to find other alternatives for handling recurring payments in Express Checkout, but PayPal's policy is to not accept Digital Goods and to not make exceptions.

What this video covers:

To get started, navigate to the settings menu in MemberPress and select Payments.

  1. Click the + button and select the gateway "PayPal Express Checkout"
  2. Label it however you like. This is the name that your users will see when they select how to pay.
  3. Log in to your PayPal account to obtain the necessary information: API Username, API Password, and Signature.
  4. Go into your Profile and select "Selling Tools".
  5. Select "update" on the API Access option.
  6. Select Option 2: View API Signature.
  7. Copy and paste the credentials into your MemberPress Settings.
  8. Copy the Paypal IPN URL from MemberPress.
  9. Go back to PayPal > Profile > Selling Tools, just as before.
  10. Select update on the Instant Payment Notifications option.
  11. Select Choose IPN Settings
  12. Paste the URL into the Notification URL box
  13. Check the "Receive IPN Messages (Enabled)" option.
  14. Hit Save.
  15. Go back to MemberPress and hit Update Settings to save your changes.

To use the Sandbox mode with this gateway, you will need to have a developer account setup at Once you're done testing in sandbox mode, be sure to update your API credentials and IPN URL to reflect the live account.

MemberPress requires PayPal Digital Goods through Express Checkout. (*See note at top of this page) Due to changes at PayPal, you'll need to contact PayPal support to have them enable Digital Goods through Express Checkout if it isn't already enabled on your account. If Digital Goods is not available in your country, you will not be able to get PayPal to enable it for your account, so you might want to consider using our PayPal Standard integration instead.

Important Note about Pausing/Resuming with PayPal: When using PayPal as a gateway, we recommend that you disable the ability to Pause/Resume subscriptions. This can be disabled in your MemberPress > Settings > Account tab > Permissions section. From there, check the option entitled "Allow Members to Pause & Resume their own subscriptions". This is because the PayPal gateway currently only resumes subscriptions on the subscriptions renewal date, NOT the day resume is clicked. For example, if the subscription is monthly, and the user purchases on the 1st, pauses on the 15th of the month and later resumes on the 2nd, their subscription won't renew until the 1st of the next month. The result will be longer if the billing term is longer, such as in the case of a yearly subscription. For this reason, we highly encourage our users to disable the ability to pause and resume recurring subscriptions.

Note about Pausing/Resuming Subscriptions with PayPal. PayPal does not send out an IPN when a Subscription is resumed. Because of this, we strongly recommend that you do not resume a subscription from within PayPal itself. Rather, always resume your Subscriptions from within the MemberPress admin interface. If a member resumes a Subscription within their own PayPal account, MemberPress will NOT be notified, and the Subscription will still show as "paused" in your dashboard. Therefore, be aware that there may be rare instances when you will need to manually change a Subscription's status back to "enabled".

How to Test with PayPal

To test with PayPal, you are required to set up a Sandbox Account. For detailed instructions on how to do this, please visit this page.

How to Process a Refund

To learn how to process a refund within PayPal Express, please follow this link. If you need more help click here.

Capabilities of the Express Checkout Gateway

  • Process One-Time Payments
  • Process Recurring Payments
  • Process Refunds
  • Cancel Recurring Payments
  • Pause Recurring Payments
  • Resume Recurring Payments
  • Process Free/Paid Trial Periods
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