PayPal offers an easy way to facilitate payments online at a reasonable cost, without all the hassle of requiring a merchant account, payment provider and shopping cart.
Also, users often like the option of PayPal because the transaction is handled by PayPal’s own secure servers, there’s no need to hand over financial details and it’s very quick. Even if users don’t have a PayPal account, debit and credit card payments are accepted.
One way of taking advantage of PayPal is to offer users a single PayPal Pay Now button where the user can choose how much to pay and provide additional information such as the invoice they are paying or the name of the event being booked. But PayPal certainly don’t make it obvious how you can accomplish this and Google results will lead you down lots of winding misleading paths. Here’s the answer:
First of all, don’t be tempted to use the Donation (Donate) button option. Although it has similar functionality to what’s desired, it’s reserved strictly for fund raising activities (‘This button is intended for fundraising. If you are not raising money for a cause, please choose another option.’)
- Log into your PayPal account
- Click the My Account tab at the top
- Go to the Profile sub-menu > My Selling Preferences
- Under the heading Selling online choose the update option next to PayPal buttons (Manage my payment buttons).
- At this point you can either edit the sample buttons provided or create a new button afresh. But it’s important to choose the button type, ‘Buy Now’. Choose this from the first drop down menu presented when editing or creating a button.
- Here’s the trick – in the Price box, set this as 0.00 – which will force the user to set their own amount.
- Under Customise Button, click Customise text or appearance. I recommend choosing the button text ‘Pay Now’, rather than ‘Buy Now’ for the purpose discussed here.
- If you want to give users the option to provide additional information when they make their payment, go to Step 3: Customise advanced features (optional) and you’ll find this option: ‘Can your customer add special instructions in a message to you?’. Click Yes. You can customise your own message (up to 40 characters maximum).
- You may want to check out other options such as the presentation of the button but once you’re finished, click the Save Changes button at the bottom.
- You’ll now be provided with the HTML code which you can cut & paste into your web page. And away you go…
Personally, I would recommend providing some very noticeable instructions next to your Pay Now button so that customers remember to specify the amount and add the additional information you may require. See example below.