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Posted 8 Nov 2010

Enable Guest Payments Using PayPal’s Adaptive Payments API

, 8 Nov 2010
Increase customer conversion rates with PayPal's Guest Payments and other features of the Adaptive Payments APIs

Editorial Note

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Increase Customer Conversion Rates with the New Credit/Debit Card Payment Option

(Third in a series)

The ability to pay without creating an account is often a stopping point for consumers, resulting in lost sales. Implementing this feature has been a challenge for developers, because the solution you choose must comply with payment card industry (PCI) standards for credit card security, a potentially complex challenge. Now you can easily capture those consumers using Guest Payments included in PayPal’s Adaptive Payments API.

This article will show you how Guest Payments works, and we’ll also look at other ways you can use the Adaptive Payments API to enhance your payment options.

Increase Conversion Rates with Guest Payments

PayPal’s Guest Payments takes care of all the security and protection standards for you. Guest Payments has been incorporated into the payment flow on the PayPal side, so it is simple to integrate. No additional integration or coding changes are required. Guest Payments works with all the capabilities of Adaptive Payments; the only limitation is that the PayPal account of the primary recipient must be either a Business or Premier PayPal account. (Secondary recipients are not required to have a Business or Premier account.)

To avoid creating an account, customers can choose “Pay with a credit or debit card,” entering the relevant card and billing information:


Once a customer enters the required payment information, they are given the option to save their information into a new PayPal account:


How the Adaptive Payments APIs Offer Payment Flexibility

The PayPal Adaptive Payments suite of APIs offers you a configurable (“adaptive”) money movement service that can be used for almost any kind of payment or transfer. They support the following kinds of payments:

  • One-time send and receive payments
  • Preapproved payments with a PIN, whether for one-time, multi-use, or subscription plans
  • Parallel split payments, from one sender to multiple receivers
  • Chained split payments, from one sender to one primary receiver and multiple secondary receivers.

It is also possible to combine chained and preapproved payments, and parallel and preapproved payments. (PayPal does not currently support parallel and chained payments in one set of payment instructions, although that may be supported in the future.)

How You Can Use Adaptive Payments to Monetize Your Apps

One example of how you can use Adaptive Payments APIs would be for accepting micropayments for a pay-as-you-go online game. Adding preapproved payments would also allow a player to keep playing without having to stop playing to make another payment. Another way you could apply Adaptive Payments would be to host a gaming platform featuring games developed by others, using chained payments to take a fee before passing on funds to the individual game developers.

Do you want to set up an affiliate marketing program? Use chained payments so that when a customer makes a purchase as a result of seeing a product on the referring site, the referral fees are paid automatically in one set of payment instructions.

One company that is using Adaptive Payments is LiveWork[^], an on-demand outsourcing firm offering staffing flexibility. As part of a beta customer program, PayPal designed a payment solution for LiveWork that used either parallel or chained payments to pay their “crowdsourcing” workers.

Taken together, the extreme flexibility of the PayPal Adaptive Payments APIs, with the new addition of Guest Payments credit/debit card functionality, offer you almost unlimited opportunities for creative payment systems that will help you increase sales and build your customer base-- all with the enhanced security that PayPal represents.



This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Publisher n/a
United States United States
Chris has been creating and managing Web sites for 15 years. He served as managing editor at and has also worked as an editor and writer for other development-oriented Web sites. Chris is based in the New York City area.

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionAdditional Notes About the Pay API Operation Pin
Zdravkonoev20-Sep-13 2:57
memberZdravkonoev20-Sep-13 2:57 
For a guest payment, do not set the sender's email address or the
preapproval key.

Specifying the sender's email address prevents the sender from choosing the
guest payment

option. Implicit approval and preapproval options are not allowed. Each
receiver of a guest

payment must be a verified PayPal business or premier account holder.
QuestionSample code Pin
mmitica15-Feb-12 20:51
membermmitica15-Feb-12 20:51 

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