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How Does PayPal Update Its Payments Database?

Updated on January 6, 2012

PayPal updates its payment database each time a customer completes a transaction. The transaction process differs based on the type of payment service. PayPal sellers should be aware of the various types of payment systems so that they can understand how the company updates your transaction database.

Standard Purchases:

By standard, what I mean here are purchases where the customer clicks a Buy Now PayPal button or similar button and visits PayPal to complete a purchase. For example, Premier and Business account holders generally place buttons on their websites and have customers click through to PayPal to purchase products or services. PayPal also has a shopping cart that you can use on your website that uses the same transaction process.

In this type of transaction, PayPal simply captures the payment details on its own server and sends them to your PayPal account to update your payment history and database. There is not interaction with your website as far as payment details are concerned.

Website Payments Pro and PayPal Payflow:

These are merchant accounts, which means that buyers can actually purchase on your own website. This is a different payflow that requires interaction between your website and PayPal. When you are accepting a credit card on your own website, the API system sends the details to PayPal. With the customer still on your site, PayPal gets confirmation to authorize the transaction from the customer's bank. Once it is done, PayPal sends the information back to your website so the customer can complete the purchase. After the purchase, the API sends the final payment details back to PayPal, who can then update your database with this new payment.

Note that some customers still log into PayPal when using Website Payments Pro. This is the Express Checkout feature.

You will have to set up the API functions if using Website Payments Pro or the PayPal Payflow payment gateway. This is complicated, so you may need help if you are not tech savvy.

Checking Your Database:

At the completion of each purchase, you can check recent payment transactions by looking at the Account Overview in your PayPal account. You can also check out the full database of payment details on the History page of your account.


PayPal: Website Payments Pro Overview

PayPal: Website Payments Standard Overview


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