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How Does PayPal Work?

For the Buyer

You may already have a PayPal account for buying things online. Setting up and using PayPal for making online purchases is a totally free service. When you set up a PayPal account, you give PayPal your bank account or credit card information. Then when you use PayPal to pay for an online purchase from a place that accepts payments through PayPal, you can have the amount charged to your credit card or taken from your bank account. Your advantage in paying this way is that you can make purchases from a great variety of online sellers without ever giving those sellers any of your sensitive credit card or bank account information.

For the Seller

When you set up PayPal for selling products, you create Buy Now buttons, Add to Cart buttons, and View Cart buttons using PayPal button tools. You must create a button for each product, and configure each button with the price of the product and any sales tax or shipping fees that you may require. The information associated with that button is stored securely on the PayPal server.

This Little Program Went to Market: Create, Deploy, Distribute, Sell, and Market Software and More on the Internet at Little or No Cost to You has a complete tutorial for how create your own Web site, create Buy Now, Add to Cart, and View Cart buttons, and put the buttons on the product pages of your Web site.

When a buyer clicks your Buy Now button, PayPal automatically calculates the configured sales tax and shipping fees. The buyer may then charge the purchase to his credit card. PayPal verifies the buyer's credit card and sends you an e-mail informing you of the order within a few minutes after he submits the order. You may then log into your PayPal account to view all the information the buyer provided about the purchase so you can send him the item he ordered. This Little Program Went to Market demonstrates how to create a template for an order confirmation e-mail. Use an e-mail template to quickly and easily send the buyer an e-mail confirming that you received his order and to send him any additional information about his order. At that point, you may transfer all the funds that arrived in your PayPal account into your bank account. Transferring the funds may take 3-4 business days.

PayPal makes it easy for you to accept credit card payments without the monthly service fees that are normally required for accepting credit card payments. PayPal has no setup fees or monthly service fees. Instead, it charges the seller a small fee per transaction.

Additional Input

Do you require additional input from the user when he places an order? Is some input required and other input optional? Do you want to validate his input before he submits it? For example, do you want to make sure he enters a valid e-mail address in an e-mail address input field, or make sure he enters a numeric value in a quantity input field, or make sure the value entered is within a specific range of values allowed? If so, you must write additional HTML and JavaScript code for the PayPal button. This Little Program Went to Market has a step-by-step tutorial with complete HTML and JavaScript code listings to add additional fields to the PayPal button and ensure valid input is entered in those fields. This Little Program Went to Market also demonstrates how to use JavaScript cookies to pre-populate input fields with last used values.

Related Articles

(book image not shown)More than 25 open source and freeware programs are used in the book This Little Program Went to Market to demonstrate how to create a Web site, put an Internet sales and marketing process in place, and make your own programs "market ready". The book gives step-by-step instructions for all the steps and tools required to Create, Deploy, Distribute, Sell, and Market Software and More on the Internet at Little or No Cost to You. All the tools demonstrated in the book are available for free!

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