Configure PayPal for ConfTool Pro
To use PayPal with ConfTool Pro you need an ordinary, verified PayPal account, which has to be upgraded to a Business account. The account is free, but PayPal charges payment fees as listed on the PayPal website of the country of the payment receiver.
Details about creating such an account can be found at the PayPal Website. You should also include information about your reference account to be able to receive transfers from your PayPal account.
For charities and non-profit organizations PayPal offers 'charity accounts' with reduced transaction rates. You have to provide official documentation that proves your charity status. The exact requirements differ from country to country. Please find more information on the PayPal website.
An overview of PayPal's 'Cross Border and Currency Conversion Fees' is also available online.
The following steps are required in order to use your PayPal account with ConfTool Pro. Please note that the options may vary from country to country.
1. Account Upgrade
First you have to upgrade your account to a "Business Account" (if not already done before). Please note that this might have consequences on the fees of PayPal in your country.
To upgrade your account, please go to the settings by clicking on the cogwheel and then click on "Upgrade to a business account" (see image 1).
You will be guided through a number of pages. First you will have to decide whether you want to open a new business account or upgrade an account (see image 2). If you want to use this account to receive payments and it is already linked to your conference bank account, please "Upgrade", if you want to use a new account, please use "Create New Account". In our case, we will upgrade an existing account.
Enter your business and account holder’s information on the following three pages (see images 3, 4 and 5). For the "Debit Card Statement Name" please choose an appropriate name, which also will allow your participants to be able to clearly attribute the payments (see image 4). This name will appear on the credit or debit card statements of your participants.
Once you have entered this information, your account will be upgraded to a business account.
To complete your business setup, please hover over your username in the top right and click on “Account Settings” (see image 6). Now you can check and customize your account and payment preferences as well as your business profile (see image 7).
Please note that you will also have to verify your account to receive money. Furthermore, PayPal will probably ask for a proof of identity (as fax or uploaded document), if you receive more than a certain amount of money, e.g. €1,000 for EU citizens or your company has a specific legal form. PayPal has to ask for these verifications to comply with international money-laundering laws.
In order to raise the transparency of transactions for your participants, you will have to enter your customer service information. Please be diligent while entering these data - they will be displayed and mailed to participants after the transaction has been carried out.
For the payment setup, ConfTool already provides an integration with PayPal using the IPN interface. Please note that the API of PayPal PLUS has not been integrated into ConfTool, as it is much more complicated to set up for merchants, more expensive for merchants, and we currently think that the small advantages of PayPal PLUS do not justify the extra efforts and costs.
For security reasons, initial limits are set on the amount you can receive, send, withdraw, and hold in your PayPal balance. To increase the account limits (total figure may vary from country to country), please go to:
Account Settings => Account access
... and in the section "Limits" click on "View" (see image 8). Raise the account limits by selecting the current limit and clicking on "Lift Limits" on the bottom of the page (see image 9). You will be asked to proof your identity and upload further documents to identify yourself and prove your credibility.
2. Settings of Your PayPal Account for the Use with ConfTool Pro
You will have to configure several settings in your PayPal account to be able to use it correctly with ConfTool Pro. These are listed below:
Please hover over your username in the top right and click on “Account Settings” (see image 6).
In the left column, please go to the section "Website payments" (see image 10).
- Points not mentioned hereafter are currently irrelevant and can be ignored.
- “PayPal button language encoding”: Western European Languages (recommended)
- "Website preferences" (see image 11):
- Auto return for website payments: not relevant
- Payment data transfer: not relevant
- Encrypted website payments: Off
- PayPal account optional: On
- Contact Telephone Number: Off (as you prefer)
- Express Checkout settings: not relevant
- "API access": Scroll down to the section “Accept or block payments from your online stores before setting up APIs” and click on the link “Manage PayPal checkout settings” (see image 12). On the next page please select the option “Accept payments from all carts before API permissions are set up” and click on “Submit” (see image 13).
- “Instant payment notifications”: not relevant (ConfTool Pro uses this method, but sets the corresponding parameters automatically with each PayPal call. In the rare case that payments are not recorded automatically in ConfTool Pro, it might be required to enable this option and enter a URL provided by us).
- “Encrypted payment settings”: Website Payment Certificates - Deactivated
In the left column, please now choose "Payment preferences" (see image 14).
- "Block payments" (see image 15):
- Allow payments sent to me in a currency I do not hold: No, deny the payments (recommended)
- Block accidental payments: Yes, block multiple payments per invoice ID
- eBay refunds and disputes: No, don't set it up
- Display "Add Instructions to Seller" text input field: No
- “Block payments from users who”: not used
3. Enable PayPal in Your ConfTool Pro Installation
To be able to use ConfTool Pro together with PayPal, you have to configure a few settings in ConfTool (see image 16).
As administrative user, please go to:
Overview => Settings => Manage Payment Options
- Set "Enable PayPal Payments" to "Yes, enable for all participants".
- Enter the e-mail address of your PayPal Account.
- Verify the 3-letter currency code for PayPal payments. You have to enter an official ISO 4217 code. Please note that this code must match the main currency of your ConfTool installation and that you usually can only receive payments in your national currency via PayPal.
Last but not least, some personal comments about PayPal:
- PayPal works well for credit card payments from most countries, but it is not a full credit card merchant, i.e. on the client's bank statement PayPal will be listed for the payment, but not the name of your organization.
- PayPal is available in the following countries: PayPal - Send and Receive Payments Securely Worldwide
- Since June 2017, participants from all EU countries as well as Switzerland and Norway need to open a PayPal account to complete the payment. The account is free of charge and set up quickly with most of the information already filled in with data from ConfTool.
- Participants from most other countries do not require a PayPal account to do the payment. For example, participants from USA, China, Australia, India, Canada (or many other countries) can do so called "guest payments" (without PayPal account). However, these are usually limited to 3 payments per credit card and a total amount of about €1,500. The exact conditions seem to depend on the country of the merchant (conference organizer) and the participant, we don't have any further details.
- In case the credit card of a customer has already been linked to a PayPal account, further PayPal payments with this card can only be executed via the PayPal account. Furthermore, a credit card cannot be linked to another PayPal account. This can lead to problems with business credit cards issued to the company or organization and one card being used by several members of the organization. It can happen that one member linked the credit card to his / her PayPal account inadvertently. If other members try to use this credit card for payment, a slightly irritating error message will appear: "The card you entered cannot be used for this payment. Please enter a different credit or debit card number."
- The supported payment methods and credit cards depend on the countries of the involved parties, but mainly on the country of the client. Usually all cards and payment methods that are popular in the land of the client are supported.
- The money arrives nearly immediately in your PayPal account, while most acquirers transfer the money after 30 or 60 days to your bank account.
- It is our impression that the service of PayPal has improved during the last years, but the service of traditional acquirers is often still better and quicker. You might receive replies mainly consisting of standard text modules. Furthermore, if they "freeze" your account for "suspicious" activities, it might take about a week to reactivate it. Talking to a customer representative on the phone can solve a lot of problems fast.
- It can be useful to create two PayPal accounts in advance, so you have a "backup account" if one is under inspection by PayPal. If you try to create a second account after your primary account is under inspection, this account will most likely be "frozen", too.
- We think it is a good idea to offer additional payment solutions: bank transfer and credit card payments via Stripe (if available in your country) could serve as useful additions. In most cases Stripe is even cheaper than PayPal.
- We heard about two cases during the last 5 years where the PayPal account of an organizer was blocked by PayPal, because PayPal considered the operations of the conference organizers as "risky". But in both cases this block was cleared after telephone calls with PayPal.