Set up PayPal on your store

When you set up your Shopify store, Shopify creates a PayPal Express Checkout account using the email address you use to sign into your store. If you already have a PayPal account with that email address, then you receive payments from orders made with PayPal right away. If you want to issue refunds or manually capture payments, then you need to finish setting up your PayPal account. To use PayPal on your store, you should upgrade your personal account to a business account. Most functions and tools provided by PayPal for business owners are only available when using a business account.

If you don't have a PayPal business account with the email address you use to sign into your store, then you can add your email address to an existing PayPal account or sign up for a new PayPal business account with the same email address you use to sign into your store.

Finish setting up your PayPal account

PayPal is one of Shopify’s default payment providers. As soon as you open a Shopify store, you’re given a Paypal Express Checkout account. Because PayPal requires your email to create the PayPal Express Checkout account, Shopify will share your email with PayPal. You should finish setting up your PayPal account or deactivate PayPal from the Payments setting in your Shopify admin to avoid exposing your email publicly.

If you want to issue refunds or manually capture payments using PayPal, then you need to give Shopify permissions from your PayPal business account.


  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Settings > Payments.
  2. In the Additional payment methods section, click Setup incomplete next to PayPal.
  3. Click Complete setup.
  4. Enter the email address for your PayPal account, and then click Next.
  5. Enter the password for your PayPal account, and then click Next.
  6. On the Tell us about your business page, enter your business details.
  7. Review and select the policy and permissions statements, and then click Agree and Create Account.
  8. On the Describe your business page, do the following:
    1. Select your business type from the drop-down menu.
    2. Enter your business details.
    3. Click Next.
  9. On the Tell us more about you page, enter your details, and then click Submit.
  10. On the confirmation page, click Go back to Shopify.
  11. Make a test transaction to confirm that everything is set up properly.

PayPal's shipping and billing addresses

PayPal fills out the billing address fields with the customer’s shipping address. The customer can edit the information by clicking Change....

This is how PayPal works and it cannot be modified. Shopify can send only a single address to PayPal. For normal PayPal payments (as opposed to credit card payments) this address must be the shipping address, because PayPal already has the billing address. There is no way for Shopify to know ahead of time whether the customer has a PayPal account. As a result, Shopify can't send the billing address, such as when the customer is paying with a credit card instead.

Let customers pay without a PayPal account

With PayPal Express, the default is set to ask customers to log in to PayPal or create a PayPal Account. You can activate guest payments to let customers pay with their credit card even if they don't have their own PayPal account. To activate this feature, you need to have linked your own credit card to your PayPal business account.

To activate guest payments, you need to change the settings in your PayPal account settings. Learn more about enabling guest payments at PayPal.

Require phone numbers for PayPal Express checkout orders

If you depend on having your customers' contact information and use PayPal Express, then you might have noticed that the Shopify order details page doesn't contain the phone number. To add the phone number field to your checkout, refer to Require phone numbers for PayPal Express Checkout orders.

Using PayPal for automatic billing

Some apps need to charge customers automatically, like for subscriptions or post-purchase offers. In these cases, the customer agrees to a billing agreement in PayPal between you (the merchant) and the customer. To offer billing agreements as a merchant, you have to be approved by PayPal for Reference Transactions, which is the PayPal feature that allows you to charge customers automatically.

When you have PayPal Express activated on your store, Shopify asks PayPal for Reference Transactions approval on your behalf when it detects that you're actively using an app that charges customers automatically. If you're not yet approved for Reference Transactions with PayPal, and a customer makes an order that includes a subscription, then Shopify hides PayPal as a payment option during checkout. If you're using a post-purchase upsell app, then Shopify displays PayPal as a payment option during checkout, even if you're not yet approved for Reference Transactions with PayPal, but post-purchase offers aren't displayed to the customer.

You can check if you've been approved by reviewing the status of your request on the Payments page of your Shopify admin.

PayPal contacts you by email when you are approved for Reference Transactions. They might also contact you before approving you if they need more information. After you're approved, Shopify displays PayPal Express as a payment option on your store when the customer makes an order that involves automatic billing.

There are situations when your PayPal account could be denied for Reference Transactions. If PayPal denys your request, then PayPal won't notify you in any way. To verify whether your request has been denied, you can check the status of your request on the Payments page of your Shopify admin. You can also contact your PayPal account manager or visit the PayPal contact page when logged in to your PayPal account.

Testing PayPal

You can test the credit card processing ability by creating a test product and purchasing it from your own store using a different PayPal account than the one set up to receive payments on your store.

Common issues

There are a few common errors that can occur when using PayPal with Shopify:

Unable to complete activation

To activate Paypal, your store's country must match the one set for your Paypal account. You can update your store's country from the Store details settings page in Shopify.

Your PayPal account isn't a business account

To use PayPal on your store, the PayPal account needs to be a business account. You can learn how to upgrade to a business account on the PayPal site.

Payment has already been made for this InvoiceID

This error occurs when you use the same PayPal account on multiple Shopify stores. PayPal reads the order ID as a duplicate and does not process the transaction.

To resolve this error, you must change your order ID format by adding a prefix or a suffix to your order IDs.

Error from gateway: Too many requests for operation

This error occurs when too many request have been sent to PayPal in a short period of time. PayPal mistakes this for a type of spam attack.

Your account is temporarily suspended for 24 hours. You can contact PayPal to resolve this issue.

Invalid Vendor Account (PayFlow Pro)

If you're setting up PayPal and you get an error for an invalid vendor account, then you might not have entered all of the required credentials.

You need to generate Payflow credentials in your PayPal account and enter those in the Payment providers page in your Shopify admin. The Vendor/Merchant Login, Password, and Partner fields are mandatory.

Unable to refund: You don't have permissions to make this API call

This error might mean that the connection between Paypal and Shopify isn't working. You need to sign in to your PayPal account to give Shopify access.

You need to deactivate and then reactivate PayPal in your Payment providers settings. If you receive any orders while the connection isn't working, then you aren't able to refund those orders through Shopify. To refund orders placed before reactivation, refund the payment from your PayPal account.

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