PayPal makes it easy for online stores to accept and process payments. This not only cuts down on your workload, but shields you from many financial security risks since you won't have to handle or process customers' payment information yourself. To use PayPal, your customers only need a PayPal account. They can then purchase items from your shop using either their PayPal account funds or a credit or debit card.
Adding a PayPal Payment Button to Your Site
PayPal's website has a page to help you set up a “Buy Now” button on your site. All you have to do is sign into your PayPal account and create your button. This ties the button to your account, so that whenever a customer uses the button to make a purchase, the funds go to that account. After you create the button, PayPal generates the HTML that lets you add the button to your site. Copy and paste this HTML into your website wherever you want the button to appear, and save the changes. That's all you have to do, and the buttons are free to use.
Using the PayPal Shopping Cart Service on Your Site
If your online store sells multiple products, PayPal offers its own shopping cart service through several authorized third parties. With a shopping cart, your customers can browse and select several items before checking out. The PayPal shopping cart integrates seamlessly with PayPal’s payment service. However, unlike the "Buy Now" buttons, you must pay for the shopping cart service, with monthly costs starting between $5 and $20 as of 2014, depending on which provider you use. Whether you go with individual buttons or an entire shopping cart, PayPal will handle every aspect of the financial transaction. This is separate from collecting the customer’s order and shipping information, which you’ll still have to handle yourself.
Josh Fredman is a freelance pen-for-hire and Web developer living in Seattle. He attended the University of Washington, studying engineering, and worked in logistics, health care and newspapers before deciding to go to work for himself.