Getting Started with Payment Processing using PayPal

    View All Frequently Asked Questions

    FormsCentral allows paid users (Basic or Plus) to collect money from respondents using PayPal as the payment processor. PayPal supports collecting money using an existing PayPal account or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express). Common types of forms that often require money to be collected include registration, donation and order forms.


    First, create your form from scratch or use one of our many templates. Once you have created the form, go to the "Options" tab, select "Payment Processing" and check the "Enable PayPal Payments" check box.


    NOTE: Once the Enable PayPal Payments check box is checked, you will not be able to test or distribute your form until you've completed the paypal setup and purchase field steps. 

    Payments - PayPal Enabled.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    NOTE: If you are using "domain masking" to hide the forms URL then payments will not work. If you do not want to see the form URL you should embed our form within your web page using the Embed code provided on the Distribute tab.

    PayPal Account Registration

    In order to process payments using PayPal you must have a verified and confirmed Business PayPal account. If you have a Personal PayPal account you can upgrade it to Business. You can learn more about the various types of accounts in the PayPal Help Center: PayPal Account Types. PayPal also provides instructions on how to verify your PayPal account and confirm your email address. If the above 2 links does not help you, please contact PayPal directly to get more detailed information about how to verify your PayPal account and how to confirm your email address.


    NOTE: If your PayPal account is Personal, not verified or not confirmed the account registration process explained below will not be successful.


    NOTE: A PayPal account should only be registered with one FormsCentral account. If another person registers using the same PayPal account then the previous person's forms will no longer accept payments - the new person now owns the registration to that PayPal account.


    NOTE: You can also use an existing Premier account (no need to upgrade it to Business). PayPal is phasing out Premier accounts so you will no longer be able to upgrade from Personal to Premier, only Business.


    If you are not sure if your account is the right type or verified then sign into your PayPal account (on to see your account type and verification status in the upper left corner of the UI:

    Payments - PayPal UI - type and verified.PNG

    If you don't have a PayPal account click "Sign Up Now" on the PayPal Setup tab and you will be taken to the PayPal website to create a Business account. Once you complete your PayPal account creation make sure you verify your account. Also make sure you confirm the email address associated with your PayPal account.


    Enter the email address associated with your verified Business PayPal account into the "PayPal Account" field and click on "Register Account".


    FormsCentral will contact PayPal to determine the status of your account.

    • If your account is not verified then you will see a dialog telling you to verify you account - Go to, sign in to your PayPal account and click the Get Verified link near the top.
    • If your account is not a Business PayPal account you will be prompted to Upgrade the account. Clicking the Upgrade button  will take you to the website. Click the Upgrade link near the top of your PayPal account page. Once completed, come back to FormsCentral and click the "Continue" button on the upgrading account dialog that will be shown.


    Next you will be asked to  grant Adobe FormsCentral permission to access your PayPal account. Click on "Grant Permissions".

    Payments - Grant Perm dialog.PNG

    Click image to view full size

    You will be taken to the website to grant permissions to allow Adobe Systems to access your account.

    NOTE: Make sure you log into the PayPal website with the same email address (PayPal account) that you used in the Payment Processing setup tab in FormsCentral. If you log in with a different account the registration process will fail.


    The permissions we request allow FormsCentral, on your behalf, to perform transactions into your account. We do not have permissions to transfer money out of your account (only in). Click the "Grant Permission" button shown below.

    Payments - Grant Perm paypal website.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    You will then see the below confirmation page stating permissions have been granted.


    IMPORTANT: DO NOT CLOSE THIS WINDOW. Either wait for it to redirect back to FormsCentral  -or- Click "Return to Adobe Systems, Inc". If you close the browser window/tab on your own then the registration process will fail.

    Payments - Grant Perm confirm paypal website.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    Once the browser window disappears you should be taken back to the FormsCentral application and shown the below dialog. If you do not see this dialog then your registration is NOT sucessful - see below for possible reasons.

    Payments - Registration Successful.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    On the PayPal Setup tab you should also see a checkmark indicating that you have successfully setup your PayPal account registration.

    Payments - Setup with Checkmark.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    If instead you see an alert icon then the registration process failed:

    Payments - Setup with Alert icon.PNG

    These are some common reasons why registration might fail:

    • The email adddress associated with your PayPal account is not confirmed. Follow these instructions to confirm your email address.
    • During the grant permission process, you logged into using a different email address (PayPal account) than specified in the payment processing setup tab in FormsCentral. You must login with the same account.
    • The Grant Permission confirmation web page (shown above) was closed by you before the redirect occurred
    • PayPal account does not exist or is disabled
    • PayPal account is not a Business Account
    • PayPal account is not Verified

    Correct the issue then click the "Register Account" button to attempt registration again.


    Purchase Field Mapping

    Next you need to map the fields in the form to items that can be purchased using PayPal. Go to the "Purchase Fields" tab.

    Payments - Purchase Fields empty.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    Column Definitions

    • Purchase Field - Select fields on the form that, when selected, will add a purchase to the PayPal order.
      • You can also associate one or more items to be purchased with the Submit Button and not a field. These items are always added to the order when a respondent proceeds to checkout. Common use cases for this include processing fees, handling charges, or a form that only has one item to purchase.
    • Quantity Field - If you would like the respondent to add multiple quantities of their selection, add a quantity field to your form and link it to the item being purchased.
      • NOTE: Only fields of type "Number" will appear in this drop down. To add a number field to your form - go to the Design tab, add a text field then change its field properties to type "Number".
    • Price - Price for an item can be a fixed amount or an amount inputted by the user.
      • NOTE: Total checkout amount cannot be more than $10,000 USD.
    • Description - How the item will be described in the PayPal check out summary. It defaults to the choice label and can be customized by you.


    To add an additional item to purchase click the "Assign Field" button. Here are some examples of different ways to setup items to be purchased:


    NOTE:The maximum number of purchase fields you can define in a form is 96.

    Order Form - Choose Multiple Items From a List Of Items

    In this example you have a multiple choice field for various items a user can purchase. In the Purchase field tab, click "Assign Field" then choose the "Pick the services you..." field in the purchase field drop down and choose "Lawn Aeration ($40)" in the fly-out. Leave Quantity drop down as is, fill in a Fixed price of $40.00 and type a Description. Repeat this for each choice of the "Pick the services you..." field.

    Payments - Example - Multiple Choice.PNGClick image to view full size


    Registration Form - Choose One Item From a List Of Items and Include a Processing Fee

    This is exactly the same as the above example except this is a single choice field there is a $1.00 processing fee. The processing fee is always charged so it is associated with the Submit Button.

    Payments - Example - Single Choice.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    Donation Form - Choose One Item From a List Of Items with Option to Pay an Arbitrary Amount

    This is similar to above examples except in this case you assign the Other Amount choice to a User Inputted price. This way the respondent can donate an arbitrary amount.

    Payments - Example - Donation Choice.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    Membership Form - Choose One Item From a List Of Items and Select Quantity of Item Chosen

    In all of the previous cases the Quantity column wasn't used. In this example, we set the "Number of classes" field to be the quantity field for each choice so the respondent can pick the type and number of classes to attend.

    NOTE: Only fields of type "Number" will appear in the Quantity drop down. To add a number field to your form - go to the Design tab, add a text field then change its field properties to type "Number".

    Payments - Example - Single Choice with Quant.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    Order Form - Select Quantity for Each Item Listed with Delivery Charge

    This example doesn't use a choice field. Respondents pick an item by providing a quantity. In these cases, the purchase field and quantity field will mapped to the same field (e.g. "Cheese Pizza ($10)").

    NOTE: Only fields of type "Number" will appear in the Quantity and Purchase Field drop downs. To add a number field to your form - go to the Design tab, add a text field then change its field properties to type "Number".

    Payments - Example - Order with Quant.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    Address Field Mappings

    When respondents go to the PayPal checkout summary and pay with a credit card they must provide their billing address. If you also ask for their address in your form then they will need to type it twice. You can provide a better user experience by mapping the data the respondent enters in the FormsCentral form to the billing fields that will be shown in the Paypal checkout. That way when they fill out their address in the FormCentral form it will prepoulate the billing address within PayPal.


    Additionally, we provide an option to include or not include the shipping address during checkout. If you are not shipping physical goods you should uncheck the below check box.

    Payments - Address Fields.PNGClick image to view full size


    Test Form

    Make sure you test your form before making it available to respondents. Go to the "Test" tab and click the "Test" button. You can go through the entire form filling and purchasing process to make sure you set up everything correctly. When you use this method to test you still need to provide valid PayPal accounts or credit card information in the PayPal checkout. However, when testing the form, FormsCentral will not complete the actual transaction so your account or credit card will not be charged. These tests will be marked as "Test" in the View Responses table.


    Respondent Experience When Purchasing Items

    Forms that are payment enabled act like any other FormsCentral form. The only difference is the "Submit" button on the last page of the form is now labeled "Proceed to Checkout" and the PayPal logo is shown in the lower right corner.

    Payments - checkout.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    When the respondent hits "Proceed to Checkout" the data that was filled into the form will be submitted to FormsCentral and the respondent will be redirected to to complete the financial transaction. They will see a summary of their order (which we defined above) and be given the option to pay using their PayPal account or a major credit card. If you have setup the address field mappings then the billing/contact information will be prepoulated for them.

    Here is the credit card user experience (which is shown by default):

    Payments - Paypal Cart with credit card.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    Paying via PayPal just requires you to log in.

    Payments - Paypal Cart with paypal acct.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    Once you have provided valid information you are taken to a summary page. Clicking "Pay Now" will finalize the transaction and take you back to FormsCentral.

    Payments - Paypal Cart Pay Now.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    FormsCentral will then present the normal customized confirmation page.

    Payments - Confirmation Msg after purchase.PNG

    Click image to view full size


    View Responses and Payment Information

    Once the transaction is completed then the "Payment" columns in the View Responses table will be populated. These columns are automatically added by FormsCentral and appear as the last columns in the table.


    Column Definitions

    • Provider ID - Always set to PayPal.
    • Merchant Account - PayPal merchant account used to process the transaction.
    • Transaction ID - ID of the PayPal transaction. You can use this to cross reference this response with the more detailed transaction data stored within your PayPal account.
    • Status at Checkout - Status of the transaction at checkout time. It is possible for the status to change at a later point. You should go to your PayPal account to see the latest status of a transaction.
      • Completed - Transaction was completed successfully and money moved into your account.
      • Cancelled - Respondent cancelled the transaction during checkout by clicking the "Cancel" button on the PayPal checkout summary. No financial transaction occurred.
      • Pending - Status of transaction is unknown at time of checkout. Check your Paypal account to see why.
      • Failed - Respondent completed checkout but their financial transaction failed (most likely from insufficient funds)
    • Total Amount - Amount transacted at checkout time. Like status, it is possible for the amount to change at a later point. You should go to your PayPal account to see the latest amount of a transaction.


    If these values are all blank it means that a respondent submitted their form data, was redirected to the Paypal checkout page and abandoned the PayPal checkout (they never clicked Cancel or Pay Now on the checkout page)

    Payments - Response Table.PNG

    Click image to view full size