I will get back to you directly to request some information.
I've sent the info you've requested but the only email address you supplied was firstname.lastname@example.org so I hope it will actually reach you.
It is a list of 13 failed payment attempts in the last 3 weeks.
My email to you bounced back as undeliverable. Please let me have an email address that will actually reach you.
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I received your email and have looked into our server logs for the transaction records under your account. It appears that in the past month, there are 129 form fillers initiated a payment transaction by submitting your forms, and 109 of them has successfully finished their transaction. Therefore, the failure rate is about (129-109)/129 = 15.5%, which is honestly a bit high.
Out of the 20 users who didn't finished their transactions, 3 of them were reported by PayPal that their transaction cannot be completed and instructed us to redirect the users back to PayPal. We don't have the details about why the 3 transactions cannot be completed, but that find of cases are usually because the funding source they chose in PayPal had no sufficient fund or got declined, but they have other funding sources to choose from. We never heard back from PayPal about the remaining 17 users who initiated the transaction, which means they either changed their mind and close their browsers directly, or PayPal has directly declined their payments and eventually they gave up and close the browsers.
Please understand our integration with PayPal totally relies on PayPal to determine if the transaction can be approved or declined. There are 3 stages of a transaction:
1. FormsCentral asks PayPal to start a transaction.
2. The user is redirected to PayPal and finish their payment info there. We don't have any control over this stage.
3. When we receive a notice from PayPal indicating we can finalize the transaction, we call PayPal again to finalize the transaction.
If PayPal notifies us any errors at stage 1 & 3, we will have error logs in our server. If the PayPal can determine the transaction cannot be done at stage 2, they will just tell the user there without notifying us. Some transaction problems can only be found at stage 3 when we ask PayPal to finalize the transaction.
In your case, we found no errors at stage 1, 2 recoverable errors at stage 3 and they successfully completed the payment after we redirected them back PayPal, and another 3 recoverable errors at stage 3 but the users eventually gave up after we redirected them back to PayPal. As I mentioned above, the other 17 users with unfinished transaction must have encountered errors at stage 2 or simply changed their mind.
We have some users complaining transaction failures at stage 2. We talked to PayPal and they mentioned the typical transactions that got declined at stage 2 are those being classified as high risk one based on their security check algorithm. PayPal won't reveal how their security check is done, but did mentioned a pretty common failure case. If people in the same company (behind the same firewall) try to make payments in a short time period, they will most likely be all declined, because their IP addresses appears the same to PayPal.
Based on my investigation, it looks like we cannot do anything so far to help improving the transaction success rate of your forms, since most failures in your case are not under our control at all. I am really sorry about that. Please understand our PayPal integration works just like a cashier at the checkout counter. The credit card machine (the PayPal payment page in our case) takes the credit card information and send it over to the bank (PayPal payment processing center in our case) to get approval. When a transaction is declined, it is the bank's (PayPal's in our case) decision that makes it fail. We as a clerk is only told by the credit card machine that the transaction cannot be completed with very limited details.
Here is my suggestion: whenever you found customers failed to complete the transaction, you can ask them:
1. Contact PayPal to ask why their transactions failed if they tried to pay with their PayPal account.
2. Contact either PayPal or their credit card bank to ask why the transaction failed if they tried to pay directly with their credit cards.
Please do let me know if you have further questions.
Senior Computer Scientist
Adobe Systems Incorporated
Thank you for your very full response.
However your calculations of the number of failed attempts do not take into account the dozens I have deleted in order to tidy up the forms.
And your explanation about why so many payments did not go through does not take into account that fact that round half of my customers did eventually succeed. Nothing in their financial status changed. They simply persisted, and were able to get through the Paypal payment process on their second or third attempts. Most of the others were able to pay via Paypal after I sent them a manual invoice that they paid direct. Many of these same people also have no difficultly at all paying for other purchases via Payapl through our company's online store.
So there really does seem to be a glitch in the software itself, that is causing these hiccups.
Whatever the cause, the failure rate is unacceptably high, and I now looking for a much more reliable system than this.