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How to Use PayPal to Collect Payments

written by: Niki Fears•edited by: Robin L.•updated: 3/30/2009

PayPal is a powerful tool that can be added to your website. This article provides a brief overview of the PayPal service and how to use it on your web site.

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    PayPal was born in 2000 from a merger between Confinity and and has grown in the past 9 years since to be one of the standards in the payment gateway and money transfer industry, so much so in fact, that ecommerce giant eBay took over PayPal in a 2002 acquisition for a whopping $1.5 billion. And whether you are selling items out of your garage on eBay or billing clients for services rendered, PayPal is a quick and easy to use payment gateway that can have you up and selling in no time with no technical skills required and no out of pocket expense.

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    Getting Started With Your PayPal Account:

    To get started, the first thing you will need to do is, of course, register an account at You do this simply by going to their web site and selecting the “Sign Up” link at the top. You will fill out the form, including the information on your financial institution. Pay very close attention and double check all account numbers because this is how you will verify your account and in turn, get paid. Once you have submitted this information, PayPal will send a test deposit to your account, you will then enter this amount via the confirmation link emailed to you and voila, your account is up and ready to go!

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    Selling on Your Web Site with PayPal:

    Selling items on your web site is very simple with PayPal's “buy now” button. When you are logged into your PayPal account, simply click on the “Merchant Services” tab at the top. This will take you to a page full of useful links and resources for those using PayPal for their business. Look for the first set of links on the page under the “Create Buttons” heading. This will give you various options depending on what your needs are. For example, if you are selling individual items you will want to use the “Buy Now” button where as if you have a larger shopping site with multiple products then the “add to cart” button is what you need. There is also an option if you are selling subscriptions or looking for donations as well. Once you choose which option that you need, simply click on the link and fill out the appropriate information with pricing and item description. Once you are done, PayPal will generate a code for you that you simply copy and paste into your web page where you wish it to appear and you are ready to start selling.

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    Using PayPal to Send Invoices for Services Rendered:

    Invoicing with PayPal is also a breeze. For simple, single item invoices choose the “Request Money” tab at the top of the page when you are logged in and use the “Create a Money Request” option. Fill in the customer's email address and the amount to be billed, choose the option that explains the reason for the invoice (goods, services, etc.) and continue. However, if you need a more detailed invoice, choose the “Create an Invoice” option and this will allow you to input your address and a line by line detail of every item included on the bill.

    If at any point you have trouble using PayPal there easy help section and friendly customer support is available to help address your issues and to help you get started with this easy and reliable way to bill your customers and process funds.