PayPal Adaptive Payments – copied from IgniteWoo


Parallel payments and chained payments allow you to split payments between multiple recipients. You MUST have a PayPal Premier or PayPal Business account AND you must be approved for the Adaptive Payments API. To gain approval follow the steps outlined by PayPal to register your Web app. When registering your app with PayPal follow the basic guidelines in the PDF file that comes inside the plugin zip file – and note that these are only a guideline. Tailor your app submission settings to suit your exact needs. When selecting services BE CERTAIN to select Basic Payment if you intend to use Parallel Payments, and select Chained Payments ( and the “Instant” sub-selection ) if you intend to use chained payments. Note that chained payment require additional review by PayPal and as such your app may not be approved immediately. If you need assistance with getting approval for your app you must contact PayPal directly. IgniteWoo cannot provide such support. As of October 2013, PayPal’s Adaptive Payments API currently only works with the following currencies: ‘AUD’, ‘BRL’, ‘CAD’, ‘MXN’, ‘NZD’, ‘HKD’, ‘SGD’, ‘USD’, ‘EUR’, ‘JPY’, ‘TRY’, ‘NOK’, ‘CZK’, ‘DKK’, ‘HUF’, ‘ILS’, ‘MYR’, ‘PHP’, ‘PLN’, ‘SEK’, ‘CHF’, ‘TWD’, ‘THB’, ‘GBP’, ‘RMB’


Parallel Payments A parallel payment is a payment from a sender that is split directly among 2 to 6 receivers. Technically, a parallel payment is a set of multiple payments made in a single Pay request within the PayPal API. Parallel payments are useful in cases when a buyer intends to make a single payment for items from multiple sellers. Examples include the following scenarios:

  • a single payment for multiple items from different merchants, such as a combination of items in your inventory and items that partners drop ship for you.
  • purchases of items related to an event, such as a trip that requires airfare, car rental, and a hotel booking.

In these cases, the sender of the payment becomes aware of all receivers and the amount paid to each one. Chained Payments: A chained payment is a payment from a sender that is indirectly split among 2 to 6 receivers. It is an extension of a typical payment from a sender to a receiver, in which a receiver, known as the primary receiver, passes part of the payment to other receivers, who are called secondary receivers. You can have at most one primary receiver and 1 to 5 secondary receivers. Chained payments are useful in cases when the primary receiver acts as an agent for other receivers. The sender of the payment deals only with the primary receiver and does not know about the secondary receivers nor how a payment is split among receivers. Guest Payments These are using a sender’s credit card without logging into PayPal to complete the transaction. The sender is not explicitly identified as a PayPal account holder during the transaction and is not required to have a PayPal account. With either payment type ( parallel or chained ) each receiver of a guest payment must be a verified PayPal Business Verified or Premier Verified account holder.


This plugin DOES NOT SUPPORT DELAYED chained payments. It does support instant chained payments. This plugin always redirects shoppers to PayPal’s site to make payment. PayPal DOES NOT ALLOW embedded payment forms when using Adaptive Payments – DO NOT contact us asking us to add this feature because as of October 2013 it remains impossible to achieve due to PayPal’s restrictions on Adaptive Payments implementation. PayPal does however allow a “Lightbox” mode for Adaptive Payments. We intend to implement this feature in a future version of this plugin. PayPal limits all payment amounts to 2 decimal places. Do not set WooCommerce to use more than 2 decimal places, and do not set prices to have more than 2 decimal places. As of October 2013, PayPal limits the entire transaction amount to $4000 or less for US residents, and $2000 or less for recipients outside the US. If these payment limits are exceeded during any checkout process then payment will fail. PayPal limits ALL adaptive payments to having no more than 6 recipients total. As such, this plugin restricts a shopper’s ability so that they can only add products to the cart as long as the total cart contents amounts to 6 payment recipients or less, including the store itself if the store takes a cut or sells products of its own. There is no checking performed on the transaction amount total. Any attempt to add items to the cart when the addition would surpass the recipient limit will result in an error/warning message being displayed to the shopper instructing them that they cannot add additional items to the cart and must pay for their current cart contents first before purchasing additional items. PayPal’s Adaptive Payments API does not support sending a list of items included in a purchase transaction. Therefore IgniteWoo’s Adaptive Payments plugin attempts to itemize the cart contents using the transaction’s memo field. However PayPal limits the length of the memo field to 1000 characters, so all cart contents may not appear in the memo.


Our current understanding of the PayPal dispute process is that if payment is split between 2 or more sellers and the buyer files a dispute with PayPal asking for a refund then the buyer can dispute items in the order individually, or collectively, and each seller whose item was disputed will need to address to dispute individually. Check with your PayPal representative for clarification.


When using this plugin each receiver of funds pays their own PayPal transaction fees.



  • PayPal Email Address – enter your PayPal email address. Any funds collected on your behalf will go into the account associated with this email address
  • PayPal User Name – enter your PayPal API User Name
  • PayPal Password – enter your PayPal API Password
  • PayPal Signature – enter your PayPal API Signature
  • PayPal Application ID – enter your PayPal Application ID ( unless you are using sandbox mode in which case no APP ID is required for the plugin to operate correct )
  • Invoice Prefix – Enter a prefix for your invoice numbers. If you use your PayPal account for multiple stores ensure this prefix is unique as PayPal will not allow orders with the same invoice number.

Funds Collection

  • Gateway Mode – Select the mode of operation. Parallel Payments lets the shopper each person receiving funds as part of the sale. Chained Payments only shows the store itself as the recipient of funds even when multiple recipients might be receiving a portion of the funds.
  • Store’s Amount – Enter the percentage amount of each item you want to receive when a sale takes place. Enter a number only — <em>DO NOT enter a percent symbol. This value can be overridden by setting a different value on a per-product basis</em>. Example: enter 10 for 10%.

Tax Payer

  • Who pays any taxes associated with line items in split payments? Set to Store to have the store collect all taxes. Set to Recipients to have each recipient receive the line taxes associated with their items. Note that this setting has no effect if your store is not charging taxes. THIS SETTING DOES NOT APPLY WHEN USING IGNITEWOO’S “VENDOR STORES” PLUGIN BECAUSE THAT PLUGIN HAS ITS OWN TAX PROCESSING SETTINGS.

Submission method

  • Enable this to post order data to PayPal via a form instead of using a redirect/query string. In practice this makes no significant difference in overall payment flow or shopper experience. This setting is provided simply as a matter of convenience in case it assists developers in customization aspects of the payment process.

Error Message

  • PayPal limits all parallel and/or chained payments to a maximum of 6 recipients or less. This is the error message displayed to a shopper when attempting to add an item to the cart where the payment for items in the cart would exceed different 6 payees ( including the store itself ). So in practice, if a shopper has 9 items in the cart and attempts to place 1 more item in the cart, and payment for all of those items would be due to more than 6 people then this plugin will prevent the shopper from adding the item to the cart and display this error message.

PayPal sandbox

  • The PayPal sandbox can be used to test payments without any real money changing hands. To do that you need to sign up for a developer account and make sure PayPal enables all Adaptive Payment options in your test account. Note that you do not need to configure the PayPal Application ID in the plugin when using sandbox mode. However you do need to configure a PayPal Application ID when going live.

Debug Log

  • This causes the plugin to log PayPal events, such as Pay Key requests, IPN requests, etc inside the wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/logs/ directory in a unique log file that would contain the words “adaptive payments” in the file name. Debug mode also might print debug info on the payment page but only when using lightbox mode ( lightbox mode is an upcoming feature – not yet implemented in this plugin ).


Payment Recipient

  • If you’re splitting payments for the product with someone else then enter the PayPal email address of the person who will receive a percentage of the sale of this item.

Payment Percentage

  • To override the percentage defined in the main plugin settings optionally define the percentage of the item amount to be received by the recipient. For example, for 7.5% enter 7.5.


If you’re using IgniteWoo’s WooCommerce Vendor Stores plugin, then note that when determining who might receive money from the sale of a product, this PayPal Adaptive Payments plugin will first check to see if a vendor is assigned to the product and if so that vendor becomes a receiver of money for the sale of the item. If no vendor is assigned to the product then this plugin checks the PayPal email field setting for the product and if an email address exists then the person associated with that email address becomes a receiver of money for the sale of the item. If no PayPal email address is configured in the product, and no vendor is assigned to the product, then the store itself becomes the sole receiver of money for the sale of the item.


NOTE that we DO NOT provide support for PayPal accounts or associated adaptive payments Web applications. The links below should get you started. If you require assistance with your credentials or with registering your application contact PayPal directly and ask them for assistance in getting your application set up to process Adaptive Payments. REMEMBER that if you need to use Chained Payments you must request this API access specifically from PayPal. REMEMBER that the you MUST submit your Web application for review by PayPal. When you register your application, a PayPal agent reviews it to ensure that it meets the criteria outlined by PayPal. The review process varies from site to site. For more information on the overall process review all the information in PayPal Going Live documentation.

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