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What’s the difference between PayPal Standard, Express, and Pro?

PayPal Express Checkout provides the customers with two options: they can jump over to the PayPal site to login to their account BEFORE completing checkout on your store (which allows them to select their address information) and then choosing shipping options or they can go to the PayPal site to login to their account AFTER making shipping/payment/coupon selections on your site (and creating an account on your store), much like they do with Standard.

With Express Checkout, the customer can pay without having a PayPal account (as long as you have “PayPal Account Optional” enabled inside your PayPal merchant account settings: Profile->Hosted Payment Settings->Website Payments Preferences->PayPal Account Optional = ON), except for merchants/customers in China.
Express Checkout has all the same features as Website Payments Standard, but is more reliable because it completes the transaction directly while the customer is actively engaged on your site. It supports all the currencies, payment methods, etc, just the same, but more efficiently. There is no monthly fee for using Express Checkout.

Website Payments Pro includes Direct Payment, Express Checkout, and additional PayPal solutions and tools, such as Virtual Terminal, Fraud Management Filters, and reference transactions. Customers have to create an account on your site, and supply the address details, but once they confirm the order, the payment is collected immediately and the order saved. It doesn’t rely on IPN to release the order. However, it does store any transaction updates done on the PayPal end such as refunds etc as long as IPNs can be received by your server. Website Payments Pro is currently only offered in the USA, UK, and Canada. A monthly service charge applies, and there is an account application process and credit check to complete before the feature can be activated on your account. PayPal Express Checkout must be enabled in order for Website Payments Pro to be offered on your site.

PayPal Payments Advanced offers an embedded checkout that keeps customers on the merchant’s site and an Internet merchant account from PayPal. It’s PCI compliant to help merchants manage their credit card security requirements. With PayPal Payments Advanced, merchants can enable their online stores to collect payments directly via credit card, PayPal Express Checkout, or PayPal’s PayPal Credit service. From an integration standpoint, PayPal Payments Advanced is identical to the PayPal Payflow gateway. There is a monthly fee to use this service, which is only available in USA.

PayPal Payments Standard takes the customer to PayPal’s site after the checkout completed in order to make payment. The customer can pay without having a PayPal account. After the payment is completed, your store is notified of the completed payment, and then the order is stored in your database. PayPal Payments Standard provides payment buttons as a quick and easy solution for accepting payments. Payment buttons let you securely accept credit card, debit card and PayPal payments on your website from any mobile device, tablet, or PC.
PayPal sees PayPal Payments Standard as a solution for merchants wanting to collect payments on their site easily, especially if they have no other payment method available. There is no monthly fee for using it.

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