How to Make a PayPal Form

FormSmarts PayPal Integration is your best option when you need to collect data and get a payment on a form. It makes it very easy to receive PayPal payments on your forms, while giving you the power, flexibility and ease of use of a full-featured online form builder.

For example, you can easily build:

Note: The demos above are hosted on FormSmarts, but you can also embed a form on your own website with the code snippet given by the form builder.

How to Create a PayPal Form in 3 Minutes: Video Tutorial

This video is a step-by-step tutorial showing how to make a payment form with FormSmarts’ form builder and set up your PayPal account to receive payments.

Receive Payments on a Form

To allow people to pay on a form:

  1. Sign up for a FormSmarts Business account and create a form with the form builder
  2. Add radio buttons, a drop-down list or a checkbox, and enter the description and fees (or item price) formatted as Item Description ($30 USD), as shown on the screenshot below.
  3. To complete PayPal integration, add your Notification URL to your PayPal account.

Registration Form with PayPal

It’s as simple as that. We’ll pick up the items, fees or amounts and quantities that are selected on the form, and we’ll redirect the user to a pre-filled page on PayPal where they can enter their credit card info or sign in to pay with their PayPal account.

Payments are sent to the PayPal account matching your FormSmarts login email. Make sure the email address you use for PayPal and FormSmarts are the same. You can change your FormSmarts login if needed.

Charge for Multiple Items on a Form

You can as easily charge for several items on a form by adding more drop-down lists or radio buttons formatted as just described.

Add a Quantity to a Fee or Priced Item

There are several ways to let your customers choose a quantity for a fee or priced item, for example the number of tickets or guests on an event registration form.

The simplest way is to combine the ticket price or fee and a quantity selector into a single drop-down, as illustrated below:

Online Payment Form with Price and Quantity

If you want to allow your customers to buy an open-ended number of items, use a quantity box instead.

Build a Subscription Form with Recurring Payment

A membership or subscription involves paying a recurring amount each billing cycle until the subscription ends or is canceled. This article covers how to create a subscription form in detail.

In most cases, you just need to add the recurring fee to a form as Monthly Subscription ($19.99 USD/month)

You can also use a recurring payment to allow your customers to pay in installments. A payment in installments is a recurring payment where the number of payments is fixed.

The syntax is Payment in 12 Installments (12x$9.99 USD/month), as show in this demo.

Create a Donation Form

FormSmarts Payment Integration also supports PayPal Donations and recurring donations.

To create a contribution form:

  • Add a Text Box to your form with the field name formatted as My Donation ($ USD)
  • Set the field’s allowed content to Positive Number

You can add multiple donation boxes to a form to allow contributions towards multiple projects or causes on the same form like on this demo.

Offer a Discount on a PayPal Form

FormSmarts allows you to offer discounts on your online payments forms.

We support three types of discounts:

  • Discount for a fixed amount (flat discount)
  • Discount percentage
  • Discount codes, which may be either for a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of the total amount due

Payment in Other Currencies

We demonstrate PayPal forms on this page with amounts in US dollars (USD) with a the dollar symbol ($), but FormSmarts also supports other currencies.

To specify another currency, change the three-letter currency code and currency symbol in the item’s description.

For example, use GA Ticket (€60 EUR) to get a paid in Euros, VIP Ticket (£60 GBP) for a payment in British Pounds, and Registration Fee ($60 CAD) to collect a fee in Canadian dollars.

The text of the button inviting the user to proceed to payment is displayed in their preferred language, in any of the supported languages.

How Payment Integration Works

Payment Flow

Payment Button on a PayPal Form

  1. A customer fills out the registration form for your event and picks the registration package and extras she wants
  2. After reviewing her submission and confirming, she taps the Proceed to Payment button
  3. FormSmarts directs her to a PayPal checkout page where she can choose to sign in to her PayPal account or enter her credit card detail
  4. PayPal confirms the payment is successful and, if you’ve set a form Return URL on FormSmarts, provides a button for the user to navigate to a thank you page on your site
  5. PayPal sends an automated message to FormSmarts notifying us of a new payment
  6. FormSmarts verifies that the amount paid is correct and confirms the registration
  7. We send email notifications to the destination emails of the form
  8. We also send a payment confirmation to the registrant, which she can use as an e-ticket
  9. You can now access the registration online and see it in Excel reports.

How We Identify the PayPal Account Receiving Funds

FormSmarts directs payments to the PayPal account under the email address you use to sign in to FormSmarts.

To ensure money is sent to the correct PayPal account, your primary PayPal email address must match your FormSmarts login. You can easily change your login if needed.

To avoid users having to enter the same information twice if paying by credit card (on the form and on the payment screen), FormSmarts tries to identify the person’s first name, last name, email, postal address, and country provided on the form, and if available pass them to PayPal.

  • Make sure you call the First Name and Last Name fields exactly like this.
  • To allow FormSmarts to recognize an address and populate the billing address on PayPal, mame the relevant fields like on this form or this one.

Redirect Users to Your Site After Payment

If you want to redirect users to a Thank You page on your website after they have completed payment on PayPal, visit the Form Details screen of the form builder and set the Return URL of the form to your site’s URL.

51 Responses to “How to Make a PayPal Form”

You need a FormSmarts Pro account to use Paypal Integration. Just wanted to make this clear, because although the post is tagged “pro”, it’s not explicitly written anywhere.

Posted by: Paul | May 13th, 2009 12:53 pm

A user emailed us asking whether she would need to disclose her Paypal details to FormSmarts in order to use Paypal integration. We want to make it very clear that you do NOT need to disclose your Paypal password in order to use Paypal integration. We will NEVER ask you to reveal your Paypal password. The only information FormSmarts needs to know is your Paypal login (email address).

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Jun 9th, 2009 9:50 am

Well, it’s nice to know I need “pro” to integrate Paypal after trying to make it work four times ;-) That’s the main reason I came. But I’m doing a public service site and already taking a loss so it would be nice to try this out and make sure it works the way I need it to before I spring for fifty bucks.

Posted by: Jim Mooney | Aug 14th, 2009 4:42 pm

I’m sorry if we didn’t make it clear that this was a Pro feature. I’ve switched your account to Pro-test mode so you are able to test Paypal integration with your form.

If you have any questions, feel free to use the live Ask FormSmarts box.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Aug 20th, 2009 5:23 pm

The forms are very good and paypal works really well!

Any idea when you will be able to add Google checkout support?

Posted by: GV | Sep 28th, 2009 2:23 pm

We haven’t got a release date yet, but next version of FormSmarts Payment Integration will include Google Checkout. Subscribe to our Twitter/Facebook feed for updates.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Sep 28th, 2009 2:29 pm

I want to use Paypal integration for prospective members to 1) tell us about themselves and 2) donate the annual membership fee. The problem is that the site visitor would not be choosing from multiple choices, so a pulldown list or a radio box will not work for this (Formsmarts is enforcing a rule that a radio box must have at least two options).

Right now, I have faked that by having a radio box with two choices: one year membership donation or two. The problem is that the PTSA does not want to ask for two year’s worth of donation.

We need the equivalent of Paypal’s “Donate” button (with fixed dollar amount).

Posted by: Patrick Bolger | Jan 17th, 2010 11:56 am

Simply contact FormSmarts Support asking that we manually remove the unwanted radio button.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Jan 17th, 2010 12:11 pm

So, this is cool, if i can build a form that not only passes the info on to paypal, but sends me an email with ALL the requested info (even the fields that PayPal does NOT need). Can this be done?

Posted by: Todd | Feb 9th, 2010 12:33 pm

Yes Todd, we pass on to PayPal the information they need to process the payment, such as product details & quantity, customer email and name if available (as you would expect with a shopping cart), while also sending you all the request information. You can get form data both by email and as a downloadable Excel report.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Feb 9th, 2010 12:55 pm

I have a customer that needs a form for accepting event registrations and pay with PayPal. A key piece of this is the pricing varies by the date. So for example:
1st Payment – 8/10/2010 – $950.00
After 8/20/2010 – $1,140.00
2nd Payment – 9/10/2010 – $1,225.00
after – 9/20/2010 -$1,558.00

Can that be done? Also those payment can vary based on options they choose.

This falls into the nothing is ever easy category.


Posted by: Tom | Jun 14th, 2010 6:20 pm

Many of our customers who use FormSmarts to power an event registration form initially sell early-bird registrations at a lower price, then at some date change the registration fee to a regular price. It doesn’t provide much additional customer value for us to automate a process that is only ever going to happen once (twice in your case): just log on to FormSmarts the days when prices need to be changed and update them manually (or ask your customer to do so).
FormSmarts forms are dynamic content, so any change you make in your account will show immediately on your website. There is no need to re-publsh the embed code.

Regarding your second question, you can include as many chargeable items (i.e. priced options) as you need. All selected options will be added up on the payment page on Paypal.

If registrants have to pay twice, I would recommend creating another form for the second payment.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Jun 14th, 2010 10:56 pm

Wow! I am very impressed with your quick reply.

Thanks for the info.

Posted by: Tom | Jun 15th, 2010 11:05 am

We would like to add to our membership form an ability for the user to specify additional, discretionary donations he or she might like to make to specific programs (in addition to the fixed, annual membership donation). For example:

Culture Connection Donation: _____
School Level Donation: _____

Then, have all donations (fixed and discretionary, if any) passed on to Paypal. The key here is that the *user* enters the dollar amount for the discretionary donations. Is there any way to do this?

Posted by: Patrick Bolger | Aug 30th, 2010 6:46 am

Do I need to have a PayPal account set up before setting this up?

Posted by: Heather | Aug 30th, 2010 5:11 pm

You don’t need to have a PayPal account before setting this up, but you will eventually need to create one to receive payments. See “Get a FormSmarts Pro Account Free!” above to find out the advantage of creating this account via this link.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Aug 30th, 2010 7:33 pm

In order to integrate PayPal with a form, I need to use the PayPal account’s email address as my FormSmarts Login.
Is there any way to create another form with a different PayPal account while the first form is still active?

Posted by: David | Nov 18th, 2010 2:21 pm

For security reasons, you can only link a FormSmarts account to one PayPal account. This is simply because money is involved and whoever controls the FormSmarts account can change every form in it.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Nov 18th, 2010 3:30 pm

I also have a customer that needs forms for event registration, and as I have read in the posts it is possible to make and integrate with PayPal, I am willing to use your platform, but my main concern is if as a Web Developer with different customers, will I be able to different forms integrated with different paypal accounts with the same FormSmarts Pro account?
Or will I have to open a different account for every customer?

Posted by: Dustin Suarez | Dec 29th, 2010 4:17 pm

For security reasons, you can only link a FormSmarts account to one PayPal account. This is simply because money is involved and whoever controls the FormSmarts account can change every form in it.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Dec 29th, 2010 4:28 pm

I tried to open a PRO account for a customer yesterday which for some reason I couldn’t so I guessed signing up for the FREE account first and the upgrading would be the solution?
The problem is that my customer isn’t getting the Confirmation email so we can sign in to the account and do the upgrade… We have double checked all of your recommendations and still not getting confirmation email.
I don’t want to put the email address of the account here… But the extension is (not very common, so I think it would be easy for you guys to find in your records. My customer’s name is Manny.
Please Help finding what could possibly be wrong…
Thanks in advance

Posted by: Dustin Suarez | Dec 31st, 2010 12:53 pm

I see your reply to Dustin above. My issue is that I create websites for a number of local charities and community organisations, each of whom has their own PayPal account. From what I am reading here, all of their various payments HAVE to come to my PayPal account as I have the FormSmarts account. Is that correct? If so, any plans to change this please? Otherwise I have to pay for multiple copies of FormSmarts under different login IDs.

Posted by: Gordon Stuart | May 29th, 2011 4:54 am

Because money is involved and for security reasons, you may only receive payments to the PayPal account matching your FormSmarts account’s login email address. Each organization you’re creating PayPal forms for should have their own FormSmarts account, in the same way they need to have their own PayPal account.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | May 29th, 2011 5:34 am

I set up a “membership” page for a local charity.. but I have noticed that PayPal is adding a £4.99pp Post and Packing fee that is not mentioned anywhere on my Form. Can you advise where PayPal is picking this up from?

Posted by: Gordon Stuart | Jul 11th, 2011 2:42 pm

You must have set a P&P rule in your PayPal account. The rule will then be applied to all payments you receive via PayPal.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Jul 11th, 2011 5:36 pm

Hello.. AGAIN..!
Re. the previous post, you were right, the charity I have created the website for also have an online shop where they have applied PayPal P&P rules. It seems that for their “add to cart” buttons there is some HTML code that can be applied to over-ride these rules.. but my FormSmarts form does not use such buttons. Is there a way that your generated forms can over-ride a PayPal profile setting for VAT and P&P..?
Thank you for your help.

Posted by: Gordon Stuart | Aug 4th, 2011 12:54 pm

No, I’m afraid you can’t override VAT or P&P preferences at this time.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Aug 12th, 2011 4:11 pm


I inserted a donate button on my website and i have a basic paypal account, not business or premium, will it still work?

Posted by: The Art Expo | Apr 25th, 2012 8:04 am

Yes, however people will only be able to donate using an existing PayPal account, they won’t be able to use their credit or debit card. That’s obviously a serious limitation.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Apr 25th, 2012 10:04 am

I am creating a registration form for a fun run and would like to offer a discount if a participant belongs to a certain club.
If they check the box, their total would be reduced by a fixed amount.
How do I go about implementing this?

Posted by: Nancy | May 9th, 2012 2:24 am

The syntax for discounts on FormSmarts is a negative price, i.e. “Club Member Discount (-$10 USD)”, like the ‘Early bird discount’ on this registration form demo.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | May 9th, 2012 2:35 am

What is the dollar limit? Is there special characterization for entering amounts greater than $999?

Posted by: Matt | Jun 23rd, 2012 4:35 pm

Matt, amounts are not limited to $999. What type of payment (general payment, donation, subscription form) are you talking about? Please let me know the URL of your form (e.g. so I can help you further.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Jun 24th, 2012 2:29 am

Input field (drop-down list):

Please select sponsorship level
Entrepreneurs ($10,000.00 USD)
Architects ($5,000.00 USD)
Developers ($2,500.00 USD)
Builders ($1,000.00 USD)
Brick & Mortar ($75.00 USD)

Posted by: Matt | Jun 24th, 2012 8:51 am

Got it… I changed “Brick & Mortar” to “Brick and Mortar” and it works!!

Posted by: Matt | Jun 24th, 2012 9:11 pm

Matt, you will also need to remove the comma separating the thousands. Note that for any amount greater than $1000, you should really use advanced paypal integration (included with all Business accounts). The 10k option won’t work with standard integration. Also, because PayPal won’t allow you to mix up donations and regular payments, you should create a separate donation form and add a link to it on your form This will allow someone to purchase a $1000 Builder sponsorship and also donate $500.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Jun 25th, 2012 7:37 am

Is it possible to offer % discounts? I’d like to offer 10% discount to seniors. How can I enter that discount option?

Posted by: Mandi | Aug 13th, 2012 6:58 pm

Mandi, FormSmarts only supports fixed discounts at this time. The syntax is , see this registration form demo. The syntax is My Discount (-$10 USD).

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Aug 13th, 2012 7:09 pm

Hey – If I buy the “PRO” account – can I create a “make this a reoccurring donation” an option on my donations form that is integrated with my PAYPAL account?

Posted by: deanna washington | Aug 28th, 2012 10:41 pm

Hi, I am desperately trying to find a form builder that will allow me to limit the amount of payments made. Can yours do this?

Posted by: J | Aug 29th, 2012 8:26 pm

Hi Deanna, please see our response to your message on our Facebook page.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Aug 30th, 2012 4:04 am

Hi Jacy, do you mean limit the amount of payments made for each transaction? or the the amount of payments received during the lifetime of the form?

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Aug 30th, 2012 4:10 am

Please select sponsorship level
Entrepreneurs ($10,000.00 USD)
Architects ($5,000.00 USD)
Developers ($2,500.00 USD)
Builders ($1,000.00 USD)
Brick and Mortar – Single Ticket ($75.00 USD)

anything above the “Brick and Mortar” level does not forward the form to paypal, is there a limit??

Posted by: Matt | Sep 6th, 2012 5:21 pm

Hi, is it possible to create a form with PayPal payment where the user has the choice between paying a one time fixed amount or spreading that payment over a year?

Posted by: Cal Vornberger | Sep 26th, 2013 8:45 am

Hi Cal, yes, it is possible to have to payment options, one fix amount as discussed on this page and a payment in installments over a year.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Sep 26th, 2013 11:47 am

Hi – I am working on forms for a goat registry. Members have to fill out a separate form for each goat. I have the paypal info working for a single form. But, if they want to register more than one goat – they end up having to pay for each form each time. What is your suggestion for a member to fill out more than one form and pay for all at the same time?

Posted by: Nicki | May 13th, 2015 10:05 pm

Nicki, SuperCart allows a member to submit several forms and pay for all registrations at the same time.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | May 13th, 2015 10:51 pm

Can the member have a choice to register by credit card or payment on site the day of the event?

Posted by: Carl Pinto | Jan 23rd, 2017 10:39 am

Carl, there are two ways to allow members to register for an event and either pay online or ‎on-site.

First you can design the form so that registration fees and any other priced options are ‎not mandatory by providing for each one an alternative on-site payment option. If there are no fee to be charged online on a form, FormSmarts will send it to you straight away. Note however that the registrant won’t get a confirmation email.

Second, you can provide a separate form for members who want to pay on-site. Once you’ve created the first registration form‎, make a copy of it and set it to “Show summary page with email & PDF receipt”. This will allow members to register online, then print the confirmation page or get a PDF receipt or confirmation email and bring it along on the day. All receipts have a QR code you can scan on the day to access the registration online and, for example record that the person has paid.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Jan 23rd, 2017 9:23 pm

Hi does this only take PayPal – what about stripe which is substantially cheaper in fees?

Posted by: liz | Sep 10th, 2021 3:45 am

Liz, we currently only support PayPal, but Stripe has grown significantly since we last reviewed whether support it (at the time Stripe wasn’t even available in Canada). A new review is due before the end of the year and we are likely to decide to offer Stripe as a alternative to PayPal.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Sep 10th, 2021 11:32 am

Leave a Reply

About the Form Builder Blog

The Online Form Builder Blog is published by FormSmarts, a web form service providing all you need to create a form and publish it online in minutes. FormSmarts makes it easy to build a form and embed it on your site. You can then get form submissions by email or store them on FormSmarts and download an Excel report. Learn more about the many other benefits of FormSmarts.