Posts Tagged ‘payment integration’

How to Make a Membership Form

Did you know you can offer paid memberships through a simple online form?

If you thought offering online memberships was challenging because it involved a recurring payment each year (or month), you’d be wrong. Making a membership or subscription form with FormSmarts is (almost) as easy as making a one-time payment form.

Creating a Recurring Membership Form with FormSmarts

Recurring membership form

What Is a Recurring Membership?

Before discussing how to make a membership form, let’s first define what a membership is: A member of an organization or membership site may take part in the activities or otherwise claim the benefits exclusively offered by the organization or site to its members during the period of time covered by the membership (one year or month or any other period of time) by paying a membership fee. To remain an active member after the initial period of time, a member needs to pay again. Because most members want renew their membership, membership fees tend to be recurring payments.

When someone signs up for a recurring payment, also called subscription, they agree to be charged a fee at the time they subscribe and again after each period of time specified — until they cancel their membership.

How Can I Make a Recurring Membership Form?

The short answer is: simply by writing “Recurring Membership ($100 USD/year)” on a form. FormSmarts will understand that the person filling out the form should be charged US$100 each year for a membership called “Recurring Membership”.

Like with other types of payment forms, you may add a recurring fee to a form in a radio button option, check box, drop-down list option or text block.

FormSmarts supports the following recurring periods and (optional) number of installments:

Recurring Period

  • Recurring Monthly Subscription ($15 USD/month)
  • Recurring 6-Month Membership ($60 USD/6 months)
  • Recurring Yearly Membership ($100 USD/year)
  • options: day(s), week(s), month(s), year(s)

Recurring Times/Number of Installments

  • Quarterly Subscription (4 x $20 USD/3 months)
  • Optional, if Recurring Times is not specified, the recurring payment runs until it is canceled
  • Think of Recurring Times (4 in this case) as a number of installments

Multiple Recurring Fees

You may allow users to select more than one recurring fee on a form like on the membership form shown on the screenshot above (feel free to try the demo), but all fees must then have the same Recurring Period and Recurring Times.

When someone selects multiple fees, FormSmarts will charge them each time for the total amount.

If a form has multiple recurring fees, all of them must have the same Recurring Period and Recurring Times.

Offering a Trial Period

Many membership sites offer new members a trial period allowing them to access the site at a low or no cost before having to pay the full membership fee. A fee with terms (i.e. Recurring Period and Recurring Times) different from the first recurring fee listed on a form is interpreted by FormSmarts as a trial period. Our membership form demo has a trial period.

Integration with Other FormSmarts Features

A Form Entry with Associated Payments

  • If cloud storage is enabled, the details of a membership and all associated payments are listed on FormSmarts on the page corresponding to the initial form entry. A link is provided in every email notification.
  • FormSmarts sends a confirmation email to the subscriber after each successful payment
  • FormSmarts notifies the account owner when a recurring payment is received

How to Create a Recurring Donation Form

Recurring donation form

FormSmarts has long supported one-time donations as part of a dedicated donation form, together with other fees on a registration form, or even on a form using our SuperCart shopping cart.

We are pleased to announce that FormSmarts now also supports recurring donations. A recurring donation allows a contributor to sign up for a donation plan to give the same amount at regular intervals, typically every month or year.

Creating a Recurring Donation Form

  • Add a text box with the field name formatted as My Donation ($ USD/month)
  • Set the field’s Allowed Content (aka. data type) to Number
  • In the Form Details screen of the form builder, set the On Submission option to Integrate with PayPal using advanced integration.

FormSmarts supports the following variations:

Recurring Period

  • Cause Description ($ USD/month)
  • Cause Description ($ USD/2 weeks)
  • options: day(s), week(s), month(s), year(s)

Recurring Times

  • Cause Description (12 x $ USD/month)
  • Think of Recurring Times (12 in this case) as a number of installments
  • If Recurring Times is not specified, the recurring donation runs until it is canceled

Contribution to Multiple Causes

As illustrated on the screenshot above and in this demo, you may add multiple donation boxes to a form to give contributors the opportunity to choose the causes they wish to donate to and allow them to contribute to several causes in a single donation. In the example above, the donor is signing up to give a total of $300 each month; with $200 to support Project A and $100 going towards Projects B.

When several donation boxes are added to a form, all of them must have the same Recurring Period and Recurring Times.

Offering Discounts with PayPal Integration & Discount Codes

FormSmarts allows you to offer three types of discounts to your customers on your PayPal forms: discounts for a fixed amount, percentage discounts and discount codes.

Fixed Amount Discount

  • Syntax: My Discount (-$5 USD)
  • Example form with a fixed amount discount
  • You may offer more than one discount, but not more than there are paid items selected.

Percentage Discount

  • Syntax: Discount Percentage (-25%)
  • Example form featuring a discount rate
  • You may only add one discount rate to a form
  • Percentage discounts are not supported on SuperCart forms
  • If you’re offering a fixed discount on the same form, both may not be selected at the same time

Discount Codes

Last but not least, FormSmarts supports discount codes. With discount codes, the buyer only get the discount if they enter a valid coupon code on the form.

Buyer enters the discount code to get the discount on PayPal checkout page

  • A discount code offers either a percentage discount or fixed amount discount
  • Try this example with the discount code FSCP-DEMO1
  • You may set up a discount code with a validity period by providing a start and end date (not supported with Starter accounts)

Early Bird Discounts

To offer an early bird discount on a registration form, create a discount code with a start and end date. The discount will only be applied if the form is submitted between those dates.

How to Offer Discount Codes on a Form

To create a discount code and associate it with a form:

  • Add a text box to the form selecting the data type Letters + Numbers
  • Create the discount code on FormSmarts with the API Console as documented and shown in this video.
  • Promo codes must start with FSCP- and may only contain alphanumeric characters and dash.

How to Have Users Pay Once for Multiple Registrations or Orders

A little known feature of FormSmarts’ Advanced PayPal Integration is SuperCart. This feature allows a user to submit multiple online forms that include a payment and pay once for the total amount at the end, thereby providing the buyer with a better ‘shopping’ experience and reducing the seller’s PayPal fees. Let’s review two typical uses of SuperCart.

Note: This article discusses an early version of SuperCart. Although it content has been updated and is still relevant, please also read our introduction to the SuperCart Shopping Cart.

Online Registration Form Allowing Several Registrants

Use Case 1: Event Registration Form

The first typical use for SuperCart is to create an online form to register attendees for an event. For illustration purposes, I’ve made a registration form for a conference. We want each attendee to be able to choose a different registration package, pick the seminars they would like to attend and optionally add an accommodation package. With SuperCart, a user can register multiple delegates by submitting the registration form for each one, then pay for all of them at once. In the illustration above, we submit the form once to register Pat selecting the standard registration option, then again for Jim, opting this time for a premium registration and adding accommodation. We then proceed to PayPal to pay for both registrations. This short video shows how this works in practice.

Use Case 2: Order Form

Another common use of this feature is to create an order form allowing a buyer to purchase several products or services while being able to customize options for each one. I’ve built an order form demo to allow customers to configure and order goods (greetings cards in this example). Each product can be customized based on the options selected on the order form. With SuperCart, the buyer will be able to order as many products as they like by submitting an order form for each one, then pay for all of them at once.

How to Create a SuperCart Form

While understanding the concepts behind SuperCart may not appear straightforward, building a SuperCart form is easy:

  1. Set the Return URL of the form to the URL of the page the form is embedded into. If you’re using the standalone form, enter the FormSmarts.com URL given by the form builder instead.
  2. In the Form Details screen, set the On Submission option to Integrate with PayPal using SuperCart.

If you haven’t already done so, remember to set up your PayPal account for Advanced PayPal Integration.

When You Should and Shouldn’t Use SuperCart

Set up your PayPal forms with SuperCart whenever you would like to allow a buyer to pay once for multiple form submissions and providing a single form would affect the form’s usability because each registration/order has too many options or you expect someone will submit more two or three registrations/orders. If it’s unlikely buyers will submit more than one form you should use a regular payment with Advanced PayPal Integration instead.

How to Integrate with FormSmarts API

The Event Notification API allows you to have FormSmarts send a machine processable ‘push’ notification message to a script on your website (or for that matter to any URL) to process the information that has just been submitted through one of your online forms. You can use the Event API (a.k.a. Web Hooks) to integrate FormSmarts with your database, website or any online service or application.

How to Integrate

Whereas this feature is mainly targeted at developers, creating a script that does something useful with the data received from FormSmarts is actually not difficult. The API is fully documented with examples in PHP.

  • You first need to create a program/script to process form data and upload it to your web server. Data is sent in JSON format, which is supported natively by all modern programming languages.
  • Then register the script’s URL with FromSmarts
  • Whenever a form is submitted, FormSmarts will send the data submitted through the form as well as other data pertaining to the form response (e.g. payment information if the form involves a payment) to the URL you have registered.

Have a Great Idea?

If you have a great idea about how you could use FormSmarts API, let us know: we have several Business Starter subscriptions to give away.

PayPal Integration in Two Steps

FormSmarts PayPal integration is as easy to use as our popular PayPal form feature, but it provides several additional benefits, mainly:

  • FormSmarts only notifies you of a new registration (or more generally, payment form submission) after the payment is confirmed and verified (no need for manual verification)
  • Your customer receives an automated email receipt with a copy of the data submitted and a payment confirmation. For registration forms, this can work as an e-ticket.
  • PayPal Integration works seamlessly with other FormSmarts features (export to Excel, PDF reports, API).

What Are the Benefits of PayPal Integration?

FormSmarts’ old PayPal integration was easy to use and set up as it required no change to your PayPal account. A downside to this was that FormSmarts had no way to know if the payment went through or not, and you — the seller — had to manually reconcile payments and the corresponding form responses using the FormSmarts Reference Number. That was usually not an issue for small sales volumes, but could quickly become so as sales increased. We’ve now fully automated payment processing and integrated it with the form processing platform. Here are the benefits:

  • No need to manually reconcile form responses with payment notifications from PayPal
  • The seller is only notified of a registration/order when the payment has gone through
  • The transaction won’t appear in Excel exports until the buyer has paid
  • FormSmarts verifies that the payment details match data submitted on the form (e.g. amounts, quantities)
  • Excel exports combine data submitted through the form and details of the corresponding payments.
  • FormSmarts sends a confirmation email to the buyer with both the order details and a payment confirmation. If you have verified your website and uploaded a logo, your site URL and logo will appear in the email.
  • Payment processing is fully automated and if you’re using online/PDF reporting or export to Excel, your registration forms are on autopilot.
  • You can further automate processing or integrate FormSmarts with your website or another web service using the FormSmarts API.

Setting Up PayPal Integration

This video shows how to configure your form and set up your PayPal account for PayPal Integration. Note: the video no longer reflects the current version of the PayPal site, please use the direct link to the IPN Settings screen below.

Add Fees to the Form & Set It Up to Integrate with PayPal

To set up PayPal integration, first create a payment form with prices formatted as shown in the PayPal integration page of the site. Then visit the Forms tab of the form builder and select Integrate with PayPal in the Submit Actions tab of the Form Details screen, as illustrated below.

Select Advanced PayPal Integration in the Form Builder

Add Your FormSmarts Notification URL to PayPal

It’s now time to log in to your PayPal account to add your Notification URL. PayPal will use this URL to communicate with FormSmarts. You’ll find your notification URL in the Security Settings section of your FormSmarts account. The URL contains your private security key, so don’t share it with anyone.

Use this link to access the Instant Payment Notification (IPN) page of your PayPal account, then tap Edit Settings and paste your Notification URL in the box as shown on the screenshot below. Make sure Receive IPN messages is enabled before saving.

Turn On PayPal IPN Notification

You can alternatively navigate to the IPN Settings screen from the homepage of your PayPal account.

Payment integration will not work until you have added your FormSmarts Notification URL to your PayPal account.

Did You Link Multiple Emails to PayPal?

If you’ve associated more than one email address to your PayPal account, the email you’ve selected as your Primary PayPal email must be the same as your FormSmarts login email.

You can either change your FormSmarts login or update your Primary PayPal email so both email addresses are the same.

FormSmarts will reject payments associated with an email address other than your FormSmarts login email for security reasons.

If PayPal shows an error on the checkout page when testing your first form, you may need to update your PayPal account settings.

How to Build a PayPal Subscription Form

Many websites allow visitors to access online content and services for a monthly subscription fee. Creating a subscription form is somewhat different from creating a regular payment form, because it involves setting up a recurring payment, so that the buyer is automatically billed a fixed amount of money at a fixed interval until the subscription is canceled. The online form builder’s payment integration feature now supports PayPal Subscriptions.

PayPal Subscription Form

Creating a Subscription Form

Creating a subscription form is quick and easy:

  1. If you haven’t got a FormSmarts account yet, sign up for a FormSmarts Business account, then create a form with the form generator
  2. In the Form Details screen of the form generator, set the On Submission option to Integrate with PayPal
  3. Add radio buttons, a drop-down list or a checkbox, and enter the description, price and duration of subscription options formatted as My Subscription ($19.99 USD/month), as shown on the screenshot above and in this demo.

Duration of a Subscription

The time before another payment is due can be specified in days, weeks, months, or years. The form builder understands the following formatting variations:

  • Monthly Subscription ($9.99 USD/Month)
  • 30-Day Subscription ($9.99 USD/30 days)

Trial Subscription

Like in the example presented in the first section, you may specify a trial period for the subscription. This is typically used to give a free trial subscription to the buyer before he is charged for the first billing cycle. The buyer will not have to pay anything if he cancels the subscription before the end of the trial period.

  • The trial period doesn’t need to be free
  • You may specify up to two trial periods
  • Any trial periods must be placed on the form after the main subscription specification.

Payment in Installments

A payment in installments is a recurring payment where the number of payments is fixed.

FormSmarts supports installments with the following syntax:

  • Payment in 12 Installments (12x$9.99 USD/month)
  • Try this demo

Any Feedback?

As always, your feedback is important to us and is our primary source of inspiration for developing new features. You can also post your questions and comments on Facebook and Twitter (@FormSmarts).

Changes in Form Builder Payment Integration

The recent upgrade introduces some changes in FormSmarts Payment Integration (PayPal Form) feature.

  • Chargeable items may now be placed in check boxes. This should prove valuable in situations where you’re building a form with one or several optional, individually priced items.
  • Payment button instead of link. We’ve replaced the payment link on the confirmation page by a more outstanding button.
  • Form ID now shown in PayPal report. Up to now, when you needed to reconcile a payment with the corresponding form submission, you could only rely on the FormSmarts Reference Number. This is the unique ID shown in the subject of emails containing form data and in Form to Excel reports. The same ID appears in the payment details in your Paypal account, and also in the CSV report you can generate. We’ve now added the Form ID (see screenshot) to the information available on PayPal, so you may quickly identify which form each payment is for.

PayPal form payment details

We warmly welcome your feedback.

How to Build 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 include a PayPal payment in 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:

Tip: 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.

Do you need help making a PayPal form?
Ask a PayPal Integration Specialist Now

Collecting a Payment on a Form

To request a payment on a form:

  1. Sign up for a FormSmarts Business account and create a form with the form builder
  2. In the Form Details screen, set the On Submission option to Integrate with PayPal
  3. Add radio buttons, a drop-down list or a checkbox, and enter the description and price of products formatted as My Product Description ($30 USD), as shown on the screenshot below.

Web Form Then PayPal: Booking Form, Registration Form,...

That’s all you need to do. We’ll pick up the products and quantities that were selected, and we’ll redirect the user to a pre-filled page on Paypal for payment. Payments will be sent to the PayPal account matching your FormSmarts login. You can change your login if needed.

Billing Multiple Items on a Form

You can as easily charge for several items within a single form submission by adding other drop-down lists or radio buttons formatted as just described.

Adding a Product Quantity Box

Paypal Forms

If you’re building an order form, you will need to allow the user to enter the quantity or number of products they want to buy.

This can be done as follows:

  1. Position the quantity field immediately after the one listing products for sale
  2. Set the field type to Positive Integer.

You can also allow the buyer to select a quantity in a predefined list using radio buttons or a pull-down list, like on this demo.

Creating a Subscription Form with Recurring Payments

A membership or subscription involves a recurring payment at each billing cycle until the subscription is canceled. This article discusses how to create a subscription form. Recurring payments can also be used to allow the buyer to pay in installments. A payment by installments is a recurring payment where the number of payments is fixed. The syntax is Payment in 12 Installments (12x$9.99 USD/month). See this sample form.

Building a Donation Form

FormSmarts Payment Integration also supports PayPal Donations. To create a contribution form:

  • In the Form Details screen of the form builder, set the On Submission option to Integrate with PayPal
  • Add a field to your form with the field name formatted as My Donation ($ USD)
  • Set the field’s data type to Positive Number
  • Set the field’s widget to Text Box.

You may add multiple donation boxes to a form to allow contributions towards multiple projects or causes in a single donation like on this demo.

Offering a Discount

FormSmarts allows you to offer three types of discounts on your online payments forms: fixed amount discounts, discount percentage and discount codes. The two latter discount schemes only work with advanced integration.

Handling International Payments

To request a payment in a currency other than US dollars, simply change the currency code in the item’s description. For example, use (€60 EUR) to receive a payment in Euros, (£60 GBP) for a payment in Sterlings, and ($60 CAD) to request a payment in Canadian dollars. Note that the 3-letter currency code is required because a currency symbol may be used by more than one currency. For example, USD, CAD, and AUD will all use the dollar sign ($).

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

How Payment Integration Works

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. You may receive payments to multiple PayPal accounts with a compatible FormSmarts account.

To avoid users having to enter the same information twice if paying by credit card (on the form and on the payment screen), we will attempt to pass their first name, last name, email, postal address, and country to PayPal.

  • Make sure you name the First Name and Last Name fields exactly like this.
  • To allow FormSmarts to recognize an address and populate the billing address on PayPal (Advanced Integration only), name the relevant fields like on this form or this one.

Redirecting Users to Your Site After Payment

To redirect users to you 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.

We welcome your feedback about payment integration.

How to Redirect Form Respondents to Your Site

The form builder allows you to set up a Return URL for each of your forms and automatically redirect users to that URL after they've submitted a form.

To change the Return URL of a form, use the button showing a pen to edit the form and update its Return URL in the Submit Actions tab.

Redirect Form Users to Your Site

You can set up a form to skip the Confirmation page and instead automatically redirect the user to a Thank You page or download URL on your site.

To activate redirect:

  • Navigate to the Form Details screen of the form builder and set a form return URL in the Submit Actions tab
  • Select Redirect to Return URL in the On Submission drop-down menu

Browsers won’t redirect from a secure HTTPS page (the form) to non-secure content for security reasons. Please make sure the Return URL starts with https://. If your site still doesn't support TLS/HTTPS, FormSmarts won't be able to redirect form respondents.

Note that form users will not get a FormSmarts Reference Number for their form submission if you redirect them to your site unless you also set up the form to send an automatic form confirmation email.

Redirect With Embedded Forms

If you have embedded a form onto your site and set it to redirect to its Return URL, some browsers may load the URL in the iframe that contains the form. Follow these instructions to ensure the Thank You page consistently loads in the top browser window or tab.

Return URL & Site Ownership Verification

Although the redirect option is only available with paid accounts, members with a Free account can still provide a button on the form confirmation page to allow respondents to navigate to a Thank You page or other URL.

To prevent abuse, FormSmarts only provides a link to the Return URL for Free accounts if you have verified your site.

To verify your site, visit the Settings tab of the form builder.

We use the return URLs of your forms to compute the list of websites in Settings > Websites, so make sure those are correct before you attempt to verify.

PayPal Landing Page for Payment Forms

If you use our PayPal form feature to collect dues, fees or donations on your form, the Return URL will be used as the PayPal landing page. Users will be redirected to that page by PayPal after the payment has been completed.

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.