PayPal "Important notice regarding subscriptions."?

Did anyone else get this email about needing to recode your PayPal subscription buttons by April 24? Did anyone deal with it?

From what I understand, the challenge I see with complying with this notice is that the PayPal button generator code must be merged with the s2Member button generator code so that you have any new variables and settings along with what s2member is adding.

(I have my own customizations in my button code such as default amounts and text and formatting, etc.)

Thanks for any insights or comments. See the full text of the email below.

BTW, I already seemed to have lost the ability for my users to modify their subscriptions months ago. They used to be able to double their amount if desired but then lately they are told they are limited to only a 20% change, which is kind of useless, so if all this email means is no one can modify subscriptions at all till I modify my code, then it’s not so critical yet.


We are always looking to evolve our customer experiences in order to provide the best products and solutions. To ensure that customers are receiving the latest capabilities, we continue to optimise our platform to provide the best experience to our consumers and merchants.

To align with these goals and deliver on those capabilities, we’ll be making a change to a product we’ve identified that you may be using with your PayPal Payments Standard integration, subscriptions. This change means your integration will no longer provide the ability to modify an existing subscription. Please find an FAQs section below for any questions you may have.

We appreciate your understanding with this upcoming change. If you have any additional questions, please Contact us.

PayPal Merchant Services


Q: When can I expect this change?
A: This change will take place on 24 April.

Q: What changes do I need to make to my integration?
A: If your button enables subscribers to sign up for new subscriptions, modify their current subscriptions or modify only their current subscriptions, you will need to update your button.

Q: How do I update my button?
A: You can find steps to creating a new subscription button in our Create a Subscribe button documentation.

Q: Can I try this change first?
A: Yes, you can follow the instructions in our Test your Payment Buttons documentation to ensure your updated button will work as expected.

Q: Is payment for the new subscription taken immediately?
A: It depends on your subscription schedule or set up fee.

Q: How is payment for the new subscription calculated? Is it a pro-rata’d payment or the full cost of the new subscription?
A: It’s the full cost


Hi Tim,

Thanks for the heads up! I have not gotten this email from PayPal. I’m adding this to my to-do to look into as soon as I can.


That is for the Paypal’s own buttons. Not applicable to s2M, as the plugin uses the Paypal’s API, not buttons.


Thank you so much Krumch… Very relieved.

I think that email was generated for me because I have a donation page that has subscriptions and I generated that from PayPal. So that needs attention probably.

Alles klar!

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This HAS affected our site - I used to have modify = “1” and the button doesn’t work - it throws an error when you end up on PayPal’s site. Changing that to modify = “0” and the button works fine. So it does definitely need looking at.


Thank you for reporting it, Tim!

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Thank you for giving details. I also had modify=1 and I’ll try the same change of making it modify=0. Please post any further insights or observations that may save me work/trouble!

UPDATE: After a failed test (and post after this I deleted) from not clearing the cache of that page properly, I confirmed that it failed before with modify=1 with the same error you reported “something wrong, try again later” and with modify=0 it works beautifully again.

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Hi madeglobal, thanks so much! Your solution worked for me. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the modification button. PayPal’s error message was: “Things don’t appear to be working at the moment. Please try again later.” The other membership buttons were working fine. I hope s2Member will provide an update soon.

Some of my users seem to have problems too. I’m not using modify at all - should I add modify=0 ?
Strangely on mobile browsers it seems to be working without problem - but on desktop not for the affected users.

Modify values 1 and 2 have been deprecated, only 0 is valid, basically removing the ability to modify a subscription through buttons. I’ve been searching for another way to make it possible, but they haven’t provided an alternative.

your integration will no longer provide the ability to modify an existing subscription

The modify values 1 and 2 are deprecated. If your customer clicks an existing modify subscription button that uses a modify value of 1 or 2, PayPal returns the following message: Things don’t appear to be working at the moment. Please try again later. Update your code to use modify=0, the only valid value, which allows your customers to sign up for new subscriptions only.

So I’ll be removing this from the PayPal Standard buttons integration in the next release.

Doesn’t this render s2member rather useless in general? How can an existing free subscriber (who already has a buddypress profile created and maintained) be offered the option to upgrade to a paid subscription without having to create a new login and lose their existing account?

Obviously I have been using the modify subscription buttons for this previously, but without this functionality the whole plugin becomes rather useless from a buddypress membership perspective. Do I need to migrate (ugh!) to another membership plugin? Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

Hi Justin.

No, the user doesn’t need to create a new account on your site. What this means is that the button doesn’t modify the subscription, so it can’t change an existing subscription’s plan, instead he’ll have to cancel the existing plan and subscribe to the new one as separate steps. If logged in to his existing WP account, then his account will be updated.

Does that answer your question? :slight_smile:

Hello Cristian,

Thank you for the reply!

So the regular Level Access paypal button generators can now handle creating subscriptions for existing user accounts (granted that they are logged in)? If so that’s great news!

(In the past it could not do this… in my test it would say that the email address already existed, even if the user was logged in… the only way it ever worked for me in the past was to have the user be logged in AND use the Modify subscription button instead, which has been removed from the plugin so I can’t create them anymore.)

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Hmmm… It’s odd that you couldn’t before…

Well, give it a try, and let me know how it goes for you, please. Since PayPal changed things around, it’d be good to confirm with a quick test on your setup.

Please create a shortcode with the amount changed to 1 cent, and give it a try, please. Not with your admin account, though, another WP account for your tests.

Enable logging before the tests, so we get more details in case we need them. WP admin > s2Member > Log Files

I look forward to your update. :slight_smile:

Modify was supposed so you can change a subscription - instead of cancelling/new subscription. S2member never supported that. It’s no problem for logged in users to subscribe newly. Modify is about an existing paypal subscription.

PayPal’s regular subscription buttons generated by your plugin work normally here also for modifications, I get modification notifications normally (regular PayPal since I don’t use PayPal Pro).

It even works if the user already has a subscription (PayPal basic or Stripe Pro), but then I can always easily refund the user if they make such a rare mistake :grin: