S2Member Setup & Paypal Standard Only allows Credit cardPayment?

We are setting up a client site
on a new s2member Pro with PayPal payments for membership
using Paypal Standard (NOT Pro)

API etc. are all fine. It sends buyers to PayPal, but ONLY gives some ot them the option to Pay with a Credit Card - not with their paypal account

In other words - many PayPal customers trying to buy are NOT given the option to use their PayPal balance?

PayPal just says its S2member fault and say they are not familiar yada yada

On those users who CAN use their PayPal balance, but when we try to process a payment (i.e, press pay it buttons), it fails with the PayPal “sorry” screen - no error codes, just the

# Sorry — your last action could not be completed msg from PayPal

No matter what method of payment. NO accounts are charged or credited.

Never had this problem before, so…?


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One time payments work, subscription require credit card

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Yes! I think this is not s2Member’s fault at all, but PayPal’s. PayPal requires you to have a method to pay recurring subscriptions on file. Credit cards, not sure debit ones or linked bank accounts are allowed for that either, unless the user also has a credit card as a secondary method, the user will be charged on their balance first, though, if they have it available, but PayPal wants a way to collect money from outside its balance if there’s no balance and it’s a great feature so users don’t churn by not keeping enough balance (voluntarily or involuntarily).

S2Member’s Stripe Pro form even has a nice feature that allows you to block people trying to subscribe with payment methods like prepaid cards, so they have to use payment methods that are more reliable. I do it with monthly subscriptions to prevent intentional churning (but allow those methods on quarterly/yearly plans).

If you really want people using their PayPal balance without having a card linked to their profile you need to use single time purchase codes.

PayPal does NOT require us to use credit cards for membership subscriptions.

We have one site with a different membership system (membership pro) and over 700 users NOT using credit cards but using PayPal.

And we have one using the free version of s2 - different PayPal account - with 1200 members and 80% paying via their PayPal account. We average 4 or 5 notices a week where a member of the site did not have funds in there PayPal account.

And I have about 30 PayPal buttons where people use to signup for various subscriptions (via email we sent out) for things like our newsletter!

We did discover the reason payments where going to the weird PayPal “can’t do that” screen was because of missing token from PDT. Credit Card payments now work just fine.

This is the first time trying to setup a new site with the Pro multiple site license. PayPal says s2 is missing a parameter, yet the guy did NOT know which one. Not very helpful. :slight_smile:



For me it clearly is the case. In Austria and Germany PayPal only accepts payment for subscription if the account has an active credit card (though it can be a backup).

And yeah once setup it can expire and be paid differently. But for signing up needs credit card linked to PayPal account

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I am confused. You are saying credit cards are working just fine. But yes, subscriptions using credit cards work. I can be wrong but I believe that even if you use PayPal buttons created by PayPal’s own tool for subscriptions the user needs to have a credit card linked / active on their profile at the time they subscribe. Like @openmtbmap mentioned shortly after you, if the user removes their card shortly after, their subscriptions remain active and they can surely pay with their balance, but as far as I could remember PayPal would not allow people to subscribe without a card on file.

I think I also had that experience as a user elsewhere I had to have a card to subscribe but were unable without one even if having enough balance on my PayPal.

Anyways, after all, did you get it working? Is it possible to accept subscriptions without the user having any card linked to their PayPal account? If so, how? I’d love to be able to enable this feature if you found a way, specially for yearly subscriptions.

May be true for where you are, but we have been using paypal for subscriptions of all kinds including membership sites, clubs, newsletters and more for about 10 years without have credit card requirements. It is our preferred business model. I had a new person subscribe without CCard not 10 minutes ago on the membership Pro site!


This is very interesting. I know all my users use a PayPal account, but all of them have a card linked to their PayPal profile at the time they subscribe.

Please people - I don’t have time to go on here and tell lies. for TEN years we have had people signing up for subscriptions WITHOUT using a credit card, JUST their PayPal balance account. I MYSELF am a member of a dozen subscriptions I pay for and I did not use a credit card for ANY of them. I just used my PayPal account. (WarriorPlus does it all the time)

I am pretty sure PayPal makes MORE money when you use THEM to pay for things rather than a Chase Credit Card.

Even the PayPal rep we have says that they do NOT force people (in the US anyway) to use credit cards for anything.

We are setting up 300 membership sites, and we want to use s2 - it’s great software - but we are not going to use s2 if it means having to force everyone to use credit cards when we KNOW it is possible.

I appreciate all the feedback, but would like to focus on help achieving a result we know for a fact is possible.

Thanks :slight_smile:


@deadparrotsoftware Just out of curiosity, do you have a credit card linked to your PayPal account?

To me it makes no sense to allow someone to pay for a recurring monthly subscription using their PayPal balance, since they would need to manually add funds to their PayPal account each month to cover the payment. Although I guess the funds would be withdrawn automatically from the bank account that’s linked. But still, I can see why a credit card would be the only accepted form of payment for a recurring subscription.

Makes perfect sense if you have a business account. One would assume a business would always have money AND it simplifies using the subscription expense as a tax write off.

And NO we have no credit cards linked to the accounts, on banks. :slight_smile:


I only use one-time payments to sell access to my site since I don’t want (or have the time) to deal with the headaches of people complaining that they forgot to cancel and want a refund. And I personally hate this idea that a business can keep taking my money each month until I specifically tell them to stop. But that’s just me, and I guess my point is that PayPal and s2Member work great for what I need and I have nothing else to add on this topic. :slight_smile:

Thank you so much for updating us!

So the PDT token missing in s2’s PayPal Options page? How odd that the guy wouldn’t be able to tell. I’m glad you spotted it.


Oh no.he knew THAT PDT caused the error screen - what he did NOT know was what parameter s2 was missing that caused it to allow only credit card payments, never paypal balance. But nobodies perfect. :slight_smile:

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Well PayPal US maybe different there vs PayPal Europe or PayPal country XY

It was there - it was just corrupt/incomplete or just wrong one. But the token caused the error screen. Went away when that was fixed.

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The problem with accepting subscribers without a (good) card linked is the fact people will churn more easily. They just stop topping up their PayPal accounts and you get a very high churning rate because of it.

When you get a bit more strict with the accepted methods you might lose a few users but most of those are churners that want access for the first term only instead of supporting your business.

Both choices have advantages and disadvantages, you need to do what you feel is more appropriate for each site.

The entire idea behind a subscription model is that you can offer a much lower price per person because users that leave their accounts active but don’t use the service too much subsidize the others. On top of that, there’s always costs/work involved with giving / removing access, providing support to new users, dealing with cancellations, something that doesn’t occur with “standard recurring users” that set and forget. Even when using your service they do it without costing as much.

The best thing when you require a more “serious” payment method like a real non prepaid card is that you lower your churn rate. I have prepaid cards blocked for monthly subscriptions. If people want to churn, they need to at least pay for a quarter upfront.

I surely have a much smaller user base and I surely lose a lot of business, but I work 10x less than I did before implementing policies to minimize low value churning.