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Important update for Recurring Payments and PayPal


Today we released an important update for our Recurring Payments extension. This was to account for an upcoming change to merchant accounts by PayPal. If you sell subscriptions through PayPal, please update to version 2.9.3 of Recurring Payments.

On November 1, 2019, PayPal will be entirely disabling support for purchasing multiple subscriptions in a single checkout.

Earlier this year, in January 2019, PayPal disabled support for multiple subscriptions on newer accounts. Merchant accounts that had been selling subscriptions prior to January 1, 2017 were grandfathered in and permitted to continue selling multiple subscriptions in a single checkout.

Just under three weeks ago, PayPal sent the following email to affected merchants:

Email notice sent by PayPal on October 7, 2019

Unfortunately PayPal has now decided to cease supporting multiple subscriptions entirely. So now, regardless of when the account was created, PayPal merchants are no longer able to sell multiple subscriptions in a single checkout.

This change takes effect on November 1, 2019.

We have released an update to our Recurring Payments plugin. This update is to ensure your customers do not encounter an error during checkout.

Customers that attempt to purchase multiple subscriptions through PayPal Website Payments Pro or PayPal Express will be shown the following message on checkout:

Only one subscription may be purchased through this payment method per checkout.

A lot of stores frequently sell multiple subscriptions in a single purchase and we fully recognize that this is not an ideal experience for customers. Unfortunately this is entirely outside the realm of our control and we’ve had no choice but to comply with PayPal’s sudden change.

To help the checkout experience when purchasing multiple subscriptions, we recommend disabling PayPal and, instead, using a payment gateway that continues to support multiple subscriptions. Our recommendation is Stripe.

If you’d like to continue offering PayPal alongside another gateway but also proactively prevent customers from having a poor checkout experience, please refer to our Development blog post where we have included a method for automatically removing PayPal as a payment method when there are multiple items in a checkout.

Pippin Williamson

About Pippin Williamson

Pippin Williamson is the founder of Sandhills Development, the parent company for Easy Digital Downloads, AffiliateWP, Restrict Content Pro, Sugar Calendar, and others. When not writing PHP, he can often be found sipping coffee or brewing beer at Sandhills Brewing.

@pippinsplugins

3 comments

  1. Pippin Williamson

    Hi Pippin,

    Do you know if it’s possible to combine the subscription products during checkout (assuming they all have the same frequency, e.g. 1 year) so that it can be treated as “one subscription” in PayPal? So Download A with a price of $40/year and Download B with a price of $50/year would create a single subscription in PayPal of $90/year?

    Hope that makes sense!

    1. Pippin Williamson

      In the current version of the Recurring Payments plugin, no.

      That is an option we considered but ultimately decided it had a severe limitation. If all products are combined into a single subscription, customers are then forced to continue to renew all of them or renew none of them. Very often, when a customer buys multiple products that each have a subscription, a year goes by and then the customer realizes they only need some of the products and so they choose to cancel the ones they don’t need. If all products are combined into a single subscription, that option is no longer supported.

  2. Pippin Williamson

    Thanks Pippin, that makes sense. We get customers ourselves who cancel some products but not others, so that would be a problem if it was all contained in one subscription.

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