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  1. #1
    *********! *********!!! jackli's Avatar
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    Interfacing to Shipping Companies and Credit Cards/PayPal

    I'm embarking on my first (real life) eCommerce application. I've had significant experience in php and mysql and web design, however this will be the first time I'd be working with stuff like SSL and shipping, and credit card/paypal processing.

    Now, my client wants a simple shopping cart allowing for multiple inventory items, as well as multiple purchases of the same product. I can easily program this in php, and use mysql as db for inventories, etc.

    Now, the hard part. I'm not sure how to interface the cart with the various shipping companies (UPS, FedEx, USPS etc.)

    Also, my current plan goes like this: 1) All details are processed on my own servers; 2) and once the total sum has been calculated, it will be sent to a PayPal personal account. Technically, I would not need to purchase a SSL certificate, since the sensitive information (i.e. credit card) would be handled by PayPal. Would PayPal allow my step 2 to work? I have not had much experience with PayPal other than a few eBay purchases, and I admit that it is easy to get lost in PayPal's documentation!

    Finally, should I open a PayPal Biz Account or Send Aggregate Data as "Donation" via my existing Personal Account? It seems that if I choose a Biz Account, I would not need to purchase a SSL certificate, and I can just directly use the PayPal Shopping Cart. I personally prefer to code my own stuff because I usually code faster than I can read, but I would like to know your thoughts on the usefulness of just using a 3rd party shopping cart -- like PayPal's Shopping Cart or AgoraCart.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Your assumptions are mostly incorrect. You can definitely use your own cart or 3rd party cart all the way through to the payment stage. You can send the total sum to PayPal and other identifiers like an order ID. Then you can get an IPN response from PayPal that lets your scripts know that a payment has arrived, allowing you to verify it and mark the matching order as paid in your database.

    What you can't do is try to call it a "donation" or use a personal account for ecommerce. Personal accounts cannot receive credit card, eCheck or non-instant bank transfer payments. When you send someone to PayPal they're definitely going to try, and you're going to get an e-mail from PayPal saying so-and-so has sent you money but you can't accept it until upgrading your account. You really need a premiere or business account to do ecommerce through PayPal, and these two account types are identical in functionality.

    You don't need to use Website Payments Pro for any of this, the processing still happens on PayPal's site, which means you don't need to purchase an SSL certificate. Website Payments Pro is not inherently tied to having a premiere or business account, it's a separate service PayPal just recently began to offer which is more similar to a traditional merchant account.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict paypalrb's Avatar
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    Dan's mostly correct.

    A Personal account can accept payments from a bank (instant transfer or eCheck) or PayPal account balance, but the inability to accept credit cards and the monthly Receiving Limit make the Personal accounts unsuitable for eCommerce. Personal accounts are also unable to accept Subscription payments.

    Look at the PayPal Integration Center's information on Website Payments Standard - I think the "Donation" method you mentioned is similar to the way you want to integrate. However, look at the details of the cart upload method - if you can pass in the item details and shipping and tax amounts using the appropriate variables, it will make more sense to the customer as they go through their PayPal checkout.
    Sell more worldwide!
    PayPal Website Payments Pro and Virtual Terminal
    now support 6 currencies and 174 countries

  4. #4
    *********! *********!!! jackli's Avatar
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    Somehow, I remember that I've accepted a credit-card payment via my paypal Personal Account. When I logged in just now, the account is still labeled as a Personal Account, though. Is accepting credit-card payments a one-instance upgrade? (Also, the site doesn't make clear whether a Premiere or Biz account will incur a set percentage deduction per month, even if no transactions.)

    Also, how should I best solve the shipping problem - how do I integrate a "shipping calculator" for the various couriers into my own shopping cart; I can certainly build such a calculator, but my problem is how would I interactively obtain the data, such as cost to ship to Country X, for example?

  5. #5
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackli
    (Also, the site doesn't make clear whether a Premiere or Biz account will incur a set percentage deduction per month, even if no transactions.)
    That's because no such thing exists. PayPal does not charge monthly fees for any account type.

    Website Payments Pro, their quasi-merchant-account service, does have a monthly fee, but is a completely optional service.

  6. #6
    *********! *********!!! jackli's Avatar
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    OK, now the shipping problem... how would I interface the shopping cart to the shipping couriers' pricing?

  7. #7
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    You could use one of the open source shopping carts. They've got shipping modules or user-written shipping modules that'll do whatever you need. Or you can write your own:

    http://www.fedex.com/us/solutions/shipapi/faq.html
    http://www.usps.com/webtools/
    http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/bus...?WT.svl=SubNav


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